Daily Devotion Text

September 15, 2022

Romans 4:16-25

Journal

Please use one of the prompts below to get your journaling started.

  • Explore your fears and what’s behind them.
  • Write about a relational conflict you are experiencing.
  • List out all that you are grateful for.
  • Recall a significant reaction, conversation or event.

Bible Text: Romans 4:16-25 (ESV)

16 That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring—not only to the adherent of the law but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all, 17 as it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations”—in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist. 18 In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, “So shall your offspring be.” 19 He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. 20 No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, 21 fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. 22 That is why his faith was “counted to him as righteousness.” 23 But the words “it was counted to him” were not written for his sake alone, 24 but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, 25 who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.

Reflection Questions

Romans 4:17

  • In light of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, how has God “call[ed] into existence the things that do not exist” in my life?  What am I really?  Yet what does God declare me as?

Romans 4:18-21

  • How does this passage show that Abraham’s faith was not merely foolish optimism?  Reflect on the words “he considered his own body, which was as good as dead,” “no unbelief made him waver,” “he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God,” and “fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.”  Are there some situations in my life that I need to apply these words to?

Romans 4:23-25

  • Reflect on the amazing fact that the righteousness that was “counted” to Abraham can also be counted to me today.  Are there obstacles in my life preventing me from taking God at His word and believing Him  (e.g., fears, past failures, etc.)?

Prayer


September 14, 2022

Romans 4:9-15

Journal

Please use one of the prompts below to get your journaling started.

  • Explore your fears and what’s behind them.
  • Write about a relational conflict you are experiencing.
  • List out all that you are grateful for.
  • Recall a significant reaction, conversation or event.

Bible Text: Romans 4:9-15 (ESV)

9 Is this blessing then only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? For we say that faith was counted to Abraham as righteousness. 10 How then was it counted to him? Was it before or after he had been circumcised? It was not after, but before he was circumcised. 11 He received the sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. The purpose was to make him the father of all who believe without being circumcised, so that righteousness would be counted to them as well, 12 and to make him the father of the circumcised who are not merely circumcised but who also walk in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised.

13 For the promise to Abraham and his offspring that he would be heir of the world did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith. 14 For if it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void. 15 For the law brings wrath, but where there is no law there is no transgression.

Reflection Questions

Romans 4:9-15

  • Why is it significant that Abraham was counted as righteous before he was circumcised? Why might this be shocking for the Jewish readers of this letter to read?
  • According to this passage, who can call Abraham their father and also be counted righteous as he was? Reviewing Abraham’s life, what does it look like to walk in his footsteps of faith?

Prayer


September 13, 2022

Romans 4:1-8

Journal

Please use one of the prompts below to get your journaling started.

  • Explore your fears and what’s behind them.
  • Write about a relational conflict you are experiencing.
  • List out all that you are grateful for.
  • Recall a significant reaction, conversation or event.

Romans 1 Commentary

Romans 2 Commentary

Romans 3 Commentary

Romans 4 Commentary

Bible Text: Romans 4:1-8 (ESV)

1 What then shall we say was gained by Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh? 2 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. 3 For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.” 4 Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. 5 And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness, 6 just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works:

7 “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven,

    and whose sins are covered;

8   blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.”

Reflection Questions

Romans 4:1-3

  • Reflect on the fact that “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.” (Gen. 15:6).  What can I learn about the nature of God’s relationship with me from this?
  • Are there ways in which I am still trying to be “justified by works” before God?

Romans 4:6-8

  • Note how David defines blessing. How much am I in agreement with this view of blessing?

Prayer


September 13, 2022

Romans 4 Commentary


ROMANS 1 COMMENTARY

ROMANS 2 COMMENTARY

ROMANS 3 COMMENTARY

ROMANS 4 COMMENTARY

Background “In 3:27–31, Paul briefly mentions two implications of the truth that we are justified by faith and not by ‘observing the law’ (v.28): We cannot boast in our own religious accomplishments (v.27), and Jews and Gentiles have equal access to justification (vv.29–30). In chapter 4 he develops both these points with reference to Abraham.   In 4:1–8, Paul shows that Abraham himself had nothing to boast about before God because he, also, was justified by faith. Then, in 4:9–17, he argues that Abraham’s justification by faith means that he is qualified to be the spiritual father of both believing Jews and believing Gentiles. Verses 18–22 expand on the nature of Abraham’s faith before Paul wraps up his exposition with a final application to Christians (vv.23–25).   Throughout the chapter, Paul grounds his exposition in the key verse, cited in 4:3, of Genesis 15:6: ‘Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.’ The focus is especially on the nature and meaning of Abraham’s believing. Another way to look at the chapter, then, is in terms of a series of antitheses by which Paul unfolds the significance of Abraham’s faith—and of ours:

