February 20, 2011
Paul has dealt with the Jew's pride in thinking that their special place with God in the past gave them special privileges in the future judgment.
He has proved that they are lost sinners as are those outside of the Jews' religion. In fact, their special place makes them more accountable.
From the Old Testament, Paul has shown that no one does good in God's eyes, and no one seeks after God.
V. 20, Paul has made it clear that no man can please God in his own strength. No man can be justified in God's sight by keeping the law. The law can only show the unsaved man his sin, and his natural inability to please God.
The law shows the need of a sinless Saviour, the man Christ Jesus. He will be presented in the next section. Only through him can our actions please the Heavenly Father.
After destroying all hope any man might have had in himself, Paul now presents the answer. Man cannot change himself, so God provides his solution to man's in-born sin problem, that is Jesus Christ.
Romans 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
God's solution permits him to declare a sinner justified without compromising God's holiness and righteousness. This solution is for both the Jews and the Gentiles, for all are in the same sinful situation.
V. 20, by the deeds of the law shall no flesh be justified was true even in the Old Testament:
The fact of v. 20 has been a cause of distress for godly man throughout history:
Job 9:1ff. (V. 2, I know it is so of a truth: but how should man be just with God?)
Job 25:1 Then answered Bildad the Shuhite, and said, 2 Dominion and fear are with him, he maketh peace in his high places. 3 Is there any number of his armies? and upon whom doth not his light arise? 4 How then can man be justified with God? or how can he be clean that is born of a woman? 5 Behold even to the moon, and it shineth not; yea, the stars are not pure in his sight. 6 How much less man, that is a worm? and the son of man, which is a worm?
From the beginning, men have known that they cannot do enough good works to merit justification.
God desires communion with his creation, but man must be righteous to commune with the Thrice-Holy God. The Old Testament sacrifices did not provide righteousness, and the men of old knew that. The sacrifices only covered sin until the Sin-bearer would come.
Justified... Righteous... These words have the same basic meaning, and are used interchangeably in several places.
Vv. 21-31, Paul explains the law that permits God to justify those who place their faith in Christ. When time began, God established its value to blot out sin, and that value of Christ's blood is just as good today as it was when it was established when the world was founded.
Revelation 13:8 And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
In Christ, God sees the sinner not as a sinner, but as someone who belongs to him, and with whom he desires fellowship as he once had with Adam.
Through Christ, his people are made righteous; his people are no longer seen by God according to their former life, but according to their new status in the righteousness of Christ. They are now seen righteous because of Christ.
V. 21, God has provided righteousness without the law, witnessed by the law and prophets...
Law: Genesis 15:6 And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.
Prophets: Isaiah 45:24 Surely, shall one say, in the LORD have I righteousness and strength: even to him shall men come; and all that are incensed against him shall be ashamed. 25 In the LORD shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory.
The problem for all men, Jew and Gentile, v. 23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
Starting in v. 22, Paul explains God's solution to the sin problem presented by the fact that all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God while not compromising his own righteousness and holiness, by faith of Jesus Christ unto all...
God's solution works righteous in the sinner without compromising his holiness. The solution was vaguely given to Adam, and became clearer as time went on. It was spelled out in the law and the prophets, though few could see it. Righteousness imputed to the sinner through faith in the promises of God.
V. 24, justified... to render, or regard as just or innocent. Or declare or pronounce one to be just, righteous, or such as he must be before God.
Justified freely justified without the sinner doing anything on his part to deserve being considered righteous.
Through the redemption that is in Christ.
Paul tells us that though justification is freely given, it was not free. There had to be a redemption price paid for the sinner, and Christ paid that price.
Everyone who will see God must have the sin problem dealt with. The law cannot do it, for the law cannot change the heart. The result is that a method of remission is needed.
Remission... noun. the cancellation of a debt, charge, or penalty. Remission means that the guilty party does not have to pay the debt. But that does not mean the price does not have to be paid.
God cannot simply overlook the dept. So God's plan worked out so the sinner does not have to pay the price, yet the price is paid.
V. 25 God the Father is the one who provided the payment, and the death of his Son was presented as the payment. Christ was and is the probitiation, or MERCY-SEAT. This word Paul uses, Propitiation, is defined in the Greek Lexicon:
1a) used of the cover of the ark of the covenant in the Holy of Holies, which was sprinkled with the blood of the expiatory [that is, power or authority to pay the price] victim on the annual day of atonement (this rite signifying that the life of the people, the loss of which they had merited by their sins, was offered to God in the blood as the life of the victim, and that God by this ceremony was appeased and their sins expiated, [atone, or make right]); hence the lid of expiation, the propitiatory [appeasement]. (Greek Lexicon)
The Jews to whom Paul writes knew very well what was meant by the word propitiation. The word pretty well lost its meaning after the Jewish race was destroyed, and time passed. The ark contained the law, which proved all men are sinners. The mercy-seat was sprinkled with blood once a year. The blood was from an innocent victim.
