When Paul wrote the book of Romans, he must have had the Old Testament in view. In Romans 1 we find a clear reference to the book of Genesis. The phrase, “the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world, being apprehended by the things made, are clearly seen,” refers to Genesis 1. The “invisible things,” meaning God’s divine attributes, may be apprehended from creation. Thus, Paul began the book of Romans with an allusion to the first chapter of Genesis. Furthermore, Paul’s account of the condemnation on mankind follows the stages of the fall of man recorded in Genesis. In Genesis 4, Cain gave up God, disapproving of holding Him in his understanding. By the time of Genesis 11, the entire fallen race had exchanged God for idols. They exchanged the God of glory for idols of vanity and degenerated into fornication and confusion, which were manifested in the extreme at Sodom. This resulted in the practice of every imaginable evil. Paul used this history of the corrupted race as the background for the section on the condemnation of mankind. In Romans 3 Paul alludes to the picture of the ark with its cover as he portrays Christ as the propitiation place. Therefore, Romans 3 was also written with the Old Testament in view. Moreover, when Paul came to the conclusion of justification, he employed the history of Abraham as a full example. Abraham’s history affords a complete pattern of the genuine and subjective justification of God. If we only had Paul’s teaching in Romans 3, we could never appreciate the depths of God’s justification. We would only have the seed of justification without the kernel.
I feel the need to share more about the subjective experience of justification. In my spirit I am burdened that Romans 4 be fully opened to the Lord’s people. As I have said already, Romans 4 is a deep chapter, far deeper than we realize. It presents Abraham’s experience with God. Abraham is an example of the experience of God’s called ones with God. We do not have the adequate human language to describe such an experience. After considering this matter very seriously, I have selected the word transfuse to help us understand the interaction between God and man.
The application of electricity depends on the fuse, and we may say that the power of electricity is applied through the fuse. This is transfusion. The heavenly electricity is far away in the heavens, but the place where this electricity must be applied is here on earth. If this divine electricity is to come to us, we need a transfusion. Thus, God transfuses Himself into us. Once we have this transfusion, we will experience a spiritual infusion as God’s essence infiltrates our being. This infusion of God’s element will saturate and permeate us. Transfusion brings in infusion, and this infusion permeates us with God’s element.
This permeation causes a reaction. The spiritual virtues and divine attributes that have been transmitted into us will react within us. The first reaction is believing. This is our faith. This is the highest definition of faith. Faith is not our natural ability or virtue. Faith is our reaction toward God, which results from God’s transfusing Himself into us and infusing His divine elements into our being. When God’s elements permeate our being, we react to Him, and this reaction is faith. Faith is not a human virtue; it is absolutely a reaction caused by a divine infusion, which saturates and permeates our being. Once we have such a faith, we can never lose it. It is deeper than our blood, for it has been infused into us and constituted into our being. Although we may try not to believe, we can never succeed. This is what the Bible means by believing in God.
If my memory is accurate, Paul never uses the term “by faith in Jesus.” However, at least two or three times he mentions “the faith of Jesus,” a phrase that troubles most translators. Some, finding it difficult to define such a phrase, have changed the preposition from “of” to “in.” If we change the preposition, the phrase will read “faith in Jesus” and mean that we believe in Jesus by ourselves. This is not Paul’s meaning. Paul means that we believe in the Lord Jesus by means of the Lord Jesus Himself as our faith. Since we do not have the ability to believe, we must take Christ as our believing ability. We need to believe in the Lord Jesus by His faith. I have tried to understand this for nearly forty years. In the past I explained faith as Christ working Himself into us. That was the best definition I had at the time. However, in the last few days the Lord has given me a better term: faith is our reaction to God produced by His transfusion, infusion, and saturation.
© Living Stream Ministry All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.