We’re continuing Paul’s discussion of religious people in the book of Romans. We’ve seen that even though they have the advantage of access to the Bible, they’re actually no better off than anyone else.
Now the apostle is concluding this subject. He is about to give us the bottom line of the religious lifestyle without a relationship with Jesus Christ.
Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God.
Paul is clear. The law can only speak to those who choose to be under it. If you choose to be under a set of religious rules, then it’s those very rules that will judge you.
What we need to understand is that God is not judging you. It’s your own legalism that judges.
God has allowed this for a very special purpose. He’s hoping that it will draw you to the freedom that’s only found in Christ.
The judgment of the law does two things. First of all, it silences everyone. Actually, the phrase, be silenced, literally means to be fenced in or blocked on every side. Taken to its fullest measure, the law leaves no room for the excuses or justification that we like to give ourselves.
When confronted by our mistakes we usually start becoming defensive. We give all the reasons why what we did was right at the time. Unfortunately, the law is a cruel and heartless master. It allows no way out.
The other part of the law is translated as held accountable, in the above verse. That means to be already sentenced and under a “guilty” verdict.
With the law there is no appeals process. As soon as you sin, you’re pronounced guilty. No need for a trial – the law is supreme.
Why would anyone want to live in that type of environment? Yet, there are many who do – both saved and unsaved.
Paul concludes this section with the only reason for the existence of the law.
Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin.
If you’re living under a set of religious rules hoping to prove to God how good you are, then I feel very sorry for you. You’re destined for failure.
The law makes us conscious of what sin is. Then, once we know about it, we’re responsible for the consequences of our failures.
The only purpose of the law is to prove to us just how impossible it is to please God by our own efforts. It’s actually only the first step in a path toward salvation.
All of what’s written in the above post may sound pretty depressing. It is…without the freedom and victory found only in the name of Jesus Christ.
From here on in the book of Roman’s, Paul will lay out for us the road to this freedom. Don’t miss it. Don’t stay stuck in the mire of legalism. Lay hold of the life of freedom that the Lord purchased for you on the cross.
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Question: How have you been hurt by legalism?
© 2020 Nick Zaccardi