Grace Nuggets: Romans 5:1-11 (Blessings of Justification)

At the end of Romans 3, Paul explains justification and what that means for mankind. In chapter 4, Paul illustrates justification through the life of Abraham. And in chapter 5, Paul gives us the blessings that come through justification.

Justification means “just as if I’ve never sinned.” It means that we are made right with God by His free gift of grace through the blood of Christ. When we believe in this work of God by faith, we are justified or declared righteous right then and there. In Romans 5, Paul tells us about 7 amazing blessings that come to us through justification.

  1. Peace with God“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans 5:1
    • James 4:4 says that when we were friends with the world, we were enemies of God. After we came to Christ, we are now justified through Him and we have peace with God.  We are no longer His enemy but His friend. Warren Wiersbe explains that, “Condemnation means that God declares us sinners, which is  a declaration of war. Justification means that God declares us righteous, which is a declaration of peace, made possible by Christ’s death on the cross.” It’s not a peace that comes and goes but a peace that is eternal. This means we can relax in our relationship with Him, freely talk with Him and enjoy fellowship with Him. We don’t have to try to earn or maintain peace with Him. We are free from the condemnation of the law! We can enjoy eternal peace with God because of our Lord Jesus Christ.
  2. We stand in grace“through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.” Romans 5:2a
    • Being justified in Christ means that we stand in grace.Grace is undeserved, unmerited favor and God’s enabling power. Not only are we saved by grace, but we now stand in grace. Grace is not given to us at the beginning of our relationship with God but it is continual in our relationship with Him. David Guzik gives a beautiful description of what it means to stand in grace. “Standing in grace means that:
      • I don’t have to prove I am worthy of God’s love
      • God is my friend
      • The door of access is permanently open to Him
      • I am free from the “score sheet” – the account is settled in Jesus
      • I spend more time praising God and less time hating myself.”
  3. We have access to Him – “through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.” Romans 5:2a
    • Because we stand in grace, we now have access to God. Jon Courson explains that having access to Him through grace means, “we can plant ourselves in the presence of God and enjoy Him as long as we want, anytime we wish.” Friends, we have access to the God of the Universe, the Creator, the God of our Salvation! This is good news and is given to us as a FREE gift! Hebrews 4:16 says, “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” In every part of lives, we have access to the God who loves us unconditionally.
  4. A glorious hope“And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.” Romans 5:2b
    • Another translation for boast is to rejoice. We can also translate hope into “happy certainty.” Warren Wiersbe explains that, “‘Peace with God’ takes care of the past: He will no longer hold out sins against us. ‘Access to God’ takes care of the present: we can come to Him at any time for the help we need. ‘Hope of the glory of God’ takes care of the future: one day we shall share in His glory!”  Because of justification we can rejoice with happy certainty (hope) that we have peace with God and can come to Him anytime we want through His grace!
  5. Christian characterNot only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” Romans 5:3-4 
    • Glorying in suffering is a blessing of justification? How is suffering a blessing? Because of what suffering produces in our lives. Suffering produces perseverance which is persistence during a trial or difficulty. Perseverance produces character which is the strength and integrity of a person’s nature. And character leads to hope which is happy certainty. This is a chain that leads us into growth and maturity in our faith. Many times we want the character and the hope without the perseverance and suffering. But in James 1, the apostle tells us to rejoice in trials because in the end we will be mature and complete. Guzik explains why we should not desire to be free from suffering in our lives: “A runner must be stressed to gain endurance. Sailors must go to sea. Soldiers go to battle. For the Christian, tribulation is just part of our Christian life. We should not desire or hope for a tribulation-free Christian life, especially because: God uses tribulation wonderfully in our lives; God knows how much tribulation we can take, and He carefully measures the tribulation we face; and those who are not Christians face tribulation also.” Suffering is for our good and for God’s glory!
  6. God’s love within“And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” Romans 5:5
    • When we allow suffering to take us through God’s beautiful pattern to hope, we will experience God’s love in our hearts through the Holy Spirit.When we go through trials and persist through it and allow it to shape our character, we have the comfort of the Holy Spirit to give us hope and love within. But it’s not just a little trickle of love but an outpouring, torrential, outburst of love! “The love of God is like light to a blind eye until the Holy Ghost opens that eye … may the Holy Spirit now be here in each one of us, to shed abroad the love of God in our hearts.” (Spurgeon) May we continually ask the Holy Spirit to open our hearts to the love that the Father has for us!
  7. We are saved from God’s future wrath and reconciled to Him “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.” Romans 5:8-11
    • Justification saves us from God’s wrath and reconciles us into a right relationship with Him. A holy and righteous God cannot allow or overlook sin. But God made a way for sinners to be saved from His wrath – through Jesus Christ! “If we are justified by the work of Jesus, we can be assured that we are also saved from wrath through Him. The wrath of God that was revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men was placed on Jesus as a substitute in the place of the believer.” (Guzik) 2 Corinthians 5:21 says,God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” We no longer have to fear God’s wrath because it was all poured out on Jesus Christ. When Adam and Eve were created, they were perfect and reconciled to God. However, when sin entered the world, they were no longer reconciled and became estranged from God. And because of that sin, mankind and creation was cursed. But because of Jesus Christ, our sins are atoned for and we are now reconciled back to relationship with God! Guzik explains that, “This reconciliation isn’t only helpful when we die; it also touches our life right now. God is forever done dealing with believers on the basis of wrath. He may chasten them as a loving Father, but not in punishment or payment for their sins. Chastening is always to provide loving correction and guidance.” We are free to enjoy our relationship to God because we are reconciled and at peace with Him now and forever!

