I believe the devil has tried to keep people living under the law in which righteousness had to try to be attained through works and law-keeping because he doesn’t want them to know the truth and be set free. Too many are living like Jesus wasn’t even needed and what He did wasn’t significant because they are so focused on self-performance. But Jesus is everything. As Galatians 2:21 says, “I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.”
Galatians 3:11-12 states: “But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for ‘the just shall live by faith.’ Yet the law is not of faith, but ‘the man who does them shall live by them.’”
God is looking for faith. The law is not of faith, but the law was meant to lead us to faith. The law was to make people see how sinful they were, not how great they were. Romans 3:19-20 states: “Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.”
The purpose of the old covenant law was to drive people to the end of themselves and their own self-effort and into the realm of faith where they cry out, “God, I can’t do this – I need a savior!” It was to propel us from the lifestyle of dependence upon self to dependence upon Jesus; from the law of self-effort to the law of faith in a savior. It was our tutor to bring us to Christ (Galatians 3:23-24), that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith has come, we are no longer to be under the old system of trying to justify ourselves through our works (Galatians 3:25).
No person can be justified by the deeds of the law. God only justifies those who have faith in Jesus. Galatians 2:16 says, “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.”
Without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). Reliance upon yourself and your own actions is not pleasing to God. It doesn’t require faith to try to perform in your own efforts by following the law. True faith is realizing you can’t perform to become right with God but rather to put your faith in a Savior who performed on your behalf to make you right with God.
I believe this is an area that so many people are confused about. They think their actions and right living can make them right with God, but that is an old covenant mindset, resulting in self-righteousness instead of true godly righteousness that only comes through Jesus. God is just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus only (Romans 3:26), not the one who does the works of the law. What conclusion can we make? Romans 3:28 says it so clearly: “Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law.”
Faith in Jesus is what makes us right with God. Period. As Romans 10:4 states: “Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.”
It is not how we dress, how often we go to church, how holy we may act or how well we keep the law. It all comes down to if we put faith in Jesus to be our righteousness. The old covenant was about our doing, the new covenant is about our believing. Am I promoting sin and living just however we want? No, but what I am promoting is believing that we are righteous only through the blood of Jesus and not because of anything we have done or ever could do. Oh how I pray for hearts to be open to receiving the truth and to be set free by Jesus. Stop doing and start believing — it is all about Jesus.
Amber can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, www.ambermiller.tateauthor.com, or through her AmberRiceMiller Facebook page.
Published: April 18, 2016