Paul says it right up front in this passage – a person is justified through faith in Jesus Christ. The consequence of living by the law is ultimately death because none of us seem to be capable of following the law perfectly. The consequence of a faithful life in Christ is knowing God’s promise of life. Even if we could be made right with God by perfectly following the law, then Christ’s sacrifice on the cross would be meaningless.
Can we then just ignore the law and live as we please, trusting that our faith in Christ will make us right with God? Well, not exactly. You see, the law points to justice, mercy, compassion, love, and peace – the characteristics of God’s reign. Can our lives as faithful disciples of Jesus Christ point to anything less? Faithful living that points to the coming reign of God is the result of – or our response to – faith in Jesus Christ.
The law has an important place in Jewish culture. It defines the people of God as a society and as a community. The law is a perpetual and daily reminder of the Jewish identity as children of God. As Christians, our identity as children of God is defined by church tradition and spiritual discipline, such as worship, prayer, study, and service. Through our faithful practice of spiritual discipline and participation in the life of the church, we grow in our faith and become witnesses to the coming reign of God. Are there spiritual disciplines that you practice daily and perpetually as a reminder of your identity as a child of God?
Grace & Peace, Pastor Rik