Gracious One, You are the God of the unexpected. Surprise me today with new insights from Your Word.
Read Romans 3:21–31
Righteousness Through Faith
21 But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22 This righteousness is given through faith in[a] Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25 God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement,[b] through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— 26 he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.
27 Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. Because of what law? The law that requires works? No, because of the law that requires faith. 28 For we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law. 29 Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles too? Yes, of Gentiles too, 30 since there is only one God, who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith. 31 Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectWhat are some of the most significant moments in history that you have lived through? In this passage, the words ‘but now’ show the enormous significance of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus – the great turning point of history!
Yesterday’s passage revealed our hopelessness – that we are all bound by our wrongdoing, stuck in our sin. ‘But now’ is a beautiful phrase that reflects the wonderful news – something we should never become immune to – that the grace of God changes everything. Of God’s great act of redemption, one theologian wrote, ‘His verdict is creative: he pronounces us, his enemies, to be his friends.’*
Not only has God come up with the solution; he has done this at great cost to himself (v 25). God himself has taken human form in the person of Jesus as ‘a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood’ (v 25). In the Old Testament the blood of animals ‘covered over’ human sins. But, as the writer of Hebrews shows us, Jesus satisfies God’s wrath against sin once and for all (Hebrews 9:12). We are saved, together, by faith (v 28).
‘The righteousness of God, far, strange, high becomes our possession and our great hope’ (Karl Barth).* Thank God for his amazing mercy and grace.
Amazing God, I am in awe of Your amazing grace. Jesus died that I might live. Hallelujah, what a Savior.
*Karl Barth, The Epistle to the Romans, trans. Edwyn C Hoskyns, OUP, 1933, p 93; * Karl Barth, The Word of God and Theology, trans. Amy Marga, Continuum Books, 2011, p 13.
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