21 But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; 25 whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; 26 for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. 27 Where then is boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? Of works? No, but by a law of faith. 28 For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law. 29 Or is God the God of Jews only? Is He not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, 30 since indeed God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith is one. 31 Do we then nullify the Law through faith? May it never be! On the contrary, we establish the Law.
A few years ago I sat in Judge Ted Poe’s court downtown. When a defendant would stand before him, he would ask a series of questions and he would eventually come to the toughest question each defendant had to face, “Why should I not find you guilty on this charge?” Excuses. No good answer.
Jesus was fully human and yet, we also believe he was fully God. He was tempted as we are tempted, but he did not sin. He was uniquely qualified to be the spotless, innocent lamb who would be the final sacrifice that would be the once-and-for-all payment for sin, our sin. But you still have to ask yourself, “Why would God do this?” The Bible points to two things: the love and the justice of God. When we see the cross we see the love of God:
16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.
But the justice of God also requires a payment for the penalty of our sins. Sin cannot stand in the presence of God. I picture us standing before God and him asking, “Why should I not find you guilty on this charge?” And like those helpless ones in Ted Poe’s court, there is no justification we can propose which comes solely from us. If it is based on who we are or what we have done, we are lost. But the good news is we don’t have to stand there condemned, Paul tells us the righteousness of God is available to each and everyone of us.
We Need It
We Need It
23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
22 even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
He doesn’t leave us there
24 being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus;
Our justification is a gift. God so loved, He gave. He didn’t offer a pathway of works. God so loved… Paul goes on to say
He Gives It
He Gives It
25 whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; 26 for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
25 whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed;
Through Jesus’ taking our sin on himself and dying for us, He paid the price for all sin. Jesus is the justifier. When God asks the question, “Why should I not find you guilty on this charge?” there is only one answer. “Because Jesus, my savior has paid the price and I trust wholly in Him.” Jesus paid the price and he died for all sinners. There is not a person who has lived who his blood cannot redeem. (The elect or everyone?) Paul does say however, that Jesus is the justifier of the one who has faith in Him.
Through Jesus’ taking our sin on himself and dying for us, He paid the price for all sin.
How can we say he died for all, and then in the same breath say he the justifier only for those who have faith in Him? My local store runs an ad that states, “Everyone receives 50% off of their purchases this Saturday.” We have all seen ads like this. Who is the promotion limited to? There is no limit. They have provided a 50% discount for anyone who wants it. they have not limited it by race, wealth, intelligence, national origin. It is available to all. But we know not everyone come in the store and take advantage in it. Some won’t believe the offer is true. There is no way they will give every person 50% off. So, they don’t even bother. But those who believe it is true and want what the store has to offer will come. They will come trusting that everyone will receive it.
God’s offer is extended to everyone. It is not limited to the first 144,000 customers. You don’t have to camp outside overnight to make sure you get in before everyone else. You simply accept the offer. You can’t earn it.
You Can’t Earn It
You Can’t Earn It
27 Where then is boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? Of works? No, but by a law of faith. 28 For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law.
Paul, speaking to his Jewish hearers, tells them you cannot brag about being one of the chosen ones. First, you didn’t do anything to brag about. And you certainly cannot claim special privilege from the Law. If they think they can follow this set of rules and that will provide salvation, they are just wrong. They cannot keep the Law, never could. There is nothing they could do and there is nothing we can do to earn our way. It is only by faith we are justified.
A man is justified by faith apart from the works of the Law. We cannot earn our way to Heaven. There are not enough good things out there for us to do earn our way.
6 For all of us have become like one who is unclean, And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment; And all of us wither like a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.
We can put on our clothes and list every good thing we have ever done, but it all pales in comparison to the righteous of God. What do is like filthy rags. Now, this doesn’t discount works and be sure to understand this doesn’t say that our deeds are filthy. It is just they do not compare to the righteousness of God. Our works and deeds don’t buy us God’s love, they are evidence of how His love affects us. Works are not required, but they are valued by God.
What can you give to God that will make you right with Him? Nothing. What can you give God that is not already His? Nothing! This isn’t about what we can give God. It is about what He has already given us. When we have faith in Jesus as our savior He gives us justification. He counts us as righteous. I like the word Paul uses in our passage today. When Paul says we are justified, he is saying we are reckoned as righteous. Good old Texas word, “reckoned.” I reckon he is righteous. Even though we stand before God like a ragamuffin off of the street, God is willing to look past all of that because of what jesus has done and because of our faith in Him. He is willing to look past what the world sees and he says, “I reckon you are righteous.”
Always Been About Faith
Always Been About Faith
Paul answers a question he knew his hearers would be asking. “What about the Law?” does this mean the Law is no longer valid?
31 Do we then nullify the Law through faith? May it never be! On the contrary, we establish the Law.
The Law was not the path to salvation. It was never about works or checking all the boxes. It has always been about faith. Paul uses Abraham as his example. Well, what about Abraham and all the things he did? Abraham had no room for boasting. He didn’t trust God in how he would be given a child. He didn’t trust God to protect his wife before a foreign king. It wasn’t about what Abraham did, it was about what Abraham believed.
3 For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”
It was because of Abraham’s faith God reckoned him as righteous. It has always been about faith.
4 Now to the one who works, his wage is not credited as a favor, but as what is due. 5 But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness,
If you work, then what you receive is due you. You earned it. But if it is grace, then it is freely given and freely accepted. When we accept God’s coupon of grace, we are fully justified before him.
Abraham knew this. David knew this:
6 just as David also speaks of the blessing on the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works: 7 “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds have been forgiven, And whose sins have been covered. 8 “Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will not take into account.”
We are saved by God’s grace. It was His grace and love for us that moved Him to send Jesus to die for our sins. When our faith is placed in Jesus it is God’s grace that reckons us as righteous. Jesus, who was fully human and fully God, took on the sins of the world so we might be fully justified. As we approach Easter and our thoughts turn to Jesus we need to know, fully, what he has done for us. He suffered, died, was buried and rose from the dead so we might have the opportunity to be counted as righteous when we stand before God the Father. It is only through Jesus, this is possible. This is the Easter message, the gospel message. Jesus loves you and died for you. God loves you and longs for you, but you must trust in Him. If you truly trust in Him, you will know His love and you will want others to know His love and you will willingly serve Him.
Every day we should know the love God has for us, the gift He has provided for us, the gift of righteousness and eternal life in His presence fully justified.