Do we then nullify the Law through faith?
Romans 3:9-31 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
What then? Are we better than they? Not at all; for we have already charged that both Jews and Greeks are all under sin; 10 as it is written,
is none righteous, not even one; 11 There is none who understands, There is none who seeks for God; 12 All have turned aside, together they have become useless;
There is none who does good, There is not even one.” 13 “Their throat is an open grave,
With their tongues they keep deceiving,” “The poison of asps is under their lips”;
14 “Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness”; 15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood, 16 Destruction and misery are in their paths, 17 And the path of peace they have not known.” 18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
19 Now we know that whatever the Law says, it speaks to those who are under the Law, so that every mouth may be closed and all the world may become accountable to God; 20 because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin.
21 But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; 25 whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; 26 for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
27 Where then is boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? Of works? No, but by a law of faith. 28 For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law. 29 Or is God the God of Jews only? Is He not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, 30 since indeed God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith is one.
31 Do we then nullify the Law through faith? May it never be! On the contrary, we establish the Law.
Ephesians 2:8-10 says: By grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. Understanding that it is only by God’s grace, through our believing in His Son, whom He sent because He loved the world, that we are saved is vital to our faith. Today’s text says: as it is written, “There is none righteous, not even one; There is none who understands, There is none who seeks for God; All have turned aside, together they have become useless; There is none who does good, There is not even one.” “Their throat is an open grave, With their tongues they keep deceiving,” “The poison of asps is under their lips”; “Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness”; “Their feet are swift to shed blood, Destruction and misery are in their paths, And the path of peace they have not known.” “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” … all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus. As believers, we need to keep in mind that: whatever the Law says, it speaks to those who are under the Law, so that every mouth may be closed and all the world may become accountable to God; because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin. We cannot expect those who do not believe in God or His commandments to follow them. Whether the Ten Commandments or the 613 Levitical laws, no one is justified through following them. The purpose of the law is to establish what is right and what is wrong in God’s sight. The tree that Adam and Eve ate from in the garden was the tree of knowledge of good and evil. The law, the commandments and God’s word helps us to establish and to know the difference. It is vital that we know because God Himself says in Isaiah 5:20: Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! There are consequences for choosing what is evil over what is good.
In John 16:7-11 Jesus says: “I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment; concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me; and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me; and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.” Some will argue then that since they do not believe in Jesus or the Holy Spirit, they are not under the conviction of sin and therefore are not guilty of it. Paul though has already covered the frailty and the falseness of their argument, saying: The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. (Romans 1:18-21) So there is no excuse for those who don’t believe, because God has made Himself known in them and around them. It is not the responsibility of believers though to convince them or convict them of their sin. It is the responsibility of the Holy Spirit.
We should instead focus on our own excuses for choosing evil over good. Many presume on the grace of God and the cross of Christ saying that Jesus died for all sins, past, present and future, so that it no longer matters what we do because it is forgiven. Here’s the thing: It is true that we are not justified by our works but rather through faith in Christ. If though we are in Christ, then we will not try to justify sin because of grace. Ephesians 2:10 says: We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. In today’s text it says: Do we then nullify the Law through faith? May it never be! On the contrary, we establish the Law. Jesus says: “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:17-20) Our righteousness can only exceed the righteousness of the scribes and the Pharisees, who were experts in the law, not by adhering to the law, but because we are in Christ. But, if we are in Him, living in His righteousness, we too will live as the fulfillment of the law, not doing away with what God says, but rather establishing it by our lives and actions. Grace is not an excuse to sin. Grace and faith in Christ is our way out of sin. Jesus says that the Holy Spirit will come to convict the world of sin. The Holy Spirit also though comes to be with and in us who believe. Jesus says: “If you love Me, keep My commandments.And I will pray the Father, andHe will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever—the Spirit of truth,whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with youand will be in you.” (John 14:16-17) If God Himself dwells in us, then we have no excuse for choosing sin. If we believe in Jesus, if we love Him, we will live as the fulfillment of God’s law, doing the good works He created us for.
Thank You heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ and precious Holy Spirit that I am saved by faith, believing in the finished work of the cross. Indeed my sins, past, present and future have been forgiven by Your grace. But grace is no excuse to justify my sin. I choose to walk in Your grace by the power of the Holy Spirit in me. I choose to do the good works You have prepared for me and prepared me for. May my life establish Your law of love and grace. Amen.