The Book of ROMANS
James J. Barker

Lesson 13


Text: ROMANS 3:21-26


  1. It has been a few weeks since we left off here in Romans 3, and so I will review and then continue.
  2. There is an expression found several times in this epistle -- "the righteousness of God" (3:5, 21, 22) or "His righteousness" (3:25, 26).
  3. 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).
  4. "The righteousness of God" means God is the source of righteousness.
  5. Isaiah 64:6 says, "All our righteousnesses are as filthy rags."
  6. The book of Romans emphasizes God's gift of righteousness, which is given to "all that believe" (3:22).
  7. 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."
  8. 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."
  9. Sinners need God's righteousness; that is, they need to "get right with God," they need to be righteous.
  10. This is the great theme of this epistle (cf. 1:1, 16, 17).
  11. If sinners do not get right with God, then they must face "the righteous judgment of God" (2:5).
  12. 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).
  13. "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.
  14. 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."
  15. 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.
  16. The article refers to the pope's support for Islam and homosexuality and socialism, but says nothing about his false gospel.
  17. Romans 3:21 says, "the righteousness of God without the law (apart from works) is manifested..."
  18. 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."
  19. In contrast to man's self-righteousness, true righteousness comes from God. It is "the righteousness of God" (3:21).



  1. It is "by faith of (in) Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe" (3:22).
  2. The righteousness of God is to be accepted as a gift through simple faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
  3. It is received as a gift, not earned by works.
  4. 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..."
  5. The last invitation in Scripture is found in Revelation 22:17, "And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely."
  6. In Scripture, grace is always the opposite of works (cf. 11:6).
  7. 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 self-righteousness.
  8. 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).
  9. 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..."



  1. "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" (3:23).
  2. "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.
  3. The cross of Christ teaches us that God cannot and does not overlook sin (3:25).
  4. "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.
  5. 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.
  6. Hebrews 10:4 says, "For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins."
  7. The cross of Christ declares God's "righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God" (Rom. 3:25b).



  1. To "justify" means to declare righteous.
  2. Justification must be distinguished from sanctification, which means, "to make righteous." These are important doctrines.
  3. Justification includes the removal of guilt as well as the removal of condemnation (cf. 5:1; 8:1, 28-30).
  4. Other important doctrinal words found here are "redemption" and "propitiation" (3:24, 25).
  5. 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).
  6. This deliverance includes deliverance from the penalty of sin, the power of sin, and the presence of sin.
  7. Propitiation refers to the appeasement of God's wrath.
  8. The Bible teaches that God requires the propitiation because of His justice, and that He provides the propitiation because He is merciful.
  9. That is why the publican prayed, "God be merciful ("be propitious") to me a sinner" (Luke 18:13).
  10. 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.
  11. And there can be no propitiation without repentance and faith. "Repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ" (Acts 20:21).
  12. God is the One who propitiates, and God is the One who is propitiated. "What His justice demanded, His love provided" (Griffith Thomas).
  13. 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."
  14. 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."
  15. "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.
  16. There is power in the blood!
  17. 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).
  18. "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).



  1. God is just, and He is "the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus" (3:26).
  2. Therefore, the righteousness of God meets every need and satisfies every claim.

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