Are you right with God? Every religion asks this question. And all of them but one, give the same answer–– it depends on your spiritual report card. If you have good moral and religious grades, then God will accept you. But this is not the answer given in Christianity. Authentic Christianity actually informs us that we are not right with God and that there’s no way that we can get right with Him on our own. So, God sent His Son Jesus to take the test of life and got a perfect score. His spiritual report card has straight “A”s! And God offers to exchange Christ’s perfect report in place of our failing one. In Romans 3:21-31, the apostle Paul told the Romans that the only way to receive the righteousness of God is through faith in Jesus Christ. We can understand why the righteousness of God can only be received by placing our faith in Jesus Christ.
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Thanks for listening to the podcast from gary combs and the preaching team at wilson community church in wilson, north carolina. Check us out on the web at wccnc.org for more and now here’s the sermon.
Good morning! Good to see all of you this morning we’re continuing our series through the book of romans it’s been a wonderful journey for me studying and i hope it’s been an encouraging and challenging journey for you if you’ve been on this together with us today we will be finishing up chapter three and i’m happy to report to you that we’ve concluded that section where paul has been convincing us that no one is righteous without the gospel, and i’m glad that we finally this morning get to that section where he says, well, here’s, how you can be righteous i’m excited to report that to you today.
the theme for this passage is found in chapter one verses sixteen and seventeen, and we actually named the sermon series after what we found there, we read in chapter one sixteen and, seventeen for i’m not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of god for salvation to everyone who believes to the jew first and also to the greek, for in the gospel, the righteousness of god is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, the righteous shall live by faith
now that we’re righteous, as we’ve been talking for weeks now it might be more simply understood as to be right with and so to be righteous means that you are right with god. And so, in a sense, it’s, almost a judicial term that describes that you’ve been found right with god counted as righteousness has that sense now as reported a moment ago, we have spent chapter one, verse eighteen all the way through chapter three, verse twenty, describing why all humanity is not right with god.
Whether it was the pagan gentile who only had natural revelation, they only had creation itself to point to god the were without excuse the moralists, the self righteous, without excuse the religious , the outwardly religious, without excuse.
And then last week everyone is not right with god without the gospel. And so having talked through that now, paul is going to ask you and i are you, right? Have you received the gospel? And so i would ask you this. I think it might be helpful if i just first of all ask you, are you right with your spouse? Did you have a fight on the way to church today? Do we need to talk? You’re sitting together. You’re acting like you, like each other, just for the sake of those around you, but on the way home, will you pick up where you left off ? Are you right with your children? Did you have to spank one on the way here?
You know, Robin and I are being super grandparents again this morning, so we brought two little crumb snatchers with us to church today. We’ve had them this weekend and they’ve done really well, they have behaved really well, but they still want their way, and so sometimes they’re not right with me, and maybe they feel like i’m not right with them when you want your own way, and i didn’t bring them to church this morning, robin brought them to church, i hope it went well, you got them f here and checked them into the nursery and children’s church and did those things. We’ve fallen out of habit of doing that some of you are very regularly accustomed to doing.
I remember when we used to come to church, i’d look in the rear view mirror and i’d see three sets of eyes looking back at me in various levels of car seats. You got the booster seat, the mid range and the one that looks like it was made by NASA. They’re all looking back at me, it’s kind of intimidating, and usually there was some conversation going on in the back seat. He touched me. No, i didn’t. And a fight breaks out. i’ve told you before i often would dislocate my right shoulder. I think that’s why? I have bursitis in my right shoulder now. Well, i was just trying to drive and hit anything i could back there because i wasn’t feeling like they were right with one another. And they weren’t right with me. They were getting on my last nerve. You understand what i mean by are you right with a human relationship. You understand that?
