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Righteousness through Faith

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(KJV)

21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; 22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: 23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; 24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: 25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; 26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.

2 Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God.
As we look at Romans, it “Reveals Paul’s concern to teach God’s plan of salvation—from humanity’s universal sinfulness through justification in Christ. (Klein, 426)
We also learn that, the foundation for the way of salvation lies in justification, not by the Gentiles' works of nature, nor by the Jews' works of the law. By those standards, both the Jews and the Gentiles were liable to the curse; but only by faith in Jesus Christ, could they receive salvation.
Let’s set the backdrop, for this letter written by Paul, to the saints in Rome. The city of Rome was filled with all kinds of people with many different beliefs. It is believed the church in Rome was founded by either converts of Peter after the day of Pentecost or people from Paul’s ministry. Either way, these Christians were in small pockets, spread out all over the city. And the “church” had very little organization. It was for this reason Paul addressed this letter to the “those called to be saints” and not the church at Rome like some of his other letters.
Let’s set the backdrop, for this letter written by Paul, to the saints in Rome. The city of Rome was filled with all kinds of people with many different beliefs. It is believed the church in Rome was founded by either converts of Peter after the day of Pentecost or people from Paul’s ministry. Either way, these Christians were in small pockets, spread out all over the city. And the “church” had very little organization. It was for this reason Paul addressed this letter to the “those called to be saints” and not the church at Rome like some of his other letters.
Let’s set the backdrop, for this letter written by Paul, to the saints in Rome. The city of Rome was filled with all kinds of people with many different beliefs. It is believed the church in Rome was founded by either converts of Peter after the day of Pentecost or people from Paul’s ministry. Either way, these Christians were in small pockets, spread out all over the city. And the “church” had very little organization. It was for this reason Paul addressed this letter to the “those called to be saints” and not the church at Rome like some of his other letters.
Henry, Matthew. Unabridged Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible (best navigation) (Kindle Locations 269287-269289). OSNOVA. Kindle Edition.
Let us first set the backdrop, for this letter written by Paul, to the saints in Rome. The city of Rome was filled with all kinds of people with many different beliefs. It is believed the church in Rome was founded by either converts of Peter after the day of Pentecost or people from Paul’s ministry. Either way, these Christians were in small pockets, spread out all over the city and the “church” had very little organization. It was for this reason Paul addressed this letter to the “those called to be saints” and not the church at Rome.
These Christians were in a mecca which housed all sorts of idol worship and there were many little “g” gods they had to contend with. These believers mainly consisted of Gentiles, so Paul not only had to deal with the rampant idolatry they were accustomed to, he had to deal with some false teachings coming from inside the church. How many know the enemy is not always from without? Sometimes you can get bad information and teaching from within.
He begins the letter with his credentials. Stating he was a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, and set apart for the gospel of God. Paul was letting them know he was well qualified to write and give them this information. He wrote this letter to help fortify them against the Judaizers. The Judaizers were teaching that non-Jews had to adopt Jewish customs to become Christians. This was the internal problem of the saints at Rome.
If that were truly the case, then salvation wasn’t really for everyone, it was still only for the Jews. If the law was still in effect, then Jesus’ sacrifice was for naught. We know that the law kills but the cross redeems. Praise God for Paul and his boldness and passion to teach the truth.
In this letter, we see that the Old Testament is truly a foreshadowing of the New Testament, and in fewer places is that more evident than in our text today.
3 For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect?
1. God’s righteousness is manifested independent of the law. (3:21)
4 God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.
In the Old Testament, the Jews were given the ten commandments through Moses. They were told they must obey the Ten Commandments which became known as the law of Moses, one of the problems was, by the time they finished adding to the 10 commandments God had given Moses, there were 613 laws the Jews were expected to not only know, but also to keep. So, because it was impossible to keep all of those laws, the people had numerous sacrifices they had to perform to atone for their sins. A lot of animals died each year for the sins of the people. And still it wasn’t enough.
