The Turning Point: But Now
A Sermon on Romans 3:21-31
Justification by Faith
21But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22but it is the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction, 23for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus, 25whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in God’s merciful restraint He let the sins previously committed go unpunished; 26for the demonstration, that is, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
27Where then is boasting? It has been excluded. By what kind of law? Of works? No, but by a law of faith. 28For we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from works of the Law. 29Or is God the God of Jews only? Is He not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, 30since indeed God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith is one.
31Do we then nullify the Law through faith? Far from it! On the contrary, we establish the Law.
21But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; 22Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: 23For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; 24Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: 25Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; 26To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. 27Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. 28Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. 29Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also: 30Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith. 31Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.
When God interrupts human history, everything changes. Up until this point in Romans, Paul has emphasized wrath and judgement for all since all are guilty of sin and under condemnation. The tone of this letter completely changes in this section with these two small words: “but now.” In this sermon on Romans 3:21-31 titled, “The Turning Point: But Now,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones breaks up the text 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 and revealed it. This righteousness is by nothing that anyone has done because it is received 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. Dr. Lloyd-Jones points out that everything about salvation points to the glory of God. Any idea that humanity has concerning salvation should always conform to this one passage of Scripture and nothing about salvation should deny any of these statements.
Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) was a Welsh evangelical minister who preached and taught in the Reformed tradition. His principal ministry was at Westminster Chapel, in central London, from 1939-1968, where he delivered multi-year expositions on books of the bible such as Romans, Ephesians and the Gospel of John. In addition to the MLJ Trust’s collection of 1,600 of these sermons in audio format, most of these great sermon series are available in book form (including a 14 volume collection of the Romans sermons), as are other series such as "Spiritual Depression", "Studies in the Sermon on the Mount" and "Great Biblical Doctrines". He is considered by many evangelical leaders today to be an authority on biblical truth and the sufficiency of Scripture.