Do you ever get tired of repetition? Same thing over and over? Certainly when you go to the gym do all your reps again and again, think about making dinner - how many times can we have spaghetti?, alarm goes off say another day- dressed and go to work. That’s the nature of repetition. I have to admit to you, reading Paul in Romans at times seems to me a little repetitious, sometimes I say, I’ve already read that. Why? So yesterday when I picked up this months’ Christianity Today I was captured by this article that answered my question. Article is with classical scholar and professor, Sarah Ruden written a new book titled Paul Among the People: The apostle reinterpreted and reimagined in his own time...read article
I. Doctrine of Justification Romans 3:21-31
A. Apart from Law
B. Available to All
C. Apart from Achievements
II. Illustration of Justification Romans 4:1-25
III. Benefits of Justification Romans 5:1-21
A. New Relationship with God
B. New Understanding of Suffering
C. New Position in Christ
A. Apart from the Law (Romans 3:21) “but now”=contrast word, “now”=time since Christ has come. “Righteousness of God” right standing with God has been manifested (Romans 3:22) thru faith in Jesus Christ, separate from law. Paul had been devout Pharisee, raised believing he was righteous thru keeping law. Zealous, committed to traditions of the fathers, Damascus Road - met Jesus Christ radically changed him. He saw that when Jesus Christ confronts us with good news of salvation, he does not hand us another list for us to keep, another set of rules, offers us a new relationship apart from the law.
B. Available to all who believe (Romans 3:22-26) “no distinction” last week “all have sinned” Jews, Gentiles, all guilty before Holy God. We all fall short of His perfection. God Himself has taken the initiative=offers acceptance to anyone and everyone as a gift, totally undeserved, but totally available to all who trust in Jesus Christ. Way he has done this is thru Christ’s death on the cross. 3 Key Words crucial to understanding
1. Justification (diakioum) Romans 3:24. Declared righteous, to treat, to reckon, to count as righteous, legal term “to acquit” Picture a courtroom, you are the guilty person, committed all kinds of crimes, standing before the judge, deserve dreadful sentence. Because of what Christ has accomplished on the cross - because you believe what Jesus has said about God, you are acquitted, not guilty. “Just-as-if-you-had not sinned”. Justification is God’s righteousness imputed to our account.
2. Redemption (apolutrosis) Romans 3:24 - ransom, redeem, liberate, buy back. Ancient times slave market. Born slaves, prisoners of war. Payment, sum of money buy freedom for slaves. Redeemed from bondage. Illustration here=you were separated from God, bound, enslaved to sin, now bought back. How? Payment=Blood of Jesus Christ. Hebrews 9 - “eternal redemption”.
3. Propitiation (hilasterion) NIV=sacrifice of atonement (Romans 3:25) “to appease” OT when you broke law, you brought God a sacrifice –your aim was that the sacrifice would be a substitute, it would turn aside the punishment you deserved, the sacrifice would restore the relationship between you and God. Looking back, we see that animal sacrifices were foreshadowing the ultimate sacrifice by Jesus Christ on cross – His sacrifice that atones for sin, forever.
C. Apart from Achievements (Romans 3:27-31) Romans 3:27, 28 LB Then what can we boast about doing, to earn our salvation? Nothing at all. Why? Because our acquittal is not based on our good deeds; it is based on what Christ has done and our faith in him. So it is that we are saved by faith in Christ and not by the good things we do. You can’t keep a profit/loss accounting system with God. You can’t earn your salvation, you can’t brag about how good you are. We shift our focus from what we do to what Christ has done and our trust in Him.
Romans 3:29-31 God is Lord of all, Jews and Gentiles, He accepts anyone who comes to Him by faith.
Truth: Faith in Jesus Christ alone is the way to become justified: to be right with God. It’s a free gift, we don’t earn it, we don’t deserve it, we are asked to receive it by faith.
Application: sounds so simple doesn’t it? You may ask: if this justification is available to everyone as a free gift, don’t have to pay for it, why don’t more people accept it?
1. “Do it my way” world. Don’t like to feel dependent on anyone else, don’t want anyone, even God, telling me how to live my life. I want to choose my own course.
2. “You deserve a break today” world. Main goal= self- satisfaction. Possessions, pleasure, toys, because “you deserve it” selling out to God may mean giving up too much, I don’t want to change my lifestyle.
3. “I can do this myself” world. I believe in God, Jesus Christ, but this grace thing can’t be all there is, I know there must be something more, something I need to do to really merit salvation, surely I’ve got to be a nice person and do good deeds as well as believe in Jesus.
Do any of these categories fit you? Are you trying to find God’s acceptance?
