Justified by Faith!
But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 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, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law. Or is He the God of the Jews only? Is He not also the God of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also, since there is one God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith. Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law. (Romans 3:21-31)
Set against the black background of the universal sinfulness of all mankind (Romans 1:18-3:20) is the incredible revelation of the gospel of Jesus Christ. That is, guilty human beings can go from certain eternal condemnation to a right standing before God. Judgment is replaced by mercy and grace; abject sinfulness is exchanged for complete vindication. All because of what Jesus did for us. This is what is called justification by faith.
Justification is apart from the law. The law only proves guilt and points out the wrongs that were done; it can never forgive or grant clemency. Upon believing the gospel of Jesus Christ the guilty sinner is justified, declared not guilty, granted righteousness. Justification is just as if I’d never sinned.
- This justification is free for us (but at great cost to God).
- Justification came to us through Christ’s redemption (He delivered us by paying the price of His own blood- 1 Peter 1:18-19).
- Justification is because of propitiation (He became the sacrifice that was accepted by God as the fitting punishment for the sins of the entire world- 1 John 2:1-2).
- In the cross, God judges (He is just, in that He punishes sin). Because of the cross, God is able to justify sinners (because they exercise faith in Jesus).
The one who is justified cannot boast, as God is the One who justified us. We did not (nor could we) justify ourselves. All we could do it trust in Jesus, accepting the gospel as true. The same gospel saves the Jew who believes (the circumcised), as well as the Gentile (the uncircumcised). All come to salvation through the completed work of Jesus Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:3-4).
The justified person, in the end, establishes the law (a concept which is amplified in Romans 6-8). The law is not cancelled out or made invalid; God works His law into the very fabric of our being.
For Further Review
1. How would you define justification? Use your own words to describe justification by faith and its meaning.
2. Bible study time: using a Bible dictionary or encyclopedia, look up the key words in this passage: justified, redemption, propitiation. What did you learn?
3. Have you received the gift of justification through your faith in Jesus Christ? How has this gift changed your life? What does it mean to you as you head toward the future?
4. Read Romans 8:3-4 and answer the following questions: What could the law not do? Why was the law weak? What did God do that the law could not do? How is the righteous requirement of the law fulfilled in us?
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