But what you might not understand is not one of you, not one of us. No, not one is right with god without christ, do you understand that? So i would ask you today as we begin this conversation and i will conclude by asking you the same question as you meditate on it. Are you right with god? Are you right with god ? some would say that they think it’s about some sort of spiritual report card that when i get to heaven as long as i have some good grades god will let me in. , That i’m right with him. You see that’s really a description of all human religion, all human religion has this in common. It’s about trying to get good grades on the spiritual report card. But christianity authentic true christianity stands apart from this and says no, you already got an f and so forget the spiritual report card. I’m gonna have to give you a new grade the grade that jesus got when he took the test of life and that’s what christianity that’s how it stands apart differently that everyone has already been judged failures, spiritually failures and that the only way to be right with god is through christ.
So we’re gonna look at the text today, picking up at verse twenty one we will finish off chapter three. And the apostle paul here tells the Romans that the only way to be right with god the only way to receive the righteousness of god is through faith in jesus christ. And i believe this morning we can understand that we can understand that the only way to receive the righteousness of god is through faith in jesus. The only way to be right with god is through jesus.
paul gives up a new argument here for us. Why is placing our faith in christ the only way to be right with god? As we look we’ll see three reasons why faith in jesus is in fact the only way to be made right with god. So let’s, look at the text today, chapter three, verse twenty one to the end of the chapter. But now the righteousness of god has been manifested apart from the law, although the law and the prophets bear witness to it the righteousness of god through faith in jesus christ for all who believe for there is no distinction for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of god, and are justified by his grace as a gift through the redemption that is in christ jesus, whom god put forward as a propitiation by his blood to be received by faith. This was to show god’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance, he had passed over former sins. 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. 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 for we hold that one is justified by faith, apart from works of the law. Or is god the god of jews only? is he not the god of gentiles also? Yes, of gentiles also, since god is one who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised to faith, do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means on the contrary, we uphold the law. This is God’s word. Amen.
We are looking for three reasons why faith in jesus is the only way to be made right with god. Here is the first because it’s about receiving not earning it’s about receiving, not earning, we’ll be looking at the first couple of verses here. I would point and direct your attention to the first two words. But now i really liked that transition there’s several of these in the new testament many times it says, but god, i tell you what when this verse starts off with but god, you get ready to get everything straightened out whatever but man has done. But god is ready to fix he’s ready to repair he’s. Ready to make it right. I’m glad. Here we see but now in contrast to whatever was said before. And if we look back at a verse, we see that in verse twenty paul has come to a terrible conclusion. And we read this last week for by works of the law, no human being will be justified in his sight. Since through the law comes knowledge of sin that’s his last verse that we studied last week, no human being through self effort will be right with god.
But now he said, you feel like i could have just entitled this but now and just preach those two words, paul’s referring actually to that point in time when jesus came and died on the cross he’s looking at that timeline and he’s saying, but now everything has changed. And so when he says but now, he certainly means in the immediate present in terms of the timeline which was two thousand years ago for us, so then we might suggest that we should say, but then, but for many of us it’s but now
Maybe you’re like me, i’m sixty years old, but now was when i was eight years old. But now at eight, i confessed jesus christ as my lord and savior, and i put away self effort and i put my confidence in his righteous work in my place. I was a little kid. I didn’t understand everything i was doing, but i knew jesus did something for me that i couldn’t do for myself . And so my but now was fifty two years ago. But then have you had a but now moment where you’ve received jesus
The earlier state of humanity has described in roman’s three twenty. But now we can be right with god. I want you to look at the text today. There in your bulletin. I hope you picked up a pen. Verses twenty one through thirty one. I want you to circle every time you see the word righteousness,which i think it’s there four times. Righteousness, and then also circle any word that begins with the prefix justify, i want you to understand something that you’ll miss if you don’t read the scripture in the greek language, and that is that the greek word ( ) it’s a prefix it is the prefix that we translate both righteousness and justify, justifier, justified justice, same word.
So now, if you’ve circled all the righteous words and all of the justify words, if you’re reading in the in the ESV, you’ve circled nine words about being right being justified. We say this the word righteousness, that’s how we translate the greek word into the english noun or adjective, but we want to translate the greek word into the verb form. We translate it be justified like a verb. We do this a lot from the greek language, the greek language will have one word, and we’ll make it to once for the noun form once for the verb form. But this is important. You’re thinking why you spend so much time on this what’s important because they’re the same word.
So when you’re thinking about being made just before god, you’re also saying the same thing. Being made right, being righteous, justified and righteousness The noun wants the action once the verb you with me. So this is what we’re talking about. And he says that the only way to do this is to let christ do it for you to receive it.
So you see righteousness in verse twenty one twenty two, twenty five, twenty six you see just justified over and over again, literally being justified and made right, made righteous and so you could switch them every time you see righteousness you could say, just and every time you see justified, you could make up your own english version say he’s, he’s righting me he’s, righteousness me and it would be the same thing wouldn’t be good english, but would be the same meaning
In christian theology justification is god’s act of removing the guilt and penalty of sin while at the same time making a sinner righteous through christ’s atoning sacrifice. if you’ve been a christian for a little while, you’ve had someone explained the doctrine of justification to you and the simple way that you’ll hear him say, it is just as if i never sinned justification, just as if i never sinned now, that’s kind of a reach, because the truth is you have sinned, but justification, it makes two moves. One is it wipes, clean your record, and then as we talked about a couple of weeks ago, but it’s not finished, then adds to your record christ’s righteousness.
If we were to use the banking analogy once again, it would be the same as the bank that you owe money. It would be the same as if the bank forgave your debt and said, no, you owe us nothing, and then, on top of that, deposited a billion dollars not only do you not owe us anything but here’s, a billion dollars. I don’t know a bank like that, but that’s, how god is that’s your god, that’s, the god who told paul to write. But now that’s what it means to be made righteous your sin debt is erased, but not only that the righteousness of christ has been given unto you.
Are you right with god ? Have you received this justification? It deals with the penalty of sin. The penalty of sin is suffering in this world brokenness, but also death and only death of the body, but eternal death in a place called hell. This is what the bible teaches apart from god. What is hell? Well, hell is a place where god is not. He gives us what we’ve asked for. I don’t want to do it your way. God, i don’t want you god, he goes, okay, i’m going to put you, i’m going to allow you to go to the place you’ve chosen a place where i’m not where there are no blessings of god, the most terrible reality about hell that’s not all those things we visualize that we’ve read the scripture where the flame is not quenched, where the fire is not quenched, and the worm dieth not, the scripture says, and jesus was describing it, and that’s, who i’m quoting now that’s a terrible place that we describe.
But the worst thing about it c s, lewis says, is that god won’t be there. And so we’re justified by receiving christ’s righteousness and forgiveness. Not by earning, it says, manifested in verse twenty one that but now what? But now what? We looked at it. But now the righteousness of god has been manifested in other words, it has appeared. Jesus interrupted history. God entered into history in the person of jesus christ. all history is divided between bc and ad the cross that moment divides all of human history.
paul says, but now he has appeared this what has appeared the righteousness of god? Who is this righteousness of god? It’s not a thing, it’s not an it it’s a person. But now the righteousness of god who is jesus christ has been manifested. In other words, he’s come in the flesh it’s a historical fact. It really happened. He came it’s been manifested and he does a little segway here. But now the righteousness of god has been manifested apart from the law, although what the law and the prophets bear witness to. Here is what he’s saying the law could not make you righteous. But by the way, the law of the prophets did predict that the messiah would come. And so the law the prophets which is a description of what the old testament he’s saying the old testament can’t save you but it does point to the one who can. that’s what he’s saying right there. Just a little segway. I like how paul thinks; he wants to make it clear. He doesn’t say somehow i’m going to keep some of it and it’ll save me. No. And you memorize it and it’ll save you, no.
But if you believe in the one that it points to and then he comes back to his topic in verse twenty two after taking his little segways short segway first twenty two the righteousness of god through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe This is what must take place. Remember what jesus said to those who said they had the scriptures?
