Justice Established Through Fait
Pr Edi Giudetti
If you have ever worked on a jigsaw puzzle you find that there is a basic strategy that needs to be first employed if you have any chance at completing the puzzle in good time. That begins with finding one of the four pieces that forms the corners of a square or rectangular jigsaw puzzle.
Once you have those four pieces in place, everything works together to fill in the rest of the jigsaw.
There are times when some of the most profound and greatest questions in Christianity need answering first, and once answered all the other questions seem to find their rightful place. The question of why salvation can only be attained by faith is one of those questions, and Paul begins to reveal the answer to us in the following chapters beginning here in Romans 3 and hitting the ground running from verse 21.
The Blessed Exclusion
21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;22 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: 23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;Romans 3:21-23
Imagine for a moment that verse 20 was the end of the matter and now there is nothing more to be said but all of mankind rightly condemned before God.
Respecting God, theyknow him evidentiallythrough the knowledge of Creation, that “that which may be known of God is manifest in them for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen being understood by the things that are made” (Rom 1:19-20)
And that they are inexcusable to know of the righteousness of his Law“for wherein thou judgest another thou condemnest thyself: for thou that judgest doest the same things” (Rom 2:1). Their hypocrisy therefore testifying a confession before the very law they reject!
And then leaving us with that last verse in verse 20
“Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.”
Imagine it being left there, what now would become of man?
We speak often about the value of words in the Bibleand how each and every word is placed there on purpose, I guess the only way of wondering the of the value of certain words is the consideration of what it would mean if some words were NOT there?
“Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” And there it stops!
Where would we now be? what will become of man? Will Job ever have an answer to his own question?
2 I know it is so of a truth:
But how should man be just with God?
3 If he will contend with him,
He cannot answer him one of a thousand.
And that wonderful Song of Degrees in Psalm 130:3 If thou, LORD, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?
None is the answer, none could stand and what now?
If there is no sacrifice for sin, what now other than, “But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.” as the Apostle to the Hebrews wrote (Heb10:27)
Paul refers to this again when speaking to the Corinthians of the lack of Hope, if Christ be not raised, and its logical consequence if there is no answer to Job and no Answer to Davidfor who shall stand saying;
And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. 18 Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. 19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. 1 Cor 15:17-19
Indeed, if that be so for the case of man what else is there for man to do but to take his fill with sin, to eat and to drink for tomorrow we die?
O but what wonderful anticipation we have when we see the words begin in verse 21;
21 But now….but now….but now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; 22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe:
What a blessed exclusion! What a beautiful phrase begins with that “but” in this context.
And when was it? Was it in the day of Job? Was this potentially universal answer to the problem of our personal evil in his day?No, “But NOW” it is.
He certainly spoke of his salvation in the Old Testament, Ps 98:2 says The Lordhath made known his salvation: His righteousness hath he openly shewedin the sight of the heathen.
But the full and complete answer without the law is NOW revealed, but it was not clear before now.
But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; 22 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: 23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
The law and the prophets were able to witness to the righteousness of God, but the revelation of his righteousness is “without the law”.
Man can only be saved from the consequence of the law, man cannot fulfill its terms.
The Law is like an alarm and not a net, the basis of the law, any law, even today is for Restitution and not Rehabilitation!
One author said, “Jesus did not come to make bad men good, but to give dead men life!”
RESTITUTION is to pay the due incurred by the breaking of the law. The Law simply cannot save; consider
- How can the law justify a person that is been condemned by it?
- How is it possible that the same law which demonstrates a man as unjust, declare him JUST?
- How can the law speak of innocence to the guilty?
That is why our passage stated “by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight:”
But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested….22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe;
Beloved, all have sinned and come short of the Glory of God, but his righteousness is revealed by that blesses exclusion “But now”.
But now an opportunity is given to all mankind,
But now freedom and forgiveness is offered to all who desire it, and ONLY to those who desire it, it is a GIFT, it is FREE!
O that Blessed Exclusion and where it might be found.
