The Just Justifier (Romans 3:21-26)

Finally, the good news! For two whole chapters, from Romans 1:17 to Romans 3:20, the apostle Paul has pounded away at our pride and self-sufficiency. God has driven the sword of His Word into our hearts, showing that no matter what our background, we have all sinned and fallen short of God’s perfect standard of obedience. Whether you’ve grown up around Christianity all your life or hardly been exposed to it at all until recently, your problem is the same – your sins have separated you from God and you need His help. Now, in today’s passage, we see the solution that God offers us.

The great riddle of the Old Testament was this: How can God be both just and merciful? We know that God is holy and must punish sin. He cannot just ignore or overlook it like we do. The blood sacrifices showed Israel and us that the penalty for sin had to be death. Yet God is also rich in mercy and loving kindness. The whole history of Israel from Abraham to the prophets is filled with examples of God showing grace and forgiveness to people who had sinned and disobeyed Him many times. How was this possible?

The answer is found in the person and work of Jesus Christ. God punished His own perfect Son on our behalf, so that “all who believe” in Him are “justified freely by His grace” and receive His righteousness credited to us (Romans 3:22, 24). Jesus was put forth as a sacrifice for us; His precious blood paid our sin debt so that we would not have to spend eternity in hell (Romans 3:25). In this way, all the sins of people that God had seemed to overlook were actually never forgotten at all. Instead, they were nailed to the cross with Jesus. At the cross, God satisfied His demand for justice while at the same time justifying or making us right with Him without having to destroy or condemn us (Romans 3:26). He proved Himself totally righteous and totally loving. Look to the cross of Jesus today and marvel again at what God did for you. He is the Just One who justified you, the unjust sinner, because of His amazing love.

The Text (Romans 3:21-26)

21 But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God set forth as 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, 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.

Questions to Think About

  1. Have you ever had a teacher or other adult leader who allowed kids to get away with being bad? How did it make you feel?
  2. Do you care about justice? Why or why not?
  3. What would God be like if He was loving but unjust? How about if He was just but unloving?
  4. Do you both fear and love the God of the Bible? Why or why not?

In Christ,

Mr. Reel

All Have Sinned (Romans 3:9-20)

All have sinned. No one is good in their own strength (Romans 3:10-12). The human heart is corrupt and selfish. On our own, people do not seek to love and glorify God. Instead, we naturally seek to glorify ourselves in all that we do. All people everywhere for all time have been sinners who need to be forgiven and redeemed by their Creator. We are all born with a broken relationship with God that can only be healed by the blood of Jesus. People left to their own without the intervening influence of God’s grace will become wicked in their words (Romans 3:13-14) and deeds (Romans 3:15-16).

Today’s passage from Romans 3 is the clearest, most direct teaching of the doctrine of original sin all the Bible. Yet we notice that Paul is putting together several Old Testament verses, which shows that the universal problem of our sin nature is taught throughout the whole Bible. And let it sink in, Paul is still addressing the Jews, the religious people of his day. Like them, we might be tempted to see the sin in other people’s lives but be blinded to its power in our own lives.

So how should we respond to such an honest description of our sin problem? With humility before God. We stop talking and get on our faces before the just Judge of all the earth (Romans 3:19). We repent of our evil ways and ask God to forgive us. And we turn to Jesus in faith each day, pleading for His mercy and grace to sustain us and keep us from evil (Romans 3:20). “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (1 Peter 5:5). I would rather have God’s grace in my life than Him be against me. How about you?

The Text (Romans 3:9-20)

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.

10 As it is written:

“There is none righteous, no, not one;

11 There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God.

12 They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one.”

13 “Their throat is an open tomb; With their tongues they have practiced deceit”; “The poison of asps is under their lips”;

14 “Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness.”

15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood;

16 Destruction and misery are in their ways;

17 And the way of peace they have not known.”

18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

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. 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.

Questions to Think About

  1. When do you first remember being humbled by your own sinfulness and need for God’s forgiveness? When was the last time that God taught you a lesson in humility?
  2. Do you think that our culture acknowledges or denies the doctrine of original sin? How can you tell?
  3. Have you ever been near a place or group of people that felt so truly evil that you just wanted to get away? What happened?

In Christ,

Mr. Reel