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Summary: tHIS IS THE SECOND PART OF A SERMON ON ROMANS CHAPTER 3. IT FOCUSES ON PAUL'S TEACHING ON JUSTIFICATION IN THE NEW TESTAMENT, AND THE POWER OF THE NEW COVENANT

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JUSTIFIED BY CHRIST

ROMANS 3:22-31

WHEN LAST WE MET, WE CONSIDERED HOW THE OLD TESTAMENT BORE WITNESS TO THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD. THE OLD COVENANT IS SIGNIFICANT IN THAT IT WAS, FIRST A TEMPORAL MEANS FOR THE ISRAELITES TO ATTAIN A RIGHTEOUS STANDING, AND SECONDLY POINTED TO A MORE PERMANENT COVENANT, WHICH WE WILL SEE IS THROUGH THE BLOOD OF CHRIST.

PAUL HAS MADE IT CLEAR THAT THIS NEW COVENANT OF RIGHTEOUSNESS IS APART FROM THE LAW. THE LAW FAILED TO RESCUE PEOPLE FROM THE POWER OF SIN BECAUSE COMPLIANCE WITH ITS DEMANDS TO THE EXTENT NECESSARY TO SECURE JUSTIFICATION HAS NOT BEEN – AND CANNOT BE – FORTHCOMING.

UNDER THE OLD TESTAMENT LAW RIGHTEOUSNESS CAME BY BEHAVING, UNDER THE GOSPEL RIGHTEOUSNESS COMES BY BELIEVING. THE LAW BORE WITNESS TO THIS GOSPEL’S RIGHTOUSNESS, BUT IT COULD NOT PROVIDE IT.

AUGUSTINE INSTRUCTED MARTIN LUTHER SAYING:

“THROUGH THE LAW GOD OPENED MAN’S EYES SO THAT HE SEES HIS HELPLESSNESS AND BY FAITH TAKES REFUGE TO HIS MERCY AND SO ISS HEALED….THE LAW WAS GIVEN, IN ORDER THAT WE MIGHT SEEK AFTER GRACE. GRACE WAS GIVEN, IN ORDER THAT WE MIGHT FULFILL THE LAW. IT IS NOT THE FAULT OF THE LAW THAT IT WAS NOT FULFILLED, BUT THE FAULT OF MAN’S CARNAL MIND. THIS GUILT THE LAW MUST MAKE MANIFEST IN ORDER THAT WE MAY BE HEALED BY DIVINE GRACE.”

OUR RESPONSIVE READING WAS QUITE CLEAR THAT A NEW AND PERMANENT COVENANT WAS NEEDED.

HEBREWS 10:5-7:

THEREFORE, WHEN CHRIST CAME INTO THE WORLD, HE SAID: “SACRIFICE AND OFFERING YOU DID NOT DESIRE, BUT A BODY YOU PREPARED FOR ME; 6 WITH BURNT OFFERINGS AND SIN OFFERINGS YOU WERE NOT PLEASED. 7 THEN I SAID, ‘HERE I AM—IT IS WRITTEN ABOUT ME IN THE SCROLL— I HAVE COME TO DO YOUR WILL, MY GOD.’

ROMANS 3:22-31 SPEAKS OF THE NEW COVENANT, THAT WOULD BE ESTABLISHED THROUGH THE SACRIFICE OF CHRIST ON CALVARY. CHRIST’S SACRIFICE FULFILLED THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE OLD TESTAMENT LAW COMPLETELY.

ROMANS 3:22-24:

22 THIS RIGHTEOUSNESS IS GIVEN THROUGH FAITH IN JESUS CHRIST TO ALL WHO BELIEVE. THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE BETWEEN JEW AND GENTILE, 23 FOR ALL HAVE SINNED AND FALL SHORT OF THE GLORY OF GOD,”

PAUL IS AGAIN TELLING US THAT RIGHTEOUSNESS OR “JUSTIFICATION” IS GIVEN THROUGH FAITH IN CHRIST, NOT BY ANY WORKS THAT WE CAN DO TO MERIT SALVATION. IT IS OPEN TO ALL PEOPLE, FOR ALL PEOPLE STAND GUILTY AS SINNERS. IT IS AVAILABLE “TO ALL WHO BELIEVE”.

PAUL WANTS US TO UNDERSTAND THAT WE ARE ALL IN NEED OF A SPIRITUAL TRANSFORMATION IN OUR LIVES. WE ALL NEED “REDEMPTION” FROM OUR SINFUL NATURE. HE REMINDS US IN VERSE 23 THAT WE HAVE ALL “FALLEN SHORT” OF THE GLORY OF GOD.

THIS IS HARD FOR US TO UNDERSTAND BECAUSE WE ASSOCIATE SIN WITH WHAT WE DO, AND NOT WHO WE ARE. A PERSON COULD BE THE KINDEST MOST GENEROUS PERSON IN THE WORLD, BUT THEY WOULD STILL NEED A SPIRITUAL TRANSFORMATION BECAUSE OF THEIR SINFUL NATURE.

NO ONE WOULD DOUBT THE CHRISTIAN WALK OF BILLY GRAHAM. HE HIMSELF THOUGH WOULD TELL YOU THAT HE IS A SINNER AND NEEDED A SPIRITUAL TRANSFORMATION IN HIS LIFE OR HE WAS BOUND FOR AN ETERNITY IN HELL.


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