This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. (Rom. 3:22)

FOR ANYONE WHO WOULD care to notice, there is one theme that weaves its way through Scripture and it is a sure-fire way to please God. The law was not given as a suggestion. Obedience is the duty of those who follow God. However, there is one thing that quickly catches God’s attention. This one thing reveals the reason God gave the law in the first place. The one thing? Faith.

Jesus’ biggest problem with zealous law keepers, the ones He bumped shoulders with almost daily, wasn’t that they kept the law. After all, any casual observer almost certainly would have been impressed with how closely they followed the law. Jesus’ issue with these zealous law keepers was that they missed God’s intention in giving them the law in the first place. The one thing that they left out is the one thing we often miss as well.

Keeping these laws was never meant to be an end in itself. It is not something done to impress onlookers and give us a personal feeling of satisfaction from following God’s commands to the letter. How do we know this? Because Paul simply but profoundly stated that the law and the prophets take a back seat to all those who have faith in Jesus Christ. Without faith it is impossible to please God (Heb. 11:6).

Ask, “Do I do right because I trust God or because I fear punishment?”

Devon Smith is currently the director of the masters’ program in theology and apologetics at Oklahoma Wesleyan University. He and his wife have pastored for fourteen years.

© 2018 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission.