The Book of Romans
Justification by Faith
The tone of our study of Romans to this point seems to focus on hopelessness. The verdict is that fallen humanity is guilty of sin before God. Mankind does not have the ability to appease God’s anger and judgment of sin. The whole world is guilty before God.
Now the focus shifts from why humanity cannot save himself to the wonderful provision that God has provided through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. God’s plan is for all men because all of humanity is equally guilty of sin. The Old Testament anticipated Christ’s redemptive death and resurrection. God never gave the law so that humanity might gain eternal life but the law was designed to revel how sinful humanity is and how Holy God is.
I. God’s Righteousness, Vs. 21-23
- V 21, But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets. The tone of our study of Romans to this point seems to focus on hopelessness. The phrase “But now” reveals a way to get right with God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe in Him. God revealed His righteousness before the full revelation of the gospel in His law, His judgments of sin, and the appeals of the prophets. The word righteousness refers to an act of God in which He declares the sinner righteous. This righteousness is not something that humanity can work out but it is something that God demands and God provides.
- V 22-23, Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference. For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. In the Old Testament the moral and ceremonial laws pointed to Jesus Christ but they could not save. They were a witness to God’s righteousness and humanities sinfulness. Galatians 2:16, Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.
- God’s gift of righteous is a gift through faith. Many people say, “ I believe in God!” But this is not what saves or provides eternal life. Believing faith is a personal or individual faith. It is putting confidences in the salvation work of Jesus Christ. James 2:19, Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.
- There is no difference between the Jew and the Gentile because they all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. The good news is that salvation is offered to all men. All men need to be saved.
II. God’s Plan, Vs. 24-26
- V 24, Being justified freely by his grace. Justification means to declare righteous or free from guilt and the exposure to punishment. Justification is an act of God whereby those who put faith in Christ are declared righteous in God’s eyes and are free from guilt and punishment. Romans 5:9, Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. Justified freely relates to God’s mercy in that He does not give us what we deserve and in grace gives us what we do not deserve. We are justified without a cause. There is no cause in the sinner that would merit the salvation of God!
- Vs 24-25, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom 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. The terms propitiation and blood express the price God paid for our salvation. Propitiation means the satisfying of the just demands of God’s Holy law so that God can freely forgive those who come to Christ. The word blood tells us what the price was. Jesus had to die on the cross in order to satisfy the law and justify the lost sinner. The shedding of Christ blood made propitiation possible.
- The term redemption refers to Christ offering of His life as a ransom to deliver the sinner from the penalty and bondage of sin. Remission of sins is the canceling, pardoning, passing over of sin that is made possible by the shedding of blood. Hebrews 9:22, And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission. Christ’s death accomplished what the moral and ceremonial laws could not, the forgiveness of past, present, and future sins. Since the death of Christ, God no longer passes over the sin through forbearance but forgives.
- Vs 26, To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. God must be perfectly consistent with Himself. He cannot break His own law or violate His own nature. God loves sinners and He wants to forgive, but because God is holy He must punish sin and uphold His righteousness law. How can God be both a God of love and a righteous judge? The answer is found in Jesus Christ. When Jesus suffered the wrath of God on the cross for the sins of the world, He fully met the demands of God’s law and also expressed the love of God’s heart. The animal sacrifices in the Old Testament never took away sin, but when Jesus died, He reached all the way back to Adam and took care of those sins. No one (including Satan) can accuse God of being unjust or unfair because of His passing over of sins in the Old Testament.
III. God’s Scope, Vs. 27-31
- Vs 27-30, Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also: Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith. Jesus in His life and death completely fulfilled the demands of the law. God is consistent with His own nature and law. If salvation is through the law, then men can boast, but the principle of faith makes it impossible for men to boast. When a believing sinner is justified by faith, he cannot boast of his faith, but He can boast in a wonderful Savior.
- V 31, Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law. Justification by faith does not make God’s law ineffective but establishes the law. For the sinner who comes by faith to Jesus is confessing his guilt and acknowledging that the law justly condemns him.
Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. Mankind does not have the ability to appease God’s anger and judgment of sin. The whole world is guilty before God and in need of a Savior. Through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ God provided a way for fallen humanity to be saved that is consistent with His own nature and law. God has provided an atonement that satisfies His righteous demands but the provision will only apply to those who believe! Romans 3:22, Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:
Created and Researched by Pastor Dennis Baker
Zion Baptist Church
3485 New Baumgartner Rd. - St. Louis, MO 63129 - Phone: 314-846-1867