Faith vs. Works

Do we then cancel the law through faith? Absolutely not! On the contrary, we uphold the law.”—Romans 3:31 (HCSB)

Faith vs. works. Grace and freedom vs. living in the law. It’s a battle that’s somehow raged on for, as Paul can attest, nearly 2,000 years! What’s the truth? For some, the idea of God’s grace and the freedom we have in Christ means being able to do whatever we want (Romans 6). 

The belief is that Christ came to abolish the law. That because of Jesus, the law has been cancelled and we no longer have anything to do with it. This belief is a misinterpretation of what Paul expresses throughout his letters. Let me get this out of the way as quickly as I can: No, Jesus did not abolish the law. In fact, He said, “Don’t misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to accomplish their purpose” (Matthew 5:17 NLT). 

Jesus’ life, death, resurrection, and ascension weren’t for the purpose of doing away with the law. No, He came fulfill it. He came to accomplish the purpose for which the law was given. And He did so! 

By doing what we never could, by living perfectly and upholding the law perfectly, and offering Himself up as a sacrifice unto the Lord on our behalf, He made a way for us to enter into a state of rightness with God. He abided by the law in its fullness and truest form on our behalf. But He didn’t eliminate it. No, He eliminated the stain of sin and punishment of death we were under—which came before the law. 

What Christ did was simplify the law for us. He summarized it into two commandments: “’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'” (Matthew 22:37–40 NIV). He brought it all down to its core. That’s why Paul tells us that faith in Christ upholds the law . . . because one who has faith in Christ will live in a manner that reflects his or her love for Christ and for people. 

So, what this all means for us today is that we are still under the law, the pure law of Christ to love deeply, wholly, and humbly. Abide in Him and uphold the law. It’s really that simple. When we do that, everything will fall into its proper place in our lives. 

DIG: Read Romans 3–10.

DISCOVER: Why do you think people are so quick to say that Jesus came to do away with the law?

DISPLAY: Write down the law of Christ found in Matthew 22 and keep it with you wherever you go. 

About the Author

Danny Saavedra

Danny Saavedra has served on the staff of Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.