Where then is boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? Of works? No, but by a law of faith.
In Romans 3, Paul explained that we receive God’s righteousness as a gift through faith. What is the result of God’s gift of righteousness? Look at what Paul said, beginning in Romans 3:27.
First of all, the fact that salvation is not a reward but a gift demands humility. “Where then is boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? Of works? No, but by a law of faith” (3:27). Can you imagine how miserable Heaven would be if we all worked to get there? If Heaven were a result of works, then we would all brag to one another about what we did to get there. We would stop each other on the golden streets and say, “Hey, how did you get here?” And before the other person answered, you would say, “Let me tell you what I did to get here.” But it is not going to be that way in Heaven, because nobody has anything to brag about. There is no boasting. The fact that you made it to Heaven is simply and solely by God’s grace.
Second, the fact that salvation is a gift democratizes salvation. Paul said, “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” (3:29-30). Paul was saying that the fact that salvation is a gift means anybody can receive it; everybody is welcomed into Heaven. It does not matter who you are: black, white, brown, or anything else. It does not matter whether you are rich or poor, young or old, Democrat or Republican, Jew or Gentile–anyone and everyone is welcome to come to Christ. Salvation is for everyone.
Finally, the fact that salvation is not a reward demonstrates God’s justice. “Do we then nullify the Law through faith? May it never be! On the contrary, we establish the Law” (3:31). Some people in Paul’s day were perverting the doctrine of grace and saying, “Grace must mean that God’s law is unimportant. If God forgives the unrighteous of their sin, maybe God does not care about His law.” No, just the opposite. The fact that God saves us by grace shows how important the law is. Let me illustrate that for you. Suppose God said, “Salvation will be a reward based on how well you keep the law. Since no person can keep the law 100 percent, then I am going to grade on the curve. If you keep 70 percent of my law, then you will be welcomed into Heaven.” Does that demonstrate God’s justice? No. If God said, “I will let you into Heaven if you keep 70 percent of the law,” that means 30 percent of God’s law would be unimportant. But the fact that God does not allow us to work our way into Heaven–the fact that God demands that we keep 100 percent of the law to be saved–demonstrates the justice and holiness of God.
God’s righteousness is not a reward but a gift to those who trust in the redemptive work of Christ. Have you?
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “And Now for the Gospel” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2014.
Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.