The Book of Romans – Faith and Law Part 2

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in The Book of Romans

“After all, is God the God of the Jews only? Isn’t he also the God of the Gentiles? Of, course he is. There is only one God, and he makes people right with himself only by faith, whether they are Jews or Gentiles. Well then, if we emphasize faith, does this mean that we can forget about the law? Of course not! In fact, only when we have faith do, we truly fulfill the law.” Romans 3:29-31

The implication of justification by faith is that we are still obligated to obey the moral commands of God. Justification by faith is not a free pass so that you can live however you want. It does not mean you have liberty to do anything and everything that comes into your mind. We are still under the moral imperatives of the Ten Commandments. Antinomians means against the law. The antinomians are one who holds that under the gospel dispensation of grace the moral law is of no use or obligation because faith alone is necessary. Antinomianism, which means “against the law,” was a centuries-old heresy whose basic tenet held that Christians were not bound by traditional moral law, particularly that of the Old Testament. Instead, man could be guided by an inner light that would reveal the proper forms of conduct. Antinomianism is taught today and it is the same old lie that Satan told Eve in the Garden. Paul is telling us here that the law is still in effect. We are not antinomians, meaning against the law. We are not hyper-grace people, who can live however we want to live. The law of God is still binding upon our lives and we are accountable to Him to obey the commandments. In Romans 7:12, Paul says, “the Law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good.” In verse 14, he says, “For we know that the Law is spiritual.” These are the three implications that Paul establishes to follow his teaching on justification by faith. The fact that we are justified by faith alone should produce humility within us. This doctrine leaves no room for boasting. It should remove all barriers and all distinctions, because we are all justified in the same way and brought into the same kingdom.

The Book of Romans – Faith and the Law

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in The Book of Romans

“After all, is God the God of the Jews only? Isn’t he also the God of the Gentiles? Of course he is. There is only one God, and he makes people right with himself only by faith, whether they are Jews or Gentiles. Well then, if we emphasize faith, does this mean that we can forget about the law? Of course not! In fact, only when we have faith do, we truly fulfill the law.” Romans 3:29-31

Immediately after Paul makes the amazing declaration that faith alone justifies us before God, he wraps up the third chapter emphatically by declaring that faith in no way makes the law ineffective or useless—not the answer we expected in light of what he just said. Paul is telling us that the law is still in effect. “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.” (Galatians 3:24) The purpose of the law was to lead us to Jesus Christ. To give us a standard that we could follow. Some of the law was fulfilled at the death of Jesus Christ, but the moral law of God that is in the Ten commandments is still in effect.  

The book of Romans is the fifth epistle that Paul wrote, but it is placed first among the epistles because it is of first importance. Romans is of the most primary importance because it is all about the gospel of Jesus Christ. In his other letters, Paul is correcting something that is wrong in a local church. But the majority of the book is an explanation of salvation. Romans is all about teaching us about the gospel of Jesus Christ. We need to understand the gospel of Jesus Christ before we have our faith in Him that leads to our salvation. Let’s look at the laws of God so we can see what we are talking about when we talk about the law. The ceremonial law was fulfilled in the death of Jesus Christ and has passed away. We are no longer bringing animal sacrifices to a priest to offer on our behalf on the Day of Atonement. That sacrificial system is over. The ceremonial law was fulfilled at the cross. The civil law was uniquely to govern Israel in the Promised Land. But the moral law of God is still in effect.

The Book of Romans – Faith in Jesus

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in The Book of Romans

“Can we boast, then, that we have done anything to be accepted by God? No, because our acquittal is not based on obeying the law. It is based on faith. So, we are made right with God through faith and not by obeying the law.” Romans 3:27-28

We are not made right with God by obeying the law, we are made right with God by our faith. It can be very confusing about what is faith. What is the saving faith that Paul talks about in Romans? Faith is defined as belief with strong conviction; firm belief in something for which there may be no tangible proof; complete trust, confidence, reliance, or devotion. Faith is the opposite of doubt. Faith is the assurance that the things revealed and promised in the Word are true, even though unseen, and gives the believer a conviction that what he expects in faith, will come to pass. Faith is complete trust or confidence in someone or something. The last definition says that faith is complete trust. This is the faith that we need to follow Jesus Christ. The scripture at the end of Habakkuk is what faith is all about. “Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the Lord! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation! The Sovereign Lord is my strength! He makes me as surefooted as a deer, able to tread upon the heights.” (Habakkuk 3:17-19) This scripture speaks volumes about how we need to trust Jesus Christ. We have faith in Jesus Christ no matter what is happening in our lives or in the world around us.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

