“God’s Righteousness Revealed” (Pt. 2)
January 29, 2017
Sometimes things are just not as they seem. Three years ago a 100-year-old woman only known by her first name, Eisha, died in Jeddah, Saudia Arabia, leaving behind an estate worth approximately $800,000. Her wealth included gold coins, jewels, and a real estate portfolio that included four buildings. That may not sound particularly remarkable except that no one — including her neighbors and friends — expected her to leave behind such wealth because she not only was an ordinary woman, but she was a beggar. According to her childhood friend, “much of Eisha’s wealth was amassed when she was begging with her mother and sister, both of whom [had already] died. ‘They used to get a lot of sympathy and assistance from philanthropists throughout the year, especially during Eid [Islamic festivals],’” he explained. This friend says that “he tried to convince his friend to stop begging more than once. ‘I asked her to give up this profession as she possessed a huge amount of wealth, but she always refused and said she was preparing for hard times.’”
So, things are not always as they seem; don’t judge a book by its cover or a beggar by her clothes, apparently. Sometimes there is wealth and treasure where there only appears to destitution. And that is true as we read the Scriptures as well. Sometimes truths are so familiar to us that they appear be lusterless; and other truths sound so intellectual and “heady” that we think they are of no real value to us. And it might be tempting to put the passage in front of us this morning into one of those categories.
Don’t. This passage is not only significant to the book of Romans, but it is as sweet as the finest chocolate and as delightful as the happiest vacation. Many commentators (beginning with Martin Luther) have called 3:21-26 “the center and heart” of the entire book of Romans. And one of my favorite commentators goes even further, saying this “is possibly the most important single paragraph ever written.” [Morris, 173.]
So what does Paul say in these verses? Over the next weeks we will unpack the theme of these verses:
When man had no means to save himself, God justly provided a declaration of righteousness through Christ.
Here, then, are seven statements about the nature of justification:
- What Justification Is (v. 21)
- How Justification is Appropriated (v. 22a)
- Who Needs Justification? (v. 22b)
- Why Justification is Necessary (vv. 22b-23)
- Who Accomplished Justification? (v. 24)
- When Justification was Accomplished (v. 25a)
- How Justification Really is Just (vv. 25b-26)
Download the rest of this sermon from Romans 3:21-23.
The audio will be posted on the GBC website later today.