Romans 3:21-25 ESV
“But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith.”
Prior to Jesus Christ dying on that cross for our sins and being raised from the dead, all God’s people were under the Old Covenant Law of Moses. Now, under that law they had to obey all sorts of liturgical, ceremonial, sacrificial, purification and dietary laws and restrictions. But when Jesus died and rose again, that opened the way for the New Covenant, which by the way is not lawless. We just don’t have to obey all those Old Covenant liturgical and ceremonial laws that the Jews had to obey.
And Paul makes this clear in Romans and Galatians primarily, but in other New Testament books, that not being under the Old Covenant Law is not freedom to be lawless. It is not freedom to continue living in sin. And it doesn’t mean we don’t have to obey our Lord’s commandments under the New Covenant. We do! The Scriptures say that we do, and that if we do not obey Jesus’ commandments that we don’t know him and we will not have eternal life in him (1 John 2:3-6; 1 John 3:4-10; Romans 6:16).
So, please don’t just read sections of the Scriptures and then build entire doctrines around them. Read all of Romans and all of Galatians and all of the New Testament and it will become abundantly clear that freedom from the law of Moses is not freedom to sin and to live however you want. For now, by God’s grace, through God-given faith in Jesus Christ, we are now under the perfect law, the gospel of our salvation, which then instructs us to be doers of the word and not hearers only (James 1:22-25).
Through Faith in Jesus Christ
So now the righteousness of God comes through faith in Jesus Christ. But please note with me here that Jesus Christ is the author and the perfecter of that faith, and so that faith is going to align with his divine character and will. It will not be lawless. And that faith is gifted to us by God, and it is not of our own doing, so we do not get to define faith and decide what it should look like. God does! (Hebrews 12:1-2; Ephesians 2:8-10)
And we can’t even come to faith in Jesus Christ unless God the Father draws us to Christ (John 6:44). And the word “faith” means to be persuaded, and God is the one who persuades us as to his holiness and righteousness and of our sinfulness and of our need to repent of (turn from) our sins and to follow Jesus Christ in obedience to his commands. So yes, the righteousness of God is through faith in Jesus Christ, but biblical godly faith, not fleshly.
And yes, we come into this world born in the image of Adam with sin natures, and thus all have sinned, and thus we all come up short of attaining God’s divine approval and his righteousness, in our own flesh. And yes, we are all justified by God’s grace as a gift. But what is that gift? It is that we can now be crucified with Christ in death to sin and raised with Christ to walk in newness of life in him, and that we can now live free from slavery to sin and walk in holiness and in righteousness in the power of God (see Romans 6:1-23; Romans 8:1-14; Ephesians 4:17-24; Romans 12:1-2).
For the grace of God, which is bringing us salvation, is training us to renounce (say “No” to) ungodliness and fleshly lusts, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives while we wait for our Lord’s return. For Jesus Christ “gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works” (Titus 2:11-14). We are redeemed from all lawlessness!
There are so many preachers and teachers of the word in America today who are twisting the truths in this passage of Scripture to convince prospective believers in Jesus or people who already believe in Jesus that since they are not under the Old Covenant Law that it means that they don’t have to repent of their sins, and that they don’t have to obey the Lord, and that no works are required of them. But Ephesians 2:10 says this:
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” And this follows directly after Ephesians 2:8-9 where it speaks of how we are not saved by our own fleshly works. So, please don’t believe the lies which are telling you that you don’t have to repent of your sin and that you don’t have to obey Jesus Christ, and that no works are required of you at all, and that believing in Jesus is simply a profession of faith in Jesus Christ.
Jesus said that if anyone would come after him he must deny self, take up his cross daily (daily die to sin and to self) and follow (obey) him. For if we hold on to our old lives of living in sin and for self, we will lose them for eternity. But if for the sake of the name of Jesus we die with Christ to sin that we might live to him and to his righteousness, then we have eternal life in him (see Luke 9:23-26). So, please take this to heart.
[Matt 7:21-23; Matt 24:9-14; Lu 9:23-26; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14,24; Rom 12:1-2; Rom 13:11; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; 1 Co 1:18; 1 Co 15:1-2; 2 Tim 1:8-9; Heb 9:28; 1 Pet 1:5; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 2:8-10; Eph 4:17-32; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-17; 1 Pet 2:24; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6,24-25; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 3:6,14-15; Heb 10:23-31; Heb 12:1-2; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]
My Heart’s Desire
An Original Work / June 29, 2013
Based off Rm. 10; Lu. 9:23-26; Ep. 4:20-24
Loved Ones, Oh, my heart’s desire
Is that you might come to Jesus.
Many appear zealous for God,
But they do not trust in Him.
They have not submitted to the One
Who saved them from their sins;
Not forsaken their sins,
Nor have they obeyed their King.
The word of the Lord is near you:
The word of faith we’re proclaiming:
That you must confess your faith
In Jesus as your Lord and King:
Believe in Him as your Lord,
And follow Him where’er He leads.
Share the gospel; be a witness,
And meet others’ needs.
Beautiful are the feet of those
Who bring the good news of Jesus:
Anyone who would come to Him
Must deny himself today;
Die to sin and self, and
Let the Spirit transform you in heart;
Put on your new self in Jesus,
Yielding to the cross.