By and Through Faith (3:10b-31)
In the last two verses Paul makes an interesting statement that is worth taking note of. The circumcised, the Jew will be justified by faith. Paul is saying that Christianity is the natural progression of God’s revelation of Himself and His will. The children of Abraham have finally seen the fulfillment of a promise made thousands of years before to a man in search of a city.
By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God. [Hebrews 11:8-10, ESV]
The second part of the statement is that God will justify “the uncircumcised through faith.” For the gentile, salvation was something that had to come to them, it was a door to be traveled through, whereas the Jew was already “in.” By in I do not mean redeemed, but that they should have been ready to receive the message of Jesus with gladness and rejoicing because God had revealed His plan and purposes to them. It is important to understand that Paul is making the starting point of how someone comes to faith irrelevant. The key to a relationship with God is not where you start, but where you end. Faith must become, and truly is the key to the way that a Christian lives. Faith must become, and is the sign of a changed life, not just talk to impress the crowds.
Paul closes this chapter that focuses on the perversion of sin and the culpability of all before God with a clarification. The Old Testament law stopped being the standard that we were held to because no one would ever be able to live up to it. But the law does not just disappear from the consciousness of Christians. The law, after justification, becomes something what we strive to live out, not fulfill. Jesus came to fulfill the law for us [Matthew 5:17]. This is a significant distinction to remember. We are to see the law as a guide and not a yoke. It is only by the strength that God gives to us that we are able to accomplish the tasks that He has assigned for us to do [Col. 1:29]. We can now obey the law without fear that we will fall prey to her punishments.