Summary: Justification by faith humbles man by excluding all grounds of boasting. Justification by faith also provides opportunity for all mankind to be saved but still upholds the value of the Law which we have all broke.
ROMANS 3: 27-31
JUSTIFIED BY FAITH
Praise God for His offer of forgiveness through faith in Jesus Christ! Those who don’t take God up on His offer don’t truly see themselves as sinners in need of salvation. They make boasts such as: My good actions outweigh my bad. I’m better than most people and others are far worse than me. I'm usually a good law abiding person. Their shortcomings, they feel, don't jeopardize their standing before Almighty God.
Imagine a person being brought to trial for several charges of SHOPLIFTING. It would be useless for that person to appeal to the judge by saying: "Don't forget, all the good I do. I’m sure that all my good actions outweigh my bad." Or "Remember I'm better than most people." Or, "Most of the time I'm an upstanding law-abiding citizen.” No, the offender must be judged according to the offense, not according to previous good actions of which he can boast. If justice is to be done, someone must pay, and that someone should be the offender-unless another is allowed to bear the penalty instead. That's exactly what Christ in love did for sinners, which we all are, "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Rom. 3:23).
Having just unfolded God’s glorious plan of salvation, the Apostle now presents man’s boastful tendency to self-justify himself. Justification before God is by faith in Jesus Christ alone. What implications does justification by faith have for us at the point of our basic attitude toward God, ourselves and each other? Justification by faith humbles man by excluding all grounds of boasting. Justification by faith also provides opportunity for all mankind to be saved but still upholds the law we have all broke (CIT).
I. Excluding Boasting in Man, 27-28.
II. Exclaiming One Way to One God, 29-30.
III. Establishing the Immutable Law, 31.
First, boasting is excluded (3:27-28). In verse 27 Paul asked on what principle or law is boasting excluded. “Where then is boasting? It is excluded by what kind of law?, of works? No, but by a law (principle) of faith.”
The fact that we are justified by faith should make a difference in our basic attitude toward God, ourselves and others. Boasting (êáé÷çóéò) expresses the idea of self congratulations with or without sufficient reason. Those who imagine that they have attained a right standing with God by being good and keeping the law tend to be proud. But when God’s mercy and grace are understood, pride must die. Pride “is excluded,” it is completely shut out Paul says. “No one is righteous, not even one,” (Rom. 3:10). “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (3:23). The legalistic boast about one being good enough, about one being righteous in oneself is excluded.
On what basis has boasting been thrown out? On the basis of works? Of course not. People boast because they believe in the meritorious accomplishment of works.. Sinners have no grounds for boasting before God.
All boasting before God is thrown out by a law of faith. The principle that salvation is by faith, not by works, excludes all boasting. Righteousness, or a right standing, has been given us by God through faith and not attained by our actions. Thus if salvation is achieved by faith and not by ourselves we have no basis for boasting except in the Cross.
The only grounds the believer has for boasting is in the atoning work of Christ done on the Cross. Galatians 6:14 says, “God forbid that I should boast except in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Issac Watts song reminds us that our boasting, our glory, is to be in the Cross.
When I survey the wondrous Cross
On which the Prince of Glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss
And pour contempt on all my pride. John Bunyan said in his immortal Pilgrim’s Progress, “I saw in my dream that just as Christian came up to the Cross, his burden loosed from his shoulders and fell from his back and began to tumble till it came to the mouth of the sepulcher, where it fell in and I saw it no more. Then was Christian glad and lightsome and said with a merry heart, “He has given me rest by His sorrow, and life by His death.”
Yes, the Savior’s substitutionary death is the believer’s hope for eternity. That is why we can glory in the Cross at Calvary. Because there Christ CROSSED out our sins.
[Christianity teaches that no amount of human achievement or progress in personal development will close the gap between God's moral perfection and our imperfect daily performance. Good deeds are important, but they will not earn us eternal life. We are saved only by trusting in what God has done for us (see Ephesians 2:8-10).]