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The Solution Played it Out

Romans  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  22:45
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Romans 3:21–26 NIV
21 But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22 This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25 God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— 26 he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.
Justification and God’s Righteousness (Romans 3:21-26)
We are in this section in Romans that focuses on Justification and God’s Righteousness. Many theologians have called this paragraph the central point of Romans, Luther said it is the hinge upon which all of redemptive history swings, and Leon Morris said that is the most important paragraph ever written.
Last week, we looked at verses 21 to 23, in those verses Paul explained the solution that God provided for the problem of the sinfulness of the human race, the solution is that in the Gospel the righteousness of God is revealed.
Next, Paul explains how that solution is played out. We can have a great solution to a problem, but unless the details of the solution are explained there is a chance that it all remains theoretical, and never gets out into effect.
The problem as you recal is from Romans 1.18.
Romans 1:18 NIV
18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness,
The wrath of God is against all mankind, and we are not justified by the law, or by attempting to be good.
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 solution is
Justification and God’s Righteousness (Romans 3:21-26).
The solution described-(vs.21-23)
The Origin, the Method, the Means (vs. 24-26)
The Origin
God the Father
Where does this justification or where does this alien righteousness come from?
Romans 3:24 NIV
24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
Paul writes- all are justified freely by HIS Grace.
The origin of our justification is God and His grace.
Here in verse 24, Paul says all are justified freely by His grace-who is the all Paul is referring to? Is it all, like all of mankind? the all in verse 24, is the all in verse 22-all who believe-
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,
All who believe then are all who justified freely by His grace.
next slide (not read)
Romans 3:24 NIV
24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
Justified freely by his grace-The source of the justification is God and his grace,- it is not of us.
Grace means unmerited favor. It is unmerited-there is nothing that you do that causes grace. God’s righteousness comes to us from God, freely-by His unmerited favor.
We are not justified by attending church, or through baptism. The sacraments are not vehicles for grace. If that were the case the the sentence would need to say something like, to all who are justified, by the sacraments, through the church. We are justified by the unmerited OR UNEARNED favor of God
Like it is said again in Ephesians chapter 2, verse 8-which says-
Ephesians 2:8 NIV
8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—
Through faith-not the sacraments.
God the Father, initiates it, by sending God the son Jesus. Jesus also freely gave himself up for us willingly, and Jesus did will of the Father-
God freely gave us the gift of justification. That is the origin-God the Father.
The Method
The Cross
Next, the method of our Justification-the Cross.
The cross is how God the Father is able to justify us. The cross is the method God the Father used to secure our justification.
In the cross Paul shows us three important points involved with our justification.
The Cross
The Redemption
The Propitiation
The Demonstration
At the cross we see the redemption, the propitiation, and the demonstration. We will take these one at a time, starting with redemption.
Romans 3:24 NIV
24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
We talked about this earlier, the Bible says that the whole human race is under sin. Being under sin is positional with respect to authority. Paul, now starts to introduce new imagery of a financial, slave market nature. We are under the authority of sin, or we are all enslaved to sin.
But for ALL who believe-Christ Jesus by the cross redeems us. That means He buys us out of slavery to sin.It is as if we are slaves on an auction block and Christ purchases us by His blood. Just like how the Jews were redeemed from slavery to Egypt. Christ has purchased us with his blood by his death we are no longer slave to sin. This is sometimes referred to as the ransom rescue. The result is that since you are purchased by Christ, You now belong to Jesus.
The Cross
Redemption
Propitiation
Demonstration
Next, The cross does not only provide redemption it is also a propitiation.
Romans 3:25 NIV
25 God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished—
In the NIV the translation reads God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement. If we would use the NASB translation we would read.
Romans 3:25 NASB95
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;
To whom God displayed publically as a propitiation. The greek word there is sometimes translated as atonement as it is in the NIV, but it can also be translated as as propitiation. Either of these words are not common to our modern thought.
Let me explain what we are talking about. When two parties are in disagreement, they need to come together, or they need to reconcile. Sin is our doing something wrong against God. Even when we wrong our neighbor, we are still in the wrong with respect to God, since God has told us to love one another.
Now the Jews kept the 10 commandments in a box called the ark of the covenant. The cover of the box was called the mercy seat or the atonement cover. There is the same word in the Greek translation of the Old Testament.
When people broke the 10 commandments the priest killed an animal by shedding blood and sprinkled it on the atonement cover. This was done in private behind the curtain of the Holy of Holies. The blood covered the sin of the people and the relationship between God and the people was reconciled or restored, upon the mercy seat.
When a relationship that was broken is restored 2 things need to happen. The wronged party needs to no longer be angry. They must be placated the anger must stop. Also, the wrongs that have been committed need to forgiven or removed.
There are two words that refer to this process. The same Greek word again-Propitiation, and also expiation. Propitiation is the satisfying of God the Father’s righteous anger toward sin. God does not like sin. Sin angers God. Paul has been making that clear.
Romans 1:18 NIV
18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness,
Romans 2:5 NIV
5 But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed.
Romans 3:5 NIV
5 But if our unrighteousness brings out God’s righteousness more clearly, what shall we say? That God is unjust in bringing his wrath on us? (I am using a human argument.)
God has this wrath or righteous anger toward sin. If justification is going to happen or if the relationship is going to be reconciled God’s wrath must be propitiated or His wrath must be satisfied. In the cross the wrath of God which is due to us for our wrongs is poured out on Jesus instead-so that God is no longer angry at our sin. But that is not all, something still needs to happen to those sins. Then, at the cross also is this idea of expiation. That is contained in the Jewish mind when they talk about the atonement cover,, this is called expiation. The prefix EX meaning away- Our sins are taken away from us. The theologian John Stott notes that we can always remember this dual action of the cross by looking at the cross itself. The vertical beam represents that God and us are reconciled through Jesus on the cross, and the horizontal beam represents that our sins are removed from us or taken away from us.
