Lord of Light, in company with all who turn towards You, I worship and honor You now.
Read ROMANS 3:9–31
9 What shall we conclude then? Do we have any advantage? Not at all! For we have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under the power of sin. 10 As it is written:
“There is no one righteous, not even one;
11 there is no one who understands;
there is no one who seeks God.
12 All have turned away,
they have together become worthless;
there is no one who does good,
not even one.”
13 “Their throats are open graves;
their tongues practice deceit.”
“The poison of vipers is on their lips.”
14 “Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.”
15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood;
16 ruin and misery mark their ways,
17 and the way of peace they do not know.”
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, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. 20 Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.
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 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, 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.
Rejoice in God who takes your moral helplessness to display his grace.
With an elaborate use of Old Testament texts, Paul builds up his case of universal sinfulness. Jewish hearers have the advantage of a clear statement of God’s righteousness in the Law—against which their sinfulness is apparent. The end result for Gentiles is the same: the whole world is accountable to God. No person or human institution is without sin. We are in peril if we forget this and think ourselves superior to others.
At last we arrive at what God has done. His righteousness is revealed in his actions. Justification is not through the Jewish Law, but “through the faithfulness of Jesus Christ” (22; alternative translation, see footnote in TNIV), and by our faith in him. Now Paul pours out the great Gospel words: grace (unmerited love), redemption (think of the Exodus) and the sacrifice of atonement by the blood of Christ Jesus. All of these terms show us the continuity between the Old and New Testaments and the Jewish advantage in having had the opportunity to read this before. The epistle to the Hebrews spells out the permanency of Jesus’ sacrifice, in contrast to the repeated nature of Old Testament sacrifices (Heb. 9:25–28).
We may read these verses and rejoice in our own salvation, but Paul wants it to feed into a bigger vision: the vision that the covenant promises of God are for people from every nation. There is no longer any reason for anyone to boast or feel superior to others. We have in Christ Jesus a complete God-organized and God-delivered salvation. Paul has already stated in chapter 1 that Jesus is fully God. In no other religious system is there anything to match it. The truth of this section of Romans is a great stimulus to evangelism, not only to the Spanish citizens but also into all the nations of the world.
Verse 22 says, “There is no difference.” Find as many ways as you can in verses 21–31 that illustrate “no difference” between people.
Father, what a great and mighty God You are! I thank and praise You for my great salvation. Grant me wisdom as I share Your Good News with those who so desperately need it.