The Righteousness of God … Provided! Romans 3:21-31Romans - Just Right!
All written materials for this series will be posted on this website, http://servingandsharing.com/, under the category, “Romans – Just Right!”
All corresponding video presentations may be found on this YouTube playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL7JRppjEn33aIrggv9opfecN4rksInQsM.
What we needed most, what we could not buy, deserve, achieve, or repay – God has given! Getting “just right” comes free of charge to us, though at the greatest cost to Him.
We have realized that we were lost, hopeless, and ruined. We have faced the enormity and the eternal consequences of our sin. We have imagined ourselves standing before God’s throne and being justly condemned. Now suddenly we hear the words that sound almost too good to be true, and yet they are true. Every condemned sinner can be justified free of charge, because Jesus Christ paid the price! “Justified” means “Just-as-if-I’d” never sinned. That’s “Just Right!”
What man has broken – fixed! What man has lost – regained! What man deserves – canceled!
Our condemnation – eliminated! Our crooked mess – straightened out! Our death sentence – commuted!
Because the sin of man has met its match: The sacrifice of Jesus Christ!
Rom 3:21 But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets,
“But now” – Eph 2:4; Tit 3:4; 1 Cor 6:9-11. Note how Scripture describes our desperate lostness in sin, and then says, “But God!”
Eph 2:4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us …
Tt 3:4 But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared …
1 Co 6:9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, 10 nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.
Law can direct and diagnose but not cure or deliver.
Righteousness now manifested. Rom 1:16-17
The Law and the Prophets testified to it, predicted it, and promised it. Luke 24:25-27, 44-47; Acts 3:18; 1 Pet 1:10-12
1 Pe 1:10 As to this salvation, the prophets who prophesied of the grace that would come to you made careful searches and inquiries, 11 seeking to know what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating as He predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow. 12 It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves, but you, in these things which now have been announced to you through those who preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven—things into which angels long to look.
Rom 3:22 even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction;
Source: of God, not of man. Phil 3:9
Php 3:8 More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, 9 and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, 10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; 11 in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.
Means: faith (system), not Law (system).
Object of faith: Jesus Christ.
Recipients: all who believe, without distinction.
All – not a predetermined, limited, select few (Calvinism).
Specifics of faith system to come – Rom 4-8.
Rom 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus;
“For” – the reason for no distinction.
Sinned – personally, not inherited. Fall short – continually.
Justified – “just-as-if-I’d” gotten it all right. Also continual. I continue to fall short, but I continue to be justified. Amazing!
As a gift – say it again, so we cannot miss it – “by grace” – free to us, so that we do not pay even the slightest amount for it.
As bound slaves redeemed, purchased, bought and set free “in Christ” – costly to Him.
GRACE = God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense
Rom 3:25 whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed;
Propitiation: a wrath-appeasing sacrifice.
In Gn 32:20, Jacob hoped to propitiate (appease) his brother Esau with his gift.
Ge 32:20 and you shall say, ‘Behold, your servant Jacob also is behind us.’ ” For he said, “I will appease him with the present that goes before me. Then afterward I will see his face; perhaps he will accept me.”
Lk 18:13 “But the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful (lit., propitiated) to me, the sinner!’
Heb 2:17 Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.
1 Jn 2:2 and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.
1 Jn 4:10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
Heb 9:5 and above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat (lit., propitiatory) …
In blood: required offering. Ex; Lev; Heb 9-10. Through faith.
Proof: God’s righteousness, passing over OT sins.
There is no doubt that God forgave sins in the Old Testament era. The Bible never uses the phrase, “rolled forward,” that many people have heard and repeated. Sins were actually forgiven, though the debt would not be paid until Christ died.
Note that David was actually forgiven:
Ps 32:1 How blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, Whose sin is covered! … 5 I acknowledged my sin to You, And my iniquity I did not hide; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord”; And You forgave the guilt of my sin.”
Note that, when the OT priest would make atonement by offering the prescribed sacrifice, sin would actually be forgiven.
Le 4:20 ‘He shall also do with the bull just as he did with the bull of the sin offering; thus he shall do with it. So the priest shall make atonement for them, and they will be forgiven.
“Atonement” is the reconciliation or reunion of two estranged parties. When sin is forgiven and the barrier removed, God and man become “at one.” From “at one” we get the words atone and atonement.
Of course, the blood of bulls and goats did not actually pay the sin debt.
Heb 10:3 But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins year by year. 4 For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.
We might say that sinners like David were forgiven on credit, based on the payment that Christ would ultimately make. We might compare that forgiveness to a purchase that we make with a credit card. We receive the item now, but with an understanding that its price will certainly be paid … or else!
Cf. Heb 9:15.
Rom 3:26 for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
Past: OT sins. Present: our own sins. Reaching both directions.
“Dilemma:” How can God be just (fairly punish all sin) and yet justify (accept as righteous) sinners?
He poured out His wrath on our Substitute.
Is 53:4 Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted. 5 But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed. 6 All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him.
2 Co 5:21 He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
1 Pe 3:18 For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit;
We can then be justified by faith in Him. Again, it’s a faith system, not a merit system.
Rom 3:27 Where then is boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? Of works? No, but by a law of faith. 28 For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law.
Desperately lost people, whose only hope is in the Savior’s blood, have nothing of our own to brag about! How could we?
By what “law” (principle)? Not a law-works-merit-pay system, but a grace–gift-faith system. It’s not earned, but given.
Our boast is in Christ alone. Note here:
1 Co 1:30 But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, 31 so that, just as it is written, “Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord.”
Rom 3:29 Or is God the God of Jews only? Is He not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, 30 since indeed God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith is one.
If it were by Law, only the Jews would be “in.”
That would limit God to just the Jews.
God justifies all the same way, not based on circumcision, religious heritage, merit, or ethnicity, but on the cross, claimed by faith.
Again, it’s a faith system, not mere “belief” in a narrow sense.
Rom 3:31 Do we then nullify the Law through faith? May it never be! On the contrary, we establish the Law.
If Law cannot save, is it still of value? Yes!
The Gospel validates the Law by …
Supporting its diagnosis of sin.
Upholding its just requirements.
Paying its just consequences.
Instructing the saved in obedience to God’s commands.
The Law drives us to the Gospel; the Gospel drives us to the Law.
Written by Cory Collins
Cory Collins is a Bible teacher and a minister of the gospel. He serves with Keller church of Christ in Keller, Texas. He and his wife, Tanya, have been married since 1977. They have two children and two grandchildren.