Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also:Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith.Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.(Romans 3:28-31)
The good news of God’s willingness to justify sinners who put all of their faith in Jesus, is not based upon their adherence to the “deeds of the Law”. But this gospel of Jesus, God’s appointed substitute for us, honors and even magnifies the law, as the prophets predicted that he would,
The Lord is well pleased for His righteousness sake; He will magnify the law, and make it honorable.(Isaiah 42:21)
How does the gospel do this? Jesus our substitute in life as well as in death, was born under the law, and lived his whole life under the yoke of the Law of God, perfectly keeping all of God’s law for us. It is His obedience of God’s law which is credited to us.
Jesus came as the final authority on the Law and gave us the proper interpretation of it in his teaching. What is the sermon on the mount, but a Divine teaching on the true spirituality of the Law of God.
The justification that Jesus purchased for us on the cross, puts us in favor with God, and gives the ability to come into that which the law demanded in the first place. That is love for God supremely and for our fellow men equallly.
We now “Love Him because He loved us first”. Why can’t people keep the Law of Moses in the first place? It is because we don’t really love God. Believing in the gospel of the one who has “Loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood”,changes our hearts .
We now love God, and in gratitude we now forgive and love our fellow man- without even striving to keep the law, we keep the law, because love is the fulfillment of the law.
The Law’s emphasis is a big IF,
Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse;A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you this day:And a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside out of the way which I command you this day, to go after other gods, which ye have not known.(Deuteronomy 11:26-28)
But the gospel puts us in a different position, which is the word -SINCE-. Being justified, already set in the right with God, all flows out of that God given position.
The New Testament basis for morality is different than the Blessing/Curse model of the Old. The idea is “Since you have been raised from the dead, made Righteous before God by Jesus, adopted as Sons unto God…lie not, steal not etc,
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. 2Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.4When Christ, who is your[a] life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. … Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.(Collossians 3:1-11)
Finally, the gospel is based upon the assumption that the demands of Law of God are to be answered, and that by death. Jesus died as a transgressor, under the law of God for our sins against God and his holy law.
In fact His death on the tree, wearing the crown of thorns, derelicted of all near and dear to Him, including God himself, Jesus embodied the very curse of the broken law, which we deserved.
God’s law, despised and spurned by men, is now magnified on earth in the christian gospel, and by the life and death of Jesus. Now there are multitudes of Jews and Gentiles who seek to live their whole lives as expressions of grateful love to God, and in Jesus’ compassion for their fellow man- this is really all that the Law of God ever required.