Study Through Romans: Lesson 11 :: By Sean Gooding

Chapter 3:21-31
God Made the Way for Everyone

But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, 26 to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

27 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith.                  28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law. 29 Or is He the God of the Jews only? Is He not also the God of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also, 30 since there is one God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith. 31 Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law.

Last week we took a dark look at the condition of mankind before the Holy Living God. We are sinners, evil as the day is long. Our sin separates us from the Lord God; He cannot keep company in the Shekinah Glory with sinful men. People will say that Jesus hung out with sinful men, He went to their homes and ate at their tables. Yes, He did. But Jesus was not in His Shekinah Glory here on earth. He, according to Philippians 2:5-7, put that aside for us and humbled Himself to the death on the cross. Thus, Jesus, the Man/God, was able to sit with us and commune with us, and touch us and not have His glory kill us.

Recall Moses when he went up to the mountain to receive the Commandments understood this in Exodus 33:19-20:

“I will cause all My goodness to pass before you,’ the LORD replied, ‘and I will proclaim My name—the LORD—in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” And He added, “You cannot see My face, for no one can see Me and live.”

In a similar manner, Isaiah in chapter 6 of his prophetic book sees God, and immediately he is cut to his very soul:

Isaiah 6:1-5 “In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory. And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke. Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.

Wow, what a response from this great prophet, “Woe is me!” Man, too many of us just don’t have this level of reverence any more for the Lord God. We are unguarded in His presence. While He is our Heavenly Father, we have lost the reverence that was once afforded to earthly fathers. It is not a mistake that the world system has worked hard to devalue men in the home and make fathers out to be buffoons and idiots. The devil knows the value of dads and fathers. Weaken the dad, destroy the family. In the same way, the trickle-up effect is that we have less respect for the Lord God as well.

Let us take a look at the wonder of our Heavenly Father and try to recapture the awe, the breath-taking view of who He is.

  1. He is Righteous, verses 21-26

There are no less than 4 times in these verses where God’s righteousness is mentioned. This is not an accident. In the previous 20 verses beginning at verse 1, we have a picture of man’s sinfulness; we are told how evil we are, every word and thought, every action and reaction is evil. In contrast, we are now being told how righteous God is. This magnifies the gap, the gorge more accurately between sinful mankind and the righteous God. The chasm is virtually uncrossable. In contrast to men who always do what is wrong, God always does what is right. Every word is right, every thought is right, every action and re-action is right. His judgments are always right. He is Righteous to the same degree that we are sinful.

We are totally sinful and God is totally perfect. This distinction is often missed in the Lord’s churches today. We have watered down how sinful we truly are, and as such, we have tempered how perfect Jesus/God is. The gap between God and man then does not seem so far, and His salvation does not seem so needed and so awesome. The wonder of the cross, the gloriousness of His sacrifice, the beauty of His love for sinful reprobates (Romans 5:8) is diminished and we lose the awe, the wonder and the wow factor of the salvation that was bought for us in the blood of our Savior Jesus the Christ.

There are still some that get it. We sing songs like ‘Nobody Loves Me like You Love Me’ by Chris Tomlin, ‘The Greatness of Our God’ by Newsboys United, ‘Alive’ by Big Daddy Weave, ‘My Story’ and a host of other songs we can see that some still get it. The Holy Spirit is still revealing the wonder of the cross, the power of the empty tomb; and the Holy Spirit is still revealing the depth of our depravity. We still sing songs like ‘Amazing Grace,’ ‘There is a Fountain filled with Blood,’ ‘At the Cross,’ and ‘What can Wash Away My Sins.’ You see the depravity of man and the righteousness of man played out in songs.

May we never lose the wonder of the salvation that was bought for us at such a great expense. Let us never forget the blood that was shed, the very lifeblood of Jesus that covers and washes away our sins. Let us never forget that Jesus did in 6 hours on the cross what 4,000 years of animal sacrifices could not do. Let us never forget that there are no chairs in the Temple; the High Priest’s work was never done, so he could not sit. BUT Jesus sat down after the work on the cross was done because He, the Righteous God, shed His pure, perfect, innocent blood for us.

Take a look at Colossians 3:1: “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.”

and Hebrews 1:3:

“He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.”

Jesus did the job. There is nothing more to be done for salvation. The gorge has been bridged, the chasm filled in, the distance erased, and now the ever-sinful mankind can have fellowship with the ever-perfect Godhead. This is the Gospel, the Good News that the entire Bible is about. God made a way when there was no way. God did for us what we could not do for ourselves. We could never be good enough to have fellowship with God, so Jesus came, the God/Man, and He is our Righteousness. His righteousness covers our hideous sinfulness, and now we can come close to God and not die.

Oh, what a mighty God we serve! Oh, what a loving God we have! Oh, what a powerful God we have on our side! How can we ever shut up? How can we ever run out of songs to sing, poems to write or stories to tell? We cannot be silent when we have such wonderful a story.

  1. Not works, but Faith, verses 26-31

God knows that we could not be saved by doing enough righteous deeds so as to eradicate our evil deeds. The math would never work in our favor. We don’t even truly know the depth of our sinfulness. In Psalm 19:12, the writer talks about ‘hidden sins,’ sins that he did not even know that he had committed:

“Who can discern his own errors? Cleanse me from my hidden faults.” 

Sometimes we don’t even know we have sinned, but the righteous God knows that we have sinned. Therefore, God, in His mercy, made salvation by faith in what Jesus has done by living perfectly for us and then dying for us in our place. Once we place our faith in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus, we are made perfect before God by being ‘born again’ (John 3:3). We’re reborn in Jesus as perfect. This is an act of God, in us once we have faith. He, via the Holy Spirit, who is God as well, comes to live in us, and it is His perfection that covers our imperfections. One day, either by death or the rapture, we will get perfect bodies to complement our perfect souls.

Now, there are a lot of questions about the Law and what happens now that they are saved. Well, we are not required to keep the law for salvation, but Jesus in His wisdom left us the very substance of the law in the Gospel, Matthew 22:37-39: 

“Jesus declared, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'”

These two principles are all the law and the prophets. Now that we are saved, redeemed in and by Jesus, the Holy Spirit in us will equip us to live like this. No one will get to Heaven by living out the Law, but all who are citizens of Heaven through Jesus have the power in them to live like Jesus, love like Jesus, serve like Jesus and forgive like Jesus. Paul sums it up for us in Ephesians 2:8-10:

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”

Now, in Jesus and by Jesus and for Jesus, go and live out the life that Jesus has purchased for you with His blood.

God bless you,

Pastor Sean Gooding

Mississauga Missionary Baptist Church