Sermon – July 18, 2021
We love to press forward. We can consider the past, sure, but there is little time to consider what has happened when there is so much that will happen! Paul, having finished announcing our great gift of justification in Christ, would not be faulted for doing the same. We have a great inheritance, a great salvation, glory itself to consider! But, while such things will indeed be spoken of, Paul is in no hurry to look beyond the things of the past. Instead, let us consider with Paul how understanding rightly what has come before helps us to move forward. What does our justification, by faith, teach us about the law?
1. Justification by faith condemns our boasting
Justification by faith means that no one, and on the basis of no thing, has the right to boast before God or men. There is not one thing in this world that makes us more fit for heaven then the next person. Our right upbringing, our morality, our blessings in no way shape us better for heaven than those who lack such things. The only hope we have is that of Jesus himself.
2. Justification by faith confirms the law
We rightly uphold the law itself, not as a way to be made right to God, but rather as a right response to God’s deliverance. This idea is the very idea of the law itself – finding it, keeping it, feeling its weight and importance, are just expressions of trusting in the redemption of God. As Paul says, this justification is the upholding of the law itself.
3. Justification by faith conforms to God’s being
Because God is one God, and he is the Creator God over all of the universe, being justified by faith and not by works of the law befits his being as the God of the universe. He is the only God that all must relate to, not just Jews. Jesus, as the true God of true God, is the right and only way to be reconciled to God.