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The Law is Not of Faith
by Edgar Andrews

So, says Paul, those who are justified in the sight of God (that is, the just) 'live' by virtue of their faith. This tells us that faith is the basis of their acceptance with God and their escape from divine judgment. There is no other way. Where does it leave those who seek justification through the law? Nowhere, replies the apostle, for "The law is not of faith (3:12).

This is an important statement, for it demonstrates once again that faith and obedience to the law are mutually exclusive. They cannot be mixed. Why? Because, Paul continues, "The man who does them [law-works] shall live by them" (3:12). Referring back to the source of this statement in Leviticus 18:5, we read, "You shall therefore keep my statutes and my judgements, which if a man does, he shall live by them." What Paul is telling us here is that faith and law-works are based on entirely different principles. If a person were able to keep the commandments of the law, perfectly and consistently, then he would 'live' (be spiritually alive and accepted by God) as a result. He would have earned acceptance and would be justified by his works, as Paul argues in Romans 4:4: "To him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but debt." God would owe such a person his justification. 'But' continues the apostle, "to him who does not work but believes on him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness" (Rom. 4:5).

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