“Because by the works of the Law none of mankind will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes knowledge of sin. But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been revealed, but it is the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction” (Romans 3:20 – 22).
What is Paul meaning here? First, we are not going to be justified through our own efforts. Whether a Jew or a Gentile, we just cannot do it. But God’s righteousness has come to us, apart from good works, through the gift of grace, in the person of Messiah Yeshua.
So, is the Law still valid then?
Paul goes on to say,
“For we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from works of the Law” (Romans 3:28).
Do we nullify the Law through faith? Should we just throw the Law away?
Unfortunately, many Christians have done just that. The New Testament teaches that by the works of the Law no man shall be justified, but this does not mean that the Law is no longer relevant – as many New Testament believers today are taught. Paul has something to say that is different than what many of God’s people today are believing:
“Do we nullify the Law through faith?” “May it never be!”
In other words, just because we cannot be justified through the Law, it does not mean that we discard it. The Law is a self-revelation of God. The Law reveals to us who God is. The Law speaks to us of God’s holiness and His compassion. The Law shows us God’s heart for the oppressed and the underdog. In the Law, for example, the Lord told the children of Israel,
“When you reap the harvest of your land, moreover, you shall not reap to the very edges of your field nor gather the gleaning of your harvest; you are to leave them for the needy and the stranger” (Leviticus 23:22).
God’s Law reflects to us who He is.
Understanding the Law enables us to discern good from evil, wrong from right, and good from bad. And in that discernment, we are trained how to follow the Spirit in Messiah Jesus. Not as those that are under the Law, or as those that are trying to work out our salvation through the Law. But understanding the Law gives us glimpses into God’s character and nature. And as we know God’s character and nature, it gives us better discernment and clarity as we are being led by the Spirit.
Beloved, let’s not make the mistake of thinking that the Law has no relevance today. On the contrary – there is tremendous value. There are incredible riches and nuggets of truth that we can uncover and receive through knowing God’s Law. God’s Law is still valid, meaningful, and important today.
“So then, the Law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good” (Romans 7:12).
“But we know that the Law is good, if one uses it lawfully” (1 Timothy 1:8).