Summary: After spending three chapters explaining how all people are sinners and are subject to God's wrath, in Romans 3:21-26, Paul explains how sinners can be made right with God.
A. Let me begin with a question this morning: How many of us here today want to escape God’s judgment and wrath against sin?
1. We all want to escape God’s judgment and wrath against sin, don’t we?
2. But how can we do that? How can we make sure God’s judgment and wrath don’t fall on us?
B. Let me offer this vivid illustration.
1. In the early days of our country, when pioneers were moving westward and setting up farms out on the prairies, they were often devastated by raging wild fires sweeping out of control across the plains.
2. The settlers would see the wild fire coming and wouldn’t know what to do.
3. Some would try to grab a few belongings and run for their lives – some were successful and others were not, but either way the fire would burn to the ground everything they had built.
4. But soon, the pioneers discovered a way they could endure the fires.
5. As soon as they knew a fire was coming, they would fight fire with fire.
6. They set fire to the foliage close to their homes and barns, and the controlled fires would then be put out leaving a large burned out area surrounding their homes and barns.
7. Then as the wildfire swept toward them, they simply stayed in place where the fire had already burned, and when they stayed where the fire had already burned, the wildfire couldn’t touch them.
C. Spiritually speaking, where has the fire of God’s judgment and wrath already fallen and burned things up? At the cross of Jesus.
1. The only safe place for us to escape the fire of God’s judgment and wrath against sin is at the foot of the cross.
2. We must take our stand, and put our hope and our trust in the cross of Christ.
3. If we will do that, then the judgment and wrath of God will not touch us.
D. This is the good news that I want us to explore today.
1. This is the good news that Paul shares at this point in the book of Romans.
2. You and I have endured three chapters of Paul’s description of the bad news and why God is justified in pouring out His judgment and wrath on sinful humanity.
3. Now Paul is ready to share the way to be made right with God.
E. So how can all people be made right with God?
1. It is the most important question and the biggest problem facing all people.
2. Throughout history people have been trying to answer that question and deal with that problem.
3. Unfortunately, so many people have tried all kinds of wrong ways to make themselves right with God.
a. Some have offered their children on an altar, hoping to appease their god.
b. Some like Simeon Stylites who died in 459 lived on top a pillar for 37 years.
b. Some have cut themselves with knives, hoping to win the approval of their deity.
c. Some have laid on beds of nails, walked on hot coals or hit themselves with wips.
d. Some have killed chickens and placed the carcasses on their makeshift altars.
e. Some have prayed toward Mecca and recited their prayers.
f. Some have prayed the rosary or the Lord’s prayer.
g. Some have given huge sums of money.
h. Some have tried to never miss a mass or a worship service, or a Wednesday night prayer meeting.
4. My point in this long list is to help us to see that none of these things, whether they are bad or good things, will ever make us right with God or earn us our salvation.
5. So, if none of these ways or things can make us right with God, then what is the way to be made right with God?
F. Let’s turn our attention to Romans 3:21-26.
1. In Romans 3:21-26, Paul explains to us the right way to be made right with God.
2. This paragraph in the Bible is one of the most important in all the Bible.
a. The great reformer, Martin Luther, called this section “the chief point, and the very central place of the Epistle, and of the whole Bible.”
b. The American theologian, Dr. Donald Grey Barnhouse called this passage “the heart of the Bible.”
3. Why is this paragraph so important and so special?
a. Because rarely does the Bible bring together in so few verses so many important theological ideas.
4. As we examine this paragraph, we will see how each verse and each phrase is packed with crucial and powerful truth about God’s plan for saving sinners.
G. Paul begins in verse 21: But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it—