Summary: Paul lays out a grim picture for humanity and says that there is basically no hope for humanity when left to our own actions and abilities. We fall short every time, we are sinful to the core and there is NOTHING we can do to remove that sin or shake the
Date Written: February 3, 2012
Date Preached: February 5, 2012
Where Preached: OPBC (AM)
Series Title: A Series from Romans
Sermon Title: The Blessing of Justification
Sermon Text: Romans 3:21-26; 5:1-11 [ESV]
21But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— 22the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: 23for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 26It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus..
I want us to focus in on what Paul is saying here in these few verses because I believe many of us either don’t realize the enormity of what God has done, or we have come to take it for granted… either way, we are going to revisit the subject of JUSTIFICATION this morning!
What is justification? Well a popular show on TV now is a show entitled “Justified” featuring a US Marshal who is a bit of a renegade and a penchant for doing things a little outside of regulation… but he always has a way of ‘justifying’ the things he has done! In the show it is not that his way is the ‘right’ way, but he often compares his somewhat questionable tactics to the heinous criminals he is apprehending or killing.
In other words, he has come to the point of justifying his actions because of what he considers a greater good… this is an attitude that many in our culture take today, we know it as “The end justifies the means” In other words, it really doesn’t matter HOW you do something, but THAT it gets done!
The term ‘justification’ is defined as the act of being made right when legally you are in the wrong, such as a US Marshall shooting and killing a criminal in the act of either self defense or in the commission of a crime. Our law would say that US Marshall was justified in his or her actions…
But today we are not here to hear about legal justification or secular justification… today I want to share with you about Theological justification that Paul teaches about in chapters 3-5 of the book of Romans, and in chapter 2 of the book of Galatians.
We just read from Romans 3 where Paul lays out a basic premise for our justification. But we must also know that from 1:18 to 3:20 of this letter, Paul had made the case for human sinfulness and humanities utter failure and inability to be good in the eyes of God, and this leads him to his statement in 3:23, “…all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God …”
Paul lays out a grim picture for humanity and says that there is basically no hope for humanity when left to our own actions and abilities. We fall short every time, we are sinful to the core and there is NOTHING we can do to remove that sin or shake the stigma of sin in our lives!
In v.21 Paul makes a direction change as he says, “But now…” this indicates that now that he has set the stage he will move on to how this situation can be changed. It is like your auto mechanic telling you ALL that is wrong with your car…leading you down a road of depressing details and bottoming out with the feeling that you are driving an old bucket of bolts…and you may even think, ‘What’s the use?’ Then the mechanic stops and says, ‘but here is what I can do to fix things…’
Paul has painted a grim picture up to this point and now he shifts gears from the grim picture painted to a direction of hope and life. He is basically saying here, “but now… here is how God is going to fix things…”
God’s Plan for Sinful Humanity (v.21)
Show verse 21 here…I will read
21But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it—
He tells us that the righteousness of God has been manifest… CLEARLY MADE KNOWN… and that righteousness is NOT the Law, as many of his day believed. BUT what Paul says is that the Law and the Prophets who had come before tell of God’s righteousness…