Romans 3: Just and Justify the Unrighteous
March 4, 2023
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
Once again, we verge on the sacrilegious in attempting to summarize this whole majestic chapter in just a few short words today. But what is Paul teaching us here?
First, we are all sinners! This is the grand point that Paul has been driving at so far in his argument. And how we need to reflect upon it! Too often we judge other people for the very sins that we ourselves are tempted by, if not committing too. Too often we think we are good enough for God because (in our own eyes) we are not as bad as someone else. Too often we trivialize grace because we downgrade sin to being merely “making a mistake.” But what a stench in the nostrils of a holy God are our moral equivocations and rebellious hearts! “There is no one righteous not even one” (3:10).
Second, the gospel of Jesus Christ both maintains the justice of God and also justifies sinners. What a glorious truth! Through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, the justice of God is upheld, and it is by that sacrifice that those who believe are justified too. We are declared right by Jesus’ sacrifice for us. The sacrifice that declares that God is just is also the sacrifice that justifies us and declares us righteous. Oh, dwell on such truths! Soak in such grace! Revel in such mercy! Only through faith in Jesus’ death on the cross, only through his gracious sacrifice, are you, sinner, declared fully and completely righteous. “He did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus” (3:25).
Third, there is therefore no place for human pride, natural hubris, arrogance, self-adulation, or any sort of self-centered “boasting.” That is all excluded. We are brought low by the law to realize our sinfulness, we are elevated by grace through the work of Christ received just by faith—and the result is that we can glory in nothing but the cross of Jesus, in God who saves us. All other arrogance or pride is removed! “Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded” (3:27).
Take courage, then, Christian. Lift your head. You, by faith, are righteous in God’s eyes. Stand tall. Speak with courage. Live with courage. Boast in Christ and what he has done for you. All because of grace.
And if you are not yet a Christian, then come to Christ solely by faith, solely through the work of Christ on the cross, and find your sins forgiven, your uncleanness removed, and you stand fully righteous before God!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
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