It is only to give thanks to the Lord Jesus Christ in who’s name is all hope and faith and life.
The Blessed Exchange
24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: 25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;
Being justified…Notice that this is a passive phrase, it is not active. It is not something that we have done, it is that which has been done for us, and not for any good that is seen in us,
Being justified freely, nothing worthwhile can a man do to earn or warrant salvation, why? Because “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;”
The work needed to be done by someone elseand the only way it can be acquired was “freely”
Being justified freely by his grace
This is the means of salvation. Grace. Probably the most difficult concept to properly understand in the Bible. Just when we think we can define it we find we come so far short.
Sure, it’s simple enough to say something like “grace is unmerited favor”but does that even scratch the surface of how wonderful and incredible grace is when we consider how poor we are as recipients?
John Newton was the man who penned the words to the hymn Amazing Graceand not even he, as a former Slave Ship Captain,could come to grips with the incredible value of that word and all it has accomplished.
They say Mercy is not getting what you deserve, and Grace is getting what you do not deserve.But how sweet the sound of itwhen we see it save a wretch like me!
Grace without Righteousness?
We are truly ‘justified freely by his grace’ but this cannot be enough, for there is the righteousness of God to consider. He cannot simply forgive sin without the cost of sin dealt withand this is where we find the beginning of The Blessed Exchange;
24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
‘Redemption’ yet another wonderful word, it is a word that speaks of recovery, it proclaims a restorationand shouts loudly of an EXCHANGE. Nothing can be redeemed without the cost of redemption being paid,an exchange needed to be handed over.
We deal with redemption each and every day you and I, when we take our cars to fill with fuel we pay the cost of the fuel, we exchange one thing demanded of by the owner of the fuel, for him to provide the fuel we require.
When we go to work each day, an exchange is being made, our skill and effort in exchange for that which we might employ to redeem anything else we desire, like fuel, or shopping, a home or a holiday.
Every time we spend a cent we are exchanging one thing for another, we are paying the redemption valueof that which we desire.
God so loved the world that he desired to forgive mankind their sin, that those who desire him may be eternally kept by him.
In light of the infinite cost of man’srebellion against God there is required a price to redeem man.
But what is the price of that whose cost is infinite?
24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: 25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood
The infinite cost of sin required the infinite value of that which the redeemer was willing to pay. Christ Jesus: 25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood
If Jesus Christ was just a man, a perfect sinful life could cover none but himself, the value of his blood being finite.
Turn to Ezekiel 14:12-14
12The word of the LORD came again to me, saying, 13 Son of man, when the land sinneth against me by trespassing grievously, then will I stretch out mine hand upon it, and will break the staff of the bread thereof, and will send famine upon it, and will cut off man and beast from it: 14 Though these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they should deliverbuttheir own souls by their righteousness, saith the Lord GOD.
God down to verse 17
17OrifI bring a sword upon that land, and say, Sword, go through the land; so that I cut off man and beast from it: 18Though these three menwerein it,asI live, saith the Lord GOD, they shall deliver neither sons nor daughters, but they only shall be delivered themselves. 19 OrifI send a pestilence into that land, and pour out my fury upon it in blood, to cut off from it man and beast: 20 Though Noah, Daniel, and Job,werein it,asI live, saith the Lord GOD, they shall deliver neither son nor daughter; they shallbutdeliver their own souls by their righteousness.
The righteousness of one shall only redeem the one if it be able. But we already have read that none are able to deliver themselves, “for there is none righteous, no not one”. In the passage in Ezekiel God relates to the temporal judgements that come upon the land as a picture of the eternal.
Each man shall give an account of himself.
But the point to consider that Ezekiel is making is that no man can pay for the sins of another.
Recall the apostle Paul and his burden for his own people the Jews, when he said in Romans 9;
1I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, 2 That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. 3 For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh:”
Paul also could not be “accursed from Christ for his brethren”, No beloved, the price of the redemption for a single sinneris infinite, how much more then must be the value of the blood that has secured the exchange for all of mankind?
