THE LAW OF FAITH
"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 24 of 30
THE EFFECTIVENESS OF FAITH #1
The "law of faith" leads to Kingdom effectiveness! It is not a law that fails us, but one that sustains and strengthens us. It is a law, or principle, honored in heaven, and effective upon earth. We cannot leave this subject without drawing attention to the remarkable effectiveness of faith. If you are in Christ, you possess comforting evidence of that effectiveness.
Hearts Cleansed by Faith
Although little is said of it in our day, the acceptance of the Gentiles was an epoch in the history of the church, as well as the awareness of it among Jewish believers. For centuries, the Gentile world was without either law or prophet from God. All Divine benefits were lavished upon the Jews, the "children of Abraham" according to the flesh. In a remarkable statement of this circumstance, the Spirit affirms of the Jews, "Theirs is the adoption as sons; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of Christ, who is God over all, forever praised!" (Rom 9:4-5, NIV).
Yet, throughout the writings of the Prophets, as well as in the original promise to Abraham, God had revealed the Gentiles would be blessed. The Lord's original promise to Abraham included these words, "in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed" (Gen 12:3). Of him the Lord said, "all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him" (Gen 18:18). Again, He promised Abraham, "And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed" (Gen 22:18). The Psalmist confirmed, "all nations shall call Him (the Lord) blessed" (Psa 72:17). Isaiah declared the Messiah would be given "for a light of the Gentiles" (Isa 42:6), and "Behold, I will lift up mine hand to the Gentiles" (Isa 49:22), "And the Gentiles shall come to thy light" (60:3), and "they shall declare my glory among the Gentiles" (66:19). Still, the largeness of God's coming salvation escaped the masses of the Jews.
Beginning with the household of Cornelius, it became evident that the Gentiles were being brought into the household of faith. More than twenty years after the day of Pentecost had "fully come," the Apostles and elders met to consider the remarkable acceptance of the Gentiles. During that time, convinced of the acceptance of the Gentiles, Peter announced, "God, who knows the heart, showed that He accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as He did to us. He made no distinction between us and them, for He PURIFIED THEIR HEARTS BY FAITH" (Acts 15:8-9).
And what is a "purified" heart? It is one in which guilt has been removed. It occurs when the "conscience" is "purged from dead works" (Heb 9:14). A cleansed heart is one that realizes Divine acceptance, having been made pure from the defiling effects of sin. The love of the world is eradicated, and enslavement to sin and the devil is terminated. The mind and heart receive the capacity to dwell on things above, and not on things on the earth (Col 3:1-3). The stain of sin is removed, and the basic propensity of the heart is toward the Lord. All of this is accomplished through faith.
Can such purity be accomplished by the law of works? Can the conscience be purged by a work demanded by law? The Spirit informs us of the effect of the most lofty moment under the regime of the Law–the day of atonement. Of that occasion it is written, "For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, CAN NEVER with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect. For then would they not have ceased to be offered? For the worshipers, once purified, would have had no more consciousness of sins. But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year" (Heb 10:1-3, NASB). Rather than cleansing the conscience, the "worshiper" came away from the sacrifices offered by Law with the weight of guilt–a "reminder of sins." And if this most notable work of the Law could not cleanse the conscience, you may be sure none of the lesser ones can.
Judas could find no solace, even though he returned the bloody money he had received for betraying Jesus (Matt 27:4-5)! Esau could not placate his conscience by seeking the inheritance with bitter tears, that he had forfeited, (Heb 12:17). The Lord is NOT satisfied with "with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil," or the presentation of "my first-born for my rebellious acts," or "the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul" (Micah 6:7). Such works, as noble as they may appear, will not please God--and they can bring no cleansing to you! Only faith can cleanse the heart, making it pure before God, and confidently clean to you!
If God cannot be satisfied with the most extensive sacrifices demanded under the Law, such deeds can surely bring no satisfaction to men! It is God who "cleanses the heart," and He does it because of our faith, not because of the works of law. The "law of faith" is the superior law!"
PRAYER POINT: Father, thank You in Jesus' name for purifying my heart through means of my faith. I confess that I have "believed through grace," even as those before me.
-- Tomorrow: IF IT COSTS NOTHING --