The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, it says, “The person who does these things will live by them.”
Thoughts for Today:The first time I read our passage today I thought it must have been a misprint or translation error. But it is not. "The law is not based on faith." What a radical statement! Especially when combined with Romans 14:23: "But whoever has doubts is condemned if they eat, because their eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin."
These statements must have been considered as blasphemy to the legalistic-minded Jews -- perhaps in the same way that rule-following Christians today take challenges to their routines. They think anything that disputes or interrupts their way of thinking must be inherently wrong and sinful. On the contrary, Paul is saying that it’s sin to try and relate to God by keeping rules and regulations (Law). The Law itself isn't sin (Romans 7:7); however, trying to use the Law for justification before God will not work -- it was never the designed purpose of the Law.
Under the Law, people receive what they deserve -- punishment. Under faith, New Testament believers experience grace because of the sacrifice Jesus made for us. So any departure from faith, especially when people return to the Old Testament Law (or self-reliance on their own system of rules and regulations to earn righteousness before God), voids the work of Christ. It is one of the worst sins.
Questions to Ponder:The Old Testament Law says, "DO these things and you shall live." (Leviticus 18:5: Keep my decrees and laws, for the person who obeys them will live by them. I am the Lord.) The New Testament says, "It is DONE." (John 19:30: "When he had received the drink, Jesus said, 'It is finished.' With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.") Have you and are you receiving what grace has already provided?