Paul would say: there’s only one way –thru FAITH in Jesus Christ alone.
Seems that he knows that you Jews are still wrestling with this “grace, faith alone” vs. keeping the law, Paul says this is nothing new: looks at roots of our Jewish faith, the life of Abraham/David
A. Founder of Hebrew nation “Father of the faith” how was he justified?
1. Justified by faith not good works (Romans 4:1-5) We all know the story of Abraham, called by God to leave home in Ur go to Canaan, God promised 1. nation 2. Land of Israel 3. blessing all nations thru you, big promises, settled at Hebron, troubled, no son, no heir for the promises, feared his servant would be the heir, God said, “no, the promises will come through you, your own child” Genesis 15:6 He believed the Lord and he credited it to him as righteousness.
2. Justified by faith not religious rituals (Romans 4:9-12) circumcision. Paul says let’s take a look at timeline of Abraham’s faith. When (Romans 4:10) did God declare him righteous, before or after circumcision? Genesis 15 = righteous, that is 14 years before Genesis 17. God instituted the rite of circumcision. Already saved why did need to be circumcised? Answer = Romans 4:11. Circumcision was a sign of faith not the source of his faith. This truth takes larger significance; it makes Abraham the spiritual father of all who have faith in God’s word, not just the circumcised Jew. Helps us to shift the emphasis from outward symbols and ceremonies to inward faith and trust. Do you realize there is not any religious ritual, not anything we do or is done to us that makes us righteous in God’s sight, we are justified by our faith alone, just like
3. Justified by faith apart from the law (Romans 4:13-15) contrasts law and grace, key word=Promise. God’s promise to Abraham he would be “heir of the world” (Romans 4:13) that included the promise of Messiah, not given in connection with law or circumcision but by God’s grace alone. Law would be given through Moses 400 years later.
4. Justified by faith despite his circumstances (Romans 4:17-22) this promise that A believed seemed impossible, how could they have a son at their age? A knew God, attributes, his character, his power, God could do anything he wanted to, trustworthy, didn’t matter that he was almost 100yrs, Sarah -90, he believed God could do a miracle (Romans 4:18-21) because God said he would hope against hope he trust.
Application = In your walk of faith, how much of your life is a reaction to your circumstances vs what God has said in His word? Do you look at your life and say this is hopeless, never going to happen, it won’t change, I’m not even going to pray about it. Relationships, finances, career? Abraham believed in a big God who could do great things, keep his promises = counted as righteous.
David justified (Romans 4:5-8) Though viewed from a different perspective, this same truth can be applied to life of King David who when he repented of his sins of adultery and murder, believed that God forgave him. He didn’t have to do penance or any good work to be forgiven, he confessed his sins, trusted God to forgive.
Truth: we are justified, declared forgiven of our sins, righteous by faith, not any good work, religious ritual, family heritage, no it’s faith in Christ alone.
Application: Honestly, what have you been depending on to get to heaven? Faith in Christ, plus baptism, confirmation, communion, church attendance, keeping 10 commandments, golden rule? = all good things, According to Bible, simply faith. John 6:28, 29.
A. New relationship with God (Romans 5:1-2) gifts. a. Peace with God=isn’t that something we all are desiring; b. Access – available to you; c. Rejoicing in hope looking forward to actually becoming all that God has planned for us to be.
B. New understanding of our Suffering (Romans 5:3-5) Don’t let anyone fool you into believing that once you’re a Christian you’re immune from suffering, disaster, tragedies. Paul is clear about that here. Live in a fallen world, no one can be part of this world w/out experiencing tough times. BUT for the Christian we can have a different attitude = we can choose to view our tough times through the lens of faith, we can believe that God is working out all things, for ultimate good, believe that tough times can produce character traits we would never know apart from learning to trust through our tears. This suffering, tough times, can produce perseverance, endurance, hope = assurance that our lives count, assurance against loneliness, assurance that God will never leave us alone, He loves us.
C. New position in Christ (Romans 5:6-21).
While we were still sinner, Christ died for us (Romans 5:9-11) justified by his blood, saved from God’s wrath, reconciled to him when we stop trying to be good enough for God, and simply trust the finished work of Christ.
Paul goes on the compare Adam, the first man with Christ. Great comparison chart on the resources page on website. The Message Romans 5:18ff Here it is in a nutshell, just as one person did it wrong and got us in all this trouble with sin and death, another person did it right and got us out of it. But more than just getting us out of trouble, he got us into life. DO YOU HAVE THAT LIFE? ETERNAL LIFE?
Prayer: I Thessalonians 5:23-28.