As we've been studying the book of Romans in church, I find my perspective being continually humbled. Yesterday we looked at Romans 4:13-17 in which Paul is talking about the promise to Abraham in relation to the law of God. It was reiterated that we are justified by faith (as opposed to works) for several reasons. The obvious first reason is because it brings glory to God, but other outworkings are that we cannot boast when we do not save ourselves (Romans 3:27), there is no individual excluded, that is, Jews and gentiles can both be saved (Ro. 3:28-30), and justification by faith establishes the law (Ro. 3:31). If we were to be justified by the law, the law's standard would have to be lowered because we are not able to attain perfection in ourselves. But, hypothetically, if the standard was lowered, that would overthrow the whole law itself. However, Someone did fulfill the whole law perfectly.
Because Jesus met every jot and tittle, the problem is not with the law. The problem is with us. We must have faith, because we cannot do it in ourselves.
Slight side note here that I found helpful to my own study: there are two kinds of promises- conditional and unconditional. Conditional being, "If you love Me and keep My commandments...". Within unconditional, there are some with which no faith is required, because it WILL be fulfilled. For example, "I will come to judge the world on the last day." That will happen whether anyone believes it or not. Then there are unconditional promises that assume the person's faith in the process. The eight promises given to Abraham in Genesis 12, 15, and 17 are all unconditional promises with assumed faith; "I will make your descendants as many as the stars in the sky." This is the point Paul makes in Romans 4:13, "The promise to Abraham and his offspring...did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith." There are so many promises available to us as we believe. It's awesome.
Also, the law cannot flex; it is impersonal. It's like a mirror, it simply reflects the dirty face that deserves condemnation and wrath, it cannot clean that face. It just registers, shows us, reveals our sin. As much as we try, looking to the law will never clean our dirt. Only Christ can do that.
When we understand grace, it makes our salvation not about us. Romans 11:36 tells us exactly why we are saved, why He has determined to call us to Himself, why He is working so hard on our lives: "For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be glory forever. Amen."
Realizing this, that it is God who does e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g, we have a much different perspective than when we make our salvation about us. Instead of needing to bolster our lives with good works to meet the standard of the law, we realize that grace comes from above. We will never meet that bar on our own. The promises that God will fulfill then are not based on us and our assumed faith. They are directly based on the character of God and His doing.
We can tell we believe too much in our ability to fulfill the law when we look down on our neighbor who is not doing as we do. All too often we forget His incredible grace.
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I hope y'all have an incredible week! Check back on Thursday for some bright sunshine! ;) :D
What was your sermon about?