Because of justification, we have peace with God, access to Him, and a glorious hope in Him because of our standing in grace. We rejoice in our sufferings because they lead us into maturity and open our hearts to more of God’s outpouring love. Not only that but we are saved from God’s future wrath and reconciled back into relationship with Him. The great news is that these blessings come by faith in the finished work of Christ. It has nothing to do with what we do or what we’ve done but what Christ has already completed. It is totally apart from the law and purely by His grace! Praise Him for making a way!

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Grace Nuggets: Romans 4 (Justification Illustrated)

In my last blog post in Romans 3, Paul explains to the readers how we are justified. Justification means that God sees us through the lens of Christ through faith. We are not justified by our works, behavior or actions but just by believing what He said. When we believe in the finished work of Christ, God declares us righteous or justified in His sight. It’s as if He says, “I’m declaring you ‘just as if you’ve never sinned.'” We are justified apart from the law; we are justified by faith alone; justification is for all mankind; justification is by grace exclusively; justification came at a cost; and justification solves the dilemma of God being just and being the justifier.

In Romans 4, Paul illustrates justification to us through the life of Abraham. In this study, we will learn 3 important facts about how the spiritual experience of Abraham was the same as believers today.

  1. Abraham was justified by faith, not works (v. 1-8)
    • Romans 4:3 says, “What does Scripture say? ‘Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.'” The key term here is “believed.” It wasn’t because of Abraham’s works or his obedience. It was because he believed that God would do what He said He would do. He trusted in the Word of God. The Greek word here is a banking term which means “to put to one’s account.” Abraham did not work for justification but because he believed, righteousness was accredited to his account through faith.
    • Romans 4:4-5 says, “Now to the one who works, wages are not credited as a gift but as an obligation. However, to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness.” Justification/salvation/righteousness cannot be earned. If we work for it then we will expect it as an obligation and not a gift. But righteousness is ours when we trust God and the work that’s already been done! It also says that God justified the ungodly. Wait, He doesn’t justify the godly? No! There is none righteous, no not one! (Rom 3:10) We don’t deserve it, we can’t earn it or work for it. We are justified solely by faith and on the work of Christ! Amen.
  2. Abraham was justified by grace, not law (v. 9-17)
    • Verses 9-12 talk about Abraham being circumcised after God had counted him righteous. Abraham was not counted righteous because of the law of circumcision but because he accepted the grace of God’s promise to him before the law of circumcision was given. Circumcision was merely a seal of righteousness as a sign of his faith in God.
    • Romans 4:16 says, “Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham’s offspring—not only to those who are of the law but also to those who have the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all.” The promise of salvation comes by faith and rests on grace. And as we believe in faith, we are given salvation by the grace of God. The law only shows us our sin and points us to our need for a Savior. That’s why we cannot be right with God through the law but by God’s free gift of grace. If we earn salvation through keeping the law, we will boast in ourselves. But if we just simply believe that the work is done and is given to us by the grace of God, we will boast in Him. Praise God for making a way for us by believing in His grace!
  3. Abraham was justified by resurrection power, not human effort (v. 18-25)
    • These verses talk about how Abraham believed when God said that he would have a son and that he would be a father of many nations. Did Abraham try to make God’s promise happen in the flesh? Yes, and it proved to be detrimental to their family. Trying to fulfill anything in our lives by the flesh will always prove to be detrimental and we will always find failure. But did God see Abraham’s failure? No, we don’t see any mention of his failure in these passages but we see his faith. Abraham was definitely an imperfect man but God saw his faith and that faith counted to him as righteousness.
    • Verse 19 says, “Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead.” Warren Wiersbe explains this verse beautifully, “The application to salvation is clear: God must wait until the sinner is ‘dead’ and unable to help himself before He can release His saving power. As long as the lost sinner thinks he is strong enough to do anything to please God, he cannot be saved by grace. It was when Abraham admitted that he was ‘dead’ that God’s power went to work in his body. It is when the lost sinner confesses that he is spiritually dead and unable to help himself that God can save him.” 
    • Romans 4:23-25 says, “The words ‘it was credited to him’ were written not for him alone, but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness—for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.” Because Jesus died on the cross he took the penalty for our sins. And because Jesus resurrected from the grave, He gives us justification.  When we believe in the work of Christ through faith, we now have His resurrecting power within us. Human effort could not accomplish this, only by Christ’s resurrecting power!