He says in John chapter 5 you search the scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life and it is they that bear witness about me. Yet you refuse to come to me, that you may have life, that’s why paul was taking this whole segway right there, because the jews were saying, hey, wait a minute, we have the scriptures, we don’t need you. You say you have the scriptures. But they’re the ones who point to me. Yet you won’t come to me. And so we see this word faith i told you to circle the world right and just in all of its forms. And hopefully you came up with nine circles. If you were to circle the word faith, you would come up with eight circles eight times. But you would need to circle also the word believe, because it’s same greek word, the greek word ( ) this is translated in the noun form faith and ( ) is translated to trust or believe same in english, one word in greek. But the noun looks like this, and the verb looks like that i like it better if we think of righteousness as a verb, that god has to do the action. And i like it better if we think of faith as a verb that it’s not passive, like a noun sitting over here in a sentence just like that, but it’s like, believe, trust it’s, not belief, which is a noun, but believe like.
when we were studying this week what’s this text about because i don’t want to preach what i think it’s about i want to know, holy spirit, what’s versus twenty one to thirty one about and we said, well, it’s certainly about righteousness and justification, which is really one word . It’s what? We saw it nine times. And then we saw faith and believe nine times. And we said it must be about both god’s righteousness and faith. And so we titled it that you understand how this works. This is not gary telling you his opinion about things. This is what i do on a weekly basis. I dig in i study and ask god to tell me what it says and please protect me not to say something that doesn’t say more than it says less than it says, because god’s people are made right with you by hearing your word and repenting of their sin. So please, god I humbly ask, tell me what this is and then i’ll just tell them what you told me, because guess what i am just like you a sinner saved by grace. I’m just the paper boy. I spend the week rolling it up, putting a rubber band around it and throwing it up on your front porch. That’s all i do now you gotta open it and believe it, i’ve found it. I’ve put the rubber band around it.
What do you believe? The good news, he’s got this other word grace these powerful words here i can’t preach this without telling you about these words. You see this word grace in verse twenty four and verse twenty eight. We read this and it says this in verse twenty four and are justified by his grace as a gift. Now we’ve got to the heart of the matter for this section of the passage. Grace, god’s redemption at christ expense have you seen that acronym before you could put that in your notes, vertically g r a c e gods redemption at christ’s expense. Grace. Unmerited favor. I deserved an f but god’s offering me christ. i flunked the test of life. Christ succeeded. He kept the law, he lived a righteous life. He was tempted as we are yet without sin, the scripture says, and yet he offers his life that’s grace. It is a free gift paul’s. Making sure you get it. He gives by his grace as a gift.
And so we are justified. What does it mean just as if i never sinned. Not only that, but christ righteousness and since we are made righteous by a free gift how do you make a gift yours? Yeah, you should receive it. Can you earn a gift? No, it’s, not a gift if you earn it. It’s. not a gift if you earn it. Its wages for the wages of sin is death, the scripture says, but the gift of god is eternal life through christ jesus,
roman six twenty three it’s a gift christmas is coming soon. Every year, it seems like it’s coming sooner. Weused to wait until after thanksgiving to say anything about it. But now we don’t wait so long. Christmas is coming soon, and hopefully there will be a gift under the tree with your name on it. We teach our kids this unfortunate thing. If you’re good and santa will…..l that’s false religion we are teaching them. If you love the christ of christmas and have received him as your lord and savior, it ain’t about goodness, friends it’s about believing in the one who died for you. Then you’ll get the best gift of all the gift of eternal life. Now you gotta present coming with your name on it; how do you get it? You got to reach out by faith it’s free it’s, a great gift, it’s free. How do you get it? By faith that’s, how you get it so, grace, you understand what it means, and then one more word, because we can’t get out of this text without it. Redemption.
