Lesson 8 – The Law of Faith

 The Law of Faith

Lesson Aim:                To show how the law of faith accomplishes goals unattainable by works of law.

Scripture:    Rom. 3:27-4:25.


A review: We cannot properly appreciate the law of faith without first understanding God’s righteousness and its relationship to peoples’ lives.  The three previous lessons established that His righteousness is now revealed “in Christ.”  We learned people could not be rewarded properly for their progress without God’s righteousness as a standard for judgment.  “Let God be true and every man a liar” was Paul’s way of making this point (Rom. 3:4).

The Law God gave to Moses revealed God’s righteousness but it also condemned mankind.  Finally, Jesus Christ came into this world in a body “in Adam.”  He lived “in Adam” in perfect harmony with God’s righteousness.  This gave Him the right of choice to demonstrate God’s righteousness in His daily life and on the cross.  The cross was God’s attitude toward sin.  This included the sins of people He had passed over in past times.

God’s attitude remains the same today “He who sins must die.”  Rom. 1:32.  Because Jesus was willing to die for repentant sinners, God is justified in raising Him from the dead and placing Him at the head of the new age (aeon) in time.  Paul referred to it as the “in Christ” realm a dozen times in the first chapter of Ephesians.  God has now revealed His righteousness to those of us who have been born again into this new age with Christ as our Lord.  We are not righteous; however, we can participate “in Christ” and enjoy God’s righteousness as a free gift because of our faith in His blood.  This is the law of faith.

What have Christians attained by the law of faith?  We are allowed to view God’s righteousness so we can order our lives accordingly.  We can analyze our own weaknesses but we need not feel guilty because God is counting us as righteous as we grow spiritually.  We are justified to live in harmony with God.  In contrast to the works of the Law, Paul said, “By the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin.”  Rom. 3:20.  In this lesson we want to reveal several other goals Christians can attain through the law of faith.  These goals are unattainable by a law of works.


Let us start this lesson by making sure we are clear about the two laws we speak of in the lesson aim.  Both are clearly stated in the following scripture:

For as many as are of the works of the Law are under a curse; for it is written: Cursed is everyone who does not abide by all things written in the book of Law, to perform them.  Now that no one is justified by the Law before God is evident for, the righteous man shall live by faith.  Gal. 3:10, 11  

Any type of “law of works” requires a person to do everything right in order to be free of guilt.  No person other than Jesus has been able to do this; therefore, certain goals and blessings were unattainable for mankind by this type of law.  The goals and blessings God has in mind are only for the righteous man.  Guilt does not fit into His plan. 

Since all men fall short of the glory of God, He graciously gave us the “law of faith” system for attaining righteousness.  “The righteous man shall live by faith.”  Romans 1:17.   “For God has shut up all in disobedience that He might show mercy to all.”  Romans 11:32.  The members of the church of Christ in Rome had previously been taught all these great doctrines Paul is presenting in his letter (Rom. 15:14; 16:16).  This is not to say they did not need to be refreshed; however, Paul’s purpose in writing as he did may have been because of his concern about the application of these doctrines.  The mixture of races, both Jew and Gentile, in the church appears to be a strong motive for the manner Paul applied these truths.  See the repetition of the usage of the words, Jew and Gentile, in Romans.  See Romans 1:1, 14, 16; 2:9, 10, 24, 28; 3:1, 9, 29; 9:24, 30; 10:12; 11:11-13, 25; 15:9-12, 16, 18, 27; 16:4.     

Some things can be attained by the law of faith but not in any other way.  The law of faith enables Christians to overcome boasting.  The Jews, in general, were boasting and defiant of God during the time of Jesus’ life on earth.  They claimed to be looking for the Messiah but most did not accept Jesus’ preaching of the kingdom of God.  They took great pride in their heritage.  Many have died for their heritage because of their being a “stiff-necked people.”  Acts 7:51.  After Paul gave his discourse on the manifestation of God’s righteousness through faith in Jesus Christ, he asked; “Where then is boasting?  It is excluded, by what kind of law?  Of works?  No, but by the law of faith.”  Rom. 3:27.

Because of the law of faith, all faithful Christians are reckoned as righteous.  We have nothing to boast about because our status of righteousness is a gift from God.  We do not need to be competitive with our fellow man.  Christians are OK with God; therefore, we help others to be right with Him.  No one is more or less righteous than another person under this system because everyone is 100% or not at all (I John 3:7-10).  We are not in the judging business (Jas. 4:11, 12).   We have no need to seek revenge.  God will take care of all unrighteousness done to us (Rom. 12:14-21).

