When we portray ourselves to others as though we are able to keep the letter of the law now since we are Christians, we deceive ourselves and confuse the lost. This message leads them to believe Christianity is all about rule keeping to appease an angry God when the truth is the exact opposite.
The truth is we still cannot keep the letter of the law in thought, word and deed. We still need Jesus just as much today as the day we were born-again. God is not an angry God watching to see if we can qualify to get into heaven as we portray to the lost world so often. He is a loving God who has a desire to save all and has done everything needed to qualify us to partake in the inheritance of the saints. This is the message the world needs to see and hear.
From the beginning, God has chosen to display His Power through those who did not boast in themselves or their abilities. Just think of Moses and Gideon who tried to turn down God's decision to allow His power to work through them. The very thing they tried to use for an excuse, their weakness, is why God chose to display His power through them.
We see the bankruptcy of man’s own strength and the idea that he can keep the letter of the law in the story of the tax collector and Pharisee (Luke 18:9-14 ) and the woman caught in adultery (John 8:1-11). In both stories, the self-righteous person points out what they see as worse sins in another and totally justify the sin in their own life. Sadly, as Christians we often do the same today and send the totally wrong message to the lost. Boasting in our own strength always leads to pride and downfall, just as it did for King Uzziah.
Hence his fame spread afar, for he was marvelously helped until he was strong. But when he became strong, his heart was so proud that he acted corruptly, and he was unfaithful to the Lord his God, for he entered the temple of the Lord to burn incense on the altar of incense.(2 Chronicles 26:15b-16a NASB)
Paul did not want us to break God’s law, but he did not want us to walk by the letter of the law either. We are called and qualified to walk by the Spirit of the law (love) and not the letter – 2 Cor 3:6. Paul did not boast in his ability to keep the letter of the law in thought, word and deed after he was saved.
Those who boast, acting and talking like they can now keep God’s law in thought, word and deed, are commending themselves even though they still have sin in their own life. Commending ourselves always leads to judging others like the Pharisee’s.
You who boast in the Law, through your breaking the Law, do you dishonor God? Rom 2:23 NAS
But HE WHO BOASTS IS TO BOAST IN THE LORD. For it is not he who commends himself that is approved, but he whom the Lord commends. 2 Cor !0: 17-18 NAS
Man cannot handle the letter of the law. He is not qualified to handle or minister it - 2 Cor 3:6. In the very end, the letter of the law leads man to the extreme perversion we see in Islamic Sharia law that is based on the Ten Commandments. The letter of the law brings the curse of the law and can only condemn and kill.
Paul boasted only in his weakness, his inability to keep the letter of the law and Christ crucified, the gospel, even after being born-again. The weakness spoken of in the next verses is man’s inability to keep the law.
For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, Rom 8:3 NAS
For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Heb 4:15 NAS
If I have to boast, I will boast of what pertains to my weakness. 2 Cor 11:30 NAS
On behalf of such a man I will boast; but on my own behalf I will not boast, except in regard to my weaknesses. 2 Cor 12:5 NAS
Paul boasted in his weakness, and Christ crucified so that the power of Christ would rest upon him.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2 Cor 12:9 ESV
But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. Gal 6:14 NAS
For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. 1 Cor 2:2 NAS
but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness, 1 Cor 1:23 NAS
In boasting only in his weakness, inability to meet God’s standard even after being born-again, and Christ crucified, the gospel. Paul was assured he could never be called a hypocrite. This is why we do not see any believers being called hypocrites in the Bible, even when they fail big time. Just think of Peter denying Jesus, King David, and all his sin, Abraham giving away his wife twice. God never calls them hypocrites. If you read the hall of faith in Hebrews 11, it is if God did not even see the sins of these people when in reality the Old Testament tells us there were many. (This is because God is not counting the sins of the righteous, those who believe.)
There is only one example where hypocrisy was suggested for a believer, and it was for Peter in Gal 2:11-14. This was when Peter was hanging out with the Gentile converts, and the religious Jews showed up. He pulled away from the Gentiles and pretended he could keep the law along with the religious Jews. Peter at that moment was boasting in his ability to be a law keeper to these Jews by his actions and totally confusing the Gentile converts who were never under the law of Moses and were told they did not need to keep the law of Moses to be saved – Acts 15.
So, let’s not let it be suggested that we are walking in hypocrisy like Peter, judging by our actions or words. Keep it simple and honest. The truth is, we still cannot keep the letter of the law and we never will be able to. This is why we need Jesus today just as much as the very first day we turned to him for righteousness. We are qualified as ministers of the Spirit of the law and not the letter - 2 Cor 3:6. Let us obey God in this area.
What will you boast in Christian? Will we be like Moses, Gideon and Paul? Or will we be like the Pharisee at the altar with the tax collector?
Thus says the LORD, “Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,” declares the LORD. Jer 9:23-24 NAS
Learn what this means - Christians are qualified to minister the Spirit of the law and not the letter of the law.
And He has qualified us as ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. 2 Cor 3:6 BSB
Read: Christians Are Not Qualified to be Ministers of the Letter of the Law
Many more New Covenant Bible Studies HERE. Jesus poured out His blood for the New Covenant of grace and truth, replacing the Old Covenant law of Moses. Believers are exclusively under the New Covenant, the last will and testament of Jesus that began after the cross.
And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying, "This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood. Luke 22:20