Redemption in verse twenty four again. And are justified made righteous just as if we never sinned by grace, which is a free unmerited act of favor and a gift through the redemption that is in christ jesus now what’s that word. Now, back in the day, my mom used to shop in a supermarket and they would give her green stamps. You don’t know what i’m talking about, do you? She kept them in a book, and when she got a full book she would start another book, and she had a green stamp catalogue and she looked through there and pick out something she liked, and it would say, you need three and a half books of green stamps in order to redeem this item. And so she tried to convince my dad, we needed to buy more groceries so that we will get more green stamps. You couldn’t redeem for money, but you could redeem them for something from the catalogue. redemption literally has that same kind of market place, since it means to be bought out or to be bought from .
Christ has paid for you that which you, if you would have paid it, it would have cost your life. You would die for the wages of sin is death, so he paid your price in your place. He has redeemed you. He has bought you out, so that paul says that we should offer our bodies to him as a living sacrifice, because he owns you, man. He bought you with his blood. If you come to him, you say, you’re my lord, and then he says to you, what, you’re my child, and you belong to me, and i am yours and you are mine. You’ve been redeemed. You’ve been bought out, brought out from what? From slavery to sin you’ve been bought out from sin’s penalty, which is death. You’ve been bought, paid for by the blood of jesus that’s redemption. You’ve been redeemed, bought out of sin, slavery, bought out of sin’s penalty redeemed, set free.
That was an awful lot there wasn’t it for point one, the first reason you cannot earn a gift. You receive a gift. You can only receive this, you cannot earn it the minute you try to earn it, you land back there in verse twenty, saying that you can’t be made right with god by earning. verse twenty three explains why, for all, have sinned and fall short of the glory of god. You can’t earn this thing. But you can receive it.
Look what jesus teaches us as we look at the book of John 1:12, but also who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of god. This kind of faith is the kind of faith that receives and believes in the same motion. It’s not just passive belief, it’s. This receiving believing it makes you a child of god, and as we’ve been quoting for the wages of sin, is death. But the free gift of god is eternal life. You can’t earn it. I often hear people say first let me get my life in order then i’ll come to christ but you’ll never get it straight that’s why you need jesus. That is why your life’s already a mess and you’re never going to clean it up on your own. Here’s what god says, i know you can’t clean it up that’s why i’ve sent you jesus so you can get his help and not only his help but his righteousness so that when i look at you, i don’t look at you as you are. But i look at you through the blood of jesus, so that you’re just as righteous as he is because i’ve accounted it unto you. Have you received it? You can’t earn it.
Here’s the second because it’s about the Lamb, not the law. It’s about the lamb, not the law. It’s about receiving not earning it’s about the Lamb not the law. See what i did there don’t you? Verse twenty five and twenty six now the big word whom god put forward. Now, look, by the way, let me just say this to you, that when you read about this and and theological commentaries and so forth, you come across ancient believers who look at these verses twenty four, twenty five, twenty six, twenty seven, twenty six special. And they say this is the greatest paragraph in all of human literature. This is the most astounding truth ever written, and if you would chew on it, i think you would agree. This is wonderful. That we can get this gift. And then he goes to verse twenty five and he’s talking about christ whom god whom christ god put forward as a propitiation by His blood now there’s another big word, isn’t it?
We’ve covered a lot of big words. Propitiation. Did you use that word last week anywhere when you were talking to somebody ? I doubt it Propitiation literally comes from the old testament way of thinking. And in the old testament hebrew it would have been kippur they would have called this christ is my kippur and so their highest and holiest day in judaism is Yom Kippur. The day of atonement, in hebrew it means to atone for to die, for, to shed blood for on the day of atonement the high priest on that singular day the only day he’s allowed he enters into the holy of holies behind the curtain. And he spreads the blood of the lamb on the mercy seat which is the lid of the ark of the covenant in between the two cherubim of gold he spreads and sprinkles the blood.
This is the word propitiation. It means this idea that christ has atoned for our sin once for all. It’s not just that he wipes away our sin which he does redemption covers a lot of that idea, but this propitiation covers that too. So it’s not just expiation, as some translations would give it, which means to wipe out something. It includes that, but more than that it has the idea in this troubles us. But hopefully not you, because you’ve been with me on the romans ride so far we talked about the wrath of god.
