3:24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: 3:25 Whom God hath set forth [to be] a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; 3:26 To declare, [I say], at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. 3:27 Where [is] boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. 3:28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law… 3:31 Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.
To fully understand why Paul wrote this we must look at what He wrote in a few chapters later where he said:
8:1 [There is] therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. 8:3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: 8:4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. Romans 8:1-4 (Emphasis supplied).
The reason Paul said that faith establishes the law (Romans 3:31) is because faith works by a law that guarantees that the righteousness the law requires will be fulfilled in us (Romans 8:2 & 4). Paul made reference to this law in the 3rd chapter when he said:
Where [is] boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. Romans 3:27 (Emphasis supplied).
In Romans 8:2 & 3 Paul expands on what he said in Romans 3:27 by letting us know that there are 3 laws that we must understand and cooperate with when it comes to righteousness. Those 3 laws are:
- The law of God which demands perfect obedience (v.3).
- The law of sin and death which makes perfect obedience to God’s law impossible (v.2).
- The law of the Spirit of life which guarantees perfect obedience to the law of God through faith in Jesus Christ (v.2).
In the 7th chapter of Romans Paul deals with the dilemma sincere Christians face in their struggle to attain righteousness by obeying God’s law. In Romans 7:14 he hits the core of the problem of attaining righteousness through obedience to the law when he said:
For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.
Paul then goes on to conclude:
7:21 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. 7:22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: 7:23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. 7:24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? Romans 7:21-24 (Emphasis supplied).
This accurately describes the struggle and dilemma of every sincere Christian who tries to attain righteousness by obeying the law of God. I know because this is what I struggled with for years until the Spirit of God revealed to me the 3 laws concerning righteousness. I knew about the law of God and sincerely wanted to please God by obeying it perfectly. But, I did not know about the law of sin and death which is in my flesh. So when my best efforts came short of the perfection the law of God required I felt condemned. Needless to say, I felt condemned more and more. The harder I tried the more I failed. For a while I found comfort in measuring my performance by others because I could find a whole lot of people doing worse than myself. But the Spirit of God disturbed that peace by showing me how perfect Jesus is and how utterly sinful I am. Finally, my desperation caused me to cry out like Paul and say:
O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? Romans 7:24.
Then the Holy Spirit revealed to me the third law and how it operates in us when we have the faith of Jesus. Next week I am going to go into more detail about how this law works to guarantee our salvation. Until then I leave you with this scripture to ponder and pray over:
16:7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. 16:8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 16:9 Of sin, because they believe not on me; 16:10 Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; 16:11 Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. 16:12 I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. 16:13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, [that] shall he speak: and he will show you things to come. John 16:7-13