Salvation by faith alone upholds the law (Romans 3:31)

Romans 3:31

The Apostle Paul said: “Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law.” (Romans 3:31)

Many people mistakenly think that the New Testament in some way depreciates the significance of the law written in the Old Testament. Some say that the doctrine of justification by faith alone supports this. The Apostle says, “By no means!” Why?

Jesus fulfilled all the demands of the law for us. When we think of what Christ has done for us, we usually think about how he died to forgive sins. That however – crucially important as it is – only gives us half the good news.

We, as the human race in Adam, were called to obey God completely in the Garden. We were exiled from the Garden because of one infraction of God’s law. One might try to argue that God was unfair, but God required perfect obedience because nothing else would do.

Chaos theory gives us an analogy for the effects of even the smallest sin. Chaos theory does not assert that the world is chaotic. Rather, it only asserts that the world appears chaotic to finite minds. Our brains cannot compute all the factors. A butterfly flapping its wings may result in a tornado a few weeks later, but no human mind could trace the cause-and-effect relationships between the flap of the butterfly’s wings and the tornado.

The same can be said of sin. Not all sin is equal in its direct consequence. However, every sin, no matter how small, has grave consequences that span farther than the human mind can comprehend. Even the smallest sin would pollute paradise catastrophically. God made the standard for the Garden, and subsequently for Heaven, perfection because nothing else would do.

We see in Christ the most obedient person ever to walk the earth. He obeyed the moral law completely, even going beyond the written code. Yes, he died to forgive us, but he also lived a perfectly obedient life so that he could credit to those who believe in him his perfect righteousness.  

Faith in Christ Jesus does not overturn the law, it upholds it by counting Christ’s obedience as yours. He came to remove your sin-stained clothes not to leave you naked but to put on you his royal ones. Having been credited this righteousness, we can then – and only then – begin to live into it.

Will you trust Christ to take away your sin and credit you his obedience?

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