Grace leaves no room for pride. Pride says, “I can do it myself. I can earn my way to heaven. I am a good person. I am not nearly as bad as so and so. I do this and this and this good thing, and I never do this or this or this bad thing. I can justify myself before God with my good behavior.”
But grace comes us and says, “No my friend. You may seem like a good person compared to others. But compared to God’s standard of behavior, which is perfect obedience to His commands, you fall very short. And furthermore, God demands that not just our behavior, but our motives be totally pure and holy. Only the pure in heart can see Him (Matthew 5:8). No, you are not good enough for heaven. And that is a big, big problem for you and for me and for all of us. But praise God,” says grace, “that there is another way to salvation – the way of faith.”
Faith says to us, “Forget your pride – stop boasting or bragging about how good you are” (Romans 3:27). Faith says, “Your obedience to the law of God cannot save you, but the God who made that law can save you.”
We say, “How can that be? What must I do to be saved from the punishment I deserve for the sinful behavior and evil heart that God’s law has exposed to my conscience?”
And then faith says, “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. Look to Him and live. See the cross where He died for you. See the blood He poured out for all the bad things you’ve ever done or ever will do. Swallow your pride and receive His sacrifice for you. See the empty tomb and believe that Jesus rose from the dead, forever proving that God the Father had accepted His Son’s payment for your sins. Put your hope and trust in Christ alone. No matter what your life was like before, whether you’ve been around the things of God for all your life or just a few weeks, if you will repent and believe in the gospel, you will be made right with God. He will become your God and you will become His child, by faith and faith alone” (Romans 3:28-30).
But what about the law? What about living for God and obeying His commands? Is that no longer necessary since we are saved by faith? Not at all! The law is still of great value to the believer (Romans 3:31). The law now becomes our guide for walking in God’s grace. The law that once burdened and condemned us, the law that once showed us our desperate need for a Savior, now becomes a pattern for how we can live in a way that pleases our loving Father.
So there it is. Where are justified or made right with God by His grace through our faith in Christ, not by our obedience to the law. But once we have been justified, we find that we both want to and can follow God’s commands. We are empowered by the Holy Spirit who now lives in us to both love and keep God’s law. We still sin and fail, but as we will see in the upcoming chapters of Romans, we don’t have to. Praise God, faith can save us from the penalty AND the power of sin. May we experience that power today!
The Text (Romans 3:27-31)
27 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith. 28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law. 29 Or is He the God of the Jews only? Is He not also the God of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also, 30 since there is one God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith. 31 Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law.
Questions to Think About
- If a person could be saved by their behavior instead of a relationship with Jesus, what would that person do when they got heaven? Heaven is where we will worship God forever. Would a person who earned their way to heaven have any reason to worship Christ?
- Why do you think that some people would rather believe that they are good persons than accept that they are sinful and need Jesus to be their Savior?
- Have you ever met someone who said that they have accepted Christ as their Savior but did not show any desire to obey His commands and try to do His will? What should we say to people like this? How do we talk to them about faith? How would God want us to pray for them?