Abraham was justified by faith, not by practicing the law
We have been very often reviled as heretics for not obeserving the law. Christians are labeled as a group that has been deviated from the teachings of Jesus Christ by the apostle Paul’s misdirection. They cite Matthew 5:17 where the Lord Jesus said:
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” (Matthew 7:17)
and then accuse us as misguided people who are uncircumcised, eating pork and not doing other details of the implementation of the Law. In fact, their eyes have been blinded and their hearts have been covered by the desire to justify themselves so that they can only see the first part of Matthew 5:17, “I came not to abolish them – the Law ” and do not realize the truth contained in the last part – “but to fulfill them.”
This part of Matthew 5:17 is then clarified by the apostle Paul in his letter to the Romans:
“Christ is the culmination of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.” (Romans 10:4)
and *The culmination of the law* Himself simplify the complexity of the law into a “positive law” which reads:
“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 7:12)
Actually, if they are not ruled by a desire to blaspheme other people in order to seek the cheap truth for themselves, the ingenuity will open their minds to think logically, “If Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of the Law, then with what authority does the apostle Paul abolish it?” “Even if the apostle Paul has the authority to do so, will he be able to eliminate Jesus Christ and His redemptive work? “Besides, there is not a single verse in the New Testament which says that the apostle Paul ever abolished the law. It is a misconception of Bible verses such as:
“For we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law.” (Romans 3:28)
“Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing. Keeping God’s commands is what counts.” (1 Corinthians 7:19)
In the history of the Bible, there are only two people who are listed as “the perfect doers of the Law.” This does not mean that there is nobody else, but to my knowledge, the Bible only put the records of these two men.
The first is a rich young man, who failed to enter into thekingdomofHeavenas He is “owned” by his wealth:
“You know the commandments: ‘You shall not commit adultery, you shall not murder, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.’” “All these I have kept since I was a boy,” he said. When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was very wealthy.” (Luke 18:20-23)
The second was the apostle Paul himself, but who then consider it a waste after receiving Christ:
“though I myself have reasons for such confidence. If someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless. But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ“ (Philippians 3:4-8)
Connect the case of the rich young man (Luke 18:20-23) to the “fulfillment of the law” (Matthew 7:12 and Matthew 22:37-40) and the case of the apostle Paul (Philippians 3:4-8) to “fulfillment of the law “(Matthew 5:17 and Romans 10:4), then you will see that the first observant of the law can not enter the kingdom of for failing to obtain “the fulfillment of the law “, while the second observant of the law let go of his empty pride of the implementation of the Law to obtain the “fulfillment of the law” in Jesus Christ!
You might ask, “If the rich young man and the apostle Paul really are the perfect observant of the Law, then what else is lacking of them?” Good question! A rhetorical question: “Do you not kill your fellow human beings because God forbids it or out of love for God and man?” I believe, the rich young man and the apostle Paul had a same kind of obedience and motivation in this case of observing the law. But the apostle Paul whose heart was then opened by the Holy Spirit finally came to discover a new truth and wrote:
”For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)
Now, let’s go back to the days of Abraham to see how Abraham was made righteous before God. In his old age and in facing the fact that his wife Sara had menopause, God gave promise to Abraham that he will have his heir and not just one, but as many as the stars of heaven …!
“Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness.” (Genesis 15:6)
The Apostle Paul describes it clearly in the following verses:
“Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. This is why “it was credited to him as righteousness.” (Romans 4:18-22; see also Galatians 3:6 and James 2:22-23)
Note that what is meant by “believe” or “faith” here is not the believe and faith many religious people often claim, but as defined in Hebrews 11:1 as follows:
“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”
There are two other facts confirming the truth about Abraham’s justification by faith and not by doing the Law.
- When Abraham was justified by the faith before God (Genesis 15:6), the law has not been written. The new Law was written at the time of Moses – Exodus.
- When Abraham was justified by the faith before God (Genesis 15:6), Abraham was not yet circumcised. The circumcision of Abraham was performed later on in Genesis 17:24-27.
Then what about us? Are we obliged to do the law? In line with Matthew 5:18, all people of the God of Israel must observe the law. And the truth is, we will be cursed because it is written:
“For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, as it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.” (Galatians 3:10)
because frankly, we are not able to accomplish a half of what the young rich man and the apostle Paul have done. But all praise and honor and glory to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has saved us from the curse of the law through Jesus Christ;
“Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.” He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.” (Galatians 3:13-14)
For a moment, for just an instance on the cross, Jesus Christ had to bear the curse of the Law in our place, so that by His suffering, death and resurrection – His victory over the curse of the Law, the law is fulfilled in Him for all of us who believe in Him as Lord and Savior. God the Father will perceive us as the perfect observant of the law in His Son, Jesus Christ. Hallelujah!
If the “the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit,” then we no longer need to be swayed by a handful of fools who will continue to be cheeky in imposing the complex details of the law they themselves have no idea about, to us who already reached the culmination of the law in Jesus Christ!
All glory be to the God of Abraham, Isaac andIsrael!
May the LORD Jesus Christ bless you!