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The Solution

Romans  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  27:45
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I do not know why this stuck in my head, but it did. In school we had been given an assignment, and the teacher made an important statement over and over again. The teacher said “I do not want to hear only problems, but I want you to propose solutions”. Anyone can identify problems, and describe them. That is based on observations and facts. Identifying the problem doesn’t fix things. It may the first step, but identifying the problem does nothing to fix it. To solve the problem you must present a solution.
Let’s take a look at our our outline for R0mans, to see where we are going.
Romans
Introduction 1:1-16
Theme verse 1:17
Sinfulness 1:18-3:20
Justification by Faith 3:21-4:25
Justification and God’s righteousness 3:21-26
Up to this point in Romans, Paul has thoroughly identified the problem. He argued form logically and coherently from nature, from our conscience, and from scripture. He answered the most likely objections people might have. He concluded that all of mankind is sinful. But, so far up to Romans 3 verse 20, Paul left us without a solution. In fact, he said that the solution would not work.
Romans 3:20 NIV
20 Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.
The works of law do not enable us to be declared righteous in God’s sight, rather the law just makes us aware of the problem. But it clearly offers no solution.
If you have been watching the news, several states are passing laws and making headway to outlaw abortion. Logical arguments have been made from science, from our conscience and from scripture. God’s law has come to bear on the collective hearts of our nation. Young people now more than ever before are pro-life. This does represent some victories, and all glory to God. However, it also makes up aware that we need a solution, a longterm solution to the problem. While we are becoming more conscience of our collective sin, we also need a solution.
It can be dangerous to identify a problem, without a solution, because a problem without a solution leaves people in hopelessness. Solutions to problems provide hope.
There are alternatives to abortions, solutions that provide hope to a people trapped in the immorality of sin. Places like Pregnancy options, a number of adoption agencies, even oversee, like loving hearts babies homes, offer hope in the hopelessness of the problem.
The offer redemption for a child that will otherwise be overcome by death. They offer hope and transformation for a scared mother who is fearful over the consequences of her sin. Problems without solutions bring hopelessness, but solutions offer hope.
When the debate describes the sin of abortion in detail, when the debate turns to the logic of nature, and to God’s law, it is not unlike the same way the last few chapters of Romans has described the sins we are engaged in and came to bear of our hearts. Whether we have engaged in that particular sin directly or indirectly, or engaged in any other sin, we need a solution.
The weight of the immorality, the pride, the greed, the lust that Paul has bringing to bear on our individual hearts can leave us with a sense of hopelessness. We cannot even work our way out of the hole we have dug. We are hopeless and paralyzed. Problems without solutions bring hopelessness.
pause
Then, 2 little greek letters. Theta epsilon. Spoken, It is more of a sound than a word, THE. In English-three letter, But-
Romans 3:21 NIV
21 But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify.
But is a marker of contrast, or it could mean except for the fact. But it is so much more than that. It is HOPE. It is the way out. It is the key to the prison fence, it is the solution for the problem.
We are trapped in our sin, weighed down with our guilt, standing accused- awaiting judgement But...
It is the hope for the child in the womb, or the cared mother-but there are ways to help. It is life for the dead. We were once dead in our trespasses and sin...
But.. there is hope-there is a rescuer-there is life for the dead, there is grace for the guilty. But....
It is the solution to the problem of sin. It is hope.
Hope though looks to the future. Hope is knowing that something will happen in the future. The Jewish people were used to living in hope. Hope that someday they would be rescued from the Egyptians, or hope that they would see the promised land, they were used to living looking to the future when their hope would be made manifest. They lived looking forward to a day when the gates would fling open and they would be set free.
But now. Now!-presently!- happening this very minute. Hope is here. There is no more waiting. But now -presently-In the present then-when Christ was on earth, in the present for Paul and the church in Rome then when Paul was writing this letter-and NOW is in our present here and now today as we encounter the living Christ.
