More than Forgiveness
A Sermon on Romans 3:21-31
The Righteousness of God Through Faith
But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it—the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 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. 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.
Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith. For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law. Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, since God is one—who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith. Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law. (ESV)
No amount of works can save us. The Jews built an entire system of religion believing the only path to salvation was through the law. Paul says that “now” the righteousness has been revealed, meaning something new has recently happened. The Lord came to provide a new way of salvation, a forgiveness of sins and received righteousness. Paul probably sensed that the Jews would say that the law could now be tossed out forever, but Paul warns that the law is not void! Christ’s sacrifice now means that we do not have to try to earn salvation with the law, but we should still honor what the law says. Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones outlines what the word faith means, explaining that it is not merely an acceptance of truth but rather a true trust in Christ’s work in salvation. Our faith alone does not save us; it is an instrument to which we receive that salvation! As Paul then explains that all of humanity has fallen short of God’s glory, Dr. Lloyd-Jones describes definitions of sin and glory. While we continually fail to meet the standard, Christ has stood in the gap and given us righteousness!