The earliest Christians followed a Jewish tradition of pausing to pray, preferably together, first thing in the morning, about mid morning, at noon, about mid afternoon, and in the evening. “Just a Note” posts are brief observations made from Scripture readings not related to a lectionary. If I have one to post, it normally appears about 9:00 in the morning, at “the hour of prayer.”
Romans 3:27-31 threads a very fine needle. Here the apostle Paul observes that there is no room for boasting for Jews or for Gentiles. The revelation of God is made plain to all in Christ. The law of God is not different for Jews or Gentiles. It’s exactly the same. But salvation cannot come by the works of the law. We are absolutely incapable of being pleasing to God. We make no mistake about it.
Does this mean that God’s law doesn’t matter? Not at all. God is pleased by works in accord with the Law. But he won’t save anyone from sin and death by those works. They are good, but they don’t have a bearing on our salvation. God’s law matters a great deal, as it is helpful to our world. It shows us how to love and serve our neighbors.
So here Paul both affirms God’s Law and denies that it will save anyone. Salvation is by grace through faith in Jesus. There is no other way. And this is how God saves Jews and Gentiles alike. It isn’t because anyone is better than anyone else. It’s because God is merciful.
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