The Glory of God 33

An attribute of God must be determined from what He is within Himself rather than judged by our own standards. God is the standard of Himself and of all things.

Acts 17:22 So Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, “Men of Athens, I observe that you are very religious in all respects. 23 “For while I was passing through and examining the objects of your worship, I also found an altar with this inscription, ‘TO AN UNKNOWN GOD.’ Therefore what you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you. 24 “The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; 25 nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things.

In light of the fact that Christ is the full and sufficient propitiation, Redeemer, and the one who has fully demonstrated and manifested the righteousness of God, there is no room for boasting at all. Sinners have contributed nothing to their salvation but the sin that they are saved from. They have utterly nothing to boast of since they contributed nothing positive. Christ is the One who has done it all and in so doing set forth the glory of the self-sufficiency of God who not only needs no help, but cannot be helped in any way. In Christ and by Christ we behold the self-sufficiency of God in accomplishing all that He is pleased to do.

Rom 3:27 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. 29 Or is God the God of Jews only? Is He not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, 30 since indeed God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith is one. 31 Do we then nullify the Law through faith? May it never be! On the contrary, we establish the Law.

The law was not given for man to have a way to obtain all or part of salvation, but instead the law was given to show men their sin and their utter insufficiency to be saved. The law was given, then, to set forth the sufficiency of Christ to save sinners and His complete sufficiency to be their sanctification as well. Man’s justification is by faith (in Christ alone and by grace alone) apart from the works of the Law. In other words, there is a full and perfect sufficiency of Christ to justify men apart from any of their works of the Law. Oh how this should strike fear in the hearts of men who teach that man must keep the Law in some respects in order to be saved. That is simply another way of attacking the full sufficiency of God in Christ to save men according to His own pleasure and glory.

Paul draws some conclusions in verses 29-31 from his remarks about justification in verse 28. Christ is fully sufficient to save Jews and Gentiles since God justifies Jews and Gentiles by Christ alone because He is fully sufficient to do so. There is only one God and He is God of all men, so He alone is sufficient to save any man as He pleases according to His pleasure and glory. The Jew had no room to boast because salvation is according to the sufficiency of God and not of his own, but also because God saves Gentiles as well. A Jew was not saved because he was a Jew, but only according to the electing purposes of God. The living God has no need of Jew or Gentile and so if anyone is to be saved that one is saved by the sufficiency of God in Christ alone. This is to say because of grace and nothing but grace. There is nothing about the works of man that can possibly be sufficient for the slightest bit of salvation. Men must be broken from all hope in themselves and any sufficiency that they find in themselves or anything they can do.

Is the Law completely nullified through faith in Christ? This is a tough question that Paul answers for us. Paul answers this with strong language, giving it a “may it never be!” This requires some balance, but we must never deviate from Scripture with out understanding of the Law, the Gospel, and of God. First, it must always be said that keeping the Law will never convert a person and there is no sufficiency in the Law or our keeping the Law to save anyone. However, in the hearts of the converted there is now a living Christ in that heart. Where Christ dwells there is true love for the Father and where there is true love for the Father and for Christ there will be those who keep His commandments out of that love. The Law, as Jesus taught us, is summed up in loving God and our neighbor. Only Christ is sufficient to save souls, but only Christ in the heart of a saved soul is sufficient to love God and our neighbor and so establish the Law. Keeping the Law is by free-grace and there is no merit or sufficiency in us for justification or sanctification. Oh the wonders of His free-grace which is from His sufficiency!

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