Righteousness by Law or by Faith

For Moses writes about the righteousness which is of the law, ‘The man who does those things shall live by them.’ But the righteousness of faith speaks in this way, Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’ (that is, to bring Christ down from above) or ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’ (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead)” Romans 10:5-7).

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A major spiritual sticking point Paul’s countrymen according to the flesh had with the gospel was their persistent refusal to grasp and embrace the truth that righteousness by the Law was a one-time proposition. You can be justified by the Law until you sin once.

Perfect obedience is essential to righteousness by law. At no time can you fall short, go beyond, or be off target to the right or left and remain righteous. This is why “There is none righteous, no not one” (Romans 3:10).

Another major spiritual sticking point Paul’s Jewish kinsmen had with the gospel was the complete confidence and trust in Christ it demands. God’s entire eternally-purposed plan with all spiritual blessings being found in Christ required no human counsel. No human—Jew or Gentile—was needed to ascend into heaven and bring Christ to earth when the fullness of time had come. No human—Jew or Gentile—was needed to descend into the abyss and bring Christ back from the dead.

God needed no human or angelic counsel in creating the gospel. Its salvation via the suffering and glorified Savior was a baffling puzzle to the prophets who predicted it (1 Peter 1:10-11) and an object of intense curiosity to the angels (1 Peter 1:12).

As Paul explains in Romans 10:8-13, humanity’s role is to hear the gospel, believe it, confess belief in and acceptance of it, and call upon the name of the Lord by being baptized (Acts 22:16) for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38).

To argue with God’s perfect plan of righteousness by faith, to presume it needs your recommendations and amendments, to reject it because it does not appeal to your pride or personal preferences, to foolishly cling to misplaced zeal for the Law of Moses and the false belief you can be right with God by it is to choose eternal condemnation over eternal life (Mark 16:16).

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Author: jchowning

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