The Third Approach: Faith that Fulfills the Law
“Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law.” (Rm 3:31)
Paul clarified that one can only receive God’s righteousness through faith, not by works of the law. That’s the most important premise we must keep in mind when we think of our salvation.
However, Paul doesn’t end there. He goes deeper into the next level. Paul says that even though it is clear that we are saved only by faith, faith does not abolish the law, but establishes it firmly. In other words, only faith that upholds the law can be regarded as true faith.
So, we’ve come to this conclusion. Only faith that fulfills the law is true faith. If we really have true faith, we should make an effort to obey God’s Word.
One of the important elements of faith when it comes to salvation is to believe what Jesus did for us on the cross. We talked about redemption. We talked about the price Jesus paid for our ransom. The price He paid to redeem us from our sins was His blood.
Revelation 5:9 says,
“You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation.” (Rev 5:9)
The Scripture says that we were bought by Jesus’ blood. It means that the ownership of our lives changed. Think about the word ‘redemption’ again. This word was originally used in slave markets. When a customer paid the ransom for a slave, the slave became free from their former owner.
However, that’s not the end. The slave then belonged to the new master who redeemed his life. That’s what happened in our lives. Once, we were under the power of sin and we followed the ways of this world and the spirit of disobedience—Satan. We lived as if we were the owners of our lives without knowing that we were actually slaves to sin and evil spirits.
However, by His great mercy, God made us alive in Christ. We were saved by the grace of God through faith. Now, we don’t belong to the power of sin and death anymore, but to Jesus. He deserves to be our new master, because He sacrificed Himself to give us new life and bought us with His blood.
The Bible says that we can’t be the owner of our lives. That’s actually the opposite of what the world says to us. The world says, “You are the owner of your life,” but the Bible says, “You can’t be the owner of your life.”
The Bible says that we’re always slaves to something—slaves to sin or slaves to righteousness. Paul says in Romans 6:16,
“Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey - whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?” (Rm 6:16)
Paul says that we become slaves of the one we follow. If we follow our sinful desires we become slaves to sin. If we follow the ways of this world, we become slaves to the world. And the ultimate result of following these is death. That’s how we all lived before we met Jesus.
Thankfully, however, Jesus freed us from the slavery of sin and death. Paul added,
“But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin… You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness… You have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God… and the result is eternal life.” (Rm 6:17-18, 22)
That’s the new identity we’ve come to have in Christ. In Jesus, the ownership of our lives was transferred from sin and death to God and eternal life. We were slaves to sin, but now we’re slaves to righteousness.
That’s because we call Jesus Christ not only our Savior, but also our Lord. If we truly believe Him as our Savior, we must acknowledge Him as our Lord as well. And, if Jesus is truly our Lord and we are slaves to Him, it’s very reasonable for us to live for Him, not for ourselves.
Paul says in Romans 14:7-8, “For none of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone. If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.” (Rm 14:7-8)
Here, in this verse, Paul’s way of speaking is important. He didn’t speak it in the imperative mood. He didn’t say, “You have to live for the Lord if you are Christians.” He was just saying that he lived for the Lord.
From this, we can infer the meaning of being Christians. For us to be Christians, in other words, for us to have faith in Christ, means that we live for Him, giving Him control of our lives.
In other words, we can’t have true faith without acknowledging Him as our Lord. And, if He is truly our Lord and we’re His servants, it’s very natural for us to live according to His will, obeying His commands—the law.
Jesus said in John 14:21, "Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”
How can we show our love for Jesus? How can we show true faith in Him? We’re to keep His commands. That’s how we live in the world with faith in Jesus. That’s the faith we must have. Only faith that fulfills the law is true faith because it shows to whom we truly belong and who the true master of our lives is.
Making Jesus our Lord is essential in establishing our faith. That faith should lead us to repent of our sins, make us bear good fruits in our lives, and let us take after Jesus. Without professing, “Jesus is our Lord,” we can’t deny ourselves, take up our crosses, and follow Him.
How can we check whether we have true faith in Christ or not? The veracity of our faith is shown in our lives—how we serve Jesus and treat His Word.
Jesus said, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” (Mt 7:21)
I hope everyone here has true, strong faith in Jesus, following His ways and obeying His commands until we enter the kingdom of God. Amen!