"Where then is boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? Of works? No, but by a law of faith. For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law" (Romans 3:21-28, NASB)."

Devotion 17 of 30


Boasting is empty prehension, being a braggart, and presuming too much about oneself. Simply put, it is when a fallen person points to his own accomplishments as though they were real ones. It is giving credit where credit is not due. It is taking the glory that belongs to the Lord alone, and ascribing it to men.

Divine sensitivity to the boasting of men in themselves is plainly declared in Scripture. Although there is a marked tendency in men to boast in and rely on their own achievements, God will not allow it! One of the marks of fallen humanity is that they became "boastful," or "boasters" (Rom 1:30). It is the tongue, noted for its wickedness, that "makes great boasts" (James 3:5). As James would say, "All such boasting is evil"(James 4:16). In a delineation of the latter day falling away, the Spirit declared men would be "lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters . . . " (2 Tim 3:2).

The only valid boasting is boasting, or glorying, "in the Lord" (2 Cor 10:17)--and only faith can do that. God will not allow men to point to, or glory in, their own works. He has assessed their very best works as nothing but defiled rags to be discarded with disdain. As it is written, "But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away" (Isa 64:6). It is not our good works that have carried us, but our iniquities that have "carried us away" from the presence of the Lord (Isa 53:6). This condition, of course, is what necessitates a "Savior" and a "great salvation" (1 John 4:14; Heb 2:3).

Our text affirms that God has "excluded" boasting in the provision of a righteous salvation. Salvation is so ordered that is cannot be received without giving God glory and refusing to give it to man. A righteousness for men has now been revealed "without the law" (3:21). It is not based upon keeping commandments, but upon faith in Christ (3:22). Rather than being developed by men, this righteousness comes from God, and is conferred without exception "unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference" (3:22). When it comes to achievements, all of humanity is characterized the same way: "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" (3:23). Rather, therefore, than granting righteousness upon the basis of our doing, we must receive righteousness through forgiveness for what we have done.

The free and copious justification of sinners is strictly upon the basis of "the redemption that is in Christ Jesus" (3:24). Rather than our works procuring the favor of God, they actually created an insurmountable debt to Him. That debt can only be liquidated by the redemption paid by Christ Jesus.

God has now set Jesus before humanity in His redemptive capacity. He summons us to have "faith in His blood," affirming it will result in the righteous removal of our sins (3:25). The righteousness that God declares is not ours, but His! The Gospel does not chronicle the good deeds of certain men, but the "wonderful works of God" through Jesus Christ. Thus God is declared to be "just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus" (3:26).

Where, then, is there a place for boasting--for men to declare their own accomplishments, or seek to come before God Almighty upon the basis of their response to His law? Such boasting is "excluded!" There is no place for it, not so much as for a moment!

Let us hear the conclusion of the matter. "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--not by works, so that no one can boast" (Eph 2:9-10). Salvation is designed so that it excludes boasting--glorying in human achievement. Wherever this practice exists, salvation is not present! It makes little difference what claims are made.

PRAYER POINT: Father, I make my boast in Yourself, and in Your Son who gave Himself for me. I see that all other boasting is vain and to be condemned.

-- Tomorrow: BY WHAT KIND OF LAW? --