It is really a marker marking the entrance of a new era of salvation-the there was the law-NOW there is a new solution-
But NOW- APART FROM THE LAW. Without. Besides, separate from Separate from the law. Paul is probably talking about God’s law written in Scripture. Separate from that-law that we were under an we encountered back in verse 19 and 20.
Romans 3:19 NIV
19 Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God.
The law that convicts, the law that holds us accountable to God. The law that we are unable to keep. That law -Apart from that law. The law in Ro 3.20
Romans 3:20 NIV
20 Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.
No will be declared righteous by the works of the law. We cannot get righteous through the law, THE LAW IS NOT THE SOLUTION-The points out the problem-the law shows us our sin.-The problem without the solution-
But now APART FROM THE LAW---
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Romans 3:21 NIV
21 But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify.
The righteousness of God has been made known.
To Paul he is making a distinction in salvation history-Before Jesus Christ, people were stuck, caged oppressed by sin, unable to escape. The law was unable to bring us to freedom. But now apart from the law the righteousness of God, has been made known.
Paul is elaborating on the theme verse of Romans in chapter 1, verse 17.
Romans 1:17 NIV
17 For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”
This term righteousness of God is key to Romans and it is the subject of this next section. It appears in again inverse 22 and then it appears again in verse 25 and verse 26. 4 times in 5 verses. You can highlight it your bible
RO Highlight
The phrase righteousness of God, has two perspectives. We can look at it as the righteousness that belongs to God on the one hand, and the righteousness we receive from God on the other.
First let’s look at the righteousness of God from the perspective of a trait of God. It is an attribute that belongs to God.
The righteousness of God is an attribute of God.
God being righteous, means that he must be just toward his people. He cannot leave His people c trapped in the prison of sin for violating the law. God would not be righteous if he left his people unable to escape. What kind of God would He be be if he did that? He would not be righteous.
God being righteous, also means that sins have to be punished. Justice must be served, he cannot just let sin go unpunished. We know that Jesus recieved in his body on the cross the just punishment for sins.
So in chapter 1, verse 17, Paul writes that in the Gospel-the righteousness of God is revealed, it means on one hand, according to the first meaning- that God demonstrates that he just and good by providing a rescue for His people out of sin, and yet at he same time He also provides the punishment for sins.
There is also another perspective.
The righteousness of God is the righteousness that is given to us by faith.
Now, that righteousness of God is after that dash in verse 17,
Romans 1:17 NIV
17 For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”
A righteousness that is by faith, ----You can circle that and write see verse 21- because that phrase a righteousness that is by faith can be paired up verse 21— a righteousness that is apart from the law----the righteousness of God. The righteousness that comes to us from God-comes apart from the law by faith.
RO2
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Romans 3:21 NIV
21 But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify.
This is the righteousness that comes to us... from God.... by faith in Jesus Christ. Since this is not ours but it from an outside source, Luther called it an alien righteousness. Not from us.
In the gospel the righteousness of God is being made know, or made manifest or revealed. The gospel shows that God is just, and right, and good. And through that gospel by our faith in Jesus God’s righteousness comes to us, or as theologians say is imputed to us.
The righteousness of God is imputed to us.
It is summarized in 2 Cor 5.21.
2 Corinthians 5:21 NIV
21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
This righteousness is also declared righteousness. We in the courtroom of God are declared righteous on the basis of our faith in Christ. This is called justification.
Justification means we are declared just in God’s sight.
We are declared just. Not fully fixed yet- that is the next step this is the first step in becoming a christian, justification. Now, we are at the same time as Luther has said sinners and saints. We are declared just, we have recieved justification based on our faith, yet we still sin. After justification begins the getting holy part-that is called sanctification or the process of being made Holy. Or the process of becoming a disciple, or the process of following Jesus.
It is important to not confuse the two. First we are justified, or declared just, then we begin to be made holy through the work of the Holy Spirit.