The wrath of god is his righteous response to that which is the opposite of holiness and justice and righteousness. He wouldn’t be righteous if he didn’t respond to unrighteousness, propitation means that his wrath is appeased that troubles us because we have a wrong view of anger. We have a fallen view of it, but god’s anger is perfect and it’s the right response to injustice, because he is just and so on the cross Christ has become the propitiation which means he not only is paying for and atoning for our sins so that they’re wiped out expiation propitiation includes the idea that the wrath of god was poured out on him, on the cross, so that the earth shook and the sky was darkened and he cried out. My god, my god, why have you forsaken me? So he not only took our sin, the righteous one took our sin, we took our separation, and the wrath of god that was meant for me, and you was poured upon him
so there’s, therefore, now, no wrath remaining for those of us that are in christ jesus, this is propitiation. Do you understand what this is the next time you look at that word, don’t trip over it quickly. This is your Yom Kippur, and you don’t need one every year now, you don’t need it every year. It’s done. Our high and holy priest has offered his own blood.
Verse twenty five answers that question that some of you ask. Well, what about the jews? What about abraham and isaac and jacob? What about moses? What about david? What about isaiah and ezekiel? All of them were back there offering lambs, and are you saying None of that was sufficient. It wasn’t the blood of the lamb so why did they do it? Why was it when Cain and Abel, the first two boys born on planet earth, one of them brought vegetables and one brought a lamb and only one of them did it by faith, and that was Abel what is that? Well, look at verse twenty five. This was to show god’s righteousness, god’s justice. Remember that word? Because in his divine forbearance what’s that word forbearance means to put up with my wife puts up with me she forebears. Maybe that’s, what you do if you’ve been married a long time, you quit arguing about it. You just forbear, you just put up with it. Hey, i can’t help it god’s, righteous, but because here’s, what god’s been doing this whole time back here this whole time back here he was putting up now he wasn’t forgetting he wasn’t wiping out. but he was putting up with he wasn’t counting it to them this whole time he was putting up with, you know why? Because he knew he was sending jesus to pay for it.
Listen, every one of those lambs was like a check written on a future deposit. He made him good, they were no good. Listen, friends, you can make it now you can say, i owe you whatever you want to write and it’s only worth the value of the piece of paper, which is practically worthless the only thing that makes it good is if you keep your word now all those lambs were used by god, put it in their heart by faith, and so abraham said to his son, isaac. He says, father, where’s, the lamb, we got fire, we got wood, where is the lamb? He said, son, god will provide the lamb, and so he has. He made all of that in the old testament, is only made good if jesus shows up, but now he has been manifest.
he says to the jews, hey, all that stuff you were doing back there, if you think about it, didn’t you kind of realize it wasn’t getting it done? Why’d you have to keep doing it if it wasn’t getting it done. Why’d you have to keep doing it all the time, like he had to keep up with every kind of sin. There were different ways that you had to sacrifice, where there’s, the sacrifice for this and the sacrifice for that. I mean, hundreds of things you got to keep up with. What if there was just one answer? But now he the manifest he has come he’s here, it’s about the lamb, not about the law. And he put up with those former sins.
Verse twenty six, because it was to show his righteousness at the present time, he’s going to make it right, so that now you got these two really wonderful words here, so that he might be just now the words, he kept his justice. You can’t accuse god of not being just why’d you let them by with it. What i really didn’t. What I did was poured out on jesus So all of those were IOU’s that he made the deposit on and made them all good, and so we look to jesus. If you look to jesus from the old testament, you look into the future and go the messiah made it good, but if you look at it from the new testament side, which is where we are, christ jesus made it good. The same singular event radiates across tying both past and future, so that christ is all. He’s, our propiation he makes it so that god is just but he is also justifier
look at verse twenty six. Again, this is so good, it was to show his righteousness at the present time so that he might be just, and the justifier of who of the one that puts his faith in jesus. God becomes your justifier He becomes the one who says, i’ve counted you right, i’ve counted you right with me, because by faith, you received christ jesus, are you with me? I got a little worked up. I need to get to the last point. I can’t help it.I’m talking about my jesus. Is he yours, he’s the best, none greater. We’re going to spend eternity with him praising his name. And yet we do not even catch a glimpse yet of what he has done. I prayed that we would meditate on it more fully.
