Jul. 18, 2017

Where there is no law, there also is no violation.

Romans 4:13-5:5 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible

For the promise to Abraham or to his descendants that he would be heir of the world was not through the Law, but through the righteousness of faith. 14 For if those who are of the Law are heirs, faith is made void and the promise is nullified; 15 for the Law brings about wrath, but where there is no law, there also is no violation.

16 For this reason it is by faith, in order that it may be in accordance with grace, so that the promise will be guaranteed to all the descendants, not only to those who are of the Law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all, 17 (as it is written, “A father of many nations have I made you”) in the presence of Him whom he believed, even God, who gives life to the dead and calls into being that which does not exist. 18 In hope against hope he believed, so that he might become a father of many nations according to that which had been spoken, “So shall your descendants be.” 19 Without becoming weak in faith he contemplated his own body, now as good as dead since he was about a hundred years old, and the deadness of Sarah’s womb; 20 yet, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God, 21 and being fully assured that what God had promised, He was able also to perform. 22 Therefore it was also credited to him as righteousness. 23 Now not for his sake only was it written that it was credited to him, 24 but for our sake also, to whom it will be credited, as those who believe in Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, 25 He who was delivered over because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification.

5 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.


In today’s text it says:  The Law brings about wrath, but where there is no law, there also is no violation.   Some people rationalize then and say that it is the Law or it is the religious beliefs of people who are to blame. They extend the rationalization to say if there is no sin there is no violation. Much of our society and culture has come to the point where they believe there is no such thing as sin, that basically each person can choose what is right for them. Everyone of course believes there are some boundaries, some things which are not acceptable. The problem is once society has allowed individuals to choose what is right for them, the lines for what society will accept become both blurred and fluid. They are indistinct in the present and are continually changing. Society has laws because without them people would have little restraint. God’s laws were also given to man because people have little restraint. The law itself cannot save anyone because it is possible to violate the law. If there is no law there is no violation. Romans 3:20 says:  By the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin.    God’s law is meant to bring an awareness of sin, because as Jeremiah 17:9 says:  “The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it?”    If people are left to follow their own hearts, to choose for themselves what is right they will be deceived. It is a natural human tendency to judge less severely the things which we ourselves desire. James 1:14-15 says:  Each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust.  Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin.    If we are left to determine for ourselves what is right, we will all sin according to our own lust. Again, the law is not responsible for sin. It merely brings an awareness of it. Sin existed long before the Law of God was given to man.  Before the law was given, Adam and Eve disobeyed God. Before the law, Cain killed Able. Before the law was given there was every kind of sin from disobedience to murder, from theft and deception to all kinds of immorality. Before the law was given man proved that without the law there is no restraint.

Because of Jesus we are no longer subject to the law. Because as Romans 3:20 says:  By the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight…    The law cannot save us. We are justified by faith in Christ, by the grace of God who sent His Son to pay the price for our sin. Grace does not mean though that sin no longer exists; only that it no longer has power over us. 1 Peter 3:18 says:  Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God.   That Jesus died once for all sins does not mean that sin no longer exists because of grace. It means that we are freed from sin, not free to sin.  In Matthew 5:17 Jesus says:  “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.     That He came to fulfill the law means that He came to bring an awareness of sin.   From the very beginning of His ministry Jesus came to bring an awareness of sin. His message was: Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 4:17) Among His final words to His disciples were: “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you.” (Matthew 28:18-20)  Between the call to repent and the commission to teach the commandments, Jesus lived a life of kindness, compassion, love and grace. He associated with sinners and outcasts. It was not because He was no longer concerned about sin, but rather it was so that through love He could bring about an awareness of sin. Jesus called them to repentance through love and grace. Romans 2:4 says:  Do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?     God’s love, His grace, His kindness toward us is not because there is no longer sin. It is to lead us to repentance from sin. Romans 5:8 says: God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.   God’s love was demonstrated in the cross of Christ His Son. Jesus is the fulfillment of the law. He came to bring an awareness of sin, to call us to repent and through the finished work of the cross, to provide redemption  from sin.

Jesus says: “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 10:28-30)    The restraint that man was unable to have either with or without the law, we do have in Christ. As we are joined to Him we no longer strive to do what is right. We learn from Him, all that He commands and desires. We rest in Him, freed both from the burden of sin and the law.

Heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ; precious Holy Spirit thank You for Your love and grace, demonstrated in the cross. Jesus thank You for coming to fulfill of the law, to bring an awareness of, a repentance from and a forgiveness for sin. I choose to live daily, yoked to You, guided by the restraint of Your grace and the power of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.