Hebrews 9:22 And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.
The wages of sin is death. The shedding of blood shows that someone or something was killed. Paul here is speaking of killing an innocent victim in place of the guilty party, and applying that blood to the mercy-seat for the guilty party:
Leviticus 17:11 For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.
Notice here this important point: The blood of Christ must be applied to the sinner's account by faith in his work on the cross. All these modern ideas of salvation are lies out of hell. They are replacements for the truth, and lead to death.
Ask Jesus into your heart
Turn your life over to God
And a multitude of other "plans" of salvation that fail to emphasize the work of Christ for the sinner.
God sits on the throne of judgment against sin. Being a righteous judge, he must judge sin. He judged the sins of his people when his Son hung on the cross.
Through Christ's sacrifice, the judgment seat became a mercy seat to everyone who places his complete trust in Christ as his substitute.
The righteous God cannot accept the sinner by overlooking his sins. His righteous demands must be satisfied, and they were in Christ. His people have the assurance that their sins are remitted; that is, forgiven or pardoned. It is in Christ that the prophecy of Psalms 103:12 is fulfilled:
As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.
The result is that our sins are removed and we can stand justified before God.
Remission of sins depends not on what we think but on how God sees it.
Forbearance of God... Through the Old Testament blood sacrifices offered by the saints whose hearts were circumcised, God was able to overlook their sins because of what he foresaw in the work of Christ.
God acted righteously in his "overlooking" then because he knew the perfect sacrifice was coming, and would shed his blood which would take away the sins of his people.
To those living after the death of Christ, the work of Christ is behind us.
V. 26, at this time; that is, the time of the gospel.
just... justifier... Through Christ, God remains just while declaring the sinner justified.
2 Corinthians 5:21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
V. 27, there can be no boasting in the Lord. Everything came from God, and was brought about by him. The only "work" man could and can do is place his faith in Christ.
John 6:29 Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.
Redemption, forgiveness of sin and justification comes by faith, not by works. As we have seen, the law of faith was established in the law and the prophets.
Note: Those who say the law is no longer valid since Christ must also dismiss the law of faith which was delivered through Moses.
Paul is dealing with a unique problem of his daythat is, the line of separation between the Jews of his day and the Gentiles. That problem does not exist today.
But the fact he has established that the Jews and Gentiles are on the same level before God certainly applies to our day.
He has shown that no matter one's social status, religious background, national origin, sexual-orientation, or family heritage, there is only one way of entrance to the Father's house, faith in Christ.
Vv. 28-30, conclusion... He sums up what he has proved thus far. Three things:
First, justification is through faith apart from any deeds
of the law.
Second, God is not the God of the Jews only, but he is God of all nations, and all stand guilty of sin. All stand in need of justification by faith in Christ.
Third, there is only one God, and he is God over all men and nations. The way is made clear to him, and there is only one way.
Fourth, though most of what he has said was aimed at the Jews who depended upon many useless things, what he has shown applies equally to the Gentiles.
There is one God manifested in three persons. There is only one universal religion that can result in seeing God, and that religion requires approach to the Father through Christ alone, which will bring glory to God alone.
V. 31, what about the moral law and its many applications? Is it useless now? No!
First, it convicts the world of sin.
Second, it reveals our sinful condition even as believers, constantly in need of renewal in Christ.
Third, it is established in our lives.
Faith does not void the law; rather, faith establishes the law... Before conversion, the basic law was written in the heart. After conversion, the law in all its implications is made clear to us. That is, it is established in the lives of his people as their standard of living, and their new desire is to properly apply the law in their lives.
The promise of Christ is found in the prophets:
Ezekiel 36:25 Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. 26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.
Paul restates Ezekiel like this:
2 Corinthians 5:16 Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more. 17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. 20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God. 21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
* Conversion means that a new creature.
* Conversion means that the laws of God are now established in our hearts.
* Conversion means that a new spirit has been placed within his people.
* Conversion means that that new spirit places the desire in his people to obey his laws and its many applications as given through Moses.
* Conversion means that rather than resisting that law, the new creature loves the law, and desires to fulfill it.
The new creature becomes an ambassador for the Kingdom of God on this earth. The new, indwelling Spirit gives the desire and power to properly represent that Kingdom in our daily activities.
God's righteousness is revealed and illustrated in his law and in the lives of his people.
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