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Romans 3:21 NIV
21 But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify.
But now apart from the law, through the gospel, the righteousness of God, that righteousness that is only available through faith, and not attainable through the law is being shown to us, and in fact the law and the prophets even spoke about it.
This just didn’t fall out of the sky. It has been there all along. This had to mind boggling for the jews. And they pursued and are still pursuing a righteousness that is by the law, yet the whole time the law and the prophets or the entire Old Testament already speaks about. Like from Gen 3.
Genesis 3:15 NIV
15 And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”
Speaking of Jesus. Noah before the rain falls by faith builds an Ark and is saved. Abraham which is a point Paul will make later in chapter 4, went out by faith.
Isaiah 1:18 NIV
18 “Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.
Isaiah 53:5–6 NIV
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. 6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
Isaiah 61:1 NIV
1 The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners,
Ezekiel 36:26 NIV
26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.
Justification
Ezekiel 36:27 NIV
27 And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.
Sanctification.
I could go on and on. From cover to cover, verse after verse testifies to the gospel of Jesus Christ. The law and the prophets testify about it. And once you see it, as you turn the pages of scripture you see it everywhere.
The next verse, verse 22, really elaborates on this.
Romans 3:22 NIV
22 This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile,
This righteousness here in verse 22, the righteousness of Christ, His perfect sinless perfect righteousness that is given to us, It is God’s righteousness that is communicated to us by faith, to all who believe. Independent of who you were in the earlier chapters. No matter what type of sinner you are-no matter what you have done. BECASUE THAT IS NOT WHAT IT DEPENDS ON IT DOESN’T DEPEND ON US BUT ON CHRIST.
We trust in christ’s righteousness, not our own. Our own attempts at the law don’t work. We all come up short, we all miss the mark, whatever we do is filthily rags like in Isaiah and like in the next verse.
Romans 3:23 NIV
23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
We all sin-we all do not measure up to the glory of God, the perfect sinless holiness and glory of God, we all fall short, so relying on ourselves is insufficient. The only way to attain the righteousness we need to approach God is to trust in Christ’s righteousness.
We need to trust that Christ was sinless, trust that on judgement day our works will not measure up to God’s standard but trust that Christ’s work will. Trust that when Jesus died on the cross, he paid for OUR sins personally yours, mine, us personally. Your very specific sin-what you did wrong yesterday. Faith that Jesus is fully God and fully man, faith that God raised Jesus from the dead.
It is this turning from trusting in what you do and turning toward trusting in what Jesus did. When you do that you are “in” Christ, and you are declared just you are justified on the basis of His righteousness because you are in him.
This is not just a spiritual solution that occurs in the heavenlies-becasue when this happens you are born again, and the process begins you are changed something happened you are not the same as you were you can’t be-
The Gospel is a solution, a real solution, for those who place their faith in Christ, it is a way out of the problem of sin. We have been offered a solution for the problem of sin, now Christians everywhere, the wider, church, and us personally must offer this solution as way out of the problem for the world-All have sinned. All have sinned all have fallen short.
We as those who are justified by the righteousness of Christ, along with the rest of the world are also part of the All that have sinned and all have fallen short. We are are not carrying our righteousness but Christ’s righteousness, and we can offer that offer that solution to others. The law is the mirror to make us aware of our sins. The righteousness is solution. When the law brings the weight of guilt upon the sinners heart, we need to be quick to offer the solution available in gospel. .
THe wider universal christian church has brought the law to bear on the souls of unbelievers succesfully in many situations, such as the subject of abortion, now the church must offer the solution avaiable in the gospel of Jesus Christ.
The problem of sin, isn’t the specific sin. The problem of sin is that world is “in” sin. The problem is that the world has a sin nature. For some it is is the sin of greed, for others, pride, for others sexually immorality, for others murder, for others it is several of them. One day the whole human race will stand before the judgement throne of God, and be declared guilty. The universal solution for all those sins is the gospel.
The church must strive to proclaim this gospel. The church must offer this gospel and preach this gospel to the the world. It is the only solution.
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