On Sunday morning Pastor Jim Custer opened the Scriptures to conclude chapter three of Romans in our Anchored in the Gospel sermon series by addressing the nature of saving faith. Romans 3 ends with a question: “Do we then cancel the Law through faith?” The response is, “Absolutely not!” Faith in Jesus actually upholds the Law by elevating God’s righteousness and eliminating our human pride while equalizing the privileges we so often like to claim.
If this is true — and it is — then how do we so often mess it up?
All of us are skeptical; we really don’t trust God. We really have ambitious thoughts about our own capacities to be good, to earn it, to somehow reverse life and stop sinning, and all of those things. — Pastor Jim Custer
We actually cancel the Law and its role for us when we try to hold ourselves to it with our own strength. When we chase the way of the Law, we say, “Look at what I can do!” When we seek to take pride in our Law-keeping abilities, we say, “I can do it!” All the while, the Law is right there screaming, “You can’t do it! You need help.”
But we really don’t trust God. And so, we pile on the weight of rules, and privileges, and pride, and we march up to the righteous Judge and say, “look at me!”
Pastor Jim shared a story about the amazing Blondin, a famous tightrope walker who dared to perform on a rope stretched across Niagara Falls. If you missed the story, here’s a fun two-minute recap of Blondin’s daring feats:
We can claim to “believe” with all our mind that what Jesus says is true. We can claim that our abilities to uphold the Law make us really special. But the faith that saves is a faith that trusts.
This trusting faith in Jesus to put our life in His hands does not nullify the Law. In fact, it upholds it. It proves that the Law was effective in doing its job of showing us that we need help — a help that is only found in the righteousness of Christ. Are you struggling with your own ambition to earn what can only be freely accepted, or is yours a faith that has placed your trust in Him?
Dave Nicodemus is the Student Ministries Pastor and has served at Grace Polaris Church since 2007, with a brief stint as the Communications Pastor from 2015-2017. Dave joined the Grace staff after serving at a church in eastern Pennsylvania. Prior to that, he studied youth and family ministry, minoring in art at Grace College (2001) and completing a masters degree from Grace Theological Seminary (2003). He’s the husband of Carly and father to Jack, Henry, Emilia, and Charlie.