Today, in a time where we are told we must work for everything; that there is nothing free in this world; that no one is going to give you anything; this passage of Scripture tells a whole different story, first and foremost, and point #1 - this passage tells us that the righteousness of God is manifested without the law.
5 But if our unrighteousness commend the righteousness of God, what shall we say? Is God unrighteous who taketh vengeance? (I speak as a man)
To be manifested means to be made known. The righteousness of God is made known to us - He has shown us a way to be made right without having to keep the requirements of the law. But this wasn’t new, the law of Moses and the Old Testament prophets told us this would be the case.
And the Good News of the Gospel is that, there is nothing you have to do, in fact, there is nothing you can do to earn this promise of righteousness. There is no amount of knocking on doors, no number of services you must attend, no minimum number of times you must come to the church each week and no amount of money you must give to earn or buy God’s righteousness, because there are none righteous in and of themselves. To be able to work for or buy righteousness would imply we have control, or that we can manipulate things to our liking. It would also say we could keep the promise from certain people, when nothing could be further from the truth.
This righteousness which came through Jesus Christ, is our second point, it was the promise made in the Old Testament by the law and the prophets. We can see references to the coming Messiah in the 40th chapter of Isaiah.
a. The Promise of Moses and the Prophets (3:21b)
Jesus made reference to his own coming in when he said, “For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me.” So not only is Paul telling us this, Jesus said it also. So this was not new information Paul was giving to the primarily Gentile believers in Rome, but it was relevant information.
So this was not new information Paul was giving to the primarily Gentile believers in Rome, but it was relevant information.
We must remember the time period in which Paul wrote this letter, was after the birth, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. So, like us, Jesus had left them with the new dispensation, but there were those who didn’t want to let go of the customs they were so familiar with. For both the Jews and the Gentiles, these were practices their ancestors had taught them, things that had been passed down from generation to generation and for some letting go wasn’t so easy.
How many know it’s just as hard to let go of something you’ve always done, as it is to start doing something new, even if that new thing gives you more freedom? This is the situation the saints at Rome were finding themselves in.
Faith in Christ gave them freedom, but there were those who wanted to keep people bound by the laws of Moses, which were now nothing more than Jewish customs, not laws new Gentile converts had to be bound by.
6 God forbid: for then how shall God judge the world?
b. Righteousness for all believers (3:22)
7 For if the truth of God hath more abounded through my lie unto his glory; why yet am I also judged as a sinner?
Our third point is that, this righteousness, comes from God and we can access it simply by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. It is a gift and a promise for everyone who believes, by faith. It has the power to save every believer. Not only that, we are made right with God by the same faith and belief in Jesus Christ. While we know that God is faithful, this verse is talking about the faith of the believer.
While we know that God is faithful, this verse is taking about the faithfulness of man.
And as long as a person has faith in Christ, it’s important to understand, there is no difference among believers, in fact the Galatians were dealing with a similar issue and Paul tells them in : (NRSV) beginning at verse 23 Now before faith came, we were imprisoned and guarded under the law until faith would be revealed. 24 Therefore the law was our disciplinarian until Christ came, so that we might be justified by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer subject to a disciplinarian, 26 for in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith. 27 As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to the promise.
8 And not rather, (as we be slanderously reported, and as some affirm that we say,) Let us do evil, that good may come? whose damnation is just.
22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: 23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; 24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: 25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; 26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.
The fact Paul wrote about this in multiple letters, tells us the problem wasn’t unique to the Romans, there were other churches who were dealing with false teachings that had the potential to derail not just the Christian walk of another person, but put their salvation in jeopardy.
This is why it is so important for us today to get it right. It’s why we’re told in - Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. The Word of God, literally has the power to save lives and more importantly, to save souls — handle it well; handle it carefully.
