March - 17 - Sunday

The law brings about wrath, for where there is no law there is no transgression.
Romans 4:15

Thoughts on the Epistle to the Romans (83)


Paul had spoken of the promises that God had given Abraham and also established that man has access to them by faith. The idea that they can be had through any law, through a system of demands and prohibitions, is out of the question. Sinful man cannot fulfil God’s requirements. It is not legal righteousness but faith that is man’s proper response to God’s promise of blessing.

For mankind, who stands under God’s authority, a law in itself, even that given by God Himself at Sinai, brings about the very opposite of blessing, namely God’s wrath! The higher the moral character of law, and God's law is perfect, the clearer this fact will be recognized.

In connection with God’s law that He gave His people at Mount Sinai, this becomes evident.

Sin was in the world beforehand, and all had indeed sinned and offended God's will (cf. ch.5, vv.12-13).

Then the law came and revealed the details of God’s will regarding His creature in specific commandments and prohibitions. What was good and what was evil was then indubitably dear to the Israelite’s conscience. At the same time the law announced definite punishments for transgressors. Yet it only led to an increase in transgressions, whereby man showed himself to be the enemy of God, deserving not blessing but His wrath (cf. ch.7, vv.7 - 1 1).

(to be continued next Sunday)