TURNING OF THE HINGE
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.
‘For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.’1
Long ago I watched a series about the war in the Pacific during the Second World War. As each episode began, the introductory music would play and then a deep American voice would proclaim dramatically, ‘And now…’ Paul here uses ‘But now …’ (v 21) with the same sonorous effect. Having ruthlessly dug deep into our human plight, he now begins dramatically to dig us out. God has done ‘a new thing’.2 God’s ‘righteousness’ here is God’s will to put things right, to remedy our condition (v 21). The ‘Law’ quite rightly itemized our failures, but in Jesus Christ God has done something that redresses them. God makes things right by making us right, the same remedy applying to Jews and Gentiles. Christ is the one through whom we are redeemed from the slavery of sin (v 24); this happens by grace and through faith.
This is fully in accord with the ‘Law and the Prophets’ (v 21) – the Law here meaning the Torah (the first five books of the Old Testament, most significant to Jews). Crucial to it all is Jesus’ act of self-giving, pouring out His own life- blood on the cross. This is a ‘sacrifice of atonement’ (v 25). It is the culmination of Jesus’ life of total devotion to the Father, through which He accomplished what no other human could ever do: a God-filled, completely holy life. This life is offered back to the one from whom Jesus came. It is an intercession for sinners.3 Christ’s self-offering on the cross is where He asks the Father, ‘forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing’.4 So the cross becomes a mercy seat or place of atonement5 where we may ask, through Jesus, for God’s mercy, a mercy that the Father has long ago chosen graciously to bestow.
‘Beneath the cross of Jesus I fain would take my stand’.6
Amazing God, I am in awe of Your amazing grace. Jesus died that I might live. Hallelujah, what a Savior.
1 1 Cor 15:22 2 Isa 43:19 3 Isa 53:12 4 Luke 23:34 5 Exod 25:17–22; Heb 9:5 6 Elizabeth Cecilia Clephane, 1836–69
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