A question that is often raised is why it was necessary that Jesus Christ died.
We know and understand that He did die to save us from sin and to set us free from the law, but this last verse of Galatians chapter 3 gives us an amazing insight into why Christ died. It also presents us with the problem of the fallibility of the law and the fact that no person is able to stand righteous before God under law.
So it is worth looking at this in some more detail so that we can understand a little more about why Christ died, because one of the primary things we seek from salvation is the ability to stand righteous before God.
This section of scripture is an eye-opener for anyone who thinks that they can
be righteous in the sight of God by keeping the works of the law. In this section it is made evident that there is no justification by works of law, and in fact in some cases the works of law may even be opposed to the truth of the Gospel.
This is not to say there is anything wrong with the law, but the application of it can be problematic.
The Apostle Peter in this section was in fact following one tenet of the Jewish law, but it opposed the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And it took Paul to identify and point his error out because the rest of the Jews were being swayed by Peter’s actions and could have been led astray. Continue reading “No Justification By Works Of Law”
In my last post I wrote about why Christians get sick. The key to understanding that is knowing that this Christian walk is not about the flesh but about the spirit. The work that is going on in us is a spiritual work. The flesh is of no avail.
In this section of scripture today, Paul extends this understanding and shows that God helps us in our walk by giving us the Spirit as guarantee of His help in our salvation.
It is the work of the Holy Spirit in us to transform us into the image of God. This is why God gave us the Holy Spirit. But let us consider the words Paul has written here and how the spirit as guarantee helps us.
Righteousness by faith is a very simple process. And it is not a new process because it existed even prior to Jesus coming. Parts of this section of scripture show the pre-existence of righteousness by faith even under the law for even then there was a requirement of faith.
More importantly though is that it was necessary, no, essential, that righteousness by faith be simple. The righteousness that would lead all mankind who chose to come to God had to be simple so that it would be accessible to all of mankind. That is why simplicity was the foremost element of this process.
One of the key differences between the old and the new covenants is the process and methods of righteousness. In these few verses we see this contrast described from the perspective of where the nation of Israel, and in particular the Jews went wrong.
The important point to note is this. There is salvation available to those who live under and by the law, but there is no righteousness.
Righteousness is only possible through the grace of God. In the new covenant this grace is given freely to all who seek God by Jesus Christ and who have faith, for the righteousness of God is given by faith alone. Continue reading “Righteousness By Faith”
There is no other way to come to God and be accepted by Him except on the grounds of faith. That is the focus of these few scriptures at the end of Romans 9.
In These few words we see the situation both in Jesus Christ and also before He came to the earth when the rule of law was in place.
I doubt anyone would disagree that the way to God in Jesus Christ is by faith, but faith also played a big part in the lives of those who lived under the law prior to Jesus Christ. Consider first all the men and women who lived before the law was given. There were some who were considered righteous, such as Abraham, Lot, Noah, Enoch and yet others were considered sinful and evil.
Why? And what was the change, if there was one, when the law came into being?
This is perhaps one of the most powerful messages of the new covenant and yet so often either not known, not employed or forgotten by Christians. This is a message we need to remember and employ as we walk with the Lord day by day.
Listen to this. Romans 8 opens with the words, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” The problem all mankind faces is that they do have a sense of morality and of what is right and wrong. Even the most evil people in the world have line that they believe should not be crossed, which is where their sense of morality lays.
But it is when each of us crosses that line of morality we bring ourselves under condemnation, either from God, other people or worst of all, we condemn ourselves. And condemnation from whatever source is judgement whether we are judged by others, by God or by ourselves.
But this scripture gives us reason to be comforted for it gives us hope.
If ever there were just a few verses that summed up the essence of the new covenant and how both it works and what we are to believe and accept in Jesus Christ, these are those few verses.
The new covenant is deliberately simple to grasp and take hold of. It had to be that way so that all of mankind could have access to it and receive the gifts of God. It does not require great wisdom or great knowledge to receive the truth of the new covenant, or at least the essence of the truth that begins a walk with Christ Jesus.
All it needs is faith. But not blind faith. This faith is quite specific and quite a deliberate belief in a set of things that The Lord has established in the new covenant, and we see the essence of what we must believe in these few lines of scripture.
When it comes to the old prophets, teachers and patriarchs of the bible, Abraham stands out as being THE man of the faith. All of us today along with those spoken of in bible times and everyone in between look to Abraham as our father, either as a direct descendant in the case of the children of Israel, or as our father by faith.
Abraham crosses the divide that exists between the old and the new covenants for he was the father of the adherents of the old covenant law through the covenant and sign of circumcision, and he is father of those who now come to God through Jesus Christ whose faith is like the faith Abraham had in the word of God.
This section of Romans 4 really spells out the strength and the power of Abraham's faith
Here is an interesting question worth considering, because it goes to the heart of what the New Covenant is all about.
Do you need the law?
Man reveres law because they seek order and structure. We see this reverence for law in the way that the law and lawyers are depicted in books, television shows and movies. We see it also in the similar reverence for lawmakers and politicians who, even though many individuals are fallible and have done some terrible things, the institutions of the political processes and democracy are held in high esteem as necessary to ensure stability in our society.
We know also that God gave the law to Moses, also for the purpose of giving Israel structure and to promote a better standard of life for those who followed the law. God wanted people to live well and it is His law that formed the basis of most of the laws that govern life today, albeit some have since been perverted.
Paul wrote in Romans 7 that the law of Moses given by God is holy, just and good because there is great wisdom in the law. They were after all the words of God given for the benefit of man.
But the question remains, in spite of all of this, do we need the law? The answer may be a surprise to some.