Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.
(Romans 3:31 – KJV)
(Romans 3:31 – KJV)
Paul says none of our own works can save us, and that the Law has no power to save because men are unable to keep it. Because of this he had been accused, wrongly, of promoting a “religion” which had no morality. In answering this, Paul says that we don’t abolish the Law but that by our faith we actually establish it. How can this be, you might ask?
What he means by this is very important, because he also says in Romans 10:4 that Jesus Christ is the end of the Law to all who believe in Him. So they might say he is abolishing the Law, but Paul says we establish it by faith. That is an amazing statement, and what does Paul mean we establish the Law when he says we aren’t justified by it? How can Paul say we establish the Law when he also says we don’t have to do it? Again, how can these things be?
He means that we establish the purpose of the Law, to bring us to Christ (Galatians 3:21-24). He means that by our faith we establish that the Law is righteous, but that it cannot provide righteousness because of the weakness of mankind (Romans 8:3). We establish that its demands must be met, but that we cannot meet them. We establish that it cannot be met apart from faith in Christ, who did meet them (Matthew 5:17). We establish that people of faith now pursue the spirit of the Law by faith, as those who are already justified, and not by works, in order to be justified. By faith we establish the power of the Holy Spirit who is living in, and we can now be living out the spirit of the Law, as opposed to the mere letter, as Jesus spoke of it in the Sermon on the Mount, not in order to justify us, but to show the fruit of being justified.
We live in the love, the acceptance, and the justification that Jesus provides us as our safety, our satisfaction, our rest, and our all in all. Jesus fulfilled all the righteous requirements of the Law, and we establish that fact in our lives and in our world by our faith. Faith does not produce disobedient, lazy Christians; it produces obedient, loving Christians who follow Jesus by the Spirit from the heart. Romans 13:8-10 – love is the fulfilling of the Law. In other words, love fulfills or establishes the Law. And where does love come from? It is a fruit of the Spirit in our lives, and the fruit of the Spirit is the fruit of faith.
Being justified by faith is not an anti-establishment clause for religion; indeed it establishes the true religion. The Law points to that fact and we establish that fact by faith.