Agonizomai: Romans Chapter 3<br>God's Righteousness Supplied<br>The Consequences of God's Salvation

Friday, March 13, 2009

Romans Chapter 3
God's Righteousness Supplied
The Consequences of God's Salvation
1) Proud human nature is humbled.

2) The true character of God is presented.

3) The perfect law of God is confirmed as good.





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Romans 3:27-31 Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. On what principle? On the principle of works? No, but on the principle of faith. For we hold that a man is justified by faith apart from works of 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; and he will justify the circumcised on the ground of their faith and the uncircumcised through their faith. Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law.


All religions other than Christianity are based on keeping laws. They are founded in the idea that we must do something, whether it is to crawl on our hands and knees to Mecca, or to meditate and to work our way up the ascending ladder of creaturely complexity until we attain to “Nirvana” or “nothingness”. Christianity, properly preached and understood, is the only belief that says that we can do nothing whatsoever for our salvation – for our right relationship with God. Fallen men (and all beliefs except Christianity are the work of fallen men in the hands of demons) only know how to “merit” something themselves, which is why their worship/religious systems all depend upon what they do.

But God has shown His saints in Israel and in the church age that man can never have a relationship with Him based on doing something to earn His mercy or to give Him pleasure. Hasn’t Paul demonstrated this sufficiently already? All men are without the righteousness of God – apart from which they rest under God’s just condemnation and wrath. God’s solution to man’s helpless, lost and rebellious condition is quite simply to regard as perfectly righteous all those who believe the gospel of Jesus Christ. Justification in God’s eyes is entirely through faith and does not depend in any way upon man doing anything.

Paul underscores that Jews who had the law, and Gentiles who did not, are all justified on the ground of faith alone. Faith in the God of the promises that He and He alone would save them. What then is faith? More properly, what is Biblical faith? "Faith is, in general, the persuasion of the mind that a certain statement is true. Its primary idea is trust. A thing is true and therefore worthy of trust." (Easton’s Bible Dictionary) This is illustrated in examples of justification through faith from history.

If the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ, apart from works of the law, is what justifies a man the question becomes, “Is the law abolished – rendered null an void – made invalid – by this grace?” Does grace cancel law? Paul says it does not. He says that justification through faith upholds the law. How? By the fact that the penalty demanded by the law was paid.

Christ paid on our behalf the full penalty demanded by the law for every transgression we have committed. The penalty was not waived by the system of grace and faith – it was paid in full. God never ceased to demand the full and exact penalty of the breaking of His good and holy law. In fact, that penalty is still in effect and will be demanded in full of all who are not justified through faith in Jesus Christ.

Right here a moment should be taken to fully grasp the utter change in the way God sees those who are in Christ, and the way we who are in Christ must see ourselves. Since our righteousness is “apart from works” we no longer need to feel that we must justify ourselves. God has justified us. We are regarded in His sight as completely righteous. There is nothing we need to add, nor is there anything we can add to what God has already done. It is finished. We are reconciled to God. He is our Father and we are His children forever. We have passed from death to life, out from under condemnation and wrath and into the kingdom of His Son. God is now dealing with us solely on the principle of what Jesus, His Son has done for us.


Because of this, all who God has saved are naturally anxious to please Him, to grow in grace – but our standing with God does not depend upon these things. On the contrary, these things depend upon our standing with Him. We love Him because He first loved us. We did not love Him so that He would love us. He saved us while we were yet sinners and rebels, not after we had turned to Him, cleaned up our lives and made ourselves acceptable in His sight. This way, God is the instigator, the prime cause, the source of all that is good and right in our relationship with Him.

I am not justified in God’s sight by what I do after He has saved me. I had justification from God as a sinner, not as a saint! No amount of “saintliness” will increase my justification, just as my failures cannot decrease it. But we must be careful here. We must not pass from a grateful response to what God has done into using this as a license to live as we please – for then we might discover that we were never saved to begin with. An antinomian, profligate, worldly lifestyle lived under the Christian banner is not indicative of a grateful response to what God has done, and so suggests that He never really did it. Such people are deceiving themselves.


2 Comments:

Blogger Roxylee said...

Greetings, Tony,

I wish this would be played in every church- what a joy to hear this over and over, until it begins to really sink in!! Sure, we read and hear that we are saved by faith, and justified by grace alone, but then the performance lie keeps trying to sneak back in to rob our joy. Having been raised up in a legalistic church, it has taken me decades to break free. The churches I've attended since did not exegete the scriptures like you do; the pastor would say "We are saved by grace" and then go on to preach the law. Always backwards, as to yank away the hope we have!

Hearing the truth of the gospel truly makes a wellspring of life, bubbling up to a fountain of thanksgiving to our Lord. Thank you for taking the time to say what the church so desperately needs to hear.

Roxylee, rejoicing in the freedom

9:33 am  
Blogger agonizomai said...

Roxylee,

It's always lovely to hear from you. Thanks for the encouragement.

I think I say these things a lot precisely because I continue to need to hear them myself.

It is shameful to admit that a proper understanding of grace was not something I learned in any church I attended. Some of that was me, but some of it was also an insufficient attention to doctrine or a poor grasp of it by the pastor(s).

We (humanity) thought He was altogether like us. How wrong we were. With regard to grace He is nothing like us. This is why, in the end, it will all be to the praise of the glory of His grace in Christ Jesus.

Blessings,


Tony

1:05 pm  

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