Paul the Apostle, Law, and Sin, Part 5

The Pauline Concept of Law and Sin

The Pauline Concept of Law and Sin

The Law of Faith

Within the sphere of Paul’s of Natural/Moral Law lies the Law of Faith.  Paul derives the Law of Faith directly from the example of Abraham:  “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness” (Gen. 15:6).  Paul notes that Abraham was declared righteous by God, though faith alone, even before being given the sign of circumcision (Rom. 4:9-12).  Therefore, on questions of circumcision, Paul insists that the Gentiles are justified by faith, apart from circumcision.  He declares that not only is circumcision rendered void by the grace of Jesus Christ, but those who rely on it for entry into the Kingdom of God, after receiving Christ, are “fallen from grace” (Gal. 5:4).  Paul adds to his moratorium all the rituals, sacrifices, ordinances, and commandments exclusive to Moses’ Law.  Nothing but faith is required for salvation, since it is by grace.  Thereby the Gentiles who by faith fulfill the spirit of the Law, are saved without the letter of the Law (Rom. 2:14-29).  By the Law of Faith, “nothing is unclean of itself” (Rom. 14:14), believers are guided not by the letter of the Law but by a Spirit-guided conscience (e.g., Rom. 2:15), and can arguably do anything not forbidden by the Spirit.  However, whatever cannot be done in faith, believing, is sin (Rom. 14:23).

Faith is the basis of salvation and righteousness before God

  • The just shall live by his faith, Habakkuk 2:4
  • The just shall live by faith, Romans 1:17
  • The just shall live by faith, and the law is not of faith, Galatians 3:11
  • Whatever is not of faith is sin, Romans 14:23
  • Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness, Genesis 15:6
  • Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness, Romans 4:3
  • Abraham did not stagger at the promise of God, and it was imputed to him for righteousness, Romans 4:19-22
  • Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness, Galatians 3:6
  • Old things are passed away, Christ has reconciled us, He does not impute our trespasses to us, 2 Corinthians 5:17

Salvation is of faith, apart from works

  • Gentiles apart from the Law are justified by conscience, Romans 2:14
  • Circumcision does not make one a Jew in spirit, Romans 2:26-29
  • All have sinned, the Law of works cannot save, but the Law of Faith justifies, Romans 3:21-31
  • Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness, Romans 4:1-3
  • Faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness before the sign of circumcision, Romans 4:9-15
  • Faith was imputed to Abraham for righteousness, Romans 4:20
  • Being justified by faith, we have peace with God through Christ, Romans 5:1
  • Being justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Christ, Romans 5:9
  • Sin is not imputed when there is no law, Romans 5:13
  • Gentiles need not submit to Moses’ Law, Acts 15:6-11

Anything which cannot be done in faith is sin

  • Anything not of faith is sin, Romans 14:23
  • No one can be justified by the Law, but can become Abraham’s children by faith, Galatians 3:6-11, 24-25
  • Righteousness is “of God by faith,” not by the Law, Philippians 3:9
  • Those who are of faith are children of Abraham, whereas the Law is a curse, Galatians 3:5-14

The Law of Moses is not of faith

  • “By the works of the law shall no flesh be justified,” but by faith in Christ, Galatians 2:9-21
  • “The just shall live by faith,” but would be cursed by the Law, Galatians 3:1-29
  • Those who rely on ordinances and rituals are in bondage to them, Galatians 4:1-10
  • Those who keep the Law are symbolically bondservants, Galatians 4: 21-31
  • Reliance on the Law is bondage and powerlessness, contrary to Spirit life, Galatians 5:1-25
  • Paul did not rely on his own credentials under the Law, Philippians 3:4-9
  • Ordinances are contrary and cannot save, but spiritual circumcision can, Colossians 2:10-17, 20-23

The Law of Faith is contrary to the Law of Works

  • A legal issue such as diet is a matter of conscience, and believers ought not judge one another, Romans 14:1-23

Salvation is by grace, good works follow after

  • God calls whom He will, Romans 9:11-18
  • Israel failed to attain righteousness, not seeking it by faith, Romans 9:31-33
  • Righteousness is through Christ, not the Law, Romans 10:4-5
  • The Law is fulfilled in love, and breeds good works, Romans 13:8-14
  • We are made alive by Christ, from which flows good works, Ephesians 2:1-10

Those who are of faith are delivered by Christ

  • Nothing will separate the elect from God who justifies, Romans 8:33-39
  • Christ has broken down the barrier and brought the elect near to God, Ephesians 2:13-21

The Law of Faith empowers by the Holy Spirit

  • The Spirit enables deliverance from works of the flesh, Romans 8:1-14
  • The real warfare is waged in the spiritual realm, 2 Corinthians 10:3-7

By the Law of Faith, every Christian will be responsible for his own works of faith

  • The works of those who have the Spirit will be judged accordingly, 1 Corinthians 3:13-18
  • Those called of God are judged by him, not by human parameters,1 Corinthians 4:1-5

Those called to preach may live off the Gospel

  • 1 Corinthians 9:1-23

Those who are of faith are transformed by God

  • 2 Corinthians 5:14-20

Those who are of faith are guided by an enlightened conscience

  • Gentiles apart from the Law are justified by conscience, Romans 2:14-16
  • The testimony of a pure conscience, 2 Corinthians 1:12
  • “Unto the pure [of conscience] all things are pure,” Titus 1:15-16

Those who are of faith are at odds with the world

  • The body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, and not for sin, 1 Corinthians 8:13-20
  • The believer must be separate from sin and sinners, 2 Corinthians 6:14-18

Those who are of faith should judge matters amongst themselves

  • 1 Corinthians 6:1-7

Those who are of faith purge contrary sin from their lives

  • Believers should cleanse themselves of sins of the flesh, unto holiness, 2 Corinthians 7:1
  • “Godly sorrow works repentance,” 2 Corinthians 7:8-12

Those who are of faith should deal justly in marriage

  • The married should be faithful and render due benevolence, 1 Corinthians 7:1-16
  • Singleness is beneficial to those who are so called, and use it honorably, 1 Corinthians 7:25-40

© 2013 Paul A. Hughes

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