God the Justifer, Part 2
Sermon Title: God, the Justifier
Sermon Text: Romans 3:19-21
Scripture reading: Psalm 130
PowerPoint verse: Psalm 130:3-4
MAIN IDEA: Paul expresses THREE GOSPEL AXIOMS that flow out of recognizing all men are “under sin” – subject to the penalty and the power of sin.
This is the turning point in the book of Romans. Most outlines hinge on verse 21. We now come to the good news, after hearing the bad news. There are three basic methods for dealing with guilt (according to Piper). Intellectually, convince themselves there is no right or wrong. Turn vices into virtues. Physically, people medicate their guilt, or assuage their guilt with pleasure seeking (thereby ignoring). Religiously, oldest and most revered way. The first two categories fail to recognize where guilt is coming from, ignoring it is from God. Their conscience gets more or less informed. Those that recognize it is deity given, religion results. Deep down, we know efforts are not enough. We cannot be good or become good, that is the universal testimony of mankind.
Paul, in Romans, has been unfolding this truth of universal guilt. True of every soul by nature and by experience. The Christian also shares in this guilt because of sin. Life for the Christian is not dominated by sin, but certainly not free from sin.
Paul is not ashamed of the Gospel, because the revelation of the righteousness of God. 3:21 says how it is manifested just as Paul has said.
To be just or right in the sight of God is to have met the demands of all that is right. The one who is just has the doing of all right on their side, and is right in the sight of God. Who could ever plead before God.
Justice is the action of God upon those who do not fulfill the claims or demand of what is right before God. It is the principle, the soul who sins will die. The law of God is filled with regulations and their consequences. The Gospel has being just and the exercise in justice in view.
Justification is the act of God to put us in that standing. It is a declaration (forensic). God declares us to be right. The result is we are justified.
In Christ, we are made and declared righteous before God. God is required by His law to be just and righteous. So there remains a question, as how God is able to do this. Which is why we see in verse 21 how the righteousness of God is made manifest; apart from the law.
God’s rule over us and all mankind is ruled by his moral and civil law. God’s righteousness is relational because it involves his rule over people of which he is in fellowship. His righteousness is first and foremost relational and personal; applied to each and every one of us. It includes how the righteousness of God is expressed in His savings act.
The righteousness of God is everything that God is; functioning in a way which that is consistent with everything God requires; toward everyone God has created.
Through faith, we can be participants of the righteousness of God.
Christian, you are not spiritually slow, you are spiritually filled. You are sanctified. There is no such thing as deep worship without deep truth. To worship in spirit and truth, we need to understand these truths.
THREE GOSPEL AXIOMS that flow out of recognizing all men are “under sin” – subject to the penalty and the power of sin. Axiom is a statement everyone generally believes is true.
1. Everyone needs to fully know (not just know “about”) the righteousness of God (3:19)
Know in soul, experience, walk, etc. Permeated.
The Scripture has spoken and all the world knows, nobody can open their mouth to defend themselves before God. We have nothing to say to justify our actions. Every mouth will be closed (v.19-20).
Why is it that Paul argues, what the Law says, condemns everyone (so that every mouth is closed)? Why not just the Jews, but everyone? If the privileged Jew who had the law and knew the law, and they are all condemned, certainly everyone else is too. If the chosen people are guilty, all are.
2. No one can “work” their way to knowing the righteousness of God (3:20)
We can’t recognize our sin and guilt and somehow make up for it. Not knowing by experience the righteousness of God, by the works of the Law no flesh is justified. Further attempts to keep the law will not make up for ground that has lost. We are guilty. We can’t pay it back by good works and religious duties. This is well expressed in Galatians. Romans 4:6, God credits righteousness apart from works; through faith.
3. The means of knowing (not knowing about, but by experience, walk) the righteousness of God has been revealed (3:21)
It has been witnessed by the Law and prophets.
The first use of law in 3:21 is referring to law in general. Second use in the verse is referring to the OT. The fullness of who God is and what He requires has been made manifested, revealed. Just as the OT law and prophets said. Lamb of God would come, suffering servant would come, priest in the order of Melchizedek, Habakkuk righteous shall live by faith. God’s rule over His people, defined by His law, manifested. Part of the righteousness manifested will be the judgment of the unbelievers.
If you know Christ, we need to get our heart and mind around this truth so it moves our soul.
If you don’t know Christ, you need to know this truth.