  1. Faith is something completely different from ‘works’ (vv.3–8).
  2. Faith does not depend on any religious ceremony (e.g., circumcision) (vv.9–12).
  3. Faith is not related to the law (vv.13–17).
  4. Faith often rests in a promise that flies in the face of what is natural and normal (vv.18–22).”[1]

vv.4-8  “[These] verses constitute a general statement that compares believing with working as the basis for justification. When people work, their wages come not as gifts but because they have earned them. The spiritual realm, however, is different. In this case those who do not work but believe are regarded by God as righteous. Rather than attempting to earn God’s favor by meritorious deeds, they simply trust.   They are accepted by God as righteous because of their faith. God is under no obligation to pronounce righteous those who would earn his favor by working. Righteousness is a gift. God freely gives it to those who believe. The disparity between legalism and grace is seen most clearly in the way God grants a right standing to people of faith. Paul’s designation of God as one who ‘justifies the wicked’ would come as a shock to his Jewish readers. In Exod 23:7 God says, ‘I will not acquit the guilty,’ and in Prov 17:15 we learn that he ‘detests’ the practice of acquitting the guilty when carried out by others (cf. Prov 24:24; Isa 5:23). The paradoxical phrase, however, is in keeping with the remarkable fact that a holy God accepts as righteous unholy people on the basis of absolutely nothing but faith.   F. F. Bruce comments that God, who alone does great wonders, created the universe from nothing (1:19–20), calls the dead to life (4:17), and justifies the ungodly, ‘the greatest of all his wonders.’

“To reinforce his point, Paul turned to David. Moule sees in the linking of Abraham and David an illustration of the truth that all stand unworthy before God. David was guilty of adultery and the death of a loyal follower while Abraham was known for his obedience. The conduct of neither merited God’s favor.   David spoke of the blessedness of the person reckoned by God as righteous apart from works (vv.6–8). In Psalm 32 (a penitential psalm) David tells of the blessedness of those whose violations of the law are forgiven and whose sins have been put out of sight (vv.1–2).   David wrote out of his own experience. His errant behavior with Bathsheba and Uriah resulted in sorrow and remorse (see Ps 51). The forgiveness that followed relieved an enormous burden of guilt. Although it is unnecessary to sin in order to grasp fully the wonder of God’s forgiveness, those who have been forgiven the most often love the most. To Simon the Pharisee, who complained about the woman who wept at Jesus’ feet, Jesus said: ‘I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little’ (Luke 7:47).

“The psalmist continued, ‘Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never count against him.’ Those who have put their faith in God are completely forgiven of their sin. Nothing can be brought up for which provision has not already been made. Believers are the most fortunate people imaginable because the question of their sin has been settled forever. ‘As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us’ (Ps 103:12). Guilt dogs the steps of the unbeliever, but forgiveness is the sweet reward of those who trust in God.”[2]

vv.9-12  “Circumcision was not the gateway to his right relationship with God; it was only the sign and the seal that he had already entered into it. His being accounted righteous had nothing to do with circumcision and everything to do with his act of faith. From this unanswerable fact Paul makes two great deductions.

“(i) Abraham is not the father of those who have been circumcised; he is the father of those who make the same act of faith in God as he made. He is the father of every man in every age who takes God at his word as he did. This means that the real Jew is the man who trusts God as Abraham did, no matter what his race is. All the great promises of God are made not to the Jewish nation, but to the man who is Abraham’s descendant because he trusts God as he did. Jew has ceased to be a word which describes a nationality and has come to describe a way of life and a reaction to God. The descendants of Abraham are not the members of any particular nation, but those in every nation who belong to the family of God.

