27 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith.
Paul abruptly reverted to a diatribe style (rhetorical questioning) of writing in verses 27 to 31. The argument of verses 21 to 26 was that God justifies by faith. Now Paul argued the tension this creates with why God gave the law. He argued by showing antitheses between the two principles of works and faith.
27 Where is boasting [ground of bragging] then?
The “then” of this phrase harks back to verses 21 to 26. Boasting is excluded because God gives a state of righteousness before Himself by faith. Paul challenged the self-assurance of anyone who thinks he can have salvation before God by keeping the law.
It is excluded [decisive—aorist tense—banned].
No one can brag about keeping the law because no one can keep it. We find the Greek word for “excluded” only here and Galatians 4:17. God is the one who does the excluding (passive voice). Christ’s death made the difference; thus, there is no place for bragging about keeping the law. Salvation by works is permanently banished in God’s view.
By what [kind of] law?
The word “law” here carries the idea of principle—“By what principle?” This is not referring to the Old Testament but to any kind of law or principle.
People do not have acceptance before God by the principle of “works” derived from the law.
No, but by the law [principle or system] of faith.
Those who have acceptance by God have it by “faith.” The antithesis is between the works of the law and faith. Faith in our justification before God by the death of Christ for our sins is the only way of salvation. Faith does not allow for bragging because it places trust in what someone else has done; salvation is a gift from God. That is why bragging is excluded in God’s economy.
No one can fellowship with God apart from grace.
Boasting about our part in salvation is inconsistent with the grace principle of salvation. Grace precludes any place for boasting. Grace does not allow any place for boasting because God did all the work. If we do the work, then we can brag. If God does the work, then we can only rejoice in what He did. There is no satisfaction God finds in human achievement. We do the sinning; God does the saving. There is no way anyone can offer to himself self-congratulations for his salvation. God’s way of salvation strips away human effort. God places the basis of salvation completely outside of ourselves.
Note this hymn:
“When I survey the wondrous cross…I pour contempt on all my pride.”
God does not sully His absolute righteousness by meager human standards. It is impossible to come to God by human standards.
Ep 2: 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.