We are now confronted by the realities of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ!
But now comes the challenge of all the ages; what do we do with this reality?
The choices and decisions and possibilities are as counting the grains of sand on the seashore or looking into a desert expanse and counting those grains of sand. We can never hope to count each and every one of them, but we must each still grapple with the reality that the sands are there, and we all must do something.
We cannot avoid the temptation to kneel down and pick up a handful of sand and let it course through our fingers and over our hands just for wonderment. Letting that handful of sand return to the earth before we reach down into a different section of sand, repeat the process wondering “did I pick up more?”
How long do we keep scooping up the sand into our hands before we just decide we are more interested in getting to know more about the actual sand we hold?
On the surface, that seems a whole lot easier than trying to count to numbers we have never heard of, nor could we ever hope to keep track of in our heads.
Over-all there is still an incredible wealth of knowledge and wisdom we can gain simply by taking the time to study and compare the contrasting qualities and characteristics and attributes of the sand, applying it to the reality of life.
Such is the nature of the quest to study the question: Who really is this Jesus?
Romans 3:21-26 New American Standard Bible
Justification by Faith
21 But now apart [a]from the Law the righteousness of God has been revealed, being witnessed by the [b]Law and the Prophets, 22 but it is the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those [c]who believe; for there is no distinction, 23 for all [d]have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God displayed publicly as a [e]propitiation [f]in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, [g]because in God’s merciful restraint He let the sins previously committed go unpunished; 26 for the demonstration, that is, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who [h]has faith in Jesus.
The Word of God for the Children of God. Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.
Sorting out the most basic implications of the Resurrection and now the Life.
Living into the reality of Resurrection ……
Loving into the reality of Resurrection …..
Moving into the reality of Resurrection ……
We start with acknowledging the reality of the Resurrection of Christ Jesus.
This reality is center mass to being Christian – it is at the heart of who we are. The tomb is absolutely empty – the disciples Peter and John have looked inside; we believe their witness – we believe what their eyes have seen and not seen.
We examine the witness of the disciples behind a locked door in the Upper Room. We study the witnesses, affirmation of faith of the disciple Thomas.
We find them to be absolutely credible and worthy of our acceptance and our belief because this is exactly what the Holy Spirit reveals to be trustworthy and true. We examine the Scriptures as a whole from Genesis through Revelation.
What does such a thorough examination reveal to me?
Today’s Bible verses shows us that none of us are excused from sin.
We were born sinners.
There’s no amount of trying or working that would get us out of our sinful state.
Also, there’s no way that our good could ever outweigh our bad. It’s literally impossible to come to the father except through Jesus. That’s the bad news.
The good news is that whoever this Jesus is, he didn’t leave us dangling there. He gave us His own life for the forgiveness of sin, righteousness as a free gift.
The starting place of receiving this gift is to first understand that we are a sinner and desperately need His grace. Salvation is only possible when one knows they are a sinner, and they completely throw their trust on Jesus.
Today, if we have not experienced the saving power of Jesus in our life, we can.
We simply have to ask Jesus to be the Lord of your life.
He will come in and save us, cleanse us and make us like new.
Then we simply live out of our new nature in Him.
We’ll want to spend time talking to God, getting to know Him on a deeper level.
Knowing Him is the best thing that God offers.
When you know Jesus, and love Him, your life has meaning and purpose.
So today, we begin to live out our choice to live for Him in everything we do.
JESUS IS THE PROMISED OLD TESTAMENT CHRIST WHO OFFERS “A NEW WAY” (ROMANS 3:21-22)
Romans 3:21 begins with a dramatic “but now”. When is this ‘now’? It is a ‘now’ after Genesis 3, after God has shown us our sinful state.
It signals for us a turning point, where “the righteousness of God had been manifested…” and that something objective has been done in history so that something is different now.
Ever since the fall of man in sin, mankind has been trying to work our way back to paradise, that state of blessed righteousness and peace with God.
We have all done so by covering up sins with fig leaves or trying to live good lives and be good people.
This “but now” is the appearing of Jesus Christ on the scene of history – the Son God promised to reverse the curse.
Now, a “righteousness of God … apart from the law” has been made known.
What is this and what does it mean?
The righteousness of God has been shown apart from the law, meaning that a righteousness separate from the law is now present and Scripture (i.e., the Law and the Prophets) actually bears witness to it.
