Day 18: Romans 3:21-31
But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— 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.
Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. Because of what law? The law that requires works? No, because of the law that requires faith. For we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law. Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles too? Yes, of Gentiles too, since there is only one God, who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith. Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law.
Romans 3:21-31 (NIV)
Rachel Lynde was a self righteous, holier-than-thou character in the film series Anne of Green Gables. Although it has been years since I have watched a few episodes, one line regarding Rachel is vivid in my memory: “Rachel believes the truth of ‘for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God’ in general, but not in particular.”
Actually, a lot of people hold to this same position. Unfortunately, it is often easier to see the sin in others than in ourselves. But this passage makes it quite clear that all have sinned. Sometimes looking at the original language can give us a different understanding of a passage. Not here. The Greek word for “all” means “all.”
In Paul’s letter to the Romans, as in other letters, he contrasts “the Law” with “faith,” as in this passage. In doing so, he is not saying that the law is bad or wrong, but only that it is insufficient. The law has the ability to point out where we have fallen short of the glory of God, but can do nothing to remedy this sad situation. So, what the law was incapable of doing, Jesus did by laying his life down for us. The law gave us a code of conduct; Jesus brought us into a relationship. We now have peace with God through what Jesus did for us on the cross.
Does this then free us from the need to obey the law? Not at all. We obey now because our hearts want to please him and because His indwelling power enables us to do so.
Doug Boquist, Lead Pastor