2. Everyone has sinned and everyone falls short of God’s glory (3:23)
9 What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin;
Not only does righteousness come from God, it is something we all need because and our next point, which should be good news to us all, we see in verse 23, is that all have sinned, past tense and come short, present tense, of the glory of God.
So what does that mean? It means that, with the exception of Jesus Christ, no one is perfect, neither Jew, nor Gentile. It means no one was born saved. It means that at some point in our lives, not only have we all sinned, but at some point, even after salvation, we will all miss the mark again, we will fall short again. So give yourself a break when you fall, pick yourself up, dust yourself off and start again. The race is not given to the swift nor to the strong, but to he who endures to the end.
10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
Stay in the race, don’t quit because Jesus thought you were worth saving...
a. He freely justified us (3:24)
Point 5 is, Jesus thought you were worth dying for and so he freely came through a virgin, lived a sinless life and died a horrible thief’s death on the cross to pay for our redemption.
It was by his grace that we have been set free; it was by his grace that we have been made right in God’s sight. It was by his grace that we are no longer faced with spending eternity separated from a holy God. We have been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb. Thank God for the blood.
The penalty for sin was, always has been and is still death, that will never change. When Jesus freely came, as believers, we no longer have to be concerned about that penalty. Jesus wiped our slate clean when he died for our sins.
b. The Results of the Sacrifice (v3:25-26)
God accomplished two things when he sent Jesus to be the propitiation or the sacrifice for our sins, which will be my last two points. We see in familiar Scripture to all of us here, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes on Him, should not perish but have everlasting life”.
We should get excited at the prospect that while it- is great and wonderful; everlasting life is not the only thing we get through faith in the blood of Jesus.
The first thing that happened in this text was— God declared his righteousness for the remission of past sins. In other words God could have taken us out, but he held back his hand of judgement and his punishment for sin. God didn’t kill us while we were still in our sin and finally...
My final point, point seven is this; God looked ahead through time and saw you; not only that He included you in His plan for this present time. It’s not an accident that you’re here, it’s no accident you’re watching online...
God demonstrated—He showed us that He is a fair and just God by giving us the opportunity to get to know His Son; to believe in Him and through that belief—through our faith we can be made right in his sight.
It’s not in this portion of our text but here’s some other good news I have for you. The moment you express your belief and faith in Jesus, the Holy Spirit takes up residence in your heart and tells us, “when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: You should no longer believe the lies of the world and what they say about you and who you are…because who you are; is the workmanship of the almighty God.
So, since the righteousness of God has been manifested in the believer; the believer has some responsibilities: Don’t worry when you have the Holy Ghost living inside, as you develop your relationship, and that’s what it’s about; relationship not religion. God wants to spend time with you, in prayer, in meditation, in reading His Word, and as you do these things your responsibilities include:
Living a life that is holy and acceptable unto God.
Living a life that is pleasing to God.
Living a life of obedience to God.
While your not bound by the law, you will do your best to keep the law. In Jesus said I didn’t come to destroy the law, I came to fulfil it
So as you strive to do these things, the more you do them—the better you’ll get and the better you get—the more you’ll do them.
But now God has shown us a way to be made right with him without keeping the requirements of the law, as was promised in the writings of Moses and the prophets long ago. 22 We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are. 23 For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. 24 Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. 25 For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past, 26 for he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for he himself is fair and just, and he makes sinners right in his sight when they believe in Jesus.”
23 For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. 24 Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. 25 For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past, 26 for he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for he himself is fair and just, and he makes sinners right in his sight when they believe in Jesus.
God is calling you receiving the free gift of salvation and His righteousness through the blood of Jesus, will you accept His invitation?
The doors of the church are open
25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; 26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.
11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.
12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
13 Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips:
14 Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness:
15 Their feet are swift to shed blood:
16 Destruction and misery are in their ways:
17 And the way of peace have they not known:
18 There is no fear of God before their eyes.
19 Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.
20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;
22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:
23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;
26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.
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