Day 26: By Faith not Rules

Galatians 3:11-12 :

Now that no man is justified by the law before God is evident, for, “The righteous will live by faith.” The law is not of faith, but, “The man who does them will live by them.”

Paul quotes two verses here: Habakkuk 2:4 and Leviticus 18:5. These are pretty amazing verses. The Habakkuk verse tells us how righteous people actually live. Notice that it doesn’t say how they are “saved.” It is true that we are saved by faith, but not only are righteous people saved by faith, they also live by it.

In contrast to this, we have the law. The righteous cannot live by faith and live by the law. That is the point that Paul is making here. It is evident to me that there are many people who think that you can do this. Paul says you can’t because the law is lived by following rules alone. That’s what we learn in Leviticus. The rules do not allow faith to be used as a means to obtain righteousness. You must do the rules or else you don’t have the righteousness. Notice that rules are a natural replacement for faith.

Rules are a mechanical adherence to a requirement. True righteousness comes from the heart. The law demonstrates the failure of rules by requiring righteousness from an unrighteous heart. Eventually, the evil heart breaks the rules because mere outward observance cannot hide the source of the problem forever.

Rules make it so you don’t have to learn or believe anything in order to be good. It is a cop-out because you don’t really have to accept any specific belief system or change your own view of reality. It’s also prideful because people who follow rules actually believe that they can be better than everyone else before them. In sight of the message of salvation, following rules, as I mentioned earlier, is saying that you can do it yourself without Jesus death. That is to call God a liar (oops you broke Leviticus 19:3).

Faith isn’t like rule following at all. Faith requires that you believe something and actually live like you do. I’m not saying that you have to be perfect, but faith deals with the heart. You don’t want to do the wrong things anymore because you believe that they are dead to you in Christ. As Christians we learn and believe we are the children of God Himself. It doesn’t make sense for the children of God to behave in certain ways. We believe God created this world, so we look to Him for answers by reading the Bible. When we read the Bible, we believe it even if it says the world was made in only 6 days. We don’t bring our own concepts to it just because of the ideas of fallible people. We have faith and believe God more than people. We aren’t merely rule-following here, we are upholding faith in God and His word. See the difference?

One last thing. Notice how Paul uses the Bible. He quotes it as an authority. He doesn’t need a scientist or an expert to back him up. He was an expert in the law, but notice that he uses scripture as an authoritative final word in these matters.