Christ our Righteousness Bible Study (Part 8)
Continuing our study of Romans 3, Paul wrote:
For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 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 (Romans 3:23-25).
“There is no difference” applies to both Jews and Gentiles. In the light of God’s law, we have “all” sinned, are alike “guilty before God” (verse 19), and are in the same boat. But the Good News is that we can be “justified freely” by the “grace” of Jesus Christ. “Freely” means for free and without reservation. It’s a divine gift lovingly given. As stated before, to be “justified” means to be no longer “guilty before God.” “Justified” is a legal term and means, “to be declared just or righteous” by the Lord. This happens when we have sincere “faith” in Jesus as our Savior and trust fully in the merits of “His blood.” That blood shed on Calvary represents Jesus Christ’s worthy, righteous life-a life that is good enough to save us all. In the gospel, God has “set forth” Jesus Christ as our Savior, “to demonstrate His righteousness.” Don’t miss it. It is “His righteousness”–not ours–that should be our focus. When we trust Jesus as our Savior, we experience “His forbearance” (mercy), and can rest assured that God has willingly and freely “passed over the sins” we have “previously committed.” How marvelous!
…to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus (Romans 3:26).
Notice carefully that four times in six verses Paul’s focus is the Lord’s righteousness, not ours
“the righteousness of God” (Romans 3:22)
“the righteousness of God” (Romans 3:23)
“to demonstrate His righteousness” (Romans 3:25)
“to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness” (Romans 3:26)
Obviously, Paul wanted to make sure we didn’t miss the message of righteousness by faith.
That He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus (Romans 3:26).
“That He might be just.” A careful study of Exodus 34:5-7 and 1 John 4:8 reveals that God’s character is a blend of mercy, truth, and justice rooted in infinite love. Man has sinned, and in order for God to “be just” He simply cannot overlook or ignore even the smallest violation of His law. His righteous integrity demands that a just penalty be executed against every sin. So how can God remain “just” and yet save sinners at the same time? This is the divine dilemma. Fortunately for us, His love has found a costly solution. The answer is that He bore the penalty against our sins Himself, in the Person of His own Son. Now, God can still “be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus”!
Because Jesus Christ bore the justice that we deserve ourselves, and then rose from the dead, God can now legally grant us mercy and still maintain the integrity of His justice and law. This is His royal plan, the plan of salvation. But notice again that God can only be “the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” If we resist His love, and stubbornly refuse to have personal faith in Jesus Christ as “THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS,” then we can’t be saved. Tragically, we then remain in a legal state of being “guilty before God” (Romans 3:19) and remain subject to divine justice (Romans 2:5,6).
Since this is the case, it should be obvious that the smartest thing we can ever do is to repent of our sins and choose to believe in Jesus Christ as our righteousness.
If we do, the results will echo into eternity.