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god is righteous

                                      GOD IS RIGHTEOUS (Ro 3:21,22,23,24,25,26,27,28,29-31)



A major theme in the book of Romans is the righteousness of God...

It is mentioned in connection with the gospel of Christ - Ro 1:16-17

It is the major subject of discussion in chapters 1-11

The phrase "righteousness of God" can be understood in two ways...

God's own personal righteousness (i.e., His justice)

God's system of making man right, or reconciled to himself (i.e., forgiving man of sin)

-- Both concepts are addressed in the book of Romans, but the latter in particular

In chapters 1-3, Paul describes man's need for forgiveness.

How the Gentiles are in need of salvation - Ro 1:18-2:16

Rom 1:18  For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; 

Rom 1:19  Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. 

Rom 1:20  For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: 

Rom 1:21  Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 

Rom 1:22  Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, 

Rom 1:23  And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. 

Rom 1:24  Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: 

Rom 1:25  Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. 

Rom 1:26  For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: 

Rom 1:27  And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. 

Rom 1:28  And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; 

Rom 1:29  Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, 

Rom 1:30  Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 

Rom 1:31  Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: 

Rom 1:32  Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them. 

Rom 2:16  In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel. 

Rom 2:17  Behold, thou art called a Jew, and restest in the law, and makest thy boast of God, 

Rom 2:18  And knowest his will, and approvest the things that are more excellent, being instructed out of the law; 

Rom 2:19  And art confident that thou thyself art a guide of the blind, a light of them which are in darkness, 

Rom 2:20  An instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, which hast the form of knowledge and of the truth in the law. 

Rom 2:21  Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal? 

Rom 2:22  Thou that sayest a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery? thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege? 

Rom 2:23  Thou that makest thy boast of the law, through breaking the law dishonourest thou God? 

Rom 2:24  For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you, as it is written. 

Rom 2:25  For circumcision verily profiteth, if thou keep the law: but if thou be a breaker of the law, thy circumcision is made uncircumcision. 

Rom 2:26  Therefore if the uncircumcision keep the righteousness of the law, shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision? 

Rom 2:27  And shall not uncircumcision which is by nature, if it fulfil the law, judge thee, who by the letter and circumcision dost transgress the law? 

Rom 2:28  For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: 

Rom 2:29  But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God. 

Rom 3:1  What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision? 

Rom 3:2  Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God. 

Rom 3:3  For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect? 

Rom 3:4  God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged. 

Rom 3:5  But if our unrighteousness commend the righteousness of God, what shall we say? Is God unrighteous who taketh vengeance? (I speak as a man) 

Rom 3:6  God forbid: for then how shall God judge the world? 

Rom 3:7  For if the truth of God hath more abounded through my lie unto his glory; why yet am I also judged as a sinner? 

Rom 3:8  And not rather, (as we be slanderously reported, and as some affirm that we say,) Let us do evil, that good may come? whose damnation is just. 

No One Is Righteous

Rom 3:9  What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; 

Rom 3:10  As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: 

Rom 3:11  There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. 

Rom 3:12  They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. 

Rom 3:13  Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: 

Rom 3:14  Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: 

Rom 3:15  Their feet are swift to shed blood: 

Rom 3:16  Destruction and misery are in their ways: 

Rom 3:17  And the way of peace have they not known: 

Rom 3:18  There is no fear of God before their eyes. 

Rom 3:19  Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. 

Rom 3:20  Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of

How the Jews are in need of salvation - Ro 2:17-3:20

-- Concluding that all the world is guilty, even Israel who had the Law - Ro 3:19-20

[But now in our text (Ro 3:21-31), Paul explains how the righteousness of God has been revealed. It was revealed in part even...]



"A righteousness that does not spring from perfect obedience to law " - B. W. Johnson

"In a way different from personal obedience to the law." - Barnes

"It does not mean that God abandoned his law; or that Jesus Christ did not regard the law, for he came to "magnify" it, (Isa 42:21) or that sinners after they are justified have no regard to the law;" - Barnes

"But it means simply what the apostle had been endeavoring to show, that justification could not be accomplished by personal obedience to any law of Jew or Gentile, and that it must be accomplished in some other way." - Barnes

-- I.e., a system of justification that does not depend upon one's perfect obedience


How? Through shadows and figures (e.g., animal sacrifices) - He 10:1,2,3-4

The need for animal sacrifices showed that man's perfect obedience was inadequate

Of course, animal sacrifices themselves were not adequate, but a shadow

How? Through prophetic utterances - Gen 15:6; Isa 53:4-6, 10,11-12; Hab 2:4

E.g., that Abraham's faith was reckoned for righteousness

E.g., that suffering Servant would bear our iniquities

E.g., that the just would live by faith

-- God's ultimate system of justification (making one righteous) was attested to throughout the law and the prophets!

[But what was witnessed through figures and prophetic utterances has now been fully revealed...]



God's way of making men righteous requires faith in Jesus Christ - Ro 3:22

We must believe in Him, or die in our sins - Jn 8:24

We must believe in Him, if we desire eternal life - Jn 20:30-31

A way of salvation available to all who believe in Jesus - Ro 3:22-23

There is no difference (between Jew and Gentile)

For all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God (chapters 1-3)

-- It is not just faith that saves, but faith in Jesus Christ, who died for our sins!


Offered freely by His grace - Ro 3:24-25

Through redemption in Jesus (His blood, the purchase price) - Ep 1:6,7; 1Pe 1:18-19

Jesus offered as a propitiation (a sacrifice to appease God's wrath) - 1Jn 2:2; 4:10

Demonstrating God's righteousness - Ro 3:25-26

He is just (righteous)

How could God be righteous when He had "passed over" sins previously committed (the blood of animals did not truly remove sin)?

He knew that Christ would one day bear the sins of the world! - cf. He 9:15

He is the justifier (the one who makes others righteous)

His grace makes redemption possible!

His propitiation (Jesus) makes forgiveness possible!

-- Yet this justification is only for the one who has faith in Jesus! - Ro 3:26


Excluded by the law of faith - Ro 3:27,28,29-30

One cannot boast about the works they do - cf. Lk 17:10

That faith is required implies that works cannot save

The "law of faith" (principle of faith) revealed that Christ's sacrifice was necessary

Establishing the principle of law - Ro 3:31

Justification by faith does not render obedience obsolete - cf. He 5:9

Whether it was the Law of Moses under the Old Covenant, or the Will of Christ under the New Covenant, God calls for obedience! - cf. Mt 28:20; Tit 2:11-12

"It does not mean that God abandoned his law; or that Jesus Christ did not regard the law, for he came to "magnify" it, (Isa 42:21) or that sinners after they are justified have no regard to the law;" - Barnes

-- God's way of making man righteous by an obedient faith eliminates boasting in one's works, while upholding God's call for holy living!


The mistake made by many Jews...

Believing their obedience and animal sacrifices (i.e., the Law) was all they needed

Failing to heed the Law and the Prophets, who bore witness regarding God's justification - cf. Ro 10:1-4

The mistake many people make today...

Believing that faith only saves, and obedience is not necessary

Failing to heed the gospel and the apostles, that the faith which saves is an obedient faith - cf. Ro 1:5; 6:17-18; 16:25-26

When one is careful to note "The Righteousness Of God Revealed", they learn that God saves those whose faith in Jesus prompt them to obey His Word. Their obedience does not earn or merit salvation, but receives the grace of God who has given Jesus as the propitiation for their sins.

Has your faith in Jesus led you to obey His Word? - cf. Mk 16:15-16; Ac 2:38; Re 2:10

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