“(ii) The converse is also true. A man may be a Jew of pure lineage and may be circumcised; and yet in the real sense may be no descendant of Abraham. He has no right to call Abraham his father or to claim the promises of God, unless he makes that venture of faith that Abraham made.”[3]

vv.13-17  “To Abraham God made a very great and wonderful promise. He promised that he would become a great nation, and that in him all families of the earth would be blessed (Gen 12:2, 3). In truth, the earth would be given to him as his inheritance. Now that promise came to Abraham because of the faith that he showed towards God. It did not come because he piled up merit by doing works of the law. It was the outgoing of God’s generous grace in answer to Abraham’s absolute faith. The promise, as Paul saw it, was dependent on two things and two things only—the free grace of God and the perfect faith of Abraham.

“The Jews were still asking, ‘How can a man enter into the right relationship with God so that he too may inherit this great promise?’ Their answer was, ‘He must do so by acquiring merit in the sight of God through doing works which the law prescribes.’ That is to say, he must do it by his own efforts. Paul saw with absolute clearness that this Jewish attitude had completely destroyed the promise. It had done so for this reason—no man can fully keep the law; therefore, if the promise depends on keeping the law, it can never be fulfilled.”[4]

vv.18-25 “What Scripture considers as faith is defined by the confidence of Abraham in the inviolability of divine promise.   This becomes the theme of the final paragraph in chap. 4. The paradoxical quality of Abraham’s faith is seen in the contrasting prepositional phrases ‘against all hope’ and ‘in hope.’  From a human standpoint there was no hope that he would have descendants.  Yet with God all things are possible (cf. Matt 19:26). Therefore he believed what God said. His hope was not the invincible human spirit rising to the occasion against all odds but a deep inner confidence that God was absolutely true to his word.[5] Faith is unreasonable only within a restricted worldview that denies God the right to intervene. His intervention is highly rational from the biblical perspective, which not only allows him to intervene but actually expects him to show concern for those he has created in his own image. Because Abraham believed, he became ‘the father of many nations.’ The opportunity to believe has not been assigned to any one nation or ethnic group. Belief is universally possible. The quotation from Gen 15:5 reinforces the remarkable number of those who believe and are therefore the offspring of Abraham.”[6]


[1] Douglas Moo, ‘Romans’ n.p. on The NIV Application Commentary on CD-ROM Version 6.3.6. 2006

[2] Mounce, R. H. (2001, c1995). Vol. 27: Romans (electronic ed.). Logos Library System; The New American Commentary (123). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[3] The Letter to the Romans. 2000, c1975 (W. Barclay, lecturer in the University of Glasgow, Ed.). The Daily study Bible series, Rev.ed. (Ro 4:13). Philadelphia: The Westminster Press.

[4] The Letter to the Romans. 2000, c1975 (W. Barclay, lecturer in the University of Glasgow, Ed.). The Daily study Bible series, Rev.ed. (Ro 4:18). Philadelphia: The Westminster Press.

[5] Barrett writes, ‘It is when human hope is exhausted that God-given hope (cf. viii 24f.) comes into effect’ (Romans, 976). Calvin comments that ‘there is nothing more inimical to faith than to bind understanding to sight, so that we seek the substance of our hope from what we see’ (The Epistle of Paul to the Romans and to the Thessalonians, trans. R. Mackenzie [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1961], 96). Nygren notes that it is only when ‘without hope’ and ‘yet with hope’ stand over against each other that real faith is found (Romans, 160).

[6] Mounce, R. H. (2001, c1995). Vol. 27: Romans (electronic ed.). Logos Library System; The New American Commentary (128). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

September 12, 2022

Prayer

Our church is continuing our current devotional format, to devote Mondays and Fridays to prayer and study through Apostle Paul’s letter to the Romans on Tuesdays through Thursdays. As we memorize our hymn of the month together, we pray the sentiments expressed in the hymn “And Can It Be” and the gospel truths will shine brighter in our hearts and in our lives.


“God is the only person from whom you can hide nothing. Before him you will unavoidably come to see yourself in a new, unique light. Prayer, therefore, leads to a self-knowledge that is impossible to achieve any other way.”

Tim Keller

Prayer of Gratitude

Prayer of Supplication


Hymn of September

And Can It Be

Verse 1

And can it be that I should gain

An int’rest in the Savior’s blood?

Died He for me, who caused His pain?

For me, who Him to death pursued?

Amazing love! how can it be

That Thou, my God, should die for me?

(Chorus)

Amazing love! How can it be

That Thou, my God, should die for me!

Verse 2

He left His Father’s throne above,

So free, so infinite His grace;

Emptied Himself of all but love,

And bled for Adam’s helpless race.

