We continued our study of Romans last night by looking at the crucial passage in 3:21-26. They are a little sparse, but here are the notes:
3:19 Two issues we all have with sin: 1. We don’t think we really have any. Paul addresses this in 1:18-3:19; 2. We know we have it, and we feel like we can’t get rid of it. That’s 1:16-17 & 3:21-26.
“all the world is guilty before God” the problem is…how can God give us his righteousness? (1:16-17)
The issue this verse sets up for God is shown in two proverbs:
Pr 17:15 “He who justifies the wicked, and he who condemns the just, Both of them alike are an abomination to the Lord.”
Pr 24:24 “He who says to the wicked, “You are righteous,” Him the people will curse; Nations will abhor him.”
3:20-1 No, we can’t use God’s law to get rid of our guilt, but it does point the way to how we can. The way God’s righteousness comes to us has now been is “revealed” by Jesus’ coming.
3:22 “to all who believe” – this righteousness comes to us as we believe. God’s side is to give Jesus and tell us who He is for us (1:2-4) and our side is to believe what He has said and embrace Jesus as our only hope. “all”- this is how everyone gets saved. No one needs to try to find a different way. Anyone can believe and be saved.
3:23 “falling short”… of what? Of God as the standard: Mt 5:43-48, 1 Peter 1:15-16, in other words… and of what we were made to be: Gen 1:26, Romans 8:28-29, Phil 3:20-21 …that is, of God in Christ, of true Man…
3:24 “justified” – God pronounces us not guilty—righteous—fully acquitted of all charges and having the necessary qualifications for being in relationship with Him. “freely” – “as a gift.” “grace” for Paul doesn’t only speak of a quality of God but the way He has acted for us in Christ: “unconstrained by anything beyond his free will.” “redemption” — “Liberation through payment of a price”
25a Paul’s logic so far: (19) God’s law showed us that we’re all guilty, (21) but God has shown us how we can be righteous, (22) it comes by believing in Jesus…(25) whom God publicly displayed as a satisfaction for the wrath of God against sin (1:18)—i.e. so we know that this will work: we can really be saved from wrath, because Jesus showed us God was taking care of it all.
25b-26 “righteousness” – God had previously not exercised the full penalty against sin, so a problem had been set up. This is the problem we all feel in our souls when we want to get close to God. It’s like we just know we shouldn’t really be allowed to get close to God. And we’re right, but Paul is explaining how God took care of everything Himself.
26b God is just when He justifies us. We didn’t just get off the hook.” Jesus paid the full price. No one is saved for free. But we get it for free, because of how righteous, perfect, loving and alive Jesus is.
1.The most important thing for a human being to know in 2013 is that God has provided what you really need: payment for sins, escape from his wrath, and a righteousness you couldn’t earn.
2.God does this because he wants to. It’s who He is as God. That’s grace.
3.God has the authority to do this, and he does it in a way that satisfies his justice.
4.No one needs to live in guilt. Nonbelievers–repent and believe!
5.Believers: You can’t feel your way to guiltlessness. You simply have to believe God’s word on this point. Only then you’ll have peace. (See Romans 5:1)