Verse of the Day Devotion: Romans 3:31
“Do we then nullify the Law through faith? May it never be! On the contrary, we establish the Law.” – Romans 3:31
Paul here in Romans three is telling the Christians in Rome, which many were former Jews, that salvation comes not from the Law but by faith. “But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” Romans 3:21-23. God showed His grace by providing a means of salvation apart from man’s works, for no man is perfect, but all have sinned. This salvation is not restricted to only some, but to all who believe, either Jew or non-Jew. And because it was the Jews who believed in the strict adherence to the Law, the Jews would push this adherence as a necessity.
However, salvation does not come through works, but through faith. Paul addresses this is the following verses using boasting as an example. “Where then is boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? Of works? No, but by a law of faith. For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law.” Romans 3:27-28. There is to be no boasting because man has done nothing to bring about his cleanliness. Adherence to the Law does not make us righteous, for then only Jews who are perfect in keeping the Law would be the only ones saved. And he counters this idea in the next two verses. “Or is God the God of Jews only? Is He not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, since indeed God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith is one.” Romans 3:29-30. He provides salvation for all mankind, not just the Jews through the following of the Law.
Now, we get to the crux of this section in our focus verse. “Do we then nullify the Law through faith? May it never be! On the contrary, we establish the Law.” Romans 3:31. First, the Law is not nullified for those who do not accept Christ for they will be judged according to the Law, for they have rejected the one who would pay for their sins. And because all have sinned, the Law cannot save us because it cannot do away with sin, it can simply show us our sin. “What then shall we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. For I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, You shall not covet.” Romans 7:7. We cannot be saved by the law, but we can see where we are in sin by the law, and therefore repent and ask forgiveness. Further on in Romans we read, “Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Romans 13:8-9. Love fulfills the Law because if we truly love someone, we will never do them wrong. And this includes Christ, and ultimately God. Jesus put it this way, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” John 14:15. Showing love to another is the fulfillment of the Law. “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law? And he said to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 22:36:40.
By truly accepting the love God showed to us through Christ by accepting the work He did on the cross and devoting ourselves totally to Him, we show our love for God. Through our love for Him, we choose to do all He commands of us; not in order to save us, but to show our love for Him. Therefore, the Law was not nullified or done away with, it is fulfilled when we truly show our love for God and our fellow man. Just as Jesus said, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” John 14:15.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.