Summary: This is from a series I preached on Romans.
Title: “Justification By Faith” Script: Romans 3:21-26
Type: Series/Expository Where: GNBC 2-28-21
Intro: Thomas Chalmers was Scotland’s greatest 19th cent Churchman. He was having trouble explaining faith to a woman. Somewhat frustrated, he finally left her by exiting through her backyard. He came to a little bridge over a river. When he came to the bridge, he looked at it, touched one side of it, but then jumped back because he was reluctant to put his full weight on it. The woman watched him, thinking his behavior strange. But Chalmers continued his strange way of approaching the bridge, then jumping back. Finally the woman shouted from her back porch: “Go ahead. Lean your all on the bridge.” Chalmers then shouted back, “And you, ma’am, should lean your all on the Lord Jesus Christ!” That is what faith does—it leans on the Savior. The believer throws all his weight on Christ, trusting Him fully for salvation and forgiveness of sin.
Prop: Examining Rom. 3:21-26 we’ll realize 3 Important Aspects of the Gospel.
BG: 1. Dr. Martin Lloyd-Jones said that these verses were the heart of the entire letter. 2. Dr. Leon Morris said that this was the MOST IMPORTANT PARAGRAPH ever written! 3. Incredibly important theology
Prop: Let’s Exam. Rom.3:21-26 so as to realize 3 Important Aspects of the Gospel.
I. The Gospel is Revealed Apart from the Law. v.21
A. The Gospel is Revealed Apart from Keeping the Law. v. 21a
1. It isn’t manifest by “Law Keeping”.
a. “apart from the Law” – Paul begins by saying that the saving righteousness of God is obtained by all people through faith in Jesus Christ and not by works of the Law. Thus, anyone who is saved is saved by faith in Christ alone, not by their “good deeds”.
b. This verse is so important to our proper understanding of God’s salvation. Illust: Calvin said it “Was the hinge on which all else turned.” Luther said: “The true Church will affirm these verses.” Illust:
2. It is not received by Law Keeping. V. 21b
a. “the righteousness of God has been manifested” – this is in the perfect tense. It refers to the historical death and res. of Christ and the ongoing consequences of that history changing event. Great events in history change people. The Res. certainly did.
b. Illust: Augustine said: “What the Law of Works commands with threatening, the Law of Faith accomplishes through faith. The law was given that we might seek after grace. Grace was given in order that we might fulfill the Law.” (Luther, p.77) Incredible statement! We usually have it 180’ reversed!
B. The Gospel is Recorded in the OT v. 21c.
1. The Gospel was pictured in the Law. v. 21c
a. The righteousness of God “now” revealed is that to which the Law and the Prophets bear witness. There is then a clear relationship between the righteousness of God and the Law. Precisely what the relationship is between the righteousness of God now revealed and the Law must be carefully determined and defined.
b. Keeping the Law cannot justify men or reveal the righteousness of God. While the Law defined righteousness and declared that it would come, the Law did not produce this righteousness. The Law’s function is something like the role of the Olympic judges. The judges recognize the best performance and announce the winner, but the winning performance is achieved apart from the judges. The judges cannot perform that which they praise; they can only identify that which is praiseworthy. The judges can take no credit for the excellence of the performer.
2. The Gospel was proclaimed by the Prophets.
a. OT prophet Habakkuk 2:4 “But the righteous man will live by faith”
b. Illust: Both Abraham before the Law and David, after the Law, were declared righteous on the basis of their faith and not their works. Now think about this, Abraham was the patriarch of the Hebrew people, yet he was also a prophet. David was the greatest king of the Hebrew people, yet he too was a prophet. Later in Romans (4:3) the Apostle will quote Gen. 15:6 which says: “Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness.” Abraham was not justified by works, and therefore had nothing to boast of in God’s sight. He was justified by faith. His righteousness was not real, but imputed. “it was counted unto him;” in Romans 4:9, “faith was reckoned to Abraham;” in Romans 4:22, “it was imputed unto him;” in Galatians 3:6, “it was accounted to him;” in James 2:23, “it was imputed to him.” Illust: All sorts of shows today dealing with “Forensics”. Now “forensics” is defined today as “the use of scientific knowledge or methods in solving crime.” But in previous generations it meant: “Suitable evidence for a court of law.” Faith in Christ is distinctly a forensic act. The righteousness attributed to Abraham is not an actual righteousness that he created, but something else that is considered and treated as if it were equivalent to such righteousness. It is so treated by God acting as the judge of men.