Summary: Proposition: The new righteousness comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe, that is, who trust Jesus enough to conform their lives to the life and teachings of Jesus.

Salvation for Anyone, Anywhere

Rev. Sean Lester

July 6, 2003

Romans 3:21-24

But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. [22] This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, [23] for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, [24] and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.


A. Our passage begins with a word of contradiction. “But” means everything that I am about to say contradicts whatever I have just said, or whatever you have just said. So, we have to ask, “What was just said?”

1. The law justifies no one, it just makes one aware of sin.

a. The law made it possible for you not to have to think too much about how to please God. It told you exactly what to do and not do. It should be easy to remain right with God and man since you do not have to think about it yourself.

b. In fact, the law was nothing more than an explanation of how to fulfill the Ten Commandments. The commands are a simple list of two do’s, and eight don’ts.

c. But it isn’t so simple because in order to please God, you must love Him with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. You must love your neighbor as yourself. But you don’t love God with all your heart, and you love you more than your neighbor.

d. This fact is proven by the presence of sin in your life. Sin shows up differently in people, like a virus that gives me a sore throat but gives my wife arthritis. Sin manifests in one person as murder, another as adultery, and yet another as pride. And wouldn’t it be nice if it only showed up as just one sin!

2. Because we have the laws of right living, we know how we measure up, or don’t measure up.

a. The work of the Holy Spirit makes people aware of their sinfulness. This is His work among those who don’t follow the ways of Jesus Christ so that they will be aware of their shame and come to Christ.

b. This is his work among those who do follow Christ so that every mouth will be silent and pride will not have a hold in the believer’s life. The presence of the Holy Spirit kills my pride every day. I want to be righteous, but I am aware of my sin. I desperately want to be free of it, but it lives in my body. I am helpless to rid myself of sin.

B. The contradiction is made clear with the second word of the verse. “Now” means something has changed from what it was before. The old way was impossible, but now there is a new way to become righteous. What follows will give hope to every one who has tried to live right before God and man but failed.

1. A new way of righteousness from God has been revealed.

a. Revealed, not like a mystery to be discovered by only the most ardent of sleuths or like a CSI piecing together the clues from a crime scene.

b. Revealed like the sun coming out from behind the clouds. I was depressed about my sin and the condition of my life. I was depressed because my world was darkened with despair because I was trapped by the world and there was no way out for me. No matter what I did, nothing got better because the answer was above the clouds, beyond the veil of my understanding. But now, the clouds parted. But now, the Son of God was revealed. But now, my world brightened. But now, there is hope. But now, there is understanding. But now, I am made righteous.

2. The new way is apart from the law. It is not opposed to the law. It does not cancel the law. It keeps a respectful distance from the law. The Spirit of the law remains. The righteous demands remain. But the deadly and burdensome requirements against those who failed to keep the law are gone.

3. The new way of righteousness comes from the law and the prophets. The law foreshadowed the way of righteousness that comes from the heart. The prophets foretold who would give us the new way to be right with God and man.

Proposition: The new righteousness comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe, that is, who trust Jesus enough to conform their lives to the life and teachings of Jesus.

Interrogative: How will conforming your life to the ways of Jesus Christ lift the weight of sin from your life?

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