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Focal Passage:  Romans 3:21-31

Romans 3:28 “For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law.”

It’s so important that we “hold” or “maintain” this truth that Paul emphasizes here, for if we don’t, we will miss the beauty and peace in knowing how it is that we are called children of God.  Everyone has doubts about their salvation.  We look into the mirror and wonder why or how.  But if we “hold” that our justification, that is that God declared us righteous, is because we have placed our faith in Jesus Christ and not because of what we see in the mirror, we can also hold onto the peace that comes with that knowledge.  God declared us righteous because of what Jesus did, not by anything we do.  Of course, that doesn’t negate the necessity of obedience to sanctification.  We must also remember that we are redeemed for obedience; we are not redeemed by obedience.  Hold onto your justification, Christian.  It is the only avenue to peace and security in sanctification.

Study/Meditation:  What is the difference between “works of the law” and “works of sanctification”?  How is this difference manifested in your attitude?

*Father, help me hold onto the truth of justification, knowing that you made me righteous because of the works of Jesus Christ.  Thank You for that glorious and merciful gift.  Amen.

Focal Passage:  Romans 3:21-31

Romans 3:27 “Then what becomes of our boasting?  It is excluded.  By what kind of law?  By a law of works?  No, but by the law of faith.”

Some might argue that Paul is engaging us in a sort of circular logic in this verse.  He is rightly arguing that all boasting on our part is negated in the act of justification since it is a free gift of grace from God to those who believe.  Yet he writes that our boasting is negated not by the “law” of works but by the “law” of faith.  Faith is indeed something that we do, and Paul himself calls it a “law of faith,” so can’t the argument be made that our salvation is made up of God+us?  If we argue this, we have missed Paul’s entire point and unfortunately the entire point of justification.  Although faith is an act that we do as humans, the act is entirely focused on someone else, not on us.  It is completely dependent on what someone else does on our behalf, in this case God.  Putting our faith in Jesus Christ as our Savior is in its very essence the act of relinquishing all control for that salvation to Jesus.  We will never be able to stand before God and claim we did anything to deserve eternity with Him.  It will always be all Jesus or we won’t stand with Him at all.

Study/Meditation:  Where does your faith come from?  Why do some have faith in Jesus and others do not?  (Read John 10:1-30)

*Father, thank You for giving me the necessary faith so that I might receive salvation.  I know it is all of You and I humbly bow before Your majesty.  Amen.

Focal Passage:  Romans 3:21-31

Romans 3:26 “It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”

Why is the gospel necessary?  Why is it, in its truest sense, the most necessary thing any human can receive?  When each of us stands in the presence of the Almighty God, we will only be able to do so in confidence of eternity if the gospel has become the central component of our means of gaining access therein.  You see, only the gospel satisfies both God’s mercy and His justice.  Only the gospel demonstrates our Father’s amazing and boundless love in that it is offered by faith to sinners who cannot gain eternity otherwise.  Likewise it fulfills the requirements for His justice as the payment for those sins was made in His Son’s blood on the cross.  God is simultaneously a just Judge and a merciful Father to those who accept the gospel of Jesus Christ.  His character is never compromised and His love is never diluted.  He is God of ever God and He is our Father.

Study/Meditation:  Why is it so important to present a gospel that shows both God’s love and His justice?

*Father, You are holy and just, loving and merciful.  I tremble at Your presence and delight in Your love.  I worship You!  Amen.

Focal Passage:  Romans 3:21-31

Romans 3:25b “This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.”

Paul has stressed over and over that the gospel vindicates God’s justice.  Without the propitiation offered by Jesus Christ on the cross, God’s righteousness could be called into question in that it would seem as if He simply sweeps sin under the rug without payment.  As it is, His justice is served in the death of His Son for our sins.  Additionally, the gospel is also the culmination of everything taught and attempted in the Old Testament.  The writer of Hebrews wrote, “The blood of bulls and goats cannot forgive sin.” (Hebrews 10:4)  If they could, then God’s justice could have been called into question.  However, what these animal sacrifices did do was to point to the only sacrifice that could and would satisfy God’s holy wrath—Jesus Christ. His blood was so completely perfect that it saved our sin, the sin of those who will come, and the sins of those who had faith in His coming in the past. Only the perfect, sinless Son of God could be the Savior we need.

Study/Meditation:  What was the purpose of the Law of Moses and the sacrifices God commanded of them in the Old Testament?

*Father, Your righteousness and justice endures throughout time.  You are truly God and my Father.  Amen.

Focal Passage:  Romans 3:21-31

Romans 3:25a “(Christ Jesus), whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith.”

“Propitiation” is a word we don’t use very often.  It literally means a “wrath-removing sacrifice.”  So, what Paul is going on to tell us is that the justification we receive from God as a free gift was also costly in Jesus’ death; He served as a “wrath-removing sacrifice” for our sins.  In other words, Jesus paid the price we owed by sacrificing His own life to remove God’s just wrath for the sins that we commit.  This propitiation was made “by his blood” in that it cost Him His life, and it is “received by faith”—that is it is received by those who place their trust and belief in Him as the Propitiator and Savior.  Finally, notice also that Paul is sure to say that “God put forward” this wrath-removing sacrifice.  In His divine love and mercy, knowing and honoring His own righteous and holiness, God initiated this act on our behalf.  This kind of love is truly beyond our comprehension, but it is ours nonetheless.  Hallelujah!

Study/Meditation:  Why was it necessary for Jesus’ blood to be shed on the cross for your salvation?  How might you explain that to someone who doesn’t know Him?

*Father, thank You for Your unfathomable love for me.   Thank You for giving Your Son as a propitiation for my life.  Help me remember this sacrifice as I live for You on this earth.  Amen.

Focal Passage:  Romans 3:21-31

Romans 3:24b “…through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.”

In the first part of verse 24, Paul tells us that justification is a free gift by God’s grace, but in the second part of that same verse he tells us that is it also exceedingly costly.  Because God is holy and just as well as full of love and mercy, the universal sin of mankind could not go unpunished.  So while justification is free to us, a price had to be paid so that His justice was served.  That price was God’s Son, Jesus Christ.  Jesus redeemed us, a term used to describe setting one free or buying one back from bondage or slavery.  This redemption is at the same time gloriously free and immeasurably costly.  What a love the Father has for us in that while were still sinners, He gave His only Son so that we might live forever. (Romans 5:8)  Free and yet paid.  What a Lord is our God!

Study/Meditation:  How might you explain to an unbeliever that God’s justification of sinners who believe on Jesus as their Savior is both free and costly?  How does this act exemplify the Father’s great love for us?

*Father, Your love is immeasurable and great!  Holy and just is Your Name in all the earth!  Amen.