Our world is in a state of confusion. The worlds problems are not modern but can be traced back through history.
God has given mankind the opportunities to try and change the world. Every civilization is littered with trouble and bad news. Abraham lived way down yonder in Mesopotamia in the great university of Ur with its massive library but they failed to know god and so god appeared to Abraham and called him to leave all and follow him and he would be blessed. He gave the Hittite empire the opportunity but they made a mess of everything. He gave the Egyptian dynasties great abilities and even a great prime minister called Joseph, the Prince of Egypt. They left the world worse than when they found it. God gave the Chaldeans the Iraqis the opportunity but they failed also. He gave the get empire of Iran –Persia, he permitted the Greeks to arise and conquer but they left a legacy of philosophies and poets and the world sank into depravity. God gave the romans the chance to save mankind but they brought slavery, might and war. The 21st century is no different God has given man the opportunity to change the world but he has gone mad killing millions in two world wars and millions from other wars and ideologies and
Christianity is not a philosophy that men thought up it is concrete history that God designed. It does not teach that men can save themselves or that man has become of age and needs no help from God. Christianity is not humanism a denial of the supernatural and makes man the centre of everything. He thinks he is clever but look at your news papers, is he clever? The human mind is distorted and encased in sin. Man must stat with god and his message.
The Bad News
Verse 20 tells us: “because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin”. God says all our good works as filthy rags in His eyes You can never earn my accepted by God because of your good works. Justification means that my charges have been dropped because Christ paid the penalty for sin. At that point your guilt is take away.
If you stop at verse 20 you have man hopelessly and helplessly separated from God and there would not be one single thing he could do about it. There would be no eternal hope for mankind. No matter how much a man works he can never achieve anything that would make him acceptable with God. Religion or works or education or culture can make us acceptable to the Lord God. God’s standard is infinite perfection. The news has been bad from 1:19 through 3:20.
The Good News
After hearing the bad news Paul gives us the good news. The bad news is the desperate condition of man.” In Romans 3:21 we are getting back to the good news. The real Christmas message.
verse 21. “But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets.” “But now.” That marks a turn in the argument. “But now,” God in the fullness of time sent forth his own son and sent him to the cross to die for men whom he loved.
The apostle has been talking about sin. And now he is going to talk about the remedy for sin. The word righteousness is dikaiosune, it is the righteous standard that God demands. The righteousness of God involves the standard by which God governs. He demands absolute righteousness, that his character, we are to adjust to his holiness. God has a standard and mankind is judged by his standard. It is his holiness, is uniqueness, is separateness, the standard of His character. It is what He requires. No man can reach it only God can impart it. Only God can satisfy his requirements. The Law cannot do it. The Law shows that man fails to be acceptable to God. It is a legal term that means to be declared righteous. When he says being justified freely he means being declared righteous. We are still sinners, but we are declared righteous. That is, by the grace of God we are given a righteous standing even though we are sinners before a holy and righteous God. That is the result of the imputation of the righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ. Although man does not meet his standard God in his mercy, grace and love found a way to bring lost man back to himself. He found a way to meet his standard and impart forgiveness.
He imparted it by his grace love and compassion. God shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. God provided a way that we can be acceptable to his standard we could never have earned or worked for. He is a God of love.
This righteousness is apart from the law, you cannot get it by doing something or keeping something. God can’t save you by the law simply because you cannot keep it, it demands perfection. God has done a tremendous thing, he has brought man into His family to be acceptable in His sight. The righteousness of God has now been manifested and it is apart from the Law. He has done it not us. Oh, those are good words. In other words, not by Law, but by another way, God’s righteousness is brought to light.
“For in it [the good news] the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘But the righteous man shall live by faith.’” The phrase is used 35 times in 30 verses in the book of Romans. It the character of a holy God.
Paul calls it the glorious gospel, the great gospel, it is the wonderful majestic gospel. “…according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God which was committed to my trust.” 1 Tim. 1:11.
Paul calls it a powerful gospel. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.” Romans 1:16. He calls it the power of God The gospel is not so much about morality or changing behaviour but giving new lives.
Jesus said the gospel had to be universally preached. “And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. Mark 15:16.
“So when they had testified and preached the word of the Lord, they returned to Jerusalem, preaching the gospel in many villages of the Samaritans.” Acts 8:25.
Paul believed the necessity of preaching the gospel. “For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for necessity is laid upon me; yes, woe is me if I do not preach the gospel!” 1 Cor. 9:16.
Paul calls it the mystery of the gospel. “and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, …”Eph. 6:19
John calls it the everlasting gospel. “Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth–to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people—Rev. 14:6
There are two things that bear witness to this—the Law and the Prophets.
