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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

6/2/11 Paul's Take on Jesus' Law Romans 3:27-31

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.

(Paul Andre Rublev)

Thoughts: This passage indicates we are saved by faith alone- not by faith and doing good (the Law).  There is only one God, who saves all people (Gentiles as well as Jews) the same way- through faith.  But just because we are saved through faith, doesn't mean the law is invalid or unhelpful.  Paul says that Christians "uphold the Law."  Which Law?  Not the ceremonial laws- the washings and sacrifices; not the dietary laws- forbidding pork and other foods; but the Moral Law.  Jesus emphasized such things- like love over hate; justice over injustice; the Ten Commandments.  Christians do not rebel against the Law, but seek to keep it.  Legalism is believing we are saved by doing things.  Legalism is over-ephasizing rules to the point of perfectionism (but no one can be perfect).  Paul says here we are not saved by the Law, but by faith.  The other extreme is anti-nomianism (believing there is no law anymore).  In the West, our biggest problem now is the idea that to have any rules at all means somehow we are de-emphasizing grace.  Moral laxity has historically been the reason for the downfall of Christianity (like to the Muslims in the 500s; or France pre-Columba).  The faith is strongest, and is what it was designed to be by our Lord when we emphasize both God's grace and the idea of holiness or law-keeping.  It is by grace that we are saved, and it is also by grace that we are able to keep any of the Law.

Prayer: Help me, Lord, to recognize my need for your grace. 

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