The Book of Romans – Jesus Our Sacrifice

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in The Book of Romans

“For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past, for he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for He himself is fair and just, and he makes sinners right in his sight when they believe in Jesus.” Romans 3:25-26

God’s great plan of which we are invited to be a part of, is to bring God’s righteousness back to His creation. To bring creation back under His divine dominion, to cleanse it of evil, to redeem, reclaim, and renovate the universe so that it, again, reflects His glory. The plan of salvation is good news to each individual, but the greater news is the return of God’s righteousness to its rightful place in the world. As I look at our world and the chaos that is happening not just in our nation, but in the entire world, more than anything else, I want to see God’s righteousness returned to this world. I know that someday this will come true. “For the Scriptures say, “‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bend to me, and every tongue will declare allegiance to God.” (Romans 14:11) When this day comes, we will all praise Jesus for His sacrifice. Without the sacrifice of Jesus, we would never see this day.

Salvation is free, but it is not cheap. These words can show the cost of our salvation. Propitiation means the satisfying of God’s holy law, the meeting of its just demands, so that God can freely forgive those who come to Jesus. The blood tells us what price was paid. Jesus had to die on the cross in order to satisfy the law and justify sinners. Today we hear too much about cheap grace. This is the grace that tells us that we don’t have to change anything to have forgiveness of our sins. Jesus paid the price for our sins by dying on the cross. If we are to be a disciple of Jesus Christ, we must die also to the world and live for Jesus.

The Book of Romans – We are Free

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in The Book of Romans

“For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.” Romans 3:23-24

All men need to be saved. There is no difference between the Jews and the Gentiles. We are all the same when it comes to sin. God declared everyone guilty so that He might offer everyone His free gift of salvation. God has two kinds of attributes: absolute (what He is in Himself) and relative (how He relates to the world and men). One of His absolute attributes is love, “But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” (1 John 4:8) When God relates that love to you and me, it becomes grace and mercy, God in His mercy does not give us what we do deserve, and God in grace gives us what we do not deserve. The word freely in this scripture means without a cause. We are justified without a cause. There is no cause in us that would merit the salvation of God. It is all about grace. Paul does not say that there are degrees of wickedness, but we are all under the guilt of sin. We have all come short of the standard that God has given us in His law. Just how do we fall short of God’s glory? We fail to give God the glory due Him, in our words, thoughts and actions. We fail to qualify for, and thereby reject the glory and rewards that God gives faithful servants. We fail to properly reflect God’s glory by refusing to be conformed into His image. We fail to obtain the final glory God will give to His people at the end of history. Because of God’s love we can be free from sin. “Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave of sin. A slave is not a permanent member of the family, but a son is part of the family forever. So, if the Son sets you free, you are truly free.” (John 8:34-36)

The Book of Romans – The Solution

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in The Book of Romans

“But now God has shown us a way to be made right with him without keeping the requirements of the law, as was promised in the writings of Moses and the prophets long ago.  We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are.” Romans 3:21-22

Finally, Paul has arrived at the solution. God revealed His righteousness in many ways before the full revelation of the gospel; His law, His judgment against sin, His appeals through the prophets, His blessing on the obedient. But in the gospel, a new kind of righteousness has been revealed. This is the righteousness that God had planned from the beginning. Under the Old Testament law, righteousness came by people behaving but under the gospel, righteousness comes by believing. The law itself reveals the righteousness of God, because the law is holy, and just and good. The law bore witness to this gospel righteousness even though it could not provide it. The entire Old Testament is witness to the salvation by faith in Jesus Christ. The Old Testament sacrifices, the prophecies, the types, and the great gospel Scriptures all bore witness to God’s righteousness, but it could not provide it for sinful humanity. Only Jesus Christ could do that. “I do not treat the grace of God as meaningless. For if keeping the law could make us right with God, then there was no need for Christ to die.” (Galatians 2:20)

Faith is only as good as its object. All people trust something, if only themselves, but the Christian trusts Jesus Christ. Law righteousness is a reward for works. Gospel righteousness is a gift through faith and the grace of God. It is a personal, individual faith in Jesus Christ that saves and justifies the lost sinner. Even the demons from hell believe in God and tremble, yet this does not save them. “You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror.” (James 2:19) Salvation comes by repentance and a faith in Jesus. God gave this salvation to everyone.