The Law bore witness by the Mosaic sacrificial system. The tabernacle was the centre where the bloody sacrifices were offered which pointed to Christ. The purpose of it lies in the nature and purpose of the sacrificial system. God did not take pleasure in sacrifices if they were intended to be ways of approaching him for salvation. Now we know that the blood of bulls and goats cannot take away sin, but he is the one who instituted the bringing of sacrifices. What was the purpose? The sacrificial system shows all of us that God is a merciful God. The moral law was the Ten Commandments. The ceremonial law involved the sacrificial system. Man couldn’t meet up to the moral law, so God, through the sacrificial system, provided a way that man could still fellowship with Him and still walk in His presence. That is the mercy of God. God didn’t need to do that. This is the heart of God. When you talk about the righteousness of God, you are seeing the character of a loving God who wants His creation back on the level that He can fellowship with them again. So when the Lord God wanted to establish a conditioned reflex in Israel, he had them bring offerings. Every day they brought offerings. Then when they sinned they brought offerings. When they sinned, sin, sins they brought offerings. When they sinned trespasses in that way, they brought offerings. Peace offerings were brought, other types of offerings were brought. The sacrifice was designed to prepare Israel for the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. Sin means the death of a substitute, sin means the death of a substitutionary sacrifice. So when the Lord Jesus Christ comes they would be prepared for his coming.
The Prophets also bore witness to that fact. The fact that there would be a lamb to come, that the Son of God would one day come, the Messiah, the anointed one, the one who would take away the sins of the world. Jeremiah 23:6 says, “In His days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely.” God is not through with them, is He? There is going to come a day when Israel and Judah will be saved and dwell securely, “and this is His name by which He will be called, ‘The Lord our righteousness.’” Not the law our righteousness, but the Lord our righteousness.
The righteousness of God also has to do with the seriousness as well as the standard with which He governs. The Holy God, judged His own Son pouring out our sin and our judgment upon him. Now that is serious. That is why Jesus cried out, “Father, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” He didn’t wink at sin. He dealt with it in a very serious manner.
Sin is serious to God and the cross proves it. This is the good news. Jesus Christ came to die for our sins. Jesus, as a perfect man qualified to meet the demands of the Law. He was the only one qualified to be the spotless Lamb of God, our sacrifice and take our place on the cross. He was our substitute. He went to the cross. He took our sins upon Himself. He became the propitiation, he is our satisfaction. He appeased God by what He did. He took became our substitute on the cross. Isaiah said, 53:5-6 we read: “But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed. All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; but the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all to fall upon Him.” (Isa. 53:5-6).
Zechariah 13:7 says, “‘Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd, and against the man, My Associate,’ declares the Lord of hosts. ‘Strike the Shepherd.’”
Sin is so seriousness that God poured out his judgment upon his son. He demonstrated his love to the world. The loving nature of God is that He wants His creation back in fellowship with Him and the only way is based on what Jesus Christ has done for you and me.
The righteousness of God comes through Christ
Vs 22 “Even the righteousness of God which is by faith in Jesus Christ” The righteousness of God comes through Christ. In Gods eyes we are accepted now by faith in Jesus Christ. God can forgive me if I place my faith into what Jesus Christ has done. That is good news. Righteousness is like a garment tat is necessary to come into the presence of God.
Faith is more than trust it is based upon evidence, on a historical fact. My faith is based on what He has already done for me. Faith has no merit the merit is in whom we place our faith. The object of faith is Jesus Christ. You realize he has done all hat is necessary and you can do nothing. You rest upon that fact.
verse 22: “for all those who believe; for there is no distinction.” It is only “for all those who believe.” Belief is the key. It’s putting faith in Jesus Christ. If there is no belief, then it doesn’t function. When God reveals Himself to a person and when they place their faith in Jesus Christ they are saved. It is for all who are willing to believe in what Jesus Christ has done for them. There is no distinction. This is the whole point that Paul is trying to bring out.
The Universality of Sin
Verse 23″For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” Gentile and Jew rich and poor, no matter ones race or religion they have all sinned. Gods glory is unreachable, it is too magnificent, too awesome, no one can reach it. You cannot reach it by good works, you cannot reach it in a space craft, it is beyond mankind. The only way one can reach it is to be brought there by someone who knows the way. The only one who was ever free from the sin that holds us earthbound is Jesus Christ and when you place your faith into that which Jesus Christ has done for you become acceptable to God. Only then can you ever reach Gods standard when your righteousness is in Christ Jesus. No one can obtain the divine favour of God.
