For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them.” But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for “the just shall live by faith.” Yet the law is not of faith, but “the man who does them shall live by them.”
Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”), that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
John Stott has written,
These verses may seem difficult in both concept and vocabulary, yet they are fundamental to an understanding of Biblical Christianity. For they concern the central issue of religion, which is how to come into a right relationship with God. This is described in two ways:
First, it is called being justified before God, vs.11. To be justified before God is the exact opposite of being condemned by Him. It is to be declared righteous, to be accepted, to stand in His favor and under His smile. Clearly, this is a matter of the first importance.
Human beings have an instinctive desire to be in favor with their fellows, friend with friend, children with their parents, and employee with his boss. Similarly, although we are by nature in revolt against God, we still long to be put right with Him.
The second description of a person who has come to God is this: “He shall live, (verses 11-12). The life referred to here is, of course, not physical and biological, but spiritual and eternal, not the life of this age, but the life of the age to come. The simplest definition of eternal life in the Bible comes from the lips of our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, “This is eternal life, that they know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent.” (John 17:3).
So, justification means to be in favor with God; “eternal Life” means to be in fellowship with God. And the two are closely, indeed indissolubly, related. We cannot be in fellowship with God until we are in favor with Him.
This week study and meditate on Roman 4, and enjoy favor and fellowship!
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