john the baptist when he saw him he said, behold the lamb of god who takes away the sins of the world. What was he talking about? He got it. He understands Now at this point, when he sees christ he’s the one that all those little lambs through the centuries pointed to he’s it he’s the fulfillment. In 1 john, chapter two the apostle john writes my little children, i’m writing these things to you so that you may not sin against him. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate. We have a representative with the father. Jesus christ, the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. In other words, he died for everyone’s sins. But not all will, accept the gift. Oh, can you imagine, it’s one thing to reject god, but can you imagine rejecting His son, and how god might feel about that. The wonder of the cross Is that it satisfies both god’s, justice and god’s love in a singular event so that he is just and justifier he’s, just which satisfies his righteousness . And he is the god of love, he’s, the justifier
here’s number three, because i must move on, because it’s, about believing, not boasting it’s, about believing, not boasting. Verse twenty seven through thirty one, is where paul ends chapter three. he began chapter three with some imaginary questioner that was asking him questions that he answered, right, remember, that was last week. Now he’s back, he’s closing the chapter, the way he started the chapter hey, that guy’s back, the one with the questions.
His first question is, well, what becomes of our boasting? I mean we’re the people of god. You know, god chose us we are the jews we are the people of the house of david. I mean, we’re special what are we going to boast about now? He says it’s excluded. In other words, it’s gone. You had nothing to boast about now it’s excluded because it means nothing but by what kind of law they say by a law of works we mean it’s excluded by a law of works.
And then he throws this curveball at us. No, but by the law of faith now wait a minute, paul. What the world? What is the law of faith that this is not capital L law it’s not mosaic law. This is by the principle of faith don’t be confused every time paul says law he doesn’t mean the law sometimes he means a law, a principle not by works of the law capitol L but by lower case l principle by the law of faith.. And then he tells us what the law of faith is But what kind of law? by the law of faith and verse twenty eight tells us what that principle of faith is for the explanation we hold. In other words, we held onto this principle that one is justified by faith. Apart from works of the law , that other one law mosaic law. Are you still with me? He could get ahead of us. Sometimes the principle of faith overrules because the law of works gives death. But the principle of faith, the law, faith. That’s what he’s saying here. So it’s, about believing, not boasting it’s about you can’t boast of what you’ve done, it’s, something that you must by faith receive.
And then he says, wait a minute, is god the god of the jews only or is he not also the god of the gentiles? Does God have one way that he saves jews and another way the He saves gentiles? Do they have their own way? And then we’ve got our different way, and we’re both right. It’s, two paths, no there’s, one god and there’s one answer. Christ, jesus, if they don’t have christ, none other sacrifices are any good. they didn’t accept the deposit there’s, not two ways. There’s, not two gods. You know what i love the god of the new testament, i hear people say, but when i start reading about the god of the old testament believing him, what friends, you got a problem? Because there’s only one god. You misunderstand. You’ve got a god in your own making you don’t. You’ve got lower case. G god, you’ve made up your god. This is the god of the bible he’s, fully formed. You don’t get to choose what he’s like. You better figure out who that god is. Is he the god of the jews and the gentiles? And it says yes of gentiles. Also, since god is one, you say it, who will justify the circumcised who’s, that the jews, by faith, and the uncircumcised who’s, that the gentiles through faith, so both of them come to me, be right with god by the same entry point, the same gate, which is christ jesus , our lord he’s, the only way by faith in him,
who is the one who makes us righteous? So you asked that question, and then he’s concerned this questioners concerned, then about the law. Does that mean we throw away the old testament , do we even need the old testament? Does the new testament, the new covenant overthrow the old testament that’s, the question you understand? And he says, by no means like, no way, man, come on. On the contrary, it makes the old testament good it fulfills it. It makes it understandable. The way you read the bible is not from front to back from back to front. You need to put on your jesus glasses, or you won’t understand this book. You look at it with human eyes, and it will be, as paul said in 1 Corinthians chapter, 2 it’ll be as foolishness to you, but you get your jesus glasses on you go, makes sense now because once you get christ and he’s made you righteous, now you’re set free and you go I want to do what the book says. I’m not fighting against it in rebellion. I know i’m not perfect. I’m set free. God has judged christ in my place, so it has preserved his justice as well has made him to justify.