You may be the most religious, kind, educated, but you fail to meet Gods standard and he cannot accept you. You are far short of the goal. The Jews thought they were better than the Gentiles but they did not reach Gods standard. The goal is being acceptable to God.
That is the good news God can bring us to his standard when we trust Christ for salvation. You become justified freely by him. You are acceptable based on what Jesus did for you. It’s nothing you can do he done it all.
Justification is a Gift
Vs 24. “Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus.” The word “justified” means to have all the charges dropped. It is a free gift by grace. Now this good news after 2 chapters of bad news is that God says, “The charges can be dropped based on the fact of the redemption that is through the Lord Jesus Christ.” The charges are dropped. God justifies and drops the charges based on the redemption of His son.
That word redemption is a word that means ransoming and is always connected with the grace of God. It’s the language of a slave market and we are looked at as having been in the slave market by reason of our sin. Christ redeemed us, he paid the price with his own blood and has ransomed us from the slave market. This word is used in the New Testament to show deliverance effected through the death of Christ from the wrath of a Holy God and the merited penalty of sin. .” The charges can’t be dropped unless somebody pays the penalty.
Ephesians 1:7 says, “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace.” Colossians 1:14 says, “in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”
The good news is that the day we stood guilty before God and put our faith in Christ God said “NOT GUITY”. That is the good news. God done it for us. He can accept you only based on the fact of your faith in the Lord Jesus. That is the whole message of the gospel, the good news—my sins can be acquitted, the charges can be dropped.
The picture of sin in human history
Verse 25 “whom God hath set forth (displayed publicly) to be a propitiation through faith in His blood”. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed.” History records the frailty of man, the weakness of man, the sinfulness of man. God passed over sin in that he did not finally judge but will do so in the future. This does not mean he did not judge sin historically. The seriousness of judgment is seen on the cross. He “set forth” he is the architect.
The word “propitiation” is hilasterios means to appease, to satisfy, to regain favour, mercy seat in this case. The shedding of Christ’s blood on the cross appeased God. Propitiation is a reference to the Old Testament where the blood was shed, and where the blood was sprinkled, and particularly where it was sprinkled on the day of atonement when the priest came in once a year and sprinkled the blood of the bullock there and made an atonement for the children of Israel for one more year, the mercy seat.The mercy seat was behind the veil in the temple God rent the veil at Calvary when Christ’s blood was shed. Christ became our mercy seat. “Whom God hath set forth a mercy seat.” He satisfied Gods demands. This word means a satisfaction. Believing in Christ’s work brought us into favour with a holy God. God’s justice was being carried out on the cross. Christ was bruised and crushed and wounded for our transgressions.
The word “expiate” also has the idea here in the word “propitiation.” Expiation means to pay the penalty for someone else. He paid a penalty that we owed. He is my substitute, my High Priest, my sacrifice. His blood was poured out on the Mercy Seat for me. He is the Mercy Seat. The awful death of his crucifixion picture the holiness and righteousness of God. It is he designed a plan, made a way for man to be acceptable to Him. When you put your faith in the finished work of Christ and repent God accepts you. Acceptance is based on the good news of God, the gospel. You are justified, uncondemned, acquitted that is the good news of God. God drops the charges, “Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.”
Christ – A Demonstration of Gods Righteousness
Verse 26, “for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” God demonstrated and proved He was just by sending Jesus to die on the cross. That satisfied the penalty which the Law had executed. He satisfied it. He dealt with sin and proved Himself to be a loving, just God. He is the only one who can justify He is the WAY into the kingdom. It is all based on what Jesus Christ did for you and me.
This great gospel, this everlasting gospel, this gospel of our Lord Jesus, cannot be equalled. The message for the world is not a new political party, not a man who can solve the problems of the Middle East, not bankers and business men who can produce a thriving economy. It is not religion or music or philosophy that is the everlasting gospel but the gospel of God. It is not a question of economy or politics but of sin. That’s the fundamental problem in the world today. It is not a new sophistication or culture or education. We have never been more educated but never been more corrupt. Men will going on stealing, lying, committing adultery and coveting, they won’t change. No, the answer is God they must get right with god. They need a new life, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). Self-improvement will not do. There is only one way for the salvation of mankind, it is not by sociology, not by psychiatry, not by education, not by trying to keep the law. The message is “The son of man came to seek and save that which was lost.” It is by him alone we are reconciled to God. Listen to Him not to the politicians. He will save you and put his spirit in you. Only he has the power to give a new life. Others give a temporary solution but His is the everlasting gospel.