Romans 3 is basically saying that there is a way to become perfect not through obeying and keeping the law. It is what Luther calls an “alien righteousness”- a righteousness that does not come from my own work or effort of keeping of the law.
Rom 3:21, Paul says that a non-law righteousness is now available. Sinners can now cross the bar without actually crossing the bar.
This new way is through faith in Jesus, for He is the “Christ”, the promised one spoken of in the Law and the Prophets.
JESUS IS THE SAVIOR WHO PROPITIATES, REDEEMS AND JUSTIFIES (ROMANS 3:23-25)
Rom 3:23 presents a problem that we all face.
It tells us that all have sinned in Adam and that we have fallen short of the glory of God. We have all run away from God and have shut him out of our lives. This is the sin that we have all committed. Gen 6:5 shows us the extent of our sins.
We are not just flawed or are flawed people with innumerable problems. We all share the sin nature of our ancestors – fearful, lustful, irresponsible and more.
Verses 24 to 25 then go one to show us what Christ did for sinners like us. Jesus propitiates, redeems and justifies. Propitiation borrows the language of temple worship and means “to make favourable to” or “to satisfy”.
This is directed towards God to satisfy his wrath, the wrath of a righteous, holy God against sin, and this wrath means sinners naturally deserve death. Romans 3:25 tells us this Jesus was put forward by God as a propitiation of this wrath.
What does this mean?
The Bible tells us that God has no more wrath for sinners because Jesus Christ has satisfied God’s righteous judgment.
How did He do this? He lived the perfect life we were supposed to live and, on the Cross, died the death we ought to die as guilty sinners (Isaiah 53:4-6).
There, on the cross, He was punished as a rebel against God as our substitute, going through hell in our place (1 Peter 3:18). Jesus Christ gave His life for us because He loved us (Romans 5:8). This means those who receive and accept His work on their behalf are now absolutely at peace with God (Romans 5:1).
Redemption has taken place because of propitiation. Because Savior Jesus has propitiated God’s wrath, He has redeemed us.
The word comes from economic language or the language of the marketplace.
It speaks of transfer of ownership. Thus, when the Bible speaks of redemption, it means we are freed from our former master, but we now serve Christ. We are never our own masters, but Jesus is our master, and He is one who justifies.
Because Jesus was put forward as the propitiation, and we have been redeemed, we are also justified. Because of what Jesus has done, we are justified sinners in God’s sight. That is the legal status we receive because of Christ.
JESUS IS THE EVIDENCE OF GOD’S CHARACTER – HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS, MERCY, & WISDOM (ROMANS 3:26)
No matter how hard we try, how good we are, how much we work, we can never measure up to the only standard that matters — the glory of Almighty God.
Thankfully, God doesn’t require us to pretend to be what we are not — perfect, spotless, and holy. Instead, God makes us to be these (cf. Colossians 1:21-23) by grace, through the gift of his Son who purchased for us our pardon and gave us his righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21).
Praise God. Praise our Savior, Christ Jesus.
Now let’s live with Jesus as our Lord; not to earn or secure our salvation, but to thank him for what he has so freely given us!
Romans 3:25b tells us that God did much more than show us his love at the cross. You see, God had another problem. He had passed over sins in his divine forbearance, leaving them unpunished. What does this mean?
Verse 25 tells us God left sins unpunished all the way until Jesus and if God did not deal with those sins, He would be an incompetent, partial and poor judge.
His integrity and justice would be compromised.
The Apostle Paul teaches in Romans 3:26b that in Jesus Christ, God shows His wisdom by not only radically, scandalously loving us in forgiveness, but also justly satisfying what righteousness demands.
The cross shows us God’s love for those who could not be righteous on their own and yet, the fulfillment of His righteous requirement for divine justice.
What can we learn about God’s character through Jesus Christ? We see his kindness to pardon us, but also in a way that satisfies his justice. God knows what to do with sin — either in hell, or it is all charged to Jesus on the cross.
Romans 3 shows us the incalculable depths and riches of God’s love. We have all the firewood and kindling stacked up high, to set our hearts ablaze by faith. Do you dare believe all that’s written here? Let the saving work of Jesus move you.
In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,
Let us now Pray,
Most precious holy Father, all I can say to your marvelous grace is thank you! Please know that while these words are woefully inadequate, they are genuine. Dear Father, I look forward to showing you through the rest of my life just how much I appreciate all that you have done for me. In Jesus’ glorious name, I pray. Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Amen.
Victory In Jesus! (Eugene M. Bartlett, 1939)