“Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith” Romans 3:27
If obtaining God’s favor is based on our effort then those who gain acceptance would have something of which to boast. Paul makes it clear in this letter, especially the first few chapters, that there will be no boasting because acceptance is not gained in that way. He also says the same in Ephesians: “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (2:8-9).
Some people believe that they will be able to mount a credible defense at the judgment but Paul says that “every mouth will be stopped.” No one will be able to defend themselves against the indictments of God. All will know they are guilty and without any defense (Romans 3:19).
The indictments of God are taken by Paul from the Old Testament and recorded in verses ten to eighteen. Alva McClain writes that there are fourteen indictments recorded here. One should take note of the words “none” and “all” in this passage. There are no exceptions. This is God’s assessment of each and every person against His measure.
When we make an assessment of ourselves we use our own idea of what is good or we may compare ourselves against other people who are esteemed by our peers. But are these valid measures?
In the last two chapters of the Bible we read that nothing that is corrupt or that defiles will enter God’s presence. God is holy, without corruption and defilement. Heaven would not be heaven if it did not match God’s purity, perfection and holiness. Jesus Christ is the measure and all judgment has been given to Him (John 5:26-27). Anything that is less than His perfection and purity cannot enter His presence.
Since the indictments taken from the Old Testament are all inclusive of mankind no one will enter God’s presence based on his own effort. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (v 23). If anyone is to enter His presence then there must be another way.
This is the reason Christians celebrate at Christmas and why we give and receive gifts. Jesus Christ is God’s gift to mankind (John 3:16) and through faith in Him (John 6:40) He gives us His righteousness as an undeserved (grace) gift. The title of this article might well have read, “The Gift that is God.” Paul’s testimony is that righteousness is a gift so that no one will be able to boast in themselves. Paul writes that we are “justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (v 24).
We are glad that God does not demand that we attain purity by our own effort because it is evident that there is no way we can change what we are. That He changes what we are as a gift in Christ is cause for great joy. Our boasting is not in our own achievement but in the Gift of God and that Gift is Jesus Christ. “But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world” (Galatians 6:14).