Justification cannot be attained by our own human effort, by keeping the law, or by our good deeds. It comes by believing in faith, resting on God’s grace, and by His resurrecting power. Father, may we put aside striving to earn and maintain our salvation. May we simply believe in the finished work of your Son and rest on your grace. May we come to a place where we see that we cannot save ourselves but we need your resurrecting power, not only for salvation but for our Christian walk. May we rest in You alone. Amen.

 

Grace Nuggets: Romans 3:21-31 (Justification Explained)

In the overview of Romans 1:18-3:20, we left off with the immoral man, the moral man, and the religious man that are all condemned and are without excuse for their sin.The question asked was, “what hope is there if all men are guilty?” If we leave off there, we will be hopeless because we will always be controlled by our sin. But then we get to a beautiful “but” of the Bible in Chapter 3, verse 21. In this study, we will unfold and unravel the Father’s glorious plan of salvation. Let these verses soak deep into your heart as you fall more in love with Him!

In this section of scripture, we will see words like justification, righteousness, redemption, and propitiation. These seem like big “church-y” words so let’s define them.

  • Justification – the act of God whereby humankind is made or accounted just, or free from guilt or penalty of sin based on the finished work of the cross of Christ and must be received by faith. Another way to remember this is “just as if I’ve never sinned.”
  • Righteousness – this word is another word for justification and means that we are made right with God. He declares us righteous and perfect when we believe in faith in Jesus.
  • Redemption – in this passage of scripture, redemption means setting free from captivity or slavery for the purpose of setting free.
  • Propitiation – Propitiation was appeasing God through sacrifice and when Jesus died on the cross, He became the propitiation or covering of our sins. Atonement (covering) is another word for propitiation which means we become “at one” with Christ through His sacrifice.

David Guzik sums up these words: “Justification solves the problem of man’s guilt before a righteous Judge.Redemption solves the problem of man’s slavery to sin, the world, and the devil. Propitiation solves the problem of offending God our Creator.”

In these verses, Paul will explain justification and we will highlight 6 characteristics of it.

Romans 3:21 – But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify.

  1. Justification is apart from the law.
  • As I said above, justification is another word for the righteousness of God. We are no longer justified or righteous by the law, rules and regulations. Works cannot save us from sin. We can never work enough, be devoted enough, or do enough good things to earn salvation.  The law was given to show us one thing: we are sinners and we need a Savior.

Romans 3:22 – This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile.

2. Justification is by faith alone.

  • How are we justified? By faith. Justification by faith means that we are declared righteous in the sight of God simply by believing in the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross. We are no longer keeping a list of “do’s” and “don’ts” but we are simply believing in our hearts and confessing with our lips that Jesus Christ is Lord of our lives.