‘Tis mercy all, immense and free;

O praise my God, it reaches me.

Verse 3

Long my imprisoned spirit lay

Fast bound in sin and nature’s night;

Thine eye diffused a quick’ning ray,

I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;

My chains fell off, my heart was free;

I rose, went forth and followed Thee.

Verse 4

No condemnation now I dread;

Jesus and all in Him is mine!

Alive in Him, my living Head,

And clothed in righteousness divine;

Bold I approach th’eternal throne

And claim the crown,

Through Christ, my own.

Words by Charles Wesley, 1738;

Music by Thomas Campbell

September 9, 2022

Prayer

Our church is continuing our current devotional format, to devote Mondays and Fridays to prayer and study through Apostle Paul’s letter to the Romans on Tuesdays through Thursdays. As we memorize our hymn of the month together, we pray the sentiments expressed in the hymn “And Can It Be” and the gospel truths will shine brighter in our hearts and in our lives.


 “Jesus taught us to come like children to a father. Openness, honesty, and trust mark the communication of children with their father.”

Richard Foster

Prayer of Gratitude

Prayer of Supplication


Hymn of September

And Can It Be

Verse 1

And can it be that I should gain

An int’rest in the Savior’s blood?

Died He for me, who caused His pain?

For me, who Him to death pursued?

Amazing love! how can it be

That Thou, my God, should die for me?

(Chorus)

Amazing love! How can it be

That Thou, my God, should die for me!

Verse 2

He left His Father’s throne above,

So free, so infinite His grace;

Emptied Himself of all but love,

And bled for Adam’s helpless race.

‘Tis mercy all, immense and free;

O praise my God, it reaches me.

Verse 3

Long my imprisoned spirit lay

Fast bound in sin and nature’s night;

Thine eye diffused a quick’ning ray,

I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;

My chains fell off, my heart was free;

I rose, went forth and followed Thee.

Verse 4

No condemnation now I dread;

Jesus and all in Him is mine!

Alive in Him, my living Head,

And clothed in righteousness divine;

Bold I approach th’eternal throne

And claim the crown,

Through Christ, my own.

Words by Charles Wesley, 1738;

Music by Thomas Campbell

September 8, 2022

Romans 3:21-31

Journal

Please use one of the prompts below to get your journaling started.

  • Explore your fears and what’s behind them.
  • Write about a relational conflict you are experiencing.
  • List out all that you are grateful for.
  • Recall a significant reaction, conversation or event.

Romans 1 Commentary

Romans 2 Commentary

Romans 3 Commentary

Bible Text: Romans 3:21-31 (ESV)

21 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

27 Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith. 28 For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law. 29 Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, 30 since God is one—who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith. 31 Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law.

Reflection Questions

Romans 3:21-31

  • Where does this new righteousness of God come from and to whom does it apply?
  • Reflect on God’s justice and grace through the cross, and how it excludes all of our boasting. 
  • Why would a person who has been “justified by faith” engage in boasting of “works of the law”?  How can I guard myself against this kind of illegitimate boasting before God?

Prayer


September 7, 2022

Romans 3:9-20

Journal

Please use one of the prompts below to get your journaling started.

  • Explore your fears and what’s behind them.
  • Write about a relational conflict you are experiencing.
  • List out all that you are grateful for.
  • Recall a significant reaction, conversation or event.

Romans 1 Commentary

Romans 2 Commentary

Romans 3 Commentary

Romans 3:9-20 (ESV)

9 What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, 10 as it is written:

“None is righteous, no, not one;

11     no one understands;

    no one seeks for God.

12 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;

    no one does good,

    not even one.”

13 “Their throat is an open grave;

    they use their tongues to deceive.”

“The venom of asps is under their lips.”

14 “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.”

15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood;

16     in their paths are ruin and misery,

17 and the way of peace they have not known.”

18     “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

19 Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. 20 For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.

Reflection Questions

Romans 3:9-20

  • What does this passage declare about the universal condition of mankind?  How should this affect my view towards myself and others?
  • In what ways has my life changed from a life of turning away from God to a life of seeking God?
  • How has the reality “that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God” influenced the way I live my daily life?

Prayer


September 6, 2022

Romans 3:1-8

Journal

Please use one of the prompts below to get your journaling started.

