This post was written by Tacoi Bell of The Anointed Editorial. To connect with Tacoi, see the information in the bio at the end of this post.
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, 'The righteous shall live by faith.' (Romans 1:16-17, ESV)
A friend and I were recently reading through the book of Joshua together. I decided to do this with her as a show of support regarding some concerns with her son, who bears the same name as this book and character in the Bible.
If I’m honest, I don’t spend a lot of time in the Old Testament, so this study, even surface-level, was needed. My friend agreed, and over the course of several weeks, we assigned chapters to read and reflect on. In-between tending to children and supporting our husbands, we stole away moments to record short voice memos (sometimes with screaming kids in the background) about our thoughts on the reading.
We were only a few chapters into the study, and God spoke to me during the early parts.
It was Joshua 4, where Joshua led the children of Israel through a successful campaign to acquire the land promised to them during the time of Moses. After the Israelites passed through the Jordan river, God gave explicit instruction to Joshua about what they should do next:
Then Joshua called the twelve men from the people of Israel, whom he had appointed, a man from each tribe. And Joshua said to them, 'Pass on before the ark of the Lord your God into the midst of the Jordan, and take up each of you a stone upon his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the people of Israel, that this may be a sign among you. When your children ask in time to come, "What do those stones mean to you?" then you shall tell them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it passed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. So these stones shall be to the people of Israel a memorial forever.' (Joshua 4:5–7, ESV)
So these stones shall be to the people of Israel a memorial forever (Joshua 4:7). I spoke with my friend about how much this verse meant to me and what I gathered from it. I shared that although we should have continual altars erected to God where we constantly pray, praise, and worship him, there will be times in our lives where we will encounter certain circumstances that only God can deliver us from. In those moments, God may require us to set up a place of remembrance — a memorial, an altar — to him.
Faith to Faith
In Romans 1:17, Paul the Apostle shares that the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith. According to Got Questions, they state that
“Righteousness is thus a complete and total work of God. Humans tend to view righteousness as something we can achieve by our own merit or actions. But the righteousness of God is different. It is a right standing before God that has nothing to do with human accomplishment or worth. It is received by faith. There is nothing we can do to deserve or earn it.”
Altars of Remembrance
Got Questions also states that there are many perceived meanings to Paul’s words in Romans 1:17. I would like to submit my thoughts to you through the lens of Joshua 4:5–7.
While I do agree that faith can only be achieved through righteousness, and that righteousness flows from our belief in God and his Word, I also believe there will be situations in our lives that solidify our faith. When we encounter these circumstances (that may be unfavorable), we erect altars of remembrance to remind us of what God has done. As we continue to walk with God and confront difficult conditions, we look back to those previous altars for strength in our new situation. This helps us remain faithful and righteous, fulfilling Romans 1:17.
Maintain the Altars of Remembrance
Maintaining our memorials of remembrance is important for keeping a proper God image. When it feels like we are facing calamity from every direction — spiritually, emotionally, physically, or financially — the enemy loves nothing more than to distract us with what we see instead of remembering what God has done before. And remembering that he can do it again. Malachi 3:6 says that God changes not, which means his nature is, thoughts toward us are, and love for us is constant and reliable. Our altars and faith make this clear to us.
God is faithful to keep us at the beginning of our faith and through each altar we keep in our heart. It is his joy to do this for us. We should make it our joy to see his hand behind all things.
Reference: Got Questions. “What does ‘from faith to faith’ mean in Romans 1:17?” Updated January 24, 2022. Accessed: April 26, 2023. https://www.gotquestions.org/from-faith-to-faith.html.
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