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Summary: We want to be told the truth, but sometimes that is not pleasant, occasionally it is bad news; this good news is better than the bad was bad.

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Romans 3:21-31

We want to be told the truth, but sometimes that is not pleasant, occasionally it is bad news. Last weeks message was all bad news. As bad as that was, this good news is better than the bad was bad.

1) But Now! Romans 3:21

• Modern calendars reflect the fact that Christ divided time: BC & AD. Before Christ, it’s bad news; after Christ it’s good news. You may still be BC, then your news is bad; if AD, then good news.

• We have a witness to the righteousness of God in "the Law & the Prophets," a 1st century way of referring to the OT. His righteousness in the way He dealt with Adam, Abraham, Joseph, David, Daniel.

2) This difference is seen three ways.

• Wrath to righteousness. BC we’re under God’s wrath. Wrath is not popular; Dodd: wrath is unworthy of a Christian God. Righteousness, the quality of being right morally. Rom 1:18

• Condemnation to justification. Guilty persons may either be condemned or justified. Justification: a forensic term equivalent to acquittal, & opposed to condemnation. Forensic: by law. Rom 8:1

• Exclusion to participation. Because of sin we were excluded, but now we participate in the righteousness, justification & holiness of God in Jesus. We participate in the blessings of God. Rom 6:22

3) “But now” indicates something new, yet ancient.

• Ancient: this is the way God always saved (2 Tim 1:9b-10). In fact, Romans 3:21 tells us that the Law & Prophets testify to this.

• Adam & Eve were condemned, but God provided a substitute & a prophecy, Gen 3:15. Isaac was condemned, but God provided a substitute, prophesying of Jesus Gen 22:18.

Psalm 23 the Good Shepherd; Isaiah 53, the Suffering Servant; Psalm 22 the crucifixion, Psalm 16 the resurrection; Psalm 24 Jesus’ ascension.

4) Knowledge & faith; which is most important?

• I was once asked if a person had to believe in the Trinity to be saved. The answer is no, if the person comes in child-like faith. But a saved person will not reject the doctrine, properly taught.

• Must one understand the 25¢ words like faith, justification, propitiation, & redemption? One of our youth looked up “grace” in a Bible dictionary, & found it went on for several pages.

• God does not save us by knowledge, but by faith. A minimum knowledge is necessary, however. Rom 10:14 “How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher?” Have you believed? Will you preach?

*Boice, Romans, Vol. 1, pp 339-346


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