Sunday, September 8, 2013

Romans 3:21-31 - Justified by Grace Through Faith

Based on Paul's letter to the Romans up to this point, mankind's situation is nothing short of dire. Can you imagine the Roman believers reading this and what they must have thought? Yet, Paul was not one to pull punches. He told the world what it needed to hear, not necessarily what it wanted to hear. But was there any hope?

Romans 3:21-31 (KJV)
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.
27 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.
28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.
29 Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also:
30 Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith.
31 Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.

"But now!" With this small phrase, Paul changed his direction (verse 21). Now the righteousness of God is manifested outside of the Torah and it is attested to by the Torah and the prophets. Paul was acknowledging that the Torah was the manifestation of the righteousness of God. But with the birth of Yeshua, the righteousness of God was visibly embodied in Yeshua. This should not have been a surprise to anyone since God's plan of redemption was contained in the Torah and in the prophets (meaning the Old Testament).

The righteousness of God which comes by faith in Yeshua is available to all, but to those who trust in Yeshua by faith receive the righteousness of God (verse 22). It didn't matter if one was a Jew or a Gentile, because all have sinned and have come short of God's glory (verse 23).

Justification (the legal declaration of blamelessness or absence of guilt) is made available by God's grace through redemption in Yeshua (verse 24). Justification is free for us. We don't have to pay the penalty for our sin. Yeshua is the one who redeems us. Redemption could be described as paying a penalty or paying a ransom for someone's deliverance.

It was God who set Yeshua as the instrument of making peace between God and man (verse 25). The peace comes through faith or trust in Yeshua's shed blood. God declared that this satisfied the debt that sinners owed. God legally refrained from exacting the debt from us and the sins committed previously were pardoned.

Through all and at this time, God's righteousness is demonstrated (verse 26). He, in His actions, remains righteous, but also makes righteous those who believe in Yeshua.

So can anyone boast (verse 27)? No! By what Torah can the Jews boast against the Gentiles? Can they boast about a Torah of works whereby they can be saved? No, but they can boast of the Torah of faith.

Therefore, Paul concluded, a man is justified by faith, outside of the deeds of Torah (verse 28).

In verse 29 Paul stated that God is not only the God of the Jews, but He is also the God of the Gentiles.

Since there is ONE GOD who justifies both Jews and Gentiles by faith (verse 30), is the Torah made void (ineffective or without legal force) (verse 31)? Again, Paul responded with his shocked phrase, "God forbid!" Rather the Torah is established.

Paul really was saying that the Torah is not a rule book that the Jews were to follow mechanically, that that was enough to save them. Rather, the Torah is a book of faith that outlines how God wanted His people to live with Him in holiness and how to go about being holy. Paul wasn't some new prophet or teacher who came to teach a new way, but someone who came to establish (or to give the right understanding of) the Torah. Faith has always been God's way, but too often man perverts what God says. In true understanding we need to see how essential the Torah requirements are to our lives, not only in Old Testament days, but in our present, as well.

(Paul addressed how faith and Torah work together in chapters 7 and 9-11.)

Next, Paul continued on his examination of salvation by faith! Stay tuned for my next post!




    Have you ever noticed the parallels between Naaman's cure of his leprosy and faith only believers doctrine of forgiveness of sin?

    Naaman wanted his leprosy washed away, but he did not want to follow the plan of God's man, the prophet Elisa.

    Faith only believers want to have sins washed away, but they do not want to follow the plan of the man Jesus selected to implement that plan, the apostle Peter.

    2 Kings 5:10-11 Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, "Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh will be restored to you and you will be clean. 11 But Naaman was furious and went away and said, "Behold, I thought, 'He will surely come to me and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, and wave his hand over the place and cure the leper'

    Naaman thought calling on the name of the Lord and waving of Elisha's hand would cure his leprosy. Naaman did not want to get wet. Naaman did not want to baptize himself seven times. Naaman thought "faith only" would cure his leprosy.

    Acts 2:37-38....what shall we do?" 38 Peter said to them, "Repent and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

    Faith only believers do not want to get wet. They do not want to be baptized for the forgiveness of sins. They want to call on the name of the Lord and say the "Sinner's Prayer."

    Naaman's servant convinced him to follow Elisha's plan.

    2 Kings 5:14 So he went down and dipped himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the word of the man of God; and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child and he was clean.

    Naaman's leprosy was not removed by faith only. Naaman's leprosy was removed and his flesh was restored only after he baptized himself seven times in the Jordan. Naaman did not sprinkle himself seven times in the Jordan . Naaman did not pour himself seven times in the Jordan. Naaman dipped (baptized) himself in the Jordan seven times. Naaman had faith in the God of the prophet Elisha, however, obedience was required in order to have his leprosy cured.

    UNDER THE NEW COVENANT faith is essential in order to have sins forgiven, however, obedience in water baptism is also required in order to have sins forgiven.


    Naaman did not say dipping in water had absolutely nothing to do with his being cleansed of leprosy.

    Naaman did not proclaim that his leprosy was cleansed the minute he believed God had the power to cure his leprosy.

    Naaman did not assert that dipping in the Jordan was an outward sign of his cure that had taken place before he entered the water.

    Naaman did not say he baptized himself because his leprosy had already been cured.

    Naaman did tell others that he baptized himself because Elisha command it, and it was just an act of obedience.

    Naaman did not proclaim that his leprosy was cured by faith only.

    Naaman did not say dipping in the Jordan was "a work of righteousness" and works cannot wash away leprosy.

    Naaman failed to assert that baptizing himself was a testimony of his faith, but was not essential to having his leprosy cured.

    QUESTION: Can "faith only" believers reject what God's man, the apostle Peter, said about repentance and water baptism and
    have their sins forgiven? (Acts 2:38, 1 Peter 3:21)



    1. Steve, Thank you for your very detailed comment. I appreciate it!

      However, I have to be honest to say that I am a "faith only" believer as you put it, although I do reject the idea that faith is the only thing required of believers. I believe that after salvation we are required to follow the Torah to the best of our abilities. I, therefore, see baptism as a requirement for the new believer.

      Your use of Naaman as a picture of a new believer seems to be a comparing of apples to oranges, since Naaman's cleansing was not really an example of salvation.

      I am familiar with the Scripture verses that you have used to prove your point and there are admittedly many who agree with you. What I see, though, is that baptism is a requirement, but not necessarily a requirement that precedes salvation.

      Thank you for the invite to see your blog! I plan on visiting!