If We are Saved by Grace, Why Should We “Uphold the Law”.

I was recently asked to explain Romans 3:31, which says:  “Do we then nullify the law by this faith?  Not at all!  Rather, we uphold the law.”   In other words, if we are saved by faith, what does upholding the law mean?

First of all, there are two parts of the law. There is the old covenant which was given for a time to the Jewish people. It was fulfilled once for all by Jesus’ death on the cross. This is explained most fully in the book of Hebrews. We Christians live under the new covenant of grace. Jesus explained it at the last supper. The new covenant is the covenant of His Blood, shed for us for the forgiveness of our sins. However we also have a law, as well, the law of love. Jesus explained it as “Love the Lord your God with your whole heart, your whole soul, your whole mind and your whole strength, and love your neighbor as yourself.” When Paul tells us we aren’t saved by obedience to that law, but by our faith in Jesus, and he also explains he isn’t telling us to ignore the law of love because we are saved by faith. In fact, we can only keep this law of love through the help and grace of Jesus. That is what he means by “we uphold the law”. Even though we can only imperfectly obey God, we are to continue to obey because we love Him. Our imperfection is made perfect through the merits of Jesus.

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