Living in Grace and Faith
Introduction – In this Session, we will complete Romans Chapter 3 and begin to touch the highest thoughts about Jesus Christ in any of the New Covenant Scriptures. Romans 3:21-31 are truly exciting because they refresh our souls through the knowledge of being forgiven of our sins in Jesus by faith and justified before the Father by His grace.
We see the goodness of God on full display in these 10 verses. We could say that these are freedom declaration verses that release the soul from the burden of shame and the religious spirit that keeps us bound in works and striving for the favor and love of God to present in our lives.
In Romans 3:21-31, there are 3 movements in the text.
1 – The Law and the Prophets prophesy the Messiah and the grace that He gives to humanity.
2 – Jesus is the Atonement for sin and justifies us before the Father.
3 – The Gospel of Jesus Christ upholds the Law because the Law prophesied the Gospel.
a) The Law and the Prophets all pointed to the Messiah, Jesus Christ. The Covenants that the LORD made with humanity and Israel were all types that prophesied Messiah and were fulfilled in Messiah. See Jeremiah 31:13.
b) Jesus fulfilled the Law, see Matthew 5:17-20.
a) In these few verses Paul gives us the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It does not matter who we are, or what sins we committed, it is Christ who met the righteous requirements of the Law and then extends them to us by faith. This is catastrophic to the spirit of religion.
b) Greek – righteousness – dikaiosynē – in a broad sense: state of him who is as he ought to be, righteousness, the condition acceptable to God, integrity, virtue, purity of life, rightness, correctness of thinking feeling, and acting.
c) It is by grace – Greek – charis – grace, that which affords joy, pleasure, delight, sweetness, charm, loveliness: grace of speech, good will, loving-kindness, favor, of the merciful kindness by which God, exerting his holy influence upon souls, turns them to Christ, keeps, strengthens, increases them in Christian faith, knowledge, affection, and kindles them to the exercise of the Christian virtues, the spiritual condition of one governed by the power of divine grace, benefit, bounty.
d) Notice that Jesus is the agency by which grace flows into the lives of people.
a) Jesus is the sacrifice by which the sins of humanity is atoned for. The word in the Greek (hilastērion) for atonement, refers to the mercy seat on to of the Ark of the Covenant. See Leviticus 16:15-16.
b) We receive the benefit of atonement by faith. God demonstrated His righteousness because He cannot violate His nature and character regarding the righteous judgment of sin. We see both Penal Substitution and Restorative Justice in the atonement of Jesus Christ.
c) The sins of the Old Covenant saints who sacrificed in the hope of Messiah were shown mercy from the LORD because the LORD in His omniscience was looking forward to the coming sacrifice of Messiah on the cross. The Old Covenant faithful looked forward, the New Covenant faithful look back to the cross. Therefore, Jesus is the pivot point by which the destinies of all people hinge.
a) There is no room for religious pride or self-righteous religious expressions because we are all dependent on Jesus for our justification and forgiveness of sins.
b) The religious spirit looks for works as a means of promoting hierarchies of spirituality that makes us more acceptable to God, instead of promoting dependence, humility and obedience that flow from relationship with God as a way of growing and pleasing Him.
a) The Scripture says our justification is by faith alone and not a combination of faith and works. Works flow from relationship and revelation by the Spirit. Christian works originate in the dialogue of prayer between us and God and what we see in the Scriptures that keep us in the Way.
b) Faith is the great equalizer of all people. It does not matter who we are, our faith is what maintains our acceptance in the Father.
c) Faith never voids the Law. The Law of Moses looked forward to the Law of faith that would come by the Messiah. Romans Chapter 4 explains this thought in detail. The gospel upholds the Law because the Law predicted the Gospel.