ONLY BLOOD REDEEMS
The price of redemption has always been blood and it was always looking forward to the shed blood of Jesus Christ. From the covering God had covered the first transgressors Adam, to that last lamb slain on the altar of sacrifice with the blood sprinkled on the mercy seat, all proclaimed the infinite and blessed exchange of the sinless Saviour for sinful man.
How is this exchange procured?
through faith in his blood,that’s how.
And to what end was its purpose? to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;
We now have seen in our mornings passage;
- The Blessed Exclusion that after the Law has given us the knowledge of sin, there is hope, to;
- The Blessed Exchange telling us with all clarity the source and way to attain that hope through faith in the Blood of Jesus for the remission of sins.
But how does that now set us free?
The Blessed Exemption
26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.
If it were our righteousness that has earned merit it would be our sin that makes us vile again. Salvation could never be called salvation.
Beloved Salvation speaks to the end of man and not his journey.
Our salvation has been procured for us and not earned by us, it is to declare his righteousness and not our own, why?
that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.
All who have believed are now exempt, not only of condemnation, no, not only of fear of judgement, but beloved, we are even exempt from trial.
Never shall we sit in a witness box with any prosecution leveled against us.
- Does the Accuser have cause to lay blame against any of us?YES.
- Can any judgment ever be procured against those who have been justified by faith? NO.
Jesus is The Just, and thereby the Justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. We are now blessedly exempt and declared JUST.
NB: Never ever believe the recent heresy that makes the claim that being now “Justified” it means “Just if I’d never sinned”. Please. This makes a mockery of the Cross and removes from Jesus Christ the glory and honor due him.
The cost of the cross is greater than any of us have any ability to begin to comprehend and the many people who make this statement have ill-considered what such a foolish statement means. It is NOT “Just if I’d never sinned”, the cost of our sin sent the Saviour to the Cross and to experience, for the first time in all eternity, the forsaking of the Father.
No, the Blessed Exchange of our sin for his righteousness has led us to the Blessed Exemption, there was a cost to this Exemptionpaid for by Christ, and our righteousness is of him.
This is that which the Lord had always promised would come.
Turn to Isaiah 54:17
No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; And every tongue thatshall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This isthe heritage of the servants of the Lord, And their righteousness isof me, saith the Lord.
From where then comes our righteousness? Of God.
Isa 61:10 I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, My soul shall be joyful in my God; For he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, He hath covered me with the robe of righteousness,
As a bridegroom decketh himselfwith ornaments, And as a bride adorneth herselfwith her jewels.
So fascinating are the words from the Old Testament to the New as our Lord uses the picture of the groom and the bridegroom of himself and the Church.
But what else is there in the Old Testament to see concerning him and the righteousness that has been exchanged to us to secure our exemption?
Jer 23:5-6 Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. 6 In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this ishis namewhereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.
- You see it is not our righteousnessthat gains access to eternity with the Lord.
- It is not anything we have done or can do or have merited.
- We did not earn our salvation and nothing within us is deserving of Salvation.
- But for God to perfectly save our souls, it is HIS righteousnessthat must be given to us.
- Nothing less than the righteousness of God can dwell with God for eternity, nothing less can call him father.
He is the justifier of him that beleiveth in Jesus because it is the righteousness of Jesus that we lay claim as able to save us.
Difficult To Be Saved?
Beloved Salvation was never intended to be difficult, why would a loving God, who knows more than anyone else the horror of hell and the danger every man is in, why would he make salvation from this place difficult?
Think about a small child at a busy intersection; imagine if you will the Notorious Springvale Junctionon the other side of Melbourne. A massive road junction with Princess Hwy, Springvale Rd, Center Rd and Police Rd all intersecting close together. You have Bus Lanes, in bound and out bound, left and Right turn lights etc.
Would you trust a small child will be safe getting across that intersection, or is it simpler and safer for her to take the hand and trust the one who knows the way?