3. Justification is for all mankind.

  • God not only offers salvation to the Jews but He also offers it to the Gentiles (everyone else). It’s not about who you are or what you’ve done. Jesus offers salvation to anyone who believes in Him through faith.

Romans 3:23-24 – 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

4. Justification is by grace exclusively.

  • Everyone that is born into this world is a sinner. God’s glorious standard is perfection and no one is perfect. Only one man was perfect on this earth and that was Jesus Christ who was God and man. No fleshly man can follow the law because the law condemns him and shows him that he desperately needs a savior.
  • Yet God justifies us and makes us right in His sight through grace. Grace is God’s unmerited, undeserved, unearned favor. It’s a free gift that He gives to us not asking for anything in return. We don’t have to work or do a list of things for God to make us right in His sight. All we have to do is believe that He wants to give us this beautiful gift and accept and receive it into our lives by faith.
  • Also, note that when it says “all are justified freely” that in the Greek language this is in the aorist tense. This means that being justified is a continual act. We are continually being declared righteous and we will for eternity!
  • Here’s the word redemption we defined earlier. Jesus purchased us back from slavery to sin, the world, and the enemy for the very purpose that we could be free! And He did it freely by His grace and requires nothing from us in return. What an amazing God!

Romans 3:25 – 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. 

5. Justification came at a cost.

  • The cost was the death of God’s one and only Son, Jesus. Jesus left His heavenly throne; came to this earth and wrapped Himself in flesh; lived a perfect, sinless life; allowed sinful men to punish Him and put Him to death on a cross. He was beaten, bruised, pierced, crushed, whipped, and cursed. All to save man. All to give man a way to have a relationship with the Father. It cost Him everything so that we could have everything. Think about that.

Romans 5:26 –  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.

6. Justification solves a dilemma.

  • How can God be just and be the one who justifies at the same time? A God of love wants to forgive sinners but a God of holiness must punish sin and uphold His righteous law.  The answer is Jesus Christ. Wiersbe gives us a great answer to this question. “When Jesus suffered the wrath of God on the cross for the sins of the world, He fully met the demands of God’s law and also fully expressed the love of God’s heart.” Jesus’ sacrifice would reach all the way back to Adam’s sin as well. Therefore, God’s dilemma is solved. The wrath for our sins was poured out upon Christ. All we have to do is believe in Christ’s sacrifice in faith and accept the amazing love He has for us!

Romans 3:27-31 – 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.

  • We truly cannot boast about justification because we didn’t do anything to earn it or deserve it. We only boast in what Jesus Christ has done for us.
  • We are no longer bound under the law but that does not make the law null or void. Why? Because the law has a purpose and that is to bring us to Christ. Galatians 3:23-24 says, “Let me put it another way. The law was our guardian until Christ came; it protected us until we could be made right with God through faith. And now that the way of faith has come, we no longer need the law as our guardian.” The law did exactly what is was supposed to do. It points us to something greater than our faults, failures, fears, and foibles – Jesus Christ.

Friends, understand that justification and salvation are given to us as a free gift of grace. Jesus redeemed us by purchasing us back from slavery through His blood and taking the wrath of God for us by being our propitiation. When God justifies us, it’s just as if we’ve never sinned and the best part is, it’s FREE! We will stop trying to earn God’s love and just worship God for who He is and what He’s done. When we receive God’s grace into our lives, we will be free to just love Him. Amen.

Grace Nuggets: Romans 2:25-29

Romans 2:25-27 – Circumcision has value if you observe the law, but if you break the law, you have become as though you had not been circumcised. So then, if those who are not circumcised keep the law’s requirements, will they not be regarded as though they were circumcised? The one who is not circumcised physically and yet obeys the law will condemn you who, even though you have the written code and circumcision, are a lawbreaker. A person is not a Jew who is one only outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical.  No, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a person’s praise is not from other people, but from God.

