27 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. 28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. 29 Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also: 30 Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith. 31 Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.
Whether Jew or Gentile,
We have all sinned,
We have all fallen short,
We are all guilty
Where is boasting then?
I keep wondering about this question. How on earth can anyone, after reading Paul's letter so far, think that they can be justified by works under the law? Reason, because mankind, like a child, needs to have boundaries. They need some way of knowing when they are right and when they are wrong. The conscience, over time, becomes seared through sin. They justify and make excuses for our behaviour. They are like the blind who walk in darkness and can only be safe if they follow the guideposts set before them. Remember blind guides leading the blind (Matt 15:14). The sad part? The guides were the teachers of the law. Even with guideposts they still go astray. They all fall into a ditch. And yet they pat themselves on the back and congratulate one another, if only for a moment, they seem to be getting things right.
I remember when I was a child and my friends and I would play at war. Someone would be "shot" and another would run over, put his hands on the "wounded" and say "fix, fix, fix" and the casualty would be instantly healed ready to continue the fight. For those under the law, as their hearts go dark, the sacrifices God enacted at Sinai become the same kind of chant that we did as children. Kill a goat (fix), sprinkle the blood (fix), burn the fat (fix) and all is well and you get a new start. Unless God intervenes our acts eventually become meaningless routine. And yet they would boast over a system that would continually point out their failures?
Boasting? - It is excluded. By what law? Of works?
Obedience to the law is nothing to boast about. It is the absolute minimum that is required of man. And no one has been able to walk it faultlessly except Jesus. To think differently would just be opening a door for another round of self-justification. There is no deed, done in the law, that can make the human heart right with God. The law is a mental exercise. With the help of God's Spirit a human heart can be convicted of sin and brought to a point of Godly repentance. However, the mind of man, on its own, can never be right with God, no matter what work they may be able to accomplish.
Nay: but by the law of faith.
It is not our obedience to the law that justifies our right to exist. It is the obedience of Jesus to that law that justifies our right to exist. But there is one thing we need to add to the finished work of Jesus. It is not a "work" but a belief; that God is, that Jesus died for our sin and that God raised him up. That faith removes us from Satan's authority and places us directly under the lordship of Jesus.
28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.
From the creation of Adam down to our own age, faith was, is and ever will be the only thing that justifies our right to exist. Is it really a right? Yes! It is the right (given by God) to live (spirit, soul, body) with God. Yet it is only the first step on the long journey through eternity, for those who are saved from the lake of fire.
29 Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also:
God is the God of all. He is even the God of Satan. The question is not whether he is God but, are those whom he created, do they trust him and obey him. Without faith, trust and obedience are not likely to exist except in some perverted way. The privileged seldom want others to partake of their special position. There is always the sense that "we" are better than "they." Yet the only thing that separates those who are "in" from those who are "out" is faith. When faith in God is birthed in the heart, that person, whoever they are, are now one of God's special people. Jew or Gentile, it does not matter. It never did matter.
30 Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith.
The Jew has a knowledge of the ways of God. They have a written history of man's relationship to God. They have "The Law of God." They had the prophets and prophecy. They had the vision through poetry and story. They had examples and life lessons from God. Yet their special standing with God was founded on the law as it related to faith. Faith was first, the law was second. When they see Jesus in the books from God (Genesis through Malachi) they believe and are saved.
The Gentile received a simple story about the life and sacrifice of Jesus. Because they believed the story to be true and meant for them, they were saved.
31 Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.
First, the law is the law of the land they were/are occupying. They may have carried it as their culture to different lands, but the law was for the land of Israel. It is the foundation of their relationship to God and to others. This has never been cancelled or put away. It is the rules by which they are to govern and be governed by. This law will always be established every time Israel comes back to the land.
Secondly, we see through the sacrifices in the old testament the shadow of the sacrifice made by Jesus. The sacrifices pointed forward to the Messiah, to the priest in the "Order of Melchizedek." The sacrifice of Jesus points to the veiled truth of the sacrifices established at Sinai. Jesus completes them all, once and for all. The old testament sacrifices pointed to the lord's death when he would come the first time When we take communion we show the Lord's death until he comes the second time. The one establishes the truth of the other and vice versa.
No boasting, just humble thanks.
Website administrator: Joseph A Raymond
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada