Christ salvation

Salvation by Faith Alone Confirms the Law: Sermon Notes by Pastor Mike | Columns

The apostle Paul said, “Do we then break down the law by this faith? Never ! On the contrary, we respect the law. (Romans 3:31)

Many people mistakenly think that the New Testament somehow depreciates the meaning of the law written in the Old Testament. Some say the doctrine of justification by faith alone supports this. The Apostle says: “In no case! Why?

Jesus fulfilled all the requirements of the law for us. When we think of what Christ has done for us, we usually think of how he died to forgive sins. However, this – as crucial as it is – only gives us half the good news.

We, as the human race in Adam, have been called to obey God completely in the Garden. We have been exiled from the Garden because of a breach of God’s law. One could try to say that God was unjust, but God demanded perfect obedience because nothing else would do.

Chaos theory gives us an analogy for the effects of the lesser sin. Chaos theory does not claim that the world is chaotic. Rather, he only asserts that the world appears chaotic to finite minds. Our brain cannot calculate all the factors. A butterfly flapping its wings can result in a tornado a few weeks later, but no human mind could trace the cause and effect relationships between the flapping of the butterfly’s wings and the tornado.

The same can be said of sin. All sins are not equal in their direct consequence. However, every sin, no matter how small, has serious consequences that go beyond what the human mind can comprehend. Even the smallest sin would pollute paradise catastrophically. God made the standard for the Garden, and subsequently for Heaven, perfection because nothing else would do.

We see in Christ the most obedient person that has ever walked the earth. He obeyed the moral law completely, even going beyond the written code. Yes, he died to forgive us, but he also lived a perfectly obedient life so that he could ascribe to those who believed in him his perfect righteousness.

Faith in Jesus Christ does not overturn the law, it confirms it by counting Christ’s obedience as your own. He came to strip you of your sin-stained garments not to leave you naked but to clothe you in his royal garments. Having been credited with this righteousness, we can then – and only then – begin to live in it.

Will you trust Christ to take away your sin and credit you with his obedience?

Reverend Michael A. Birbeck is pastor of First Presbyterian Church Wellsboro. He can be reached at