The Book of ROMANS
James J. Barker
JUSTIFIED BY FAITH WITHOUT THE DEEDS OF THE LAW
Text: ROMANS 3:27-31
- I am going to speak tonight on the important doctrine of justification by faith (3:24, 28).
- The Scofield Study Bible says:
Justification and righteousness are inseparably united in Scripture by the fact that the same word (dikaios, "righteous"; dikaioo, "to justify") is used for both. The believing sinner is justified because Christ, having borne his sins on the cross, has been "made unto him righteousness" (I Corinthians 1:30). Justification originates in grace (Romans 3:24; Titus 3:4, 5); is through the redemptive and propitiatory work of Christ, who has vindicated the law (Romans 3:24, 25; 5:9); is by faith, not works (Romans 3:28-30; 4:5; 5:1; Galatians 2:16; 3:8, 24); and may be defined as the judicial act of God whereby He justly declares righteous one who believes on Jesus Christ. It is the Judge Himself (Romans 8:31-34) who thus declares. The justified believer has been in court, only to learn that nothing is laid to his charge (Romans 8:1, 33, 34).
- The Jews opposed this doctrine of justification by faith, but Paul points out that the Old Testament witnessed to it (3:21).
- W.H. Griffith Thomas said the self-righteous Jew "misread his Scriptures, he misconceived his religion, and he misunderstood his God...and thus the apostle Paul strikes effectively at the root of Jewish prejudice, pride, and self-sufficiency" (St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans).
- Here in the last few verses of Romans chapter 3, the apostle Paul defends the great doctrine of justification by faith (3:28).
THIS DOCTRINE ELIMINATES BOASTING (3:27, 28).
- All men are born boasters. Spurgeon said we are all prone to boasting; "it is the common sin of our race."
- Both Scripture and experience teach us that unregenerate religious men like to boast (cf. 2:17). Our Lord gave the parable of the Pharisee and the publican who went up into the temple to pray (Luke 18:9-14).
- The Pharisee wasn't really praying; he was boasting (Luke 18:11, 12).
- Ephesians 2:8, 9 says, "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast."
- I have heard Roman Catholics boast of their good works. And Jews, Muslims, Jehovah's Witnesses, and many others, but I have never heard a Bible-believing Baptist boast, because we know we are saved by God's grace -- and "not of works, lest any man should boast."
- Justification by faith eliminates human pride.
- "Where is boasting then? It is excluded" (Rom. 3:27).
- How is boasting excluded? "By the law of faith" (3:27b). "Law" here does not refer to the law of Moses, but to a principle or rule. The principle is, "Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law" (Romans 3:28).
- James refers to this as "the perfect law of liberty" in James 1:25 and 2:12.
- Works give an occasion for boasting, but there is no merit in simply believing the Gospel.
- W.H. Griffith Thomas said, "Trust in another is absolutely incompatible with self-righteousness and dependence on our own powers. The very fact that we are dependent on another shows that we thereby cease to depend upon ourselves" (St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans).
THIS DOCTRINE ELIMINATES PREJUDICE (3:29, 30).
- The Jews believed that God was their God, and that He was not the God of the Gentiles. The New Testament refutes this, but so does the Old Testament.
- Jeremiah 10:7 says the God of Israel is "King of nations." The word "nations" means "heathen" and "Gentiles."
- In Daniel 3:29, King Nebuchadnezzar said, "Therefore I make a decree, That every people, nation, and language, which speak any thing amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill: because there is no other God that can deliver after this sort."
- King Nebuchadnezzar made another profession of faith in the God of Israel in Daniel chapter 4.
- Later, in Daniel 6:26, King Darius said, "I make a decree, That in every dominion of my kingdom men tremble and fear before the God of Daniel: for he is the living God, and stedfast for ever, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed, and his dominion shall be even unto the end."
- The LORD said to Jonah the prophet, "Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me" (Jonah 1:2).
- Many other examples could be given. Nevertheless, the Jews were proud and stubborn and they were prejudiced against Gentiles.
