We are doing a sermon series in Romans, now I will just do a quick update the first part was Rom 1:18-23 and 2:1-6 called we are all sinners.
Romans is a letter written by the Apostil Paul to the new believers in Rome who it is believed were mostly Jewish, and verse 18 starts by talking about the wrath of God.
DO WE KNOW WHAT GOD’S WRATH IS IT MENTIONED MANY TIMES IN THE BIBLE BUT DO WE KNOW WHAT IT IS.
Now you may remember in Genesis 3, we are told about the first human sin, there is no mention of the wrath of God. But God promises judgment in chapter 2 if they eat the forbidden fruit (Genesis 2:16–17). The judgment begins to be carried out in chapter 3 and it is carried out further. This is a narrative telling of the wrath of God. And there are many passages like that in the bible.
And it is important to get this that the judgment of God the wrath of God that falls on humans is not a blanket thing for all it is the personal consequences of bad behaviour of sin. The Bible tells us that these bad things are a personal offense against the person of God, the God who made us, who loves us and his reaction against is to bring judgment, just the same as any good parent would do to a child that in naughty, and that is the function of his wrath.
21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him,
but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.
And Paul says in verse 20 the people are without excuse and goes on to say in 21-23 how the people in fact turned there back on God, Paul is telling of how it was in times past and also in his day and it was the same today.
In verse 24-25 Paul tells how God gave humanity free will and what humans us have done with that freedom. Paul goes on to say that God gave mankind total freedom and let us do what we wanted but what about us now you may be able to say that you have not done all these things or you may be able to say I have only done one or two but we have all done some if not many.
Let’s remind ourselves of what verse 28 says and search our heart to find if we in truth have done some of these.
28 Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice.
They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy.
32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.
As I said you and I may not do all those things, but we have and may still do some.
And Paul went on to say that we cannot judge others as we are just as bad because any one sin is as bad as any other sin, Paul is telling us that God see’s all,
he is saying we cannot look down our noise at others we are all sinners each and every one of us, and Paul reminds us that we cannot escape God’s Judgment, and he asked us a question in chapter 2 verse 4 do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?
Paul is saying God gives us total freedom to give us a chance to repent, to turn away from our sins turn away from envy, conflict, dishonesty and malevolence and meanness.
Turn away from gossiping, from slandering others, to turn from being disrespectful to others, from being conceited and boastful, to turn away from any sexual immorality to turn away from doing evil. Pauls is saying repent and accept Gods forgiveness and his love because the message of Jesus is God loves you and me He loves as all but he cannot stand sin.
And today our reading was very short from Romans 3:21-31 and called Righteousness by Faith.
Now to say there is a lot in that little reading is an understanding, but lets look at it please go to Romans 3 verse 21 in your bibles and lets read to verse 23
21 But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22 This righteousness is given through faith in (Or through the faithfulness of) Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
Ok let’s take this a bit at a time verse 21 But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify.
It starts with “But”, “but.” What?
Well but we are human, we are all sinners as pointed out by Paul, Paul tells it as it was and as it is
But how can we be right with God? This is the ultimate question in life, and Paul gives us the answer.
Paul says, “But now . . .” but now Pauls is saying something has changed something is different
Now that the old covenant has ended, and the ceremonial law has been fulfilled and the gospel is going out into Rome and the world. Now Gentiles (non Jewish people) are embracing Jesus Christ as their God and Saviour in their hundreds of thousands.
Now Paul is saying we are facing a very different situation from the previous 2000 years. When God had been dealing primarily with Abraham and his line,
the children of Israel. Now things will never be the same. Now refers to the new age that has come, the New Covenant and the new way that has arrived.
A RIGHTEOUSNESS FROM GOD HAS BEEN MADE KNOW
It has been made known. Why does it need to be made known? Righteousness has now been made known because everywhere there has been unrighteousness.
In the first three chapters of Romans we have the divine diagnosis of the state of mankind and of every person. There is not one person righteous, no not one,
God loves righteousness. The Father is righteous; the Son is righteous; the Holy Spirit is righteous.
Some of us do good works, some do wonderful works, some of us do them quietly some of us tell the world about our works but which ever those works alone will never make us righteous in Gods sight.
Because we need a glorious righteousness, from outside ourselves, a righteousness as holy as God himself. Our own is inadequate, even in our own eyes, even Christians helped by the power of the Holy Spirit and lead by the example and love of Jesus, we know there are threadbare patches in our robes of righteousness, let alone those who are surviving by their wits and will.
TO WHICH THE LAW AND THE PROPHETS TESTIFY.
