Summary: Man can be declared righteous because an atoning sacrifice has been made on his behalf, satisfying the wrath of God, when he believes in Christ and accept the gift of salvation from God and is forgiven of his sin and made right with God.
Today I am going to preach the Gospel, the “good news”, a message that the world desperately needs to hear.
• All humanity, whether knowingly or unknowingly, has turned from God and now faces the wrath of God for their sin.
• Paul has written at length to affirm this. He left no doubt that all stand condemned because of sin, whether they are Jews or Greeks, under the Law or apart from it.
• There is no exception and no one can be excused. This is the predicament of men and it is hopeless unless God steps in and provide a way of salvation.
That’s the good news!
Rom 3:21-26 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.
BUT NOW changes everything. It is a major turning point from what preceded it.
• Having established the guilty charge, Paul breaks in with a “BUT NOW the righteousness of God has been manifested”.
• Something has taken place that changed the trajectory of where humanity is headed.
• God intervened! God stepped in with a rescue plan that would take away the guilt of man and give him a righteous standing before Him.
“The RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD” is mentioned FOUR times here.
• 3:21 “the righteousness of God has been manifested”; 3:22 “the righteousness of God through faith.”; 3:25b “This was to show God’s righteousness”; 3:26 “It was to show His righteousness at the present time…”
• God took the initiative to provide sinners with the righteousness they desperately need, in order for them to stand before God without guilt and shame.
This righteousness did not come from man. It did not come from his good works or their obedience to the Law.
• It was manifested (3:21) [revealed, made known] apart from the Law, clearly not the result of man’s efforts. It is the GIFT of God.
• It is OF God and FROM God THROUGH Jesus Christ, whom the Law and Prophets “bear witness to”.
• It’s a strong reminder that we have nothing to boast. Don’t ever boast about our righteousness. Isaiah 64:6 “all our righteous acts are like filthy rags…”
The Law and Prophets (OT Scripture) point to this day/event, when the Person of Jesus Christ came and sacrificed Himself on the cross for us.
• It is not an afterthought. It did not just happen. It has been the plan of God all along, revealed only at this time.
• Gal 4:4-5 “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, 5to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.”
Paul announces the Gospel - the good news of man’s salvation from his condemnation under sin because of the sacrifice of Jesus.
• It is offered to ALL who believe because ALL needs it, as Paul has been emphasizing.
• 3:23 “For ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…”
• No one is without sin; we have all sinned against God, whether in big or small ways.
• We have failed to live up to the image/glory in which we were made - the image of God. We missed the mark. We are rejected under quality control.
But God came to our rescue!
• 3:24 We “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 line captures the essence of the Gospel, the clearest statement we have.
• We see here WHAT God did, HOW God did it and WHY God did it this way.
What did God do? “He justifies us by His grace as a gift” (3:24a)
• That’s the opposite of condemnation. “He justifies us”.
• JUSTIFICATION is a legal term belonging to the courts of law. It is a declaration that the accused is not guilty.
• God declares us righteous “by His grace as a gift” and therefore nothing OF man or FROM man.