- So the apostle Paul reminded them that God is not only the God of the Jews, but He is "the God of the Gentiles also: Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith" (3:29, 30).
- There is only one true God, and He justifies the circumcision (Jews) by faith, and He justifies the uncircumcision (Gentiles) through faith (3:29, 30).
- There is a popular Pentecostal television preacher from Texas called John Hagee, who teaches that the Jews and the Gentiles have a different way to salvation. This contradicts Romans 3:29 and 30, as well as many other Scriptures.
- Hagee has argued that his words have been taken out of context and misunderstood, etc., but there are many audio and video recordings, books and interviews which prove he was not taken out of context or misunderstood.
- "Jesus did not come to the earth to be the Messiah" (from John Hagee's book, In Defense of Israel).
- "The Jewish people have a relationship to God through the law of God as given through Moses. I believe that every Gentile person can only come to God through the cross of Christ. I believe that every Jewish person who lives in the light of the Torah, which is the word of God, has a relationship with God and will come to redemption...The law of Moses is sufficient enough to bring a person into the knowledge of God until God gives him a greater revelation. And God has not."
- This is Hagee said to the Houston Chronicle, "I'm not trying to convert the Jewish people to the Christian faith."
- Hagee teaches, "The law of Moses is sufficient enough to bring a person into the knowledge of God." This contradicts the Bible (Romans 3:28-30).
- God justifies both Jew and Gentile on the basis of faith, not works.
THIS DOCTRINE ESTABLISHES THE LAW (3:31).
- Some have thought that since works are excluded, and we are no longer under the Mosaic law, that the law was now "void" (3:31).
- Paul says, "God forbid" (3:31; cf. 3:4, 6; 6:1, 2, 15; 7:7, 13; 9:14; 11:1, 11).
- The Greek word translated "establish" means "to stand." Our Lord said, a "house divided against itself shall not stand" (Matthew 12:25).
- The Greek word means, "to make firm." It means "to put the Law in its proper place."
- Critics (both Jew and Gentile) of grace argue that it leads to "loose living." To this argument Paul says, on the contrary, the Gospel establishes the law, that is, the Gospel puts the law on its proper foundation as a revelation of God's will.
- The Scofield Study Bible says, "The sinner establishes the law in its right use and honour by confessing his guilt, and acknowledging that by it he is justly condemned. Christ, on the sinner's behalf, establishes the law by enduring its penalty, death" (cf. Matthew 5:17, 18).
- Our Lord said, "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled" (Matthew 5:17, 18).
A pastor often preached on the doctrine of justification by faith, and he heard comments that some people were tired of it.
I appreciate his explanation:
"I grew up in Charleston, South Carolina, and I must confess that I never did lose the joy of looking upon the Atlantic Ocean. There was always something different about it and yet, after all, if there is anything that has an abiding sameness about it, it is the Atlantic Ocean, or the sea. As Mr. Spurgeon has spoken of it, 'There is always a freshness in the undulation of the waves, the whiteness of the foam of the breakers, the curl of the crested billow, and the frolicsome pursuit of every wave by its long train of brothers.' We have never complained about the sea being the same everyday and yet, there it is constantly. The sun does not give us a great deal of variety either. All Texans can appreciate that. It comes up in the morning, it reaches the apex of its height in the skies, and then it goes down in the west. Every year, it does not vary. Itís the same old sun, but we never grow weary of the sun. We never say, 'This is wearisome to us to observe the sun come up in the east, rise to the heights of the sky wherever we may be, and then descend into the west.' Or the bread that we eat day by day, everyday usually we eat some bread. And we donít grow tired of bread because it is truly the staff of life. There are some things that are very repetitious with us, but which at the same time we really, truly, deeply need and appreciate.
Well, the doctrine of justification by faith to a believer in Jesus Christ is something like that. I never grow weary, and Iím sure you do not either, of the great doctrine of justification by faith, whereby the apostle, through the merits of the Lord Jesus Christ, declares us righteous by virtue of what Christ has done" S. Lewis Johnson.