And so paul says for by, grace, you’ve been saved , this is Ephesians chapter 2 by faith through faith rather this is not your own doing it’s a gift of god, not as a result of works, so that no man shall boast. in first corinthians he says, because of him, because of god, you’re in christ jesus, who became to us wisdom from god, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that as it is written, let the one who boasts boast in the lord.
that’s what i’m doing right now i am boasting in jesus christ, put away your self boasting and start boasting in jesus , for he has saved you. And more than that, he’s made you right with god. Friends are you right with god? You can’t be made right on your own, you need christ,
tim keller tells a story he says if i had the ability to make wings of feathers and would fan my arms as hard as i could so that i put my faith in my ability to make a transatlantic crossing from london to or from new york to london friends, it wouldn’t matter how much i believed i guarantee you i would drown, because if you try to do your own thing it’s, not the quality of your faith, it’s, the object of your faith, he said, but i can get go trembling with my knees shaking onto a seven forty seven airplane, and i can sit in my seat and take some motion sickness tablets and just fall asleep and go trembling and land in london because the plane is much better than those feather wings .
It only takes a little bit of faith. What matters is the object and christ is the object christ and his works friends it’s not how much you believe it’s what you believe that matters? Do you believe in jesus and so there’s a boasting transfer, we could solve most of the problems in society if we’d stop boasting in ourselves. Human divisions come from boasting in our race, boasting that we’re americans boasting that were white boasting in our gender, boasting it’s hard to boast to be a white male today that’s like the least thing you could be but boasting in your gender, boasting in your sexuality boasting in your color. All of that is from the flesh boasting jesus you boast in jesus, and you put away human conflict good and stop boasting. It also puts away your denial, so you’re no longer depending on yourself. It puts away your anxiety, because now you’re not depending on your own feather way. You don’t have to worry about crashing, climb aboard the plane, let him be the pilot. You could be made right with god, not by earning, not by law keeping, not by boasting, but receiving the lamb and boasting in him believing in him. Oh, i’ve gone long and i know it let’s pray.
lord, thank you for your word. More than anything, thank you for jesus, lord, is there one in this house right now? That’s, not right with you. I pray that you would not let them leave. I pray you would stir their hearts so much. Now, make them miserable help them see their condition without you. Are you right with god? There’s, one who will make you right his name is jesus he’s, the one stirring your heart. Right now. Some have called him the hound of heaven, he’s. After you, he loves you. He died for you. Would you receive him today? How do you do that right now in prayer, believing in your heart? Pray with me, dear lord jesus. Pray right where you are, dear lord jesus I am a sinner . I’m not righteous, but i want to be. I want to be right with you, lord. I believe that the lord jesus died on the cross for my sins, that he was raised on the third day that he lives today. Would you come into my life and forgive me of my sins? Make me the person you want me to be. I want to be a child of god. I want christ to be my lord and savior if you’re praying that right now, believing then he will save you. He will not only forgive you of your sins, but he’ll make you righteous and he’ll make you a child of god. Friends, are you right with god? Others are here today and you are saved , but you’ve been doubting and you’ve been doubting, because you’ve been placed in your faith in your own effort, rather than in the one who saves. Would you take your eyes off for yourself, stop boasting in yourself and boast in Him lord, let us be a church that continually asked people, are you right with god, for we’re the ones who know the answer in christ’s name. Amen.