Summary: We are saved by God's Righteousness
Romans 3 - Righteousness by God’s Grace - 1/25/09
Turn with me again this morning to Romans 1. In Romans, Paul gives us as explanation of the gospel. The word “gospel” literally means “good news.” The essence of Paul’s letter to the Romans is that there is good news that is truly good: we have no righteousness of our own, but in Christ we came be made in right standing with the God of all creation.
Romans is a real letter to real people about a real question - the key question of life:
How can a sinful man be made right with a holy God? The answer Paul gives us is that on our own, we can never find right standing with God. All men are condemned. For those who state they never knew about God, Paul condemns them in chapter 1 showing that even creation itself is a witness to the existence of God. For those who might claim they never had the Bible, Paul says they are without excuse in chapter 2 because even their conscience shows them they are sinful and in need of a savior. Paul says that whether you are an out and out sinner, a good moral person, or even a religious Jew, we are all under the condemnation of our sin.
Paul wirtes in chapter 3 and shows us that religious Jews and wicked Gentiles are basically the same: we are all completely sinful. Look at 3:10 with me: As it is written: “There is no-one righteous, not even one; there is no-one who understands, no-one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no-one who does good, not even one.” “Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit.” “The poison of vipers is on their lips.” “Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.” “Their feet are swift to shed blood; ruin and misery mark their ways, and the way of peace they do not know.” “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
When you ask the average non-Christian if they plan to go to heaven, they will normally answer “I hope so!” When you ask how they expect to get there, they normally answer - I’m a good person; I try not to hurt others; I hope my good will outweigh my bad. But the reality is that we all are under the condemnation of a life full of sin. And even if we lived our life perfectly except for one tiny sin, that one sin would keep us from heaven.
The second thing non-Christians say is I try to keep the 10 commandments. But Paul tells us here in 3:19, Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. Therefore no-one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin.
Why did God give the OT law? The Jews thought they were made right with God by keeping the law. But God says NO ONE will be declared righteous by keeping the law! Why not? Because no one CAN keep the law. The law was NEVER intended to make us right with God. The law was given to show us that we are guilty before God and deserve God’s condemnation! The next time someone claims to try to keep the 10 commandments, ask them if they have ever told a lie. If so, show them Revelation 21:8 - and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. The OT law just showed us that none of us can be made right with God on our own efforts.
How can a sinful man be made right with a holy God? The answer Paul gives us is that on our own, we can never find right standing with God. This is one of those bad news, good news stories. Paul first shares the bad news -- no matter how good we think we are, we can NEVER be right with God by trying to live a good life. But now the good news. And this is what we want to look at today. Look in verse 21:
But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. And that is what we want to talk about today. How can we be made right with God? Not by the law, not by what we can DO, but apart from the law, through faith in what Jesus Christ has already DONE.