by Ryan Castle
July 4, 2019
27 Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. Because of what law? The law that requires works? No, because of the law that requires faith. 28 For we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law. 29 Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles too? Yes, of Gentiles too, 30 since there is only one God, who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith.31 Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law.
When I was a kid growing up through middle school and high school, I was on the basketball team. In 11th grade, I was going up for a rebound and came down awkwardly on another player’s foot, causing my knee to buckle a direction it’s not designed to buckle. I immediately suspected something was seriously wrong and after being examined by the athletic trainer, he scheduled me to have an MRI done on my knee. To this point in my basketball career, the worst injury I had suffered was a sprained ankle or a jammed finger, so I had no concept or category for what an MRI even was. I wrongfully (yet hopefully) assumed that the purpose of my hour-long appointment was to fix my knee so that I could immediately return to the court with my teammates. Unfortunately, as it turns out, the MRI is designed only to point out my need for surgery on my knee; it holds no hope for actually fixing my knee and returning it to full strength.
For a myriad of reasons, many of us grow up believing that the Law is what can bring us in to right standing with God. If we can just avoid doing these couple things and check these certain boxes, God will look upon us kindly. This is flawed theology. The Scripture tells us that the Law is only an MRI, able to point out our desperate need for Jesus. Fortunately for us, Jesus was sent not to abolish the Law, but to fulfill it (Matthew 5:17). This means that the Law still serves a purpose; not to bring condemnation or shame, but to remind us that we are not able to live up to God’s standards or do anything on our own to put ourselves into a right standing with God. It is Jesus alone who has come, not for the righteous who aren’t in need of a physician, but for the poor in spirit who know that they are sick and in need of his grace. This makes what Jesus has done all the sweeter. He did for me what I could not do by dying a death that I deserved so that I don’t have to do anything other than believe. There will be no boasting in Heaven, other than on the name above every other name, Christ Jesus, who has conquered sin, death, and the devil so that he could be with his people. Let’s give up striving to please God with our works and our attempts to live up to the Law and learn to rest in the death and resurrection of his Son. And then we will watch the works that he has prepared for us pour out of us as Christ sanctifies us and transforms us to look more like him through his Spirit.
We have put together a list of resources to help you dig into the book of Romans! Visit clifec.com/romans to check it out!
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