The law of faith is not against the Law God ordained through Moses.  Even though Christians are free from the Law of Moses we uphold it by living with the law of faith (Rom. 3:31). We can see how it happened in the case of boasting.  It was the Law’s aim to stop man from boasting but it took the law of faith to stop the mouths of men from boasting about their self-righteousness.  Abraham was an example of a man who could have boasted before men about his good works; however, he could not boast before God.  Although he did many good works, he still had to depend on the law of faith to have a right relationship with God (Rom. 4:1-5).

King David witnessed how the law of faith brought happiness to mankind (Rom. 4:6-8).  Our happiness depends on the condition of our personality and character.  The development of healthy traits depends on our relationship to God.  Under the law of works system, we could only feel guilty about our ungodly character.  Therefore, David knew our happiness depended on the law of faith to keep us from being guilty about our weaknesses.  We cannot develop healthy attitudes and strong character with guilt on our consciences.  We cannot grow and at the same time feel guilty about the weaknesses we are seeking to overcome.

The law of faith did not start with the new “in Christ” age.  We see how Abel obtained the testimony

 he was righteous because of his faith (Heb. 11:4).  The law of faith became more meaningful to us in Abraham’s case because of the promises God made to him for us because he was faithful.  At the time Abraham lived in Ur of the Chaldeas, the world was in about the same condition as it was in the days of Noah; however, instead of wiping out all of the unfaithful people as God did with the flood, He exalted the faithful.

Abraham had a very strong faith in God and His promises.  James said; “You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did.”  Jas. 2:22.   Because of his faith he was given circumcision as a seal of his righteousness (Rom. 4:11).  God made Abraham the father of all the faithful.  This included the Gentiles (Rom. 9:23-26).  Even until this day, people must be a child of Abraham to receive certain promises God made for us through Abraham’s seed (Gal. 3:26-29).  The presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives is the result of a promise to Abraham that came through the law of faith (Gal. 3:14).

Several hundred years passed after Abraham’s death, before the “law of works” was added because of the transgression of the law of life by the Israelites (Gen. 26:5; Gal. 3:19).  This law could not fulfill the promises.  “For the Law brings about wrath, but where there is no law, neither is there violation.”  Rom. 4:15.  God could not bless mankind and be wrathful at the same time and so His blessings must come to people through the law of faith system of righteousness.  Remember, God is wrathful toward all sinners and at our very best, we are still sinners in our very nature.

The Law of Moses limited Abraham’s children to the Israelite nation and the circumcised.  The law of faith system allowed Abraham to enjoy God’s promise that he would be the father of many nations.  Since this law of faith was in effect before circumcision, Christians need not be circumcised to be a son of Abraham.  The promises were not dependent on the act of circumcision.

God was able to show His power through Abraham because of his faith (Rom. 4:17-21).  Paul assures us; this was not written for Abraham’s sake only but for Christians also (Rom. 4:23, 24).  Because of the law of faith, God can deal with us as righteous.  Now God can work His will through us because He can work with righteous people. 

Another goal attained by God’s law of faith is it allows us to glorify God.  We can never glorify God by the law of works.  Our works can only help others, or glorify ourselves.  It requires behavior motivated by our faith to give glory to God (Rom. 4:20).  The greatest statement of faith Paul made in the Roman letter may be; “Being fully psersuaded that God had power to do what He had promised.”  Rom. 4:21.  It is great to have faith in God’s promises but to have faith in God’s power is, to me, getting a little closer to God!  God is able.  We do want to give glory to God for this gracious gift, the law of faith.

Questions for Discussion 

  1.  What would a person need to do to be right by the law of works?
  2. How can a Christian be right by the law of faith?
  3. Who was the first person recorded in the Bible to be counted right by the law of faith?
  4. Why was it necessary for God to establish the law of faith?
  5. Do the law of faith and the law of works function together “in Christ?”  Explain your answer.
  6. How does the law of faith stop the boasting of people?
  7. Why is happiness attainable through the law of faith but not the law of works?
  8. Why was it impossible for the blessings promised to Christians through Abraham to be passed on to us through the Law of Moses system?
  9. Explain how God’s power can be revealed through those who live by the law of faith.
  10. How can we best give glory to God?


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