Romans 3 talks about how we are saved by faith apart from works & the law. At Romans 3:31 Paul tells us:

Do we then nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather we uphold the law.

From any protestant perspective, what does Paul mean by "upholding" the law?

Does Paul mean we should continue to obey the entire law or does he mean that we should just simply acknowledge it?

4 Answers 4


As believers, we are obligated to obey God’s moral law and should desire to do so, since that law reflects God's nature, as seen in 1 Peter:

14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, 15 but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” (ESV)

When Paul says, 'We uphold the law', he is concerned some believers might say: ‘Since Jesus met the requirements of the law for us when he died on the cross, we can ignore the law and do what we want.’ To counter such thinking, Paul expounds on this further in Romans 6:

What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? 3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. 7 For one who has died has been set free from sin.



"We uphold or establish the law" or in greek "make it to stand".

Given the immediate context along with entire book of Galatians I think he's saying that we've made the misunderstood purpose of the law to stand or be made clear. Once it's true purpose is clear we can see why it's valuable and serves it's function.

Function of the law:

  1. Teaches us about the Holy character of God
  2. identifies sin
  3. Is a tutor or school master that leads us to Christ.

It was believed that the law made man righteousness while in fact it only pointed out our need for righteousness. That need for righteousness and forgiveness points us to the need for a Savior.


It means that the law was spiritually fulfilled by Christ.

For example, the sacrifices are fulfilled in spiritual sense by Christ the lamb.

The law is completely fulfilled but in spiritual sense.

The above opinion is a Protestant opinion.


It seems to me that Paul is simply stating that we, as followers of Christ, continue to uphold God's Word as found in scriptures. Let's remember that when the Jews refer to what is translated here as the law, they may not be refering to the law of Moses or any particular set of commands/rules, but the Old Testament or more specifically the entire Pentateuch or five books of Moses or Torah which contains the law of Moses. Contextually, that Paul is referring to the Torah is most probable for as soon as he affirms the law/Torah at the end of Romans Chapter 3 he immediately jumps into an illuminating narrative of faith found in the Torah at the beginning of Chapter 4. The idea here is that Paul continues (along with faithful Christians everywhere) to affirm, as he does elsewhere, that:

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17

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