Ask God to orient or reorient you to Himself. Confess any known sin. Thank Him for His forgiveness. Be still and reflect on Jesus and His sacrifice for you. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart and mind to God’s Word. Pray for others in your life that they, too, would know and love God today.
“27 Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. Because of what law? The law that requires works? No, because of the law that requires faith. 28 For we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law. 29 Or is God the God of Jews only? Is He not the God of Gentiles too? Yes, of Gentiles too, 30 since there is only one God, who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith. 31 Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law.”
Verse 31 brings up a question we’ve seen asked before, but in a different way. Nevertheless, it keeps coming up in the minds of Paul’s audience. Earlier in chapter three, the question went like this: “7 Someone might argue, ‘If my falsehood enhances God’s truthfulness and so increases His glory, why am I still condemned as a sinner?’ 8 Why not say—as some slanderously claim that we say—’Let us do evil that good may result’?” Now the essence of the question is brought up again, “Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith?” Paul’s response was a resounding no!
In these verses, Paul is battling a heresy known as “antinomianism.” Even though the term antinomianism didn’t come about until the 17th century, its roots go way back. At its core, it relates to the view that Christians are released by grace from the obligation of observing the moral law. This is false. As believers, we’re to be conforming to Christ-likeness. This is clearly stated in 1 John 2:3-6. It says, “We know that we have come to know God if we obey His commands. Suppose someone says, ‘I know Him.’ But suppose that person does not do what God commands. Then that person is a liar and is not telling the truth. But if anyone obeys God’s word, then God’s love is truly made complete in that person. Here is how we know we belong to Him. Those who claim to belong to Him must live just as Jesus did.” Yes, the law doesn’t save us; we are saved through grace alone, through faith alone, by Christ alone. However, our salvation should lead us to conforming to the likeness of Christ more and more, not moving away from Him.
You can spot this false belief of antinomianism whenever you see someone who says, “I’ve been saved; I can do whatever I want.” Then, they go out and live a life that dishonors God rather than point others to God. Today’s catch phrase for this way of thinking is sometimes referred to as a “license to sin.” We’ve written about this earlier; this is simply wrong and not a true saving faith.
So why does the argument keep coming up? Because of Paul’s insistence that doing the law contributes nothing to justification. Remember, Paul’s gospel had to be mind blowing to his Jewish readers; it was so radical to them. He kept addressing it because he knew that some people would conclude from his teaching that the law was not good: It was “nullified.” This was why Paul answered the question with: “Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law.”
Paul was upholding the demands that God made in the law; he’s not allowing his readers to sweep it under the rug. Paul’s point was this: Christ fulfilled the law on our behalf. The good news is that we have been accounted as having fulfilled the law and have been set free from it’s penalties for disobedience. It is, surprisingly, this very freedom from the law’s condemnation that puts us into a relationship in which true obedience, motivated and directed by the Spirit, can come about. In other words, the Mosaic law may not play a role in justification, but Paul did not want his readers to conclude that it played no role in God’s plan of salvation.
Well Jim, that was a mouthful! So what do we do with it? When we think of the gospel, we should be compelled to live our lives in obedience to Christ. The more we understand the gospel,the work Christ has done on our behalf, the greater our desire should be to obey. God’s desire—and our desire when we are regenerated by His Spirit—is that we would strive not to sin. Out of our gratitude for His grace and forgiveness, we want to please Him. God has given us His infinitely gracious gift of salvation through Jesus. Let that sink in… our salvation has already been secured; it’s a done deal and we don’t have to live wondering if we’re good enough.
I’m 52 years old. Lord willing, I’ll have 30 to 40 more years. In one sense, that is a very short time, but in another, it’s an eternity! If my salvation were up to me earning it, oh my, the years would be an eternity. But, that is not the case! Christ has redeemed me; His righteousness is my righteousness. When the Father looks down on me, He sees Jesus. I’m free from sin… don’t have to wonder if I’ll be good enough. I hope you see the point I’m trying to make… I’m free to live for Christ! Oh ,that yours and my response to the Gospel would be to dedicate our lives to Christ out of love, worship, and gratitude for what He has done for us.
*From what you have just read and considered: What is a personal implication/application for your life today?
(Personalize this prayer today; make it specific to the circumstances that face you.)
Ask God to lead you through His Spirit as you go through your day. Ask Him to bring to mind the truth of the gospel and its implications for what you will encounter today. Tell Him “Yes” to His will and ask Him for His power and protection to live this “yes.” Ask God to create and reveal opportunities to proclaim the good news today. KEEP PRAYING THROUGHOUT YOUR DAY.