The Book of Romans – Indictment

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in The Book of Romans

“Obviously, the law applies to those to whom it was given, for its purpose is to keep people from having excuses, and to show that the entire world is guilty before God. 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.” Romans 3:19-20

This is the indictment of the entire human race. We are sinners and we are condemned to the judgment of God. We are found guilty before the court of God. We have no excuse. The law or our good works will not keep us from facing God’s judgment. “I am the Lord, and I do not change. That is why you descendants of Jacob are not already destroyed. Ever since the days of your ancestors, you have scorned my decrees and failed to obey them. Now return to me, and I will return to you,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.” “But you ask, ‘How can we return when we have never gone away?” (Malachi 3:6-7) This is the problem that Paul is addressing. The people don’t think that they have left God. They have never realized that they are sinners without excuse. Paul condemns us all but the good news is that he does not leave us hanging with no solution for our problem with sin.

“The Lord of Heaven’s Armies says, “The day of judgment is coming, burning like a furnace. On that day the arrogant and the wicked will be burned up like straw. They will be consumed—roots, branches, and all. “But for you who fear my name, the Sun of Righteousness will rise with healing in his wings. And you will go free, leaping with joy like calves let out to pasture.” (Malachi 4:1-2) God has not left us without hope. He knew from the beginning that we were going to fall into sin so He had His plan all worked out from the start.

The Book of Romans – Sinner’s Feet

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in The Book of Romans

“They rush to commit murder. Destruction and misery always follow them.  They don’t know where to find peace.” “They have no fear of God at all.” Romans 3:15-18

Paul pictured the sinner’s feet. Just as his words are deceitful, so his ways are destructive. The Christians’ feet are shod with the gospel of peace. “For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared.” (Ephesians 6:19) But the lost sinner brings death, destruction, and misery wherever he goes. These tragedies may not occur immediately, but they will come. The lost sinner is on a broad road that leads to destruction. “You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.” (Matthew 7:13-14) The sinner needs to repent, trust Jesus, get on the narrow road that leads to life. The sinner has no fear of God. “Sin whispers to the wicked, deep within their hearts. They have no fear of God at all.” (Psalm 36:1) The sinner has pride in himself and to walk with God we must be humble. “Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.” (Proverbs 1:7) There is not one drop of fear. There is no dread of the final judgment. There is no cringing at the thought of hell. If they truly feared God, they would be running to Jesus.

The Book of Romans – Human Speech

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in The Book of Romans

“Their talk is foul, like the stench from an open grave. Their tongues are filled with lies.” “Snake venom drips from their lips.” “Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.” Romans 3:13-14

Paul is emphasizing human speech, the tongue, lips and mouth. Jesus talks about the connection between words and character. “You brood of snakes! How could evil men like you speak what is good and right? For whatever is in your heart determines what you say. A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. And I tell you this, you must give an account on judgment day for every idle word you speak. The words you say will either acquit you or condemn you.” (Matthew 12:34-37) The sinner is spiritually dead by nature. “Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God.  All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else.” (Ephesians 2:1-3) Therefore only death can come out of our mouth. The condemned mouth can become a converted mouth and acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord. Our words are so important. Our words destroy or build up. Be careful about your words. Let Jesus speak the words of life through you.

The Book of Romans – We are Fools

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in The Book of Romans

“No one is truly wise; no one is seeking God. All have turned away; all have become useless. No one does good, not a single one.” Romans 3:11-12

Paul is presenting his evidence with quotes from the Old Testament. The reason Paul is quoting the Old Testament is twofold. This is not Paul’s opinion or thoughts, but those belonging to God alone. This is not the voice of social conscience or cultural morals. This is God’s own prosecution against mankind. This is God’s indisputable case against the human race. The second reason that Paul is using the Old Testament is to show that this prosecution is nothing new. This case was embedded in the Old Testament all along. What Paul is writing is simply an echo, or repetition of the case that has already been submitted by the Law and the prophets.

“Only fools say in their hearts, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, and their actions are evil; not one of them does good! The Lord looks down from heaven on the entire human race; he looks to see if anyone is truly wise, if anyone seeks God. But no, all have turned away; all have become corrupt. No one does good, not a single one!” (Psalm 14:1-3) There is none of us that have done right, we are all human and we are totally lost. It is impossible for us to do good. Really, we are just not very smart. If we were smart, we would be seeking God and His righteousness. Paul is bringing witness, after witness, after witness to the stand. What we have in verses 10-18 is the signature passage in the entire Bible for total depravity of the fallen human condition. This is the supreme passage for the doctrine of total depravity.