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Andy and Melissa Beshore

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Exposition of Romans - Chapter 3 - Part 2

Exposition on Romans
written by Andy (edited and organized by Melissa)

God’s Righteousness Through Faith – Romans 3:21-26

Beginning in verse 21, Paul changes his focus. He has finished proving that man can in no way attain his own righteousness, so the only righteousness that remains is that which can only be found in Christ. This righteousness can only be provided by God (Isaiah 45:8) when God starts the process of salvation convicting us of our sin, God’s righteousness, and God’s judgment by the Holy Spirit (John 16:7-11). How is righteousness provided to us? Through faith in Christ (Romans 3:22). Notice that it says nothing about works. Ephesians 2:8-9 says the same thing. It cannot be about works, because no matter how many good works any of us have done, it does not matter because “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Our sins are what send us to hell. The glory of God is His sinless perfection, embodied in the life that Christ lived. None of us can ever hope to attain that. That is why it is necessary to put faith in Christ. He kept the law perfectly for us (See 2 Corinthians 5:21). Since we come to the Father through Him (See John 14:6), we can trust in His perfect work on the cross.
We are justified (v. 24) when we repent and put our faith in Him. The penalty we deserve, death and eternal torment in hell for breaking God’s law, was paid for us in Jesus’ sinless life and atoning work on the cross. Justification, an essential doctrine of the faith, in addition to containing our forgiveness, also imputes Christ’s righteousness on believers, as an ink stamp imputes its stamp on an envelope. This stamp is what God sees that allows Him to forgive us and allow us to enter heaven. Only because Christ was sinless (2 Corinthians 5:21) can we be declared righteous. If He had sinned, His sacrifice would contain no validity. Because He did not sin, His perfection is “stamped” on us and we are allowed to enter the celestial city.

We are justified through Christ’s grace (v. 24) when we repent of our sins and realize that there is nothing that we can do to earn eternal life. It is a gift (Ephesians 2:8-9). Romans 3:24 says “freely,” also indicating that God’s grace supplied through Christ is a gift, because gifts are free. This supernatural gift is only given when God does a work in the heart of a sinner, whereby the Holy Spirit convicts the depraved sinner of sin, producing Godly sorrow (2 Corinthians 7:10) before repentance.

Christ redeemed sinners (v. 24). What if you had been guilty of a heinous crime that called for a fifty thousand dollar fine or imprisonment until the fine could be paid, and you could not pay it. Wouldn’t you feel redeemed if a total stranger, whom you did not even know paid your fine for you? Well, that is, in essence, the very thing that is exemplified in Christ’s work on the cross. We are all guilty (Romans 3:19, 23). We deserve punishment (hell for eternity), Christ, Whom we did not know before conversion came in and paid our fine for us in His perfect obedience to God’s law and death and resurrection. If our faith is in Him, we are redeemed.

Romans 3:25 says, “whom God sent forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God has passed over the sins that were previously committed” It was God’s decision to send Christ. He would have been totally just if He never sent Christ. He would have been totally just if He let us all perish and suffer eternally in hell, because that is what we all deserve. But God did not want to let that happen (See Romans 5:8). So, He sent His son to live in our place.

“Propitiation” in verse 25 refers to the fact that the brutal murder and crucifixion of Christ on Calvary satisfied God’s righteous requirement of wrath to be leashed upon sinners. If God had not poured out His wrath on Christ to such a point that while He was on the cross the Father had to look away and forsake His Son(Matthew 27:46), He would have saved it for us. We would not be able to handle it. Imagine the worst possible way to die. Now imagine something infinitely worse. You probably still would not adequately characterize the feeling of God’s wrath. The only other way God’s justice could be served if someone’s faith is not in Christ, is if the sinner spends eternity in hell. Those are the only two ways God’s judgment can be satisfied.

The propitiation is only effective when we put our faith in Christ (v. 25) and repent of our sins. This faith is not a one-time ordeal. It goes on over a believer’s entire life. Only God can give faith to believers (Ephesians 2:8) and it’s the only way that believers show they are righteous in the sight of God (Romans 3:22, 25; among others). In order to have saving faith, we need to understand the complete Gospel, experience sorrow over our sin (2 Corinthians 7:10), experience joy over what God has done for us (Romans 6:17, 15:13), and trust Christ implicitly for everything from that point forward. This type of faith will result in an overarching characteristic of obedience to the nature and will of God.

Romans 3:25-26 speak of God demonstrating His righteousness. This basically was accomplished in the entirety of Christ’s earthly existence. Christ demonstrated God’s righteousness by not sinning (2 Corinthians 5:21). God cares for what is right. It is not right to sin against God. It would be right of God to slaughter every one of us and send every one of us to hell for eternity for sinning against Him. Instead, all our sins, past, present, and future, fell on Christ’s shoulders on the cross, provided that we respond to the Gospel. All the while, God is patient with us, exercising His forbearance (v. 25). He could annihilate us any time He wants since we are so sinful. Instead, he holds back His wrath, giving sinful humanity the chance to get right with Him. What are you waiting for?

Verse 26 says, “That He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” By slaughtering His own Son instead of us, God is just. Justice is satisfied because the penalty we deserve all fell on Christ at Calvary. Either we will put our faith in Christ and accept His payment for our sins on His behalf (being justified), or we will pay for our sins eternally in hell. Either way, God is just.

Boasting Excluded – Romans 3:27-31

Since our salvation has nothing to do with us and everything to do with what Christ did for us, we have nothing to boast in, except to boast in Christ. Salvation has nothing to do with us keeping a law. None of us can keep the law and nobody ever will keep the law. Since sin is transgression of the law (1 John 3:4), we will always be guilty from that standpoint. No amount of good works can outweigh all the sins we have committed. The only thing we can trust in is Christ to save us (Romans 3:27-28). That is our only hope.

Lastly, verse 31 says, “Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law.” The law still serves very important roles to the Christian. The law helps us see why we need saving in the first place (Galatians 3:24, Romans 7:7, Romans 7:13, Romans 3:19, Psalm 19:7). The law makes grace amazing and the law is written on believers’ hearts (Romans 2:15). The believer has an inborn capacity to obey the law since one of their Christian characteristics is sensitivity to sin (1 John 2:3-5) (Romans 8:3-4).

This concludes chapter three. This will be the last one of these for a while. I want to try to read through more of the New Testament. Taking the time to prepare these, while beneficial in educating myself, is keeping me in Romans for too long a chunk of time. I need to spend time in the rest of the New Testament as well. If God allows, I plan on resuming this series one day, but I have yet do determine if or when that will be. I hope this has been of benefit. God bless!

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