Summary: Man has always wondered how to be right with God, and Paul gives the answers in the Epistle to the Romans.
Right With God
Job 9:2, 3-20; 25:4
Job wondered how a person could ever hope to approach a God like this. Bildad agreed. Job 25:4
This question has always troubled man...
* The People hearing John the Baptist preach "asked him saying, What shall we do then?" Luke 3:10
*The crowd Jesus fed "...What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?" John 6:28
* The rich young ruler asked Jesus "Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?" Matthew 19:16
* Hearing Peters message at Pentecost some said, "...men and brethren, what shall we do?" Acts 2:37
* Paul, blinded on the road to Damascus, cried out, "What shall I do Lord?" Acts 22:10
* The Philippian jailer asked Paul and Silas, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" Acts 16:30
Man has always asked these questions...
...that Job and these others asked. That is why man is so religious. Man is not naturally good but he is naturally religious!
People sense their lostness, God’s holiness, and their sinfulness. People fear death, existence after death, and the possibility of punishment for sin. So enter religion! But every religion except Bible believing Christianity is man made, works-centered, and can never make a person right with God! There is a way to God, there is a way to be right with God but is not in anything man can do to earn it or merit it. the way to be right with God is on God’s terms not mans terms.
This story illustrates seeking mans typical response. They seem sincere, but when they hear about the true and only way to be right with God, which is through trust in Jesus Christ, they are unwilling to accept that. They are seeking salvation by their own terms and not God’s!
Man can’t come on his own terms!
Men can not come to God, be right with God, in their own power. Being right with God is a provision of God’s grace. Faith, responding to the offer of God’s grace has always been the only way to be right with God. Man can not even be saved by God’s own divine law given through Moses. The Law was never a means of salvation. Its purpose was to show how impossible it is for a person to measure up to God’s standards. A sincere desire to obey the law and proper observance of the rituals were pleasing to God...but only as they reflected faith in Him and His Grace!
Back to the question, "how to be right or righteous?"
The text (3:21-25) focuses on God’s righteousness, the standard by which all righteousness is measured. (You could measure your righteousness by mine and come out looking pretty good.)
Man’s only righteousness is unrighteousness. (Is.64:6)
God’s righteousness is different from all other righteousness.
1. Because of it’s source- Isaiah 45:8
2. Because it fulfills the precept and the penalty of God’s law under which all men stand judged- The precept of God’s law is sinless perfection which only Christ fulfilled. (Heb. 4:15)
But to fulfill the penalty of the law God "...made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." 2 Cor. 5:21