Week 2 - Romans 3:21-31

Romans 3:21-31 (NIV)

21 But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify.  22 This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 

24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 

25 God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— 26 he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus. 27 Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. Because of what law? The law that requires works? No, because of the law that requires faith. 

28 For we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law.  29 Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles too? Yes, of Gentiles too, 30 since there is only one God, who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith.  31 Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law.

The Reprieve

Thank goodness for Paul’s words, “But now!”  He’s signaling a point of relief from the bleak and dark picture of humanity’s sin.  He’s turning to a new script; replacing a horror film with a feel-good family movie. There is a solution!  There is hope! There is good news to be shared! Faith in Jesus’ death and resurrection reactivates our original job description to spread His rule and reign to the ends of the earth.  No longer defined by sin, we can be defined by Him; new, holy, righteous, saints, His. God justifies us (changes our verdict from guilty to innocent) when we put our faith in Jesus. Can anyone brag about this?  Of course not! Do you recall Paul’s words that it is God’s kindness that leads us to repentance? It is not because we are smarter than the next person. Or how about when Paul says that no one is able to seek God or do good?!?  Everyone is equally disadvantaged before a holy God. This is both humbling and praiseworthy. We don’t have to have an impressive resume to be in the kingdom of God, we simply need faith (even if it’s as small as a mustard seed).  Faith is not a good work; faith is God’s gift to humanity. Faith is not a work that saves us. Jesus Christ saves us through faith. Saving faith is believing and trusting in God and then acting on that with courage to give our full allegiance to Him.  The good news releases us from the grip of performance so we can be gripped by grace.          

Questions

  1.  Are you reflecting Christ or representing yourself before God?

  2. What is something your faith has recently prompted you to do?