  • Explore your fears and what’s behind them.
  • Write about a relational conflict you are experiencing.
  • List out all that you are grateful for.
  • Recall a significant reaction, conversation or event.

Romans 1 Commentary

Romans 2 Commentary

Romans 3 Commentary

Romans 3:1-8 (ESV)

1 Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the value of circumcision? 2 Much in every way. To begin with, the Jews were entrusted with the oracles of God. 3 What if some were unfaithful? Does their faithlessness nullify the faithfulness of God? 4 By no means! Let God be true though every one were a liar, as it is written,

“That you may be justified in your words,

    and prevail when you are judged.”

5 But if our unrighteousness serves to show the righteousness of God, what shall we say? That God is unrighteous to inflict wrath on us? (I speak in a human way.) 6 By no means! For then how could God judge the world? 7 But if through my lie God’s truth abounds to his glory, why am I still being condemned as a sinner? 8 And why not do evil that good may come? — as some people slanderously charge us with saying. Their condemnation is just.

Reflection questions to help us go deeper

Romans 3:1-8

  • Apostle Paul calls being “entrusted with the oracles of God” an “advantage” and something of “value.”  What are some things God has entrusted to me?  How faithful have I been to the entrustment?

Prayer


September 6, 2022

Romans 3 Commentary


ROMANS 1 COMMENTARY

ROMANS 2 COMMENTARY

ROMANS 3 COMMENTARY

v.1 “In this chapter Paul contends that everyone stands guilty before God.  Paul has dismantled [in chapters 1 and 2] the common excuses of people who refuse to admit they are sinners: (1) ‘There is no god’ or ‘I follow my conscience’ –1:18-32; (2) ‘I’m not as bad as other people’ –2:1-16; (3) ‘I’m a church member’ or ‘I’m a religious person’ –2:17-29.  No one will be exempt from God’s judgment on sin.  Every person must accept that he or she is sinful and condemned before God.  Only then can we understand and receive God’s wonderful gift of salvation.”[1]

vv.13-18 “The latter half of the catena [series of text beginning with v.10 and ending with v.18], beginning with v.13, reflects the second emphasis, namely, the ramifications of sin in human life. So far as relationship with God is concerned, the rupturing power of sin has been noted (vv.11, 12). But what effect does sin have on the sinner? The effect is total, because his entire being is vitiated. Observe at this point the various members of the body referred to: the throat, the tongue, and the lips (v.13); the mouth (v.14); the feet (v.15); and the eyes (v.18). This list serves to affirm what theologians speak of as total depravity, i.e., not that man in his natural state is as bad as he can possibly be, but rather that his entire being is adversely affected by sin. His whole nature is permeated with it. Human relations also suffer, because society can be no better than those who constitute it. Some of the obvious effects—conflict and bloodshed—are specified (vv.15-17).”[2]

vv.20-25 “The supreme problem of life is, How can a man get into a right relationship with God? How can he feel at peace with God? How can he escape the feeling of estrangement and fear in the presence of God? The religion of Judaism answered: ‘A man can attain to a right relationship with God by keeping meticulously all that the law lays down.’ But to say that is simply to say that there is no possibility of any man ever attaining to a right relationship with God, for no man ever can keep every commandment of the law.

“What then is the use of the law? It is that it makes a man aware of sin. It is only when a man knows the law and tries to satisfy it that he realizes he can never satisfy it. The law is designed to show a man his own weakness and his own sinfulness. Is a man then shut out from God? Far from it, because the way to God is not the way of law, but the way of grace; not the way of works, but the way of faith.

“To show what he means Paul uses three metaphors.

“(i) He uses a metaphor from the law courts which we call justification. This metaphor thinks of man on trial before God. […] If an innocent man appears before a judge then to treat him as innocent is to acquit him. But the point about a man’s relationship to God is that he is utterly guilty, and yet God, in his amazing mercy, treats him, reckons him, accounts him as if he were innocent. That is what justification means.

“When Paul says that ‘God justifies the ungodly,’ he means that God treats the ungodly as if he had been a good man. That is what shocked the Jews to the core of their being. To them to treat the bad man as if he was good was the sign of a wicked judge. ‘He who justifies the wicked is an abomination to the Lord’ (Prov 17:15). ‘I will not acquit the wicked’ (Exod 23:7). But Paul says that is precisely what God does.

