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Focal Passage:  Romans 3:21-31

Romans 3:24a “And are justified by his grace as a gift,…”

Paul has made it clear that we are condemned in and of ourselves, but he has also made it clear that God’s righteousness is available to all who believe in Christ Jesus by faith.  Now he tells us what this faithful believing results in—it results in justification, free justification.  We are justified, or declared righteous, as a grace gift.  It is freely given to us by the extravagant grace of our Father.  Justification is an act, not an ongoing process.  It’s a judicial act, and it’s not our act; it is our Lord’s.  Our Heavenly Father looks down on us, people who deserve the due penalty of our sin against His holiness, and pardons us of all condemnation and punishment.  And not only that, He declares us righteous.  “Justification” is more than “just as if I’d never sinned.”  God’s “justification” makes it “just as if I’d always obeyed.”  How gloriously gracious is our Lord!

Study/Meditation:  What does it mean to you that you were justified the moment you believed on Jesus Christ as your Savior?  How are we to live in light of this great gift?

*Father, You are gracious and loving and merciful to me, a sinner.  Thank You for justifying me through Your Son’s precious blood.  Amen.

Focal Passage:  Romans 3:21-31

Romans 3:22b-23 “For there is no distinction:  for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

Paul had just written that the righteousness of God is available to “all” who believe in Jesus Christ as their Savior.  When he begins the next phrase with the word “For,” it is the same as saying, “Because.”  This righteousness is available by faith to “all” who believe “because…all have sinned.”  All of us are in the same boat when it comes to our states before the Almighty God.  All of us are “under sin” and all of us “fall short of the glory of God.”  Justification through the blood of Jesus Christ is available without distinction to all who believe on Him because all need it.  If you’re rich, apart from Christ you are under God’s condemnation.  If you’re poor, apart from Christ you are under God’s condemnation.  There is no distinction in us.  The only distinction is in Christ who offers justification before God to all who believe in Him.

Study/Meditation:  What is the ultimate good news in this verse?  Take a few minutes and thank God for this good news.

*Father, thank You for justifying me, a sinner who falls short of Your glory, through the blood of Your Son, Jesus Christ.  Thank You for Your love.  Amen.

Focal Passage:  Romans 3:21-31

Romans 3:22a “The righteousness of God through faith in Christ Jesus for all who believe.”

The glorious news is that this righteousness that has been manifested apart from the Law is through faith in Christ, and it is available to anyone who believes.  Paul is telling us that we receive this necessary righteousness by placing our faith in His Son, Jesus Christ, as our personal Savior.  Now, there is something important to realize about this faith Paul speaks of.  This faith is not simply saying, “OK, I believe that Jesus is the Messiah.  I understand that He is the Savior.”  Faith means knowing and believing and trusting.  The Old Testament uses many beautiful analogies to demonstrate true faith.  It speaks of faith as rolling one’s burdens over onto another.  It speaks of trusting in God in the dark when one cannot see.  And this faith is not the object of our salvation; our faith does not commend us to God.  Only Christ commends us to God; faith is our way of laying hold of Him.  The object of our faith is not our faith.  The object of our faith is Christ and that makes His righteousness available to us.  Only in Jesus.

Study/Meditation:  How have you seen some rest on their faith for salvation instead of on faith in Christ?  What is the difference?

*Father, I trust and believe in Jesus Christ as my Savior.  I receive from Him the righteousness that brings me into eternity.  All to Your glory, Lord.  Amen.

Focal Passage:  Romans 3:21-31

Romans 3:21 “But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it.”

From Romans 1:18-3:20, Paul has been describing our condition in sin.  If you’ll remember 1:17 he proposed his point, “For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith.”  Now he is back to that righteousness, finally explaining how we, a people who are “under sin,” can stand before a holy God.  After explaining how the law actually condemns us since we cannot keep it, Paul tells us that the gospel offered to us has been “manifested apart from the law.”  What amazingly good news!  God’s gospel, which was always the point, is not dependent on our keeping the law, though we strive to do that.  God’s gospel isn’t about us at all; it is about something outside of us, which should prove to make us exceedingly joyful.  Paul has taken great pains to show how we fail miserably before God’s holiness, and now he’s telling us that it’s not about us after all.  It’s always been about Him and it’s always been about His righteousness.  This is truly the Good News!

Study/Meditation:  Look more closely at that phrase, “But now,” that starts this magnificent passage.  What do those two words tell you about the good news of the gospel?

*Father, You are holy and righteous, and I thank You for manifesting that righteousness outside of me.  It is all about You and I am joyful in that.  Amen.

Focal Passage: Romans 3:9-20

Romans 3:20 “For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.”

The Law was given to Moses with one intention—to point to our need of Jesus Christ. It cannot be kept to its letter. As a matter of fact, what it does is show us how exceedingly great is our inability to keep it. Man’s desire to be good enough or say enough or go to church enough or confess enough is just another attempt to keep a Law he was never able to keep. God’s Law was always intended to point sinful man to the One and only Way he could obtain eternity and that Way is Jesus. No one will be able to stand before God on that day and claim “good enough.” The only claims that will stand before Him are those founded solely on His Son, whose righteousness is the only thing gaining anyone entrance into heaven.

Study/Meditation: Why is it so important when claiming that one will go to heaven to also be able to say why? What is your answer to that question? How would you explain that to an unbeliever?

*Father, thank You for the righteousness of Jesus and for giving that to me. I love You. Amen.

Focal Passage:  Romans 3:9-20

Romans 3:19 “Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped and the whole world may be held accountable to God.”

First of all, Paul wants us to be certain that “knowing” God’s Word is not the same as “doing” God’s Word.  Many, especially in Paul’s day among the Jews, felt that having a distinct and whole knowledge of Scripture made them better than those who may not know some or all of it.  On the contrary, “knowing” the Law makes us even more accountable.  But even more than that, the Law itself condemns all humanity since none can obey it completely, whether humanity is fully aware of it in its entirety or not.  There is no “good enough” and there is no righteousness apart from Christ.  Until we know the state of our souls without Christ, we cannot know how much we need Him.  The same is true of the whole world.

Study/Meditation:  Why is it that mankind seeks “knowledge” oftentimes instead of humility before God?  How does proper humility result in a desire for correct knowledge?

*Father, forgive me when I think of myself higher than I ought.  Thank You for giving me the righteousness of Christ so that I may live with You in eternity.  Amen.