Righteousness by Faith: Bible Survey for New Christians

March 24th, 2009

Romans 3:9–26

howbeit the law convinces them also of sin;
therefore no flesh is justified by the law;

3:9. What then? Are we better than they? Not at all. For we have previously charged both Jews and Greeks that they are all under sin.
3:10. As it is written: "There is none righteous, no, not one;
3:11. there is none who understands; there is none who seeks after God.
3:12. They have all gone out of the way; they have together become unprofitable; there is none who does good, no, not one.''
3:13. "Their throat is an open tomb; with their tongues they have practiced deceit''; "The poison of asps is under their lips'';
3:14. "Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness.''
3:15. "Their feet are swift to shed blood;
3:16. destruction and misery are in their ways;
3:17. and the way of peace they have not known.''
3:18. "There is no fear of God before their eyes.''
3:19. Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.

3:20. Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
3:21. But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets,
3:22. even the righteousness of God which is through faith in Jesus Christ to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference;
3:23. for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
3:24. being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,
3:25. whom God set forth to be 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,
3:26. to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.


My first impression at reading this passage is, 'what a depressing message'. Nobody, absolutely no one can enter into God's kingdom. All of us, even the most righteous, whether we actually are, or think we are, nobody gets to heaven. But there is a ray of hope. Hold that idea for the moment.

Paul, right from the start restates his claim that the Jews, considered God's chosen and righteous people, are on the same footing with gentiles, who represent all the ungodly people of the world. When it comes down to it, nobody understands, really. Gentiles came from those who fell away from God from the start. Even the Jews had their slow decline and more readily clung to gods of the world over the true God. Everybody is guilty.

To go into detail, there are those who say things that are bitter, poisonous, and utterly opposite of the message from God. Those people are quick to do the wrong things. Destruction, misery, behavior that creates anything except for peace is what they do. There is no respect, or fear of God. For such people who live in a world ruled by physical law, the laws of the old testament define their only end.

Old testament laws only define law and punishment, there is never a way out. No way to escape death and the grave.

Here comes that ray of hope.

Prophets foretold of a new way that would come. Drum roll please...
Romans 3:22. even the righteousness of God which is through faith in Jesus Christ to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference;

Through faith in Jesus Christ, we are made right with God.

We all have sinned, but by having a faith, a belief in Jesus, we are saved. Belief about what? He frely gave his life. He is the one and only, single sacrifice that atones us. He hits the reset button of life and puts us back on square one. Even to those who say and do those utterly deadly, poisonous things that were mentioned.

Here's a big word for the day: propitiation. It means something like, that he paid the gratuity. Still confused? When you go to a restaurant, you pay the price for the meal. To show your appreciation of the good service and attention you may have recieved, you pay a tip, or gratuity to the waiter. That tip comes from your desire. You freely give it and it makes the full payment for your meal.

Don't you hate it when a restaurant builds the tip in? They make you pay the gratuity whether you want to or not. They decide how valuable their service is. It takes out of your hands to honor the waiter as you see fit. There are times, when I have been forced to contribute to poor service by being forced to pay a tip in this way. There are a few times when the waiter has been short changed and deserves more, but the management has decided to set the rate to force me to pay. The point, a forced tip, is no gratuity.

Jesus paid the price so completely, with so much overflow, that all people are covered. Still, some won't take part in his final kingdom because they refuse his price. There will be some people absent at that time because of their choice to reject the idea that he paid their price as well.

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