Romans 3:27-28 What should Christians take pride in?
Romans 3:27-28 What should Christians take pride in?
Where then is boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? Of works? No, but by a law of faith. 28 For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law.
What should the Christian boast about? Christianity in some developed nations is fast becoming a culture or tradition that is handed down from their forefathers. For some nations, Christianity is considered hip and popular with their celebrity pastors in glamorous settings. Yet in some nations, Christians are a minority where they are persecuted by their nation and rejected by their families. Paul asks the question: Where then is boasting for the Jews? Here, Paul established that the Jew’s boasting is not in their religious traditions but in the evidences of their faith manifested through their lives. Similarly, as Christians, our boasting is in the divine qualities of God manifested in our daily lives.
Where then is boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? Of works? No, but by a law of faith.
Paul asks the question: How can a Jew boast in God? By his legacy as a Jew? By his knowledge of the Law? By his practice of the sacrifices? By fulfilling the laws to justify himself? No! But by the Law of faith; which is to manifest Christ’s love, wisdom and power in our daily lives. What are the works of the law? They are moral and religious standards or commandments that believers must adhere to. For the Jews: they are circumcision, the sacrifices, and the 10 commandments. For the Gentiles, they are water baptism, holy communion, tithes and offerings and other commandments like the regular attendance of church worship services. That said, Paul was not devaluing the works of the Law because the works themselves were established by God. However, blind adherence to works of the Law causes one to justify himself through moral or religious behaviour without the underlying righteousness; divine love, wisdom and power.
For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law.
What does Paul mean by “apart from works of the Law”? It means that the believer’s righteousness or the operation of divine love, wisdom and power does not come by observing the works of the Law but through faith; to do everything out of divine love, wisdom and power. One who does the works of the Law, does all things not out of love, but out of a self-serving agenda. That said, what is the role of the works of the Law in the life of a believer? Water baptism reminds us of who we are as children of God. Holy communion reminds us of our covenant with Christ to emulate the way He lived. Tithes and offering reminds us to honour God who is the Lord of all. Only when we do the works of the Law out of an attitude of love for God and for our neighbours, can the works be meaningful and edifying. Without love, the works of Law will certainly be an abomination to God. Prophet Isaiah said concerning the works of the Law,
“To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices to Me?” Says the Lord. “I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of fed cattle. I do not delight in the blood of bulls, Or of lambs or goats. “When you come to appear before Me, Who has required this from your hand, To trample My courts? Bring no more futile sacrifices; Incense is an abomination to Me. The New Moons, the Sabbaths, and the calling of assemblies—I cannot endure iniquity and the sacred meeting. Your New Moons and your appointed feasts My soul hates; They are a trouble to Me, I am weary of bearing them. When you spread out your hands, I will hide My eyes from you; Even though you make many prayers, I will not hear. Your hands are full of blood. – Isaiah 1:11-15.
Yet Prophet Samuel said,
“Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, As in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams” – 1 Samuel 15:22
Our only boasting is in the divine qualities that we manifest moment by moment.
As the Jews boasted in their legacy and their possession of the Law and the covenant of circumcision, what should Christians boast in? Christians ought to boast not because we are stewards of God’s Word, or understood the way to eternal life, or we could work miracles, but by our lifestyle of humility, righteousness, and the willingness to bless others. Our boasting is in the divine qualities that God impute to us. However, note that once we possess God’s divine qualities, there is no more room for pride, arrogance and hypocrisy. Our divine qualities serve to glorify God who made us and restored us in His image.
Congratulate yourself every time you display the virtues of Christ. When you overcome the temptation of anger and injustice. When you give to the poor person who came to sell their wares, congratulate yourself – one trophy in the pocket. When you speak kindly to the person who insulted you – another trophy in the pocket. When you refrain from boasting about your achievements but secretly thank God for His goodness – one more trophy.
Dear Lord, I am aware that Your judgment is based on a person’s work of kindness and virtue. Help me to treasure these virtues that are invested in me and manifest them for the benefit of others. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.