In the Old Testament, the law required all Jewish men to have a circumcision.  It was to show that they were set apart unto the Lord and that they were His chosen people. Circumcision was an outward expression of the transformation that was supposed to take place in their hearts. It can be related to baptism in the New Testament. Baptism is an outward expression of the transformation that takes place in our hearts. Many religious people in that day believed that they were saved because they were circumcised but Paul refuted them by saying that their outward actions could not save them. Circumcision cannot save a person because it cannot cleanse you on the inside. Circumcision is the cutting away of the flesh and it is a picture of how we are to deal with our flesh. God tells us in Deuteronomy 10:16 to “Circumcise your hearts, therefore, and do not be stiff-necked any longer.” God’s desire is that His people would have transformed hearts that love Him and desire to serve Him. It’s dangerous to think that because we are circumcised or baptized that we are saved. These are outward professions that identify us with Jesus and that we have chosen to accept Him and let Him lead our lives. Jon Courson gives us 3 ways of how God defines how circumcision should be played out in our lives:

  1. Exodus 6:12:  Circumcision of the lips
  2. Jeremiah 6:10: Circumcision of the ears
  3. Ezekiel 44: Circumcision of the heart

The Lord desires for His people to speak with tenderness, hear with sensitivity, and feel with compassion. The outward expression of circumcision means nothing if there isn’t an inward change of our hearts.

May God help us to speak tenderly, listen sensitively, and feel compassionately for those around us and may they see the work that God is doing in our hearts. Amen.

 

Grace Nuggets: Romans 1:18 – 3:20 Overview

In this grace nugget, I am simply going to give an overview of what Paul was trying to convey to readers in Romans 1:18-3:20. In 1:16-17 Paul explains that the reason he was not ashamed of the gospel is because it’s the power of God for salvation for all people and we receive it simply by faith. The theme of Romans is to reveal God’s righteousness but we cannot know about God’s righteousness until we first understand man’s unrighteousness. As Warren Wiersbe puts it, “Until man knows he is a sinner, he cannot appreciate the gracious salvation God offers in Jesus Christ.”

In this section, Paul will give an argument and evidence that the whole world is guilty of sin. Every man is without excuse (2:1) and needs God. Paul will prove this by showing 3 categories of men that are guilty of sin and how they are condemned.

  1. The immoral man (1:18-32) – condemned by creation
  2. The moral man (2:1-11) – condemned by conscience
  3. The religious man (2:12-3:20) – condemned by the law

Romans 1:18-32 – The immoral man is the man who knows about God and but he continually rejects God and decides to follow his flesh. How does he know about God? Because of the creation of the world. Psalm 19:1-6 says that the heavens declare there is a God therefore, creation condemns the immoral man. They know the truth by the created world around them. Therefore, the immoral man has no excuse.

The immoral man suppresses the truth so he can live the way that he wants to not realizing that living for himself will destroy him. This will take him down a dark path because he would rather live in darkness than light. In verse 18 until the end of chapter 1, Paul will show what happens to a society when men follow after their owns lusts. They will inevitably destroy themselves and turn from God completely. Here is the progression of the immoral man living for himself and rejecting God:

  • Mankind knows God through creation (v. 19); they reject God because they love their sin (v. 23); they create idols and become what they worship (v. 23); God will allow them to do what they want (v. 24); they will turn to sexual immorality/impurity (v.24, between men and women); they will exchange the truth of God for a lie (v. 25); they will turn to shameful immorality/homosexuality/perversion (v. 26-27, men with men and women with women); they will subject themselves to a depraved mind (v. 28, meaning they cannot make right judgments).

Romans 2:1-11 – Paul takes a step up and begins to talk about the moral man. This man seems to live a pretty good life but he thinks he doesn’t need God. This man believes that because his life is good that God is accepting the way he lives. But Paul refutes that by saying that he is no better than the immoral man because his conscience condemns him. He may not do everything on the outside that the immoral man does but he is guilty on the inside (v.3). His seemingly good life is not God’s acceptance but it is God’s kindness, tolerance and patience that should lead him to repentance (v. 4). Therefore, the moral man has no excuse.

Romans 2:12-3:20 – Paul then goes another step up and talks about the super-righteous religious man. The religious man might say that he is not guilty because he follows the law, but the purpose of the law is to show man his sin. The religious man believes that he is saved by his works such and following all rules and regulations. Paul states that even circumcision is of no value unless there’s a circumcision of the heart. Circumcision was to be a picture outwardly of the transformation that took place inwardly (2:25-29). The key here is 3:20, “For no one can ever be made right with God by doing what the law commands. The law simply shows us how sinful we are.” The religious man is condemned because the law cannot save him. It simply shows him that he is just as guilty as the moral and immoral man. Therefore, the religious man has no excuse.

