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The Law’s Purpose

The Law’s Purpose

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.

Romans 3:19

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.

Romans 3:20

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.

If you don’t yet subscribe to this blog, you may want to, so that you don’t miss this ongoing study.

Question: How have you been hurt by legalism?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on December 4, 2020 in Legalism, Revival, Spiritual Walk, The Gospel

 

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The Religious Problem

The Religious Problem

For the past few posts we’ve been looking at the advantage of religion.  That is, the advantage of having a basic knowledge of what the Bible says.  But is that enough?

Are you a better person in God’s eyes by being religious?

What shall we conclude then?  Are we any better?  Not at all!  We have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under sin.  As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God.

Romans 3:9-11

Here’s the problem.  Even though a religious person may appear to be better on the outside, without a relationship with Christ, they’re still lost.  Unfortunately, because they’re doing good things, they think that everything’s okay.

The fact remains that even though they may read the Bible, they have no understanding of God’s plan of salvation.  They’ve never laid hold of Christ’s forgiveness.  They think they’re headed in the right direction, but they’re outside the family of God.

Paul has some strong words for these people.

All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.”

“Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit.”

“The poison of vipers is on their lips.”

“Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.”

“Their feet are swift to shed blood; ruin and misery mark their ways, and the way of peace they do not know.”

“There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

Romans 3:12-18

In my experience, I’ve found that religious people are the hardest ones to witness to.  They see all of their good works and think that’s enough to save them.

What they fail to understand is that sin is not an external problem.  It needs to be dealt with on the inside of all of us.

When we stand before God’s Judgment Seat, there’s no set of scales.  He will not see if our good works outweigh our evil deeds.  The only question at that time will be; did you bow your knees to Christ as Lord and Savior?

That being said, there’s another thing that we need to realize.  Not all religious people are unsaved.  I know this may come as a shock to some Christians.

There are many believers in so called religious denominations.  Yes, I’m talking about Roman Catholic and Orthodox type denominations.

Those of us in less religious groups should spend more time talking with them instead of judging them.  I have personally shared with hundreds in these religions.  I’ve found that many have the same precious faith that I do.

Please understand, they don’t have the same religious vocabulary that I have.  In spite of that, I’ve found that during their lives, they’ve prayed for Jesus Christ to enter their lives and change them.  They pray, in Jesus’ name, for God’s blessing upon their lives.

No, they may not use terms like “sinner’s prayer”, “born again”, or “getting saved.”  But I could tell by their heart-felt words that they have a deep rooted faith in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.

We can’t just assume that because someone doesn’t worship like us, they’re not saved.  We need to evangelize those who are truly lost, without Christ.

Question: How did you first come to know about Christ?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on December 2, 2020 in Faith, Legalism, Spiritual Walk, The Gospel

 

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Religion vs. Relationship

Religion vs. Relationship

We’re continuing our walk through the book of Romans.  In my last post we finished the section where Paul is talking to those without Christ.

He now shifts gears and begins talking to the Jews who have not yet received Christ as their Messiah.  In our generation, this part of Romans would deal with religious people who don’t have a relationship with Jesus Christ.

The apostle has some very strong words for the religious community.  He starts by describing who he’s talking to.

Now you, if you call yourself a Jew; if you rely on the law and brag about your relationship to God; if you know his will and approve of what is superior because you are instructed by the law…

Romans 2:17-18

The first thing we see is a kind of dichotomy.  One mark of being religious is that you rest on the law – a set of rules for living – yet you brag about God.  Instead, the most important thing is to get to know God on a personal level.

But it’s the way a religious person follows the rules that’s the most telling.  The next phrase, approve of what is superior, implies that you’re only following what you consider to be the best rules.

That’s the problem with legalism.  Usually, when you make yourself a set of religious rules, you only include the ones you’re comfortable with.  You have your own approval system that tells you what rules you’ll accept or reject.

An ongoing relationship with Christ through His Holy Spirit, however, will bring about a change.  It will change your heart, your mind, and your actions.

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Romans 12:2

This should be the goal of my life in God’s kingdom.  Instead, religion only deals with how well I’m following the set of rules I’ve established.

That’s why relationship always wins over religion.  It’s how we grow and mature.

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ…

Philippians 1:9-10

It’s through our relationship with Christ that we discern the best way to please Him.  Rules will only take you so far.

I want to know how to live right now, in this point in time.  There are things taking place that have never happened before in recent history.  Without the discerning of the Holy Spirit, I’ll be as confused as the rest of society without Christ.

We’re living in dangerous times.  Playing church isn’t going to bring us through it successfully.  We need a strong, intimate relationship with the only One who knows how to navigate the future.

It’s time to put religion aside and concentrate on strengthening your relationship with the Lord.

Question: What are you doing to bring your relationship with Christ to the next level?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on November 16, 2020 in Legalism, Prayer, Revival, Spiritual Walk

 

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