How much easier can it be then to cry “Jesus Save me” for a soul to be saved compared to the infinite complexities and contradictions of a man made religion?
But as simple as it is to be saved, know that it perfectly meets the consistent logic of our understanding. Nothing about the simplicity of the Gospel contradicts all that God is or all that Jesus is and has done.
26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.
Justified by Christ after being condemned by the Law, because his blood was the price of redemption, and God was satisfied.
Justice Established Through Faith
27 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. 28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. 29 Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also: 30 Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith.
31 Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.
Six rhetorical questions are asked in these last five verses and the simplicity is found in their answers.
27 Where is boasting then? It is excluded.
Simple, how can one boast when they are saved by Grace through faith?
What works have they done?
Is faith a works, no, it is the basic requirement of salvation.
Faith is the exercise of all we believe.
Boasting is naturally excludedwhen it is the blood of Christ and not our own that is sufficient to save us.
By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. 28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.
There must be a law by which man might be justified.
There simply must be that which governs and therefore fulfills the righteousness of the Law, that is what is assumed by the question By what law?
Clearly there is one natural answer, ‘of works?’.
So few people can fathom the notion that something as valuable as eternal life can be gain by anything other than by works.
They understand that nothing of value in this life can be gained simply by faith, all requires effort.“cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat ofit a ll the days of thy life; 18 Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; 19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thouart, and unto dust shalt thou return.” (Genesis 3:17-19)
The fruit of the earth is not given without effort, how can it be possible that the glories of heaven are freely given?
And they stumbled at that stumbling stone“Wherefore? Becausethey sought itnot by faith, but as it were by the works of the law” (Rom 9:32)
Yes, many are they that believe that which is sought for and of such value needs to be earned.
Some are willing to even kill for it thinking they do God service, others are willing to die for it, most strive to live for it.
To the glory of their own shame, very, very few are willing to see their own wretchedness in the light of Gods righteousness, so that they with Isaiah would fall to the ground as say;
… Woe isme! for I am undone; because Iama man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts. (Isa 6:5)
Perhaps it’s because we don’t get so close to the Lord that we think the way we do.
Perhaps beholding the Lord so far from us, we think we might measure up.
- When John the Apostle saw the Lord in Glory he fell at his feet as dead (Rev 1:17).
- When Peter beheld the Lord in his own ship he fell down as his knees and said “depart from me, for I am a sinful man o Lord” (Luke 5:8)
There will be those so fearful of seeing the righteousness of the Lord in his day they would rather kill themselves saying “to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: 17 For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?”(Rev 6:16-17)
Clearly then, in this time and with God so far from Man, man thinks WORKS will save him, blissfully ignorant of his wretchedness before God.
27 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. 28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.
29 Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also: 30 Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith.
It is one God over all mankind. It is not one god for you and another for me. The same God of the Jews is the God of the Gentiles and always was. 30 Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith.
The Jews are saved by the faith they had been charged to believe from the beginning. It was all they did in all their ceremonial efforts, from their first Passover in Egypt to the last Passover of the cross.
The Gentile also justified through the faith trusted even before the time of the Jew, before Abraham, before the flood that came upon all the Earth.
The covering Adam was covered with by the Lord demonstrated to him that his sins shall not ever be covered by anything devised by man, but by the death of innocent bloodshall man be covered.
Through faith in Christ, the gentile will be justified.
But now, that logical question who’s answer seems so despised by Jew and Gentile alike;
31 Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.
And Paul spends the entirety of the next two chapters explaining his answer.
- We had established last time that the law can do nothing else but condemn man and reveals sin in him. Like an alarm that reveals a break-in, the Law cannot save but it does condemn!
- We discovered today the single exclusionthat man can find hope in to save him
- That exclusion points to an exchangethat has been made on man’s behalf, to pay for man’s own sin, in order to save all those who desire it.
- We see that, through faith in him who secured that exchange, that paid the redemption, all who do are exempt from that final judgementappointed unto men.
- That faith has established the true justice of the Law. The Law has been fulfilled perfectly.