Paul is explaining to the Jews present that they were never justified by the works they did under the law. They had spent their lives seeking to be justified but had come up short because the law cannot justify anyone. So, if the law was unable to justify anyone, was God actually causing everyone to sin when they were under the law? Paul says that would never happen. The law was not given to make men fail, but to teach them that they could not justify themselves by works.
19 Now we know that whatever the Law says, it speaks to those who are under the Law, so that every mouth may be closed and all the world may become accountable to God; 20 because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin. —Romans 3:19-20 (NASB)
So, the law was given that all men might know that they needed a redeemer. That is why Jesus Christ died on the cross and was resurrected. Because of that act of love by God the Father and Jesus the Son, we are all now under grace, not the law. Now, we are all saved by grace through faith. There is a time, place and need for works, but they are not a part of salvation. We are justified by the blood of Jesus, we are in the process of being sanctified, and one day, we will be glorified. Not because we earned it, but, because Jesus, with His blood, has paid the full price for all of us!
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. —Romans 12:9b NIV
The word hate seems almost totally opposed to the rest of Scripture. But we are told in Ecclesiastes, that there is a time to hate. It is hard for us to imagine God hating anything. I think that is because we cannot comprehend the depth of His love for us and the price He paid to redeem us. God hates sin, but He loves the sinner. We are to follow His example in this. In our world, we are subjected to so much evil that we are losing our sensibilities to it. We must be very careful in our use of hate. satan will try to trick us into hating the sinner as well as the sin.
As C S Lewis says in his book “The Screwtape Letters”:
“The demonic objective is to convince the hater that his/her hate is justified. The people who are being hated, deserve to be hated. Satan will even pervert the scripture in the cause of hate.”
Hating the sinner is never justified. So, after Paul tells us to hate what is evil, he immediately reminds us to “cling to what is good”. We must keep our focus on Jesus, if we are to cling to what is good. If we learn to truly hate what is evil, there are times when we will have to speak out against it. We need to pray without ceasing for discernment and boldness to do just that. Jesus shows us this example when He chased the money changers out of the temple.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
10 For as many as are of the works of the Law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not abide by all things written in the book of the law, to perform them.” 11 Now that no one is justified by the Law before God is evident; for, “The righteous man shall live by faith.” 12 However, the Law is not of faith; on the contrary, “He who practices them shall live by them.”13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”— 14 in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we would receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.—Gal. 3:10-14 (NASB)
Paul continues to contrast living under the law as opposed to living under grace. For hundreds of years, all the Jews had known was the law plus all the man-made traditions that had been added by the priests and the religious leaders. That now there was a different way to please God was going to take a lot of “unteaching ” and “unlearning”. The law was not given to be a curse, but it became a curse because the flesh could not live up to its standards. It did not require faith, it was a law of works. It was meant to be a teacher showing “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God”. We needed a change, but to have that change, we needed someone to remove us from under the curse of sin and the law. Jesus became a curse and a Redeemer for us. Through the shed blood of Jesus Christ, we can now receive the promise of the blessing of Abraham. We could not become the physical offspring of Abraham, but we could become the Spiritual descendants of the “seed” of Abraham. That “Seed” is Jesus Christ. 13 For the promise that he would be the heir of the world was not to Abraham or to his seed through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. 14 For if those who are of the law are heirs, faith is made void and the promise made of no effect—Romans 4:13,14 (NKJV)