The Book of ROMANS
James J. Barker
THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD PART 2
Text: ROMANS 3:21-26
- It has been a few weeks since we left off here in Romans 3, and so I will review and then continue.
- There is an expression found several times in this epistle -- "the righteousness of God" (3:5, 21, 22) or "His righteousness" (3:25, 26).
- The first time we see this phrase in the book of Romans is in chapter 1 -- "For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith" (1:17).
- "The righteousness of God" means God is the source of righteousness.
- Isaiah 64:6 says, "All our righteousnesses are as filthy rags."
- The book of Romans emphasizes God's gift of righteousness, which is given to "all that believe" (3:22).
- Romans 3:26 says, "that He might be just (righteous), and the justifier (the One who declares men righteous) of him which believeth in Jesus."
- When we receive Christ, we receive His imputed righteousness. Second Corinthians 5:21 says, "For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him."
- Sinners need God's righteousness; that is, they need to "get right with God," they need to be righteous.
- This is the great theme of this epistle (cf. 1:1, 16, 17).
- If sinners do not get right with God, then they must face "the righteous judgment of God" (2:5).
- The righteousness of God has been manifested. Romans 3:21 says, "But now the righteousness of God without the law (apart from works) is manifested..." (cf. 16:26).
- "Without the law" means we are justified by faith, not by works. This is the major difference between what Baptists believe and what the Roman Catholic Church teaches.
- This morning I was a bit surprised to see this article on the Drudge Report -- "Why So Many People Think Pope Francis Is the Antichrist."
- The author says that many people think that this Jesuit pope from Latin America is either the Antichrist or the false prophet mentioned in the book of Revelation.
- The article refers to the pope's support for Islam and homosexuality and socialism, but says nothing about his false gospel.
- Romans 3:21 says, "the righteousness of God without the law (apart from works) is manifested..."
- Griffith Thomas says, "The thought of manifestation calls special attention to the essentially divine source of this righteousness, and the impossibility of its coming from man."
- In contrast to man's self-righteousness, true righteousness comes from God. It is "the righteousness of God" (3:21).
THE APPROPRIATION OF GOD'S RIGHTEOUSNESS
- It is "by faith of (in) Jesus Christ unto all and upon
all them that believe" (3:22).
- The righteousness of God is to be accepted as a
gift through simple faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
- It is received as a gift, not earned by
- The Bible emphasizes that we are saved and justified
by God's grace through faith, and not by works. Romans 3:24 says, "Being
justified freely by his grace..."
- The last invitation in Scripture is found in
Revelation 22:17, "And whosoever will, let him take the water of life
- In Scripture, grace is always the opposite of works
- Salvation by God's grace through faith implies
acceptance, reliance, dependence, and confidence; and this is the opposite of
self-effort, self-reliance, self-confidence, and
- W.H. Griffith Thomas said, "Grace in the New Testament
always means spontaneous, unmerited divine favor...and a consciousness of
grace will always enable us to 'pour contempt on all our pride'" (St.
Paul's Epistle to the Romans).
- We also have here the scope of God's
righteousness -- "Unto all and
upon all them that believe" (3:22).
"For God so loved the world..."
THE NEED FOR GOD'S RIGHTEOUSNESS
- "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" (3:23).
- "The glory of God" (3:23) is God's standard. All men are sinners, and all have come short of God's perfect standard. "For there is no difference" (3:22b) -- all men are sinners by birth and by choice.
- The cross of Christ teaches us that God cannot and does not overlook sin (3:25).
- "The forbearance of God" (3:25) speaks of God's self-restraint (cf. 2:4). God gave sinners time to repent. Unfortunately, sinners misunderstand God's forbearance and mistakenly believe they will escape divine retribution.
- In the Old Testament, the sins of men were passed over, but they were not completely taken away. The epistle to the Hebrews stresses this.
- Hebrews 10:4 says, "For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins."
- The cross of Christ declares God's "righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God" (Rom. 3:25b).
THE BESTOWAL OF GOD'S RIGHTEOUSNESS (3:24, 25)
- To "justify" means to declare righteous.
- Justification must be distinguished from sanctification, which means, "to make righteous." These are important doctrines.
- Justification includes the removal of guilt as well as the removal of condemnation (cf. 5:1; 8:1, 28-30).
- Other important doctrinal words found here are "redemption" and "propitiation" (3:24, 25).
- Redemption means complete deliverance by a price paid, and it was Christ's substitutionary death on the cross that wrought this redemption (cf. 5:6-8).
- This deliverance includes deliverance from the penalty of sin, the power of sin, and the presence of sin.
- Propitiation refers to the appeasement of God's wrath.
- The Bible teaches that God requires the propitiation because of His justice, and that He provides the propitiation because He is merciful.
- That is why the publican prayed, "God be merciful ("be propitious") to me a sinner" (Luke 18:13).
- Then our Lord said, "I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other" (Luke 18:14). There is no justification without propitiation.
- And there can be no propitiation without repentance and faith. "Repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ" (Acts 20:21).
- God is the One who propitiates, and God is the One who is propitiated. "What His justice demanded, His love provided" (Griffith Thomas).
- This propitiation is available to all. Romans 3:22 says, it is "unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference."
- First John 2:2 says, "And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world."
- "Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood" (Romans 3:25). This speaks of the efficacy of the blood of Christ.
- There is power in the blood!
- It was because Jesus was the Son of God that His sacrifice was efficacious. "Without shedding of blood (there) is no remission" (Hebrews 9:22).
- "The cross of Christ not only justifies men to God, but justifies God to men, for it cleared the divine character from all appearances of indifference to sin" (Griffith Thomas).
- God is just, and He is "the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus" (3:26).
- Therefore, the righteousness of God meets every need and satisfies every claim.