The Turning Point: But Now
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)
When God interups human history, everything changes! Up until this point in Romans, Paul has been emphasizing wrath and judgement for all men since we are all guilty of sin and under condemnation. The tone of this letter completely changes in this section with these two small words “but now.” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones breaks up Romans 3:21-31 into two main sections, outlining that Paul has finally begun to discuss the way of salvation and the characteristics of the way of salvation. After much talk of wrath and destruction, it seems like a relief to see that the Lord has provided a righteousness for us and has revealed it to us. This righteousness is by nothing that we have done because we receive it, only through faith. Both Jews and Gentiles can rejoice because this gift was planned before the foundation of the world, entirely by God’s grace, and open to all men! Dr. Lloyd-Jones points out that everything about salvation points to the glory of God! Any idea that man has concerning salvation should always conform to this one passage of Scripture and nothing we say about salvation should deny any of these statements.