Faith Upholds the Law—Romans 3:29-31

Faith Upholds the Law—Romans 3:29-31

"Is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles too? Yes, of Gentiles too, since there is only one God, who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith. Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law" (Romans 3:29-31)

I remember the first time I really started studying the Book of Romans. I was learning so much and understanding the grace of Jesus in a way I had never imagined. But then I read this verse and it left me dumbfounded. Paul’s closing question, “Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith?” I was ready to answer, “Yes”… but Paul answered, “Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law.”

What?


Does the Apostle contract himself?
 

Immediately after Paul makes the amazing declaration that faith alone justifies us before God, he wraps up the third chapter emphatically by declaring that faith in no way makes the law ineffective or useless—not the answer we expected in light of what he just said.

Does the Apostle contract himself?

After a careful examination, absolutely not!

So how does faith uphold the Law? In light of this, we must revisit the purpose of the Law. The Law has many purposes, and so here’s the short list:

  • To show what sin is (Rom. 3:20; 7:7, 13)
  • To arouse sin in us (Rom. 7:8, 9; Gal. 3:19)
  • To condemn (Rom. 7:10; Gal. 3:10, 23)
  • To crucify the sinful nature (Gal. 2:20)
  • To bring us to Christ (Gal. 2:19, 3:24)

Everything Paul is saying is actually upholding and supporting the Law and its purpose.
 

One of the main points Paul is making is that we are justified by faith, and one of the main purposes of the Law was that it “was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith” (Gal. 3:24). So everything Paul is saying is actually upholding and supporting the Law and its purpose.

Both the Jews and Gentiles access God through faith: the Jews through the faith of their father, Abraham, and the Gentiles through their newly acquired faith. But in both instances, the same trusting faith is about firmly relying on Jesus Christ alone. By doing this, faith confirms, establishes, and upholds the Law’s original intent.

Previous: Romans 3:28  Next: Romans 4:1-2

Original article published June 27, 2009.

Juli Camarin

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