Archive for July 3rd, 2019

Romans 3:26-31

In Romans 3:26-31 Paul makes it clear that none of this is our own doing. In fact, there is absolutely no way we should ever consider boasting about any part of our salvation. Boasting shouldn’t be anywhere. Because we are justified freely by His grace, there is no room for self-congratulation or credit. It all belongs to Jesus. “Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith.” Boasting and pride are not excluded because there is some specific passage in the law against them. Instead, pride is excluded because it is completely incompatible with the salvation that is freely ours though faith. It is not based on works, but only on faith in Jesus Christ!

It isn’t that we are justified by faith plus whatever deeds of the law we can do. We are justified by faith alone, apart from the deeds of the law. It isn’t what we do, it’s who we are. It’s all about our heart. “For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law.” Doesn’t James contradict this in passages like James 2:14-26? How can we say that it is faith alone that saves, apart from the deeds of the law? It is true faith alone saves, but true faith, saving faith, has a distinct character. It is not just agreeing with certain facts, but it is directing the mind and will in agreement with God. It is a matter of the heart which leads to saving faith.

Paul challenges the thinking of the Jews about God’s saving grace. This righteousness is offered to both Jew and Gentile. The universal character of the offer is demonstrated by a simple fact asked by Paul: Is He not also the God of the Gentiles? Of course He is. If there is only one God, then God is God of the Gentiles as much as He is God of the Jews. It’s just up to the Gentiles to recognize Him as God. “Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, since God is one–who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith.”

We can see how someone might ask, “If the law doesn’t make us righteous, what good is it? Is it valid at all? “Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law.” Some thought Paul made the law void – unnecessary and no longer in effect. Paul does not make the law void. As the Apostle will demonstrate in Romans 4, the law anticipated the coming gospel of justification by faith, apart from the deeds of the law. Therefore, the gospel establishes the law, fulfilling its own predictions. The law doesn’t save us, but how we line up with the law demonstrates the power of Jesus in our life!

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