Godís law, in the Bible, teaches us his standards for our lives. We are all guilty of wrong and evil deeds. So, nobody can gain a right relationship with God by their own efforts. Our works (efforts) to obey Godís law cannot earn us a right relationship with God (verse 20).
However, Godís law does teach us how we can receive a right relationship with God. So do the books of the prophets (the holy men who recorded their messages from God in the Bible). The law and the prophets teach that a right relationship with God depends on faith - not on peopleís efforts. (Faith means active belief and trust in God).
In chapter 4, Paul will show that fact from actual passages in the law and the prophets. First, however, he explains the nature of that faith and its effects. God does not approve of every kind of belief that people may have. Paul is referring to faith, or trust, in Christ; in particular, to what Christ achieved by his death. By his death, Christ suffered all that Godís law demanded (Hebrews 10:8-14). In other words, he suffered the punishment for our evil deeds in order to give us a right relationship with God.
Our faith (or trust), therefore, must be in what God has done. If we depend on our own efforts, we are not trusting in God. We need God to rescue us from our own evil deeds, from the devil and from death. Only God can rescue us from such things; only God can provide us with true safety (Psalm 62:1; Jonah 2:9). Only God can give us real life (John 10:10), and a relationship with him that never ends (John 3:16; Romans 8:18-21).
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© 2017, Keith Simons.