Scripture: “But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law (although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it) … (it is) the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe.
For there is no distinction: (for) All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God and are (only) justified by his grace as a gift through the redemption that is Christ Jesus—whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith.
This was to show God’s righteousness because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.
It was to show his righteousness at the present time so that he might be Just…and the Justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” Ro 3:21-26
Observation: Like a good lawyer, Paul parses his argument carefully…and in doing so, peels the curtain away from the mystery that is the Gospel.
Analysis: My wife and I have been reviewing Romans together. No doubt about it, it can be a mind twister…and, more unfortunate, it can cause the reading believer to start looking for something else to read.
When I was just starting in the faith, that was the way it was for me. Phooey on Romans; ahhh, I like reading Ephesians better. Yep, that is exactly the way it was. After that, I just picked up on eye-candy scripture references out of Romans—a little scripture bullet here, a bible bomb there—just enough to keep my hand in it.
And then about 20 years ago my attitude changed.
My pastor at the time introduced me to Systematic Theology…and all the stuff I learned in the previous 30 years started to fall into specific patterns starting with the Attributes of God.
Ro 3 has a bunch to say and most of the time in my past I picked up on v23 where “all have sinned…” but now that didn’t include me ‘cause “now I am a Christian.” How shortsighted.
A “key” (not the only key, but one of them) to understanding the width and breadth of the Gospel is found right after that: “…and are (only, my insert) justified by his grace as a gift…to be received by faith.”
It makes the end of the passage understandable: “…so that he might be Just…” (all fall short and all deserves his Furious Wrath) … and “the Justifier” for those who have faith that Jesus was the Atonement for sin (his Mercy and Grace as a gift).
What’s the point? Previously in Chapter 2, Paul talks about how men make distinction. Here in Chapter 3, God does not make distinction, period. Now the Atonement, found at the Cross, becomes wonderous in our eyes.
Hammer point: The Gospel is way more that can be imagined. Way more…
Prayer: Father, thank you for the time I had with my wife today going over this very subject. Your Grace is all that I need. It allows me to draw near to you in faith, realizing what I deserve but grateful that You made a way. AMEN.