Upholding the Law?

23 Aug

Hello again!

This is what God gave me today in his word:

For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin. (Romans 3:20)

No one can be saved? It actually is all useless? Well if that’s the case, and no one can be saved, then… What? Should we all just lay down and die?

First, we have to look at context… In order to be able to know for sure this is what Paul is actually referring to:

But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it– the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, (Romans 3:21-24)

Paul isn’t referring to it being impossible for anyone to be saved, he’s reminding them that it’s just the law that can’t save them; he’s reminding them they can’t do anything to save themselves, and that’s it’s only by the gift of grace (given by Jesus) that can save them.

Second, we have to actually get the point of what Paul is saying… What’s Paul getting at here? The Romans (and us) are saved by grace and not by works, we understand that now, but what’s the point? So what?

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. For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law. 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. Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law. (Romans 3:27-31)

Paul’s point is that God is a both a God of Jew’s and of Gentiles. OK, but he also seems to be talking in circles. – We uphold the law? I thought you just said it didn’t matter! Which is it Paul, are we saved by the law or by faith, do we uphold one or the other?

For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin. (Romans 3:20)

Paul isn’t saying we should uphold and attempt(/fail) to obey the law… He’s saying we should live by faith but remember the law, but why? To understand that, we have to re-look at what the whole point of what is being said is: We can not save our self, only by Jesus’ grace can we be saved. And what, pray tell, is it that Paul says in verse 20? – That knowledge of sin comes through the law! We must realize, as Paul was trying to get the Romans to do, that we don’t deserve to be let into Heaven, on the contrary, we deserve a one way ticket to Hell. We need to realize that, before we also realize how much we need Christ’s grace!

You are Loved!

Joshua Cleveland


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