Right now would be the time where we would echo Paul’s words in Romans 7:24,” What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?” What hope is there if all men are guilty? In Romans 3:21, Paul will begin to unfold God’s beautiful plan of salvation, justification, grace and righteousness. Yes, we are all guilty but while we are by still sinners, Christ died for us! (Romans 5:8) Buckle up, because in the weeks to come, God is going to blow us away by His love! Amen.

 

Grace Nuggets: Romans 1:16-17

Romans 1:16-17 – For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.  For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”

Why is Paul not ashamed of the Gospel? He gives us three reasons:

  1. The Gospel is God’s power of bringing salvation to everyone who believes.
    • It is God’s power that brings us into salvation – not our works or deeds because they are powerless to make us righteous. And this is good news for us because it takes the pressure off of us to perform to be right with God. All we have to do is just believe in His finished work! The Gospel is good news because it shows us that God loved us so much that He sent His one and only Son to die for our sins – knowing we are imperfect, messy, sinful people. We were separated from God when Adam sinned in the Garden but our Greater Adam, Jesus, came to reconcile us back to God, therefore, making a way for us to be right with Him once again!
  2. The Gospel is the righteousness of God revealed.
    • Paul gives us the theme of Romans: The Gospel is God’s righteousness being revealed to mankind. Throughout the book, Paul will show the Romans (and us) how God can declare sinners right with Him. First, Paul must show his readers how unrighteous man is (Rom 1:18-3:20). Paul’s indictment against all men is enough to make you wonder why God would want to give us His righteousness! But as Warren Wiersbe puts it, “we can never know the righteousness of God until we understand the unrighteousness of man.” When God gives a sinner His righteousness He treats the sinner as if he had not been a sinner at all (Barclay).The contrast between our unrighteousness and God offering His righteousness to us, shows how much He truly loves us! Romans 5:8 says that “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” What an amazing God!
  3. The Gospel is the righteousness of God that comes through faith.
    • Paul is not ashamed of the Gospel because it is God’s power to save us and reveals how we are made right with God. How is God’s righteousness revealed? By faith. Paul says that the righteousness of God is revealed by faith from first to last, or faith to faith, or from faith beginning to end. It’s not from faith to works or faith to law. This means that our salvation is accomplished only by putting our faith and trust in Jesus Christ. We cannot work for it nor earn it. It is given to us as a free gift of grace and can only be received by believing in faith. This fulfills Habakkuk 2:4 which says that the just or the righteous will live by faith. Ephesians 2:8-9 confirms this when it says, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” The righteousness of God is given to us by grace through faith, not our works or efforts. Faith is not only by which we are saved but is the basis of the Christian life. We are saved by faith and we live by faith.

You are unrighteous. God is righteous. God cannot accept your sin and you can never be righteous with God through your efforts and works. You are hopeless. But God reveals hope to you: Jesus. You believe in Jesus by faith. God declares you righteous. You are saved by faith and you live by faith. This is why we should echo Paul’s declaration: I am not ashamed of the Gospel! Amen.

 

Grace Nuggets: Romans 1:7

Romans 1:7 – To all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Paul begins His letter to the Romans and in many other letters beginning with grace and peace. Why does grace always precede peace? Because we cannot know the peace of God until we know the grace of God. God’s grace is a free gift given to us that is neither deserved nor earned. It is a gift that is given through Jesus Christ and comes to us by believing and trusting in His finished work on the Cross. We have to understand grace before we can understand God’s peace. Courson explains that, “if you understand grace – that God blesses and gives unconditionally – you’ll stop trying to earn His blessings, and you’ll have peace.”

There are 2 components of peace:  Peace with God is God extending His grace to us and saving our souls when we realize our sinful nature and that we need a Savior. But peace with God is different from the peace of God. The peace of God comes by realizing that we don’t have to maintain our relationship with God but that we can rest in the work that is already completed for us. When we truly grasp that we don’t have to “do” all these things for God to be happy with us and bless us, we can experience the peace of God that transcends all understanding. All we have to do is believe and respond and leave the work to Him. Understand, grasp, and take a hold of God’s beautiful grace and let His peace guard and rule your hearts! Amen.

John 14:27 – I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.

Philippians 4:6-7 – Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.  Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.