“How can I know that God is like that? I know because Jesus said so. He came to tell us that God loves us, bad as we are. He came to tell us that, although we are sinners, we are still dear to God. When we discover that and believe it, it changes our whole relationship to God. We are conscious of our sin, but we are no longer in terror and no longer estranged. Penitent and brokenhearted we come to God, like a sorry child coming to his mother, and we know that the God we come to is Love.

“That is what justification by faith in Jesus Christ means. It means that we are in a right relationship with God because we believe with all our hearts that what Jesus told us about God is true. We are no longer terrorized strangers from an angry God. We are children, erring children, trusting in their Father’s love for forgiveness. And we could never have found that right relationship with God, if Jesus had not come to live and to die to tell us how wonderfully he loves us.

“(ii) Paul uses a metaphor from sacrifice. He says of Jesus that God put him forward as one who can win forgiveness for our sins.  Under the old system, when a man broke the law, he brought to God a sacrifice. His aim was that the sacrifice should turn aside the punishment that should fall upon him. To put it in another way—a man sinned; that sin put him at once in a wrong relationship with God; to get back into the right relationship he offered his sacrifice.

“But it was human experience that an animal sacrifice failed entirely to do that. ‘Thou hast no delight in sacrifice; were I to give a burnt offering, thou wouldst not be pleased’ (Ps 51:16). ‘With what shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before God on high? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my first-born for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?’ (Micah 6:6, 7.) Instinctively men felt that, once they had sinned, the paraphernalia of earthly sacrifice could not put matters right.

“So Paul says, ‘Jesus Christ, by his life of obedience and his death of love, made the one sacrifice to God which really and truly atones for sin.’ He insists that what happened on the Cross opens the door back to a right relationship with God, a door which every other sacrifice is powerless to open.

“(iii) Paul uses a metaphor from slavery. He speaks of the deliverance wrought through Jesus Christ. The word [used] means a ransoming, a redeeming, a liberating. It means that man was in the power of sin, and that Jesus Christ alone could free him from it.

“Finally, Paul says of God that he did all this because he is just, and accepts as just all who believe in Jesus. Paul never said a more startling thing than this. Bengel called it ‘the supreme paradox of the gospel.’ Think what it means. It means that God is just and accepts the sinner as a just man. The natural thing to say would be, ‘God is just, and, therefore, condemns the sinner as a criminal.’ But here we have the great paradox—God is just, and somehow, in that incredible, miraculous grace that Jesus came to bring to men, he accepts the sinner, not as a criminal, but as a son whom he still loves.

“What is the essence of all this? Where is the difference between it and the old way of the law? The basic difference is this—the way of obedience to the law is concerned with what a man can do for himself; the way of grace is concerned with what God has done; nothing we can ever do can win for us the forgiveness of God; only what God has done for us can win that; therefore the way to a right relationship with God lies, not in a frenzied, desperate, doomed attempt to win acquittal by our performance; it lies in the humble, penitent acceptance of the love and the grace which God offers us in Jesus Christ.”[3]

v.25   “In the Old Testament period, God did not punish sins with the full severity he should have. People who sinned should have suffered spiritual death, because they did not yet have an adequate sacrifice to atone for their sins. But in his mercy God ‘passed over’ their sins. In doing so, however, he acted against his character, which requires that he respond to sin with wrath. So the coming of Christ ‘satisfied’ God’s justice. In giving himself as a ‘sacrifice of atonement,’ Christ paid the price for the sins of all people — both before his time (v.25b) and after (v.26a). Consequently, Paul summarizes, we can see how God can be ‘just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus’ (v.26b). He accepts as righteous before him sinful people who have faith, and he accepts sinners as righteous without violating his own just character because Christ has fully satisfied God’s demand that all who commit sin must die. By faith in Christ, we are joined to him. He becomes our representative, and his death is accredited to us.” [4]


[1] Life Application Study Bible, Study Note on Romans 3:1ff

[2] Gaebelein, Frank E. Gen. Ed. Expositor’s Bible Commentary CD (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1992) notes for Romans 3.

[3] The Letter to the Romans. 2000, c1975 (W. Barclay, lecturer in the University of Glasgow, Ed.). The Daily study Bible series, Rev.ed. (Ro 3:27). Philadelphia: The Westminster Press.

[4] Douglas Moo, “Romans” n.p. on The NIV Application Commentary on CD-ROM Version 6.3.6. 2006

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