“But now God has shown us a way to be made right with him without keeping the requirements of the law, as was promised in the writings of Moses and the prophets long ago. We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are.”
Romans 3:21-22 NLT
Paul had been building up to this position for some time in his letter. It was almost as though he had made his audience thoroughly depressed and put them in a hopeless state of mind, before dropping a bombshell of light and hope. He said it all boils down to having faith in Jesus. We mustn’t forget that even before the Law was given, it was possible to be made right with God through faith. In Genesis 15:6, we read, “And Abram believed the Lord, and the Lord counted him as righteous because of his faith“. And even after the Law was given the same principle applies. In Habakkuk 2:4b, we read, “… But the righteous will live by their faithfulness to God“. The whole point of the Law wasn’t that it was just a set of rules and regulations that resulted in righteousness. It was about having faith in God.
We can say, quite glibly, that we have faith in God. Faith is a strange concept, and often greatly misunderstood. The dictionary definition refers to confidence or trust in someone or something. So we can have faith in a medical doctor, that he or she correctly diagnoses a condition from which we are suffering. Or we can have faith that the brakes in our car won’t fail, and will stop us in the required distance. But these are not in the same league as having faith in God, which requires adherence to a different paradigm, one that extends greatly beyond our earthly and natural experiences.
The obvious go-to verse about faith is Hebrews 11:1, “Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see“. But Hebrews 11:3 is a major stumbling block for most people around us. It says, “By faith we understand that the entire universe was formed at God’s command, that what we now see did not come from anything that can be seen“. Such faith does not have a natural basis for supporting it. Most people shelve the origins of our world, as not being all that relevant in their day to day lives. Human beings have a propensity to shelve or ignore things they cannot influence or control, like their humanity, or life span. But as far as our eternal future is concerned, faith is really important.
Paul pointed out to the Roman Christians two important faith facts, about which there was no alternative. The first is that they needed to be righteous in God’s sight. And secondly, that righteousness can only be achieved through Jesus. Just to rub it in, he then said that these faith principles apply to everyone, regardless of their heritage. Faith in God is universally available. There is no irrefutable evidence to support it. We cannot observe it, measure it, or control it. Instead, with faith we accept that through Jesus we can stand righteous before God, not just at some time in the future, but right now. Today. Through faith, we believe that what God said through His Word, the Bible, was enough to provide us with the reality and “evidence of things we cannot see”.
Dear Lord. We thank You for Calvary. Through faith we place our faith in You, the Righteousness of God. Amen.