Romans 3:21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;
22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:
23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;
26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.
Verse 21 helps us to understand that nobody has ever been saved by works. The righteousness of God must be the hope of man. The law spoken of here is the Mosaic law. Noah lived prior to the time of Moses. So did Enoch and Abel and many others. All those who have been declared righteous by God are those who have believed God. That is what God declared about Abraham, and it is true for all people. Adam was not chosen because he kept the law. He was created by God and he did not know what sin was until he chose to defy God. All of Adam’s descendants were born as lost sinners. All those who were declared righteous were declared so because they believed in God.
God pointed out in verse 21 of our text that the law and the prophets are witnesses to the fact that the righteousness of God pointed to faith in Jesus Christ as the means by which any person is saved. We see that in verse 22. When man sinned in Genesis 3, God promised to send the seed of the woman to bruise the head of the serpent. Job, who was a contemporary of Abraham, knew that his Redeemer was alive. He did not name Him, but he knew he would see Him and he would stand before Him one day. The fact that some Old Testament saints did not know the name of the seed of the woman, does not give license to the false teaching that people today do not need to know the name of Jesus Christ in order to be saved.
Jesus Christ has come. His name has been declared all over. Those who do not know that name, are in that state because of the rejection of that name. God provided the shepherds to broadcast the birth of Jesus Christ. The wise men came from the east and they went home proclaiming that name. The apostles travelled widely and they made that name known. The enemies of God named that name and rejected it, but it was proclaimed throughout the world. The Roman empire knew that name. Pilate judged Jesus Christ and signed his death warrant, (from the human perspective). King Herod knew that name and was happy to have Him in his presence, until Jesus refused to “perform” for him. King Agrippa knew that name, even though he rejected it.
There are people in our day who are ignorant of that name, but Romans 1 tells us that man is without excuse. God provides all that is needed for all people to know Him and to know His Son. It is important for those who are saved, to obey God’s command to go into all the world and testify to that name. That is what Bible evangelists do. That is what every born again Christian needs to do. We visited a woman just recently who is a vile person. She knew the name of Jesus and she knew the name Christ. She used both of them in a vile manner. She is without excuse, even though she is hardened and does not want to know who Jesus Christ truly is.
In verse 22 we are reminded that it does not matter if a person is a Jew or a Gentile. There is no difference when it comes to salvation. All must turn to God in repentance and all must believe in the Lord Jesus Christ alone for salvation.
The reason for this is found in verse 23. All have sinned and come short of the glory of God. All means all and that is all that all means. The Calvinist tries to put his foolish spin on this, but he is wrong. The Catholic declares that it must be faith plus works. They also declare that faith must be in more than Jesus Christ. It must include Mary and many other dead people who they call saints. The New Evangelicals somewhat broke away from the Catholics at one point, but are now going back to that corrupt religion. A man stated just recently that Armenia was the earliest known centre with the largest Christian population. That man proved his ignorance because the “Christianity” of that area was Catholic, not Biblical Christianity.
If we want to look at the origins of Christianity we look at the book of Acts and we see that Jerusalem was the origins of Christianity. Acts 2 tells us about 3,000souls were saved and added to the local church in Jerusalem. In Acts 4 we read of about 5,000 men who were saved. That equals about 8,000 in a very short time. From there true faith in God and the Lord Jesus Christ spread. The true saints were first called Christians in Antioch. We read that in Acts 11. A true Christian is one who believes in the Lord Jesus Christ alone for salvation. He is the author and finisher of our faith.
We need to guard against rewriting history. We need to guard against taking the lies of ungodly historians and use that as our story.
In verse 24 we are told that justification is through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. This justification is given freely by His grace. It is not through works. It is God Who worked in sending His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to suffer and die on the cross of Calvary for our sins. It is Jesus Christ Who worked in going to the cross and laying down His life for the sheep. He was buried and He rose again the third day providing salvation for all who would believe on Him.
In verse 25 we learn further that Jesus Christ is set forth by His Father to be the “propitiation” for our sins. This propitiation is through faith in His blood. We do not use the word “propitiation” in every day language. The Greek word translated as propitiation means “to expiate” or “to appease”. Jesus Christ fully satisfied the demands of His Father in providing salvation for sins through His blood. He did not just atone (cover) for the sins of man, His blood removes the curse of sin from the saved person. That is what God required and no amount of bulls or goats could do that.
You notice in verse 25 that the blood of Jesus Christ, when applied to the heart of the repentant sinner, removes the guilt of sins that are past through the forbearance of God. Old Testament saints needed to wait for Jesus Christ to come and lay down His life and to shed His blood before they could be forgiven. The souls of Old Testament saints were kept in “Abraham’s bosom” until Jesus Christ shed His blood and died. He went and released those souls from that place and brought them to heaven. New Testament saints are forgiven of all sin through the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. The souls of New Testament saints immediately enter heaven at death.
II Corinthians 5:8 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.
Forgiveness is not something that a person plans while they are committing sin. It is not a matter of ignoring the truth and sinning under the thought that God will forgive me so I can go out and sin first and then be forgiven. Such a person does not understand God’s forgiveness. He has adopted a distorted view of it. Paul will address this further in this book.
In verse 26 we see the continued answer to verse 21. God declared His righteousness through His provision of salvation by the blood of Jesus Christ. Those who are declared righteous are those who believe in Jesus as the justifier of their souls. This again refutes the idea of works salvation. There is no room for that heresy. If works can justify, then what is the purpose of faith in Jesus Christ? Obviously those who want to trust in their works, are rejecting the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ.
God is good and He has declared His way of salvation and He has declared that way is the only way of salvation. It is important for all to hear that truth and receive that truth. If you are reading this, but not saved by God’s grace through faith, now would be the right time for you to receive God’s forgiveness. You will never regret that. We are praying for souls to be saved today.