Updated: Jun 21, 2022
Paul is building his case. The church in Rome is made up of Jews and Gentiles. He has told us that the Jews are God's Holy people and that as such, they have special knowledge of God through the Law, however, they have fallen short. He has told us that the Gentiles have a built-in concept of God by knowing right and wrong. Yet they too, fall short. Both groups are in the same boat. They need something beyond what they can do themselves - beyond what we can do ourselves. No one is righteous.
This is the bad news that we have now heard. We know our starting position. This is the bad news that Paul tells us before he launches into the good news of Christ.
And now comes the good news - hallelujah!
Read Romans 3:21-26.
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. (NIV)
These are impactful verses. We see several key ideas all crammed into these verses. The righteousness of God, Justification, Given through faith, Jew and Gentile together, faith, sin, grace, forgiveness and redemption, and the justice of God. These verses tell us why Christ came. This is the Good News! This is the good news that all needy and sinful people need to hear!
We are awakened by the first two words of these verses - "But now". But now hows us the shift in Paul's ideas. Moving from the bad news... but now... here it comes... the good news
We are not right with God, but now God's righteousness is available to all who put their faith in Jesus. Jesus came to put people back into the right relationship with Himself. We can be right with God through Jesus Christ. This righteousness is only available through faith. The subject of this faith is to be Jesus. Jesus is the centre of this faith, that we are to have.
This was God's plan all the time. This was not a quick change of plan, this wasn't plan B... rather this is God's plan unfolded before us and for us. The plan was always the cross. How it was always going to be, from before creation! God's intention from the beginning. And it is available to all. Emphasizing that salvation is open to all (Jew and Gentile) through faith in Christ. Needs to be for all because all have fallen short of God's glory.
This is the glory that we now share in. The glory is His awesome presence. This is what we lost when the first Adam sinned. We lost being able to be in His presence when mankind fell through Adam. But we are now introduced to the second Adam. The Adam that brings restoration, and that is Jesus Christ. He is the one - the only one - who restores.
What is the source of this restoration - grace! God's grace, His free gift to us - to us all. We are justified "by His grace". God has done this for us - freely! This is God's very nature (who He is) demonstrated through His son - Jesus Christ.
What has Jesus done? He has redeemed us. He has paid the price for us - for our sin (against God). This idea comes from slavery. The concept of buying a slave their freedom. Earlier, Paul had referenced all of us being "under sin", meaning mankind's predicament, our starting position - unrighteous!
How has Jesus redeemed us? Christ as a sacrifice. His sacrificial death on the cross. The idea of Jesus being a sacrifice - an atonement would be known by Jew and Gentile alike. Not sure we have this idea of atonement in our everyday language today. But the concept is straight for, whether YAHWAH (Jew) or the many pagan gods (Gentile), the idea that they become angry and need to be appeased through a sacrifice or offering. When we fall short of His glory how can we appease or atone God's wrath? We can't! So Christ took our place. He rescued us, redeemed us and paid the price, shedding His blood. His death so that we can live!
His work allows us to be right with God. Allowing all those who have faith in Christ can come in front of God. We have been forgiven and Jesus has covered us in His righteousness, our sins covered. By faith, we have been reunited with God through Christ.