At the cross God’s wrath is satisfied and our sins are removed.
The Cross
The redemption
The propitiation
The Demonstration
At the cross, is the redemption, the propitiation and finally the demonstration.
Romans 3:25 NIV
25 God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished—
Notice this also, who presented this sacrifice of atonement -it was God-God presented the sacrifice, not initiated by us, and He did this to demonstrate his righteousness.
The cross was not done in secret at all. Not behind the curtain of the holy of Holies, not strictly within the Jewish camp so that it was only for the religious, but God demonstrated his righteousness at the cross, publically, for all to see.
He needed to demonstrate His righteousness because in His forbearance, or patience, God had not punished the sins of mankind. He left them unpunished.
If you think back to the garden, God said if you sin you will die. Then, Satan approached Eve to tempt her and he said if you sin, you will not surely die. This is the lie still being perpetuated today. It is that God looks the other way at sin. SIn is unimportant sin does not need to punished, this is a lie.
God would have appeared unrighteous if he allowed sin to continue and did not pour out his wrath. The cross was God waiting patiently, enduring with sin and his wrath until the time was right, then God the Father demonstrated that He does punish sins, by punishing His son Jesus.
If God did not so this, the world could have said God doesn’t care about sin, he allows it to go unpunished. Now, all people can see Jesus and see that the wrath of God has been poured out. We can see that sin did not go unpunished, it was laid on Jesus.
The Means
Faith
The cross is the method God the Father uses to secure our justification, now for the means God uses.
The means by which we are justified freely by God’s grace is through faith. By our faith.
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,
and
Romans 3:25 NIV
25 God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished—
and
Romans 3:26 NIV
26 he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.
those who have faith. There is nothing of us, there is nothing of merit in our faith. Grace comes from God as free gift, grace is not earned, and our faith is not a a meritorious act to earn God’s grace,
God has made the initiative, to provide the solution to mankind’s sinfulness. He has made it know publically through the cross, reconciling us to Him and bestowing on us the gift of grace to be declared just, and we believe him. John Stott said it well he said,
“ Christianity, by contrast, is not in its essence a religion at all; it is a gospel, the gospel, good news that God’s grace has turned away his wrath, that God’s Son has died our death and borne our judgment, that God has mercy on the undeserving, and that there is nothing left for us to do, or even contribute. Faith’s only function is to receive what grace offers.”
Faith only function is to receive what grace offers. Faith is how we receive this grace and this good news. Faith in itself is not meritorious however Biblical faith does something. Faith is not only intellectual assent, it cannot be. Biblical faith results in actions consistent with what be believe.Biblical faith is more than intellectual assent, it is a belief that results in an action. Paul will elaborate on this in chapter 4, and when we get there we will cover it in more detail.
But for now this that faith that receives grace is faith that changes your life. If your life has not been changed, or effected in some way by your faith, you do not have saving faith.
When I say this faith changes us, we have to ask in what ways? How does this play out, and what does this look like?
If we are to sum up our application from this paragraph in Romans 3:21-26, we would say it should cause in the believer a humble confidence.
The Application
A Humble Confidence
People who do not know Romans 3:21-26, are in danger of having either Humility or confidence, but an understanding of this passage produces both together. People who rely on there own merits, become very confident in their standing before God. They got here the old-fashioned way they earned it. Baby boomers are particularly susceptible to this. They are certainly the greatest generation, they worked hard and earned everything they have, and that is a noble and great thing, However, as we learned this is not the gospel. The gospel is grace freely given, and recieved by faith not earned, it is given freely to all who believe.
The other side is the false humility, where people have no confidence. They say well we will just have to see, what happens, God alone can judge, keep my fingers crossed.
A humble confidence is having faith that we are justified. There are three quick parts to humble confidence,
A humble Confidence
We are justified-our sin no longer defines us.
First, when we are justified, our sin no longer defines us. When we know that justification was secured at the cross, we know that we have been reconciled to God the Father, we are no longer under the wrath of God. We are no longer failures. We are justified, we are adopted as sons and daughters we are bought out of slavery into freedom in Christ, we belong to him now.
A humble Confidence
We are justified
We are free-to NOT sin
A humble confidence, knowing that we are justified, and we belong to Jesus, now means we are free-to NOT sin.
We are free to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit into holiness. We are free to walk with the Spirit, following Jesus. We do not need to continue in sin, because in essence sin is following after our own desires, our desires are now for God.
You no longer have that oppression of legal dependance hanging over you head. Your behavior is not to be part of God’s family, it is because you are God’s child.
A humble Confidence
We are justified
We are free-to NOT sin
We are humble-the sins of the world are of the not yet justified.
Lastly, knowing that we were all once under sin, and knowing that we did nothing to justify ourselves, helps us look at the world in a whole new way. We see the world differently. Knowing that we were once lost as they were enable to see the world as the not yet justified, they are pre-born of the born again.
God may at some point save anyone of them, but they must believe the gospel. They must hear the gospel. The gospel must be publically demonstratedd.
We change our focus from trying to stop their sin-to trying to help them become justified.
The gospel takes center focus, and God is the initiator. The failures and short comings of the NOT YET justified do not define them either.
Brothers and sister rely on Jesus, and walk in a humble confidence.
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