As we have all read from Romans 1:18-32 – 2:1-11 about the wrath and judgment of God upon those who continue to reject him and suppress the truth through their unrighteousness and wickedness. We read that God has abandoned those and gave them up to the lusts of their hearts and their debased mind. This abandonment was God’s wrath revealed upon these people. We also read in detail how judgement will be executed against those that continue in this slippery slope of unrighteousness and wickedness which, only leads to eternal hell. Once God abandons you, you have no way of restraining yourself from sin and this will only lead you to eternal condemnation. We read how each person will have to account for his works. We read how this applies to all people wether Jew or Gentile or Non Jew. From 2:12 – 3:20, Paul addresses the Jews specifically regarding the law, judgement and the righteousness of God. This then brings us to our passage that starts at 3:21.
Romans 3:21-26 (ESVST)
21 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it—
From 1:18 – 3:20, it has just been doom and gloom. Paul has been showing all of us how sinful we are and how God has abandoned us because of us knowingly rejecting him and how this has led and will lead us to eternal hell. Paul showed how the law or the old covenant is not good enough to save us from this downward slippery slope to eternal hell. This is the reason he starts verse 21 above with the word “but”. The word righteousness in both the OT and NT, is the state commanded by God in which a person must be in and a state that can stand the test of His judgment. It is conformity to all that He commands or appoints. Paul is saying God’s righteousness has been revealed without the law. The word used for apart in Greek also means without. Paul says although the law and the prophets bear witness to God’s righteousness, the righteousness was revealed without the law. I wish I could elaborate on this further. This simply means whatever the prophets said and whatever the law says, both of them only point towards the righteousness of God.
22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction:
The righteousness of God is only through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For anyone to attain the righteousness required by God, the person cannot and will not receive this righteousness through the old covenant or specifically through the prophets and the law but can only attain this righteousness through faith in Jesus Christ. This righteousness can be obtained by all who believe. It is sad that even today we still have brothers and sisters who believe that salvation is by faith in Jesus Christ plus the law. These brothers and sisters will still go to heaven why, because they have faith in Jesus Christ and that is all that is required. However, they will not enjoy the life of a Christian while on earth because of their fruitless desire to comply with the law that they anyway, cannot comply with. It is humanly impossible to comply with the law of God. The law was only there to show us how sinful we are and to make us realize how we need God’s mercy and grace. The law was just a guardian until true righteousness was revealed. Paul is saying here that the law was only a witness. Which law you ask, the old covenant law, all of it.
23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,
Paul says that God’s righteousness is by faith in Jesus for all who believe without distinction. Paul says this is because we have all sinned and fell short of the glory of God. All of us. Weather you are a Jew or Gentile, black or white, Asian or Indian. It does not matter. Paul then gives us the good news and it is that although we have all sinned and fell short of the glory of God, although God has abandoned us to the lusts of our hearts and our debased or useless minds, God by his own will, by his mercy and grace, has given us a way to be reconciled with him. God has made a way in which we can be justified or made right or a way up which we can use to attain the standard of righteousness that he requires. Paul says we can be justified or made right or achieve the standard of righteousness required by God only by his grace as a gift. This means this grace is not something that we worked for, it is not something that we deserve and it is not something that we can boast about but rather, it is a gift. This gift of grace can only be achieved through faith in Jesus Christ. This is the only way to be justified. No other gods, no other sacrifices and no works of the law will justify you. The only way to access God’s gift of grace, is through faith in Jesus full stop. Jesus himself said that he is the way the truth and the life and only through him, will anyone receive eternal salvation
John 14:6 (ESVST)
Jesus said to him, “ I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
There is so much to say about this but this post will be even longer.
25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God ‘s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
Paul says it is this same Jesus through whom salvation is obtained, that God put forward as a sacrifice or offering or mercy seat for our sins by his blood. The same way that the Jews sacrificed animals to atone for their sins, God put forward Jesus as a final and adequate sacrifice for our sins once and for all. This sacrifice can only be received by faith. God sacrificed Jesus to show his own righteousness. In the past, God had overlooked sin and not punished it.
Acts 17:30 (NIV)
In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent.
Now, one could have asked but if God is righteous and just, why would he not punish sin. God said the wages of sin is death so, why did he not punish sin. If God is just, he should have punished sin. We know in 2:4 that it was because of God’s kindness which was meant to lead everyone to repentance.
Romans 2:4 (ESVST)
Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God ‘s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?
2 Peter 3:9 (ESVST)
The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.
So, to show how righteous and how just God is and still paving a way in which we can be reconciled with him, he sacrificed his own Son Jesus so that through faith in him, we can have access to the gift of grace and through that, attain the righteousness that God expect. Now that God had sacrificed Jesus, he has shown that indeed the wages of sin is death and that he is just and was now able to justify those that have faith in Jesus.
So Jesus’s death was firstly to glorify God by showing how just and righteous he is, and since he is shown to be just and righteous, he can then expect us to be righteous and justify those who have faith in Jesus Christ.
If you are reading this and you have been rejecting God, it is not too late to repent. Say this prayer and believe in your heart, and wherever you are, you will be saved.
“O God, I acknowledge that I have sinned against you. I am sorry for my sins. I am willing to turn from my sins. I openly receive and acknowledge Jesus Christ as my Savior. I confess him as Lord. From this moment on I want to live for him and serve him. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”
May God bless you, strengthen you and give you wisdom as you begin your new life in the spirit. In Jesus name, Amen. Please don’t hesitate to call me anytime for further spiritual guidance on 0833048732.