Now Paul gives us a clue as to where we might find this righteousness from God. He tells us that the place to begin our search for it is not in our own heart and life. It is in the Bible.
So it’s nothing radically new except for this, that the “now”, the set time, has finally appeared. The world has been prepared for this righteousness – long before we began to see our need of it. Moses was speaking of it in the first five books of the Law, and then that it had been further amplified by the writings of the Prophets.
THIS RIGHTEOUSNESS IS GIVEN THROUGH FAITH IN (OR THROUGH THE FAITHFULNESS OF) JESUS CHRIST TO ALL WHO BELIEVE.
Then Paul gives us the final decisive statement about this righteousness that IT is from God and that it is all about Jesus. It is clear. Paul says that this divine righteousness it comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. In other words, it is the righteousness of the God-man Jesus Christ.
This is the real day-to-day righteous life of a human being;
It was the hard fought 30 odd years of Jesus life on earth, it was not easy for Jesus to obtain it
It was the kind of righteousness you can only obtain by sacrifice the righteousness of the man Christ Jesus is the build-up of thoughts and feelings and words and deeds over 33 years by this one young brave, good man. This righteousness is not a quality of God that Jesus brought into the world with him from heaven,
a righteousness that had been eternally displayed up there, in his love to his Father and to the Holy Spirit, or in his graciousness towards the angels. Not that! Such righteousness was a reality, but we are not first of all talking about that, we are considering real human righteousness. Jesus suffered a world of human cruelty, and human weakness, of hunger and thirst.
There was scourging in this world where Jesus was required to live a righteous life; there was torture, and mockery, and ridicule. They stoned women to death, and they crucified men.
There were nails and hammers and gambling; demon possessed men were bound with chains and left to survive for themselves in a graveyard, and into one such cemetery Jesus went to fulfil all righteousness. Into that kind of world, in the concreteness of a human body, and in his flesh and blood reality, God the Son came, and he came to love God totally and to love man as himself.
God did not build into the body of Jesus an painkilling button, or an immunity to pain. He was not sheltered from overwhelming grief.
Pain came seeking him once his ministry began and it never left him. It was very taxing for him to fulfil all righteousness. There were times he needed to get away from it all if he were to keep sane. It cost him everything; he could hold back nothing. At every point Jesus was tempted not to live a righteous life, and yet he did live it day after day.
THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE BETWEEN JEW AND GENTILE, 23 FOR ALL HAVE SINNED AND FALL SHORT OF THE GLORY OF GOD,
Its quire clear we are all the same wither we are Jewish, English, French, African, American, we are all the same in God’s eyes and we should all be the same in our own eyes, for we are all the same we all sin and we all let God down.
Verse 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
We can all get this free gift from God through Jesus, we are all acceptable to God through the blood of Jesus, through what Jesus done for each one of us,
through His love for us. Grace is a free gift of God we must have open hands and hearts.
Verse 25 God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, [i] 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.
God came and paid the price was an atonement was an amends was the price by dying for each of us, to be received by faith,
to be accepted by faith, Saint Augustine of Hippo said “Faith is to believe what you do not yet see; the reward for this faith is to see what you believe.”
Jesus did this to show us His righteousness, his virtue, his morality, his justices, His decencies, his uprightness. Because he and he being, Father son and Holy Spirit in His love He had left the sins committed beforehand wait for this time.
Verse 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. God wants to give all mankind a chance a chance to turn to His love and to turn to Jesus and follow His way.
Verse 27 Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. Because of what law? The law that requires works? No, because of the law that requires faith. The Jews would boast that they there the one nation chosen by God, but Paul is saying that is not the case now,
it has now been put aside and why because in Jesus the law had been fulfilled or is it the law that requires works no all you need is faith, when I gave my life to Jesus just over eleven years ago I did not really know but I took that step of faith I said ok if your real then you can change my life.
If your not it won’t make any difference and just as Saint Augustine said I see and saw the reward of that faith so that now I believe what I see in my life and the lives of the true believers that I know.
Verses 28 to 31 For we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law. 29 Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles too? Yes, of Gentiles too, 30 since there is only one God, who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith. 31 Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law.
We who believe know that Jesus is real that he lives in us and others and we see it not because of works or the old testament law but because of God the Father,
God the Son and God the Holy Spirit and His love for us we have excepted that love, not because we are better people far from it, not because we are Jewish, most of us are not at all, as Paul points out God is the God of all people.
Because there is only one God and because we believe and follow Jesus we keep to the law that God gave us, because that is pleasing to God and helps stop us sinning. If we follow Jesus and we turn away from doing what is wrong, we are made righteous by our faith in Jesus Christ. Amen