Romans 3 is a very well-known passage and verse 23 one of the most quoted in scripture. For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
Yep, we know it and quote it, and I’m not going to write anything here that most don’t know, but… I’m going to write anyway. Yesterday, I read v22 which begins, The Righteousness of God…
Growing up in the church, in a pastor’s home, doing “right” was drummed into me from the beginning. And when I came up short, it was often drummed in with the drum of discipline, often administered with wood or leather. I know that’s not politically correct, but discipline IS important for good development. I’m not saying that I believe in abuse, but I do believe in correction. Yet, even good correction doesn’t bring about God’s Righteousness.
Scripture is clear that ALL of our righteous acts are comparatively “filthy rags”. (Isaiah 64.6) polluted garments (CSB) and the literal meaning of the word is worse than that, something we wouldn’t want to talk about but a regular reality of life. So, Paul makes it clear v22 the righteousness of God is THROUGH (because of, by) faith IN Jesus Christ – Not just ANY faith, not just sincerity, but by belief IN Jesus – And not just anyone named Jesus, but Jesus, born in Bethlehem, the promised Christ / Messiah, the previously existent, only, Son of God, faith in that Jesus is the vehicle to the righteousness of God
To ALL who believe (verb, present, active tense = believe, entrust, actively now)
Why? Because we all fall short. I said a few minutes ago, I often came up short, and I still do. And discipline was drummed into me. But verse 22 says there is no distinction. Colossians 3:11 says there is no distinction, not Greek or Jew… Barbarian or Scythian slave or free” … WE are the one who make distinctions, well if you come from this family, or are in this position, or are only THIS “bad”. But without distinction, we ALL come up short. “Well, my sin isn’t as bad as theirs.” NO DIFFERENCE, no table of reference – Short is Short = unrighteous. The “bar” of measure is the glory (weight, reputation) of God. ALL SHORT
But v22 also says to all who believe… that is also without distinction. ALL… v24 they… oh here’s the good news – just like there is no distinction / difference in our sin, there is not distinction in the OPPORTUNITY
– SAVE ONE – to all WHO BELIEVE – IF they have faith in Jesus, THEN, they are Justified Freely by his grace.
Now stop and look at that backwards – charis – grace = that’s receiving something good that I do not deserve. It comes freely – dorean = a gift, no charge, not earned. Grace, freely given… they – those who believe – they are justified – dikaioo = declared righteous. A verdict is rendered in the courts of Heaven. This is not earned on the battlefield, it is not earned in a contest, it is not earned by inheritance or family position. This word is in the present tense, is passive, and plural. This isn’t only for ONE, but for ALL WHO, and I can’t DO anything for it, but it is being done, remains done, for all who believe – Our position / standing is changed from the state of short of God’s Glory / righteousness, to being declared righteous!
Whew hands up somebody celebrate
We are, in the declaration of Heaven, moved from one position to another; from short of, to positioned in
By Grace… through the redemption that is IN Christ Jesus
Yes, God IS Love, but he is also JUST. So, forgiveness is available, but is borne by the work of Christ at the cross, and only received as we believe and receive that provision. I owed a debt beyond my ability to pay, and he had paid a debt he did not owe on my behalf. And when I believe and receive, everything CHANGES!
Oh, I know we know this, or do we? do you? Just an important reminder today, and if you have not, you can right now. Stop trying and start trusting, stop wondering and believe, and find the change of God. There is a great chasm between us and God, but faith in the work of Christ, bridges the gap