Redemption in Romans, Lesson 4

I am writing tonight from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

In this week’s SS lesson we read, “Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law. “ Romans 3:31

While reading through the Old Testament in my personal devotions I discovered something I had not realized before about when Moses struck the rock. God told him to speak to the rock and water would come out. Instead Moses struck the rock and said must ”we fetch you water”. I always thought that it was a combination of Moses’ anger and pride that got him into trouble. 1. Striking the rock instead of speaking and 2. Saying must “we” fetch instead of God, insinuated Moses was taking credit for the miracle. However, in verse 12 of Numbers 20 I found another clue. God infers that Moses struck the rock because of his unbelief. Maybe Moses did not think speaking would work. What if God does not do His part too? So Moses in striking the rock was doing the work himself in forcing the water out like the last time. Instead of speaking and trusting God, Moses decided to work the entire miracle out on his own.

There are two extremes man has been struggling with ever since sin began. One is that we can produce good works on our own. The other is that since righteousness comes by faith that it is not a real righteousness but rather that God just plays make believe and pretends to make us righteous.

If Moses had obeyed God and believed water would come from the rock just by speaking (notice how believing and obedience go together and you can’t have one without the other) there would have been real water flowing out from the rock. It would not have been make believe water. Likewise when God gives us righteousness by faith, that righteousness is just as real as anything else we get by faith. This idea of make believe righteousness also lead to the erroneous idea that the law is done away with. The law is the character of God which is love. To do away with the law is to do away with love and the character of God. Why would we do that? Psalms 19 says “The law of the Lord is perfect converting the soul.” Why would God do away with something that is perfect and  a vital part of our conversion?

“But faith is in no sense allied to presumption. Only he who has true faith is secure against presumption. For presumption is Satan’s counterfeit of faith. Faith claims God’s promises, and brings forth fruit in obedience. Presumption also claims the promises, but uses them as Satan did, to excuse transgression. Faith would have led our first parents to trust the love of God, and to obey His commands. Presumption led them to transgress His law, believing that His great love would save them from the consequence of their sin. It is not faith that claims the favor of Heaven without complying with the conditions on which mercy is to be granted. Genuine faith has its foundation in the promises and provisions of the Scriptures.  {Desire of Ages 126.1} 

When we confess our sin (That is our part, speaking, just as Moses was to speak) God is faithful and just to forgive us our sin and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. God literally forgives and He also literally cleanses us from sin so that we do not have to continue hurting ourselves and others.  By faith, this cleansing from the power of sin is just as real as the water that came gushing from the rock that Moses was to speak to.

In legalism (Which is the works or efforts of the flesh)  or in the gospel, righteousness is the goal. Legalism wants to strike the rock and force that water out ourselves to bring that cleansing from sin. Faith believes if we ask God, He will do His part to make the cleansing water gush into our hearts and souls cleansing us from the guilt and power of sin.

 You may find more studies and devotionals at In Light of the Cross.