But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:(Romans 3;21-24)
Man is fallen. All of us are under a sentence of condemnation, according to the Gospel as explained in the letter to the Romans. All of us have committed that primal sin, the rejection of God’s glory. We have all made substitute gods , seeking beauty and meaning in that which is not God.
There are no exceptions, not even Israel. The chosen and priviliged people of God are under the indictement, that declares “There is none righteous ,no not one!”.This is a quotation from the Psalms, and adressed to Israel. Paul is telling Israel, that her own scripture indicts her just as much as it does everyone else!
If we are not outright atheists, who among us has never been guilty of practical atheism? That is, who hasn’t been guilty of living as if there were no God, or as if He had no say over us? Didn’t God declare to Israel, “When I called none answered” ?
The condemnation of sin has been painstakingly revealed to be universal, all of us are under sin, all of us are under wrath, all of us deserve to die, we have all forfeited our very right to behold God’s glory, to dwell in God’s universe.And there can not be any excuse, all excuses will fall flat on the day of judgment, For every mouth will be stopped on that day .
All seems hopeless, for there can be no human solution. There isn’t anyone qualified to redeem themselves in the sight of God, let alone anyone else.Man is not only lost, he is helpless, “by the deeds of the law is no flesh justified in his sight”.
So many are utterly oblivious to the problem. They don’t see what the big problem is. They can’t appreciate the enormity of sin, and the majesty of the person they have sinned against.
I liken these to a man who went to visit a wealthy friend. He walked into his office and saw a Ming Vase, worth two million dollars. Before His friend could caution him, he reached out to touch it, and clumsily knocked it over, breaking it into pieces. “Don’t worry,” he quickly assured his horror-stricken friend, “I saw one just like it at K-Mart, I’ll replace it immediately!”.
We have broken the law of a Holy God! We have shattered the Image of God! By our sins, we have spit in the face of the God who lovingly created us, and we are going to make up for it, by trying to be better people??!
Even if we could start at some point, to do right, how would that make up for all of the earlier transgressions? This is a moral universe, Justice must be upheld, wrong has to be answered for. Offended holiness has to be satisfied.
This is the teaching of Romans 1-3. It is designed to smash humanistic nonsense about the ‘goodness of all men’, so that we might look outside of ourselves for the answer. We see the same teaching in vision form in Revelation chapter five;
And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals.And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof?
And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon.And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon.And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.(Revelation 5)
The gloom departs with the introduction of these two words, But Now…
Now, A right standing with God is revealed without law keeping, although as Paul will show us, the Law of God and the prophets anticipated it.
God has provided an answer, a righteous way to receive sinners, a Holy way to redeem us, all in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ.In Jesus God’s Holiness and justice is satisfied, He has “by no means cleared the guilty” punishing us in Him.
This righteousness is the gift of God for everyone, “unto all”,but is only applicable by faith,”and upon all who believe”, for as we have seen, as far as Divine justice and human sin is concerned, there is no difference, between Jew and Gentile.
All of us have sinned, and all of us can be saved, but on God’s glorious terms, not our own. more on this soon…