The Righteousness is provided through Faith in Christ.
Righteousness is Provided: 3:21-22. Having painted the dark and gloomy picture of man’s lost spiritual conditions; Paul begins this section with the phrase “But now”. This favorite expression of apostle makes a transition in the study of Romans. There are two important words we notice in this section. They are righteousness and justification. Bible scholars suggest that righteousness and justify are identical words in Greek language. Justification is a legal declaration. To justify means to declare and treat someone as righteous. It is more than being pardoned and forgiven. This righteousness is a gift from God (Rom 1:17). In fact Christ is our righteousness who met every demand of the law for us on our behalf (1 Cor 1:30). This righteousness is apart from the law. It cannot be attained by keeping the law but is manifested at the cross (2 Cor 5:21). This is the righteousness witnessed by the law and the prophets. Every time a sacrifice was offered in the Old Testament, it was testifying of the righteousness of God. The prophets also witnessed this truth (Isaiah 53:3).
Righteousness is received through faith in Christ: 3:23-31. Though righteousness is provided unto all men, it is received only by those who believe in Jesus Christ. For all have sinned and in need of righteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make God a liar and His Word is not in us (1 John 1:10). We all have come short of the glory of God. Glory simply means majesty and perfection of God. Today the glory of God is the person of Jesus Christ and His presence in our midst (John 1:14). We do not measure up to the sinless nature of Christ. Some day all believers will receive this glory by His power and we are going to be like Him (1 John 3:1, 2). The righteousness of God is demonstrated through the redemption in Christ Jesus (Rom 3:24-26). Justification is by grace and provided through the redemption. Redemption means to buy back by a payment and set free. The price of our redemption was the blood of Jesus Christ (1 Pet 1:18, 19).
We do not merit justification but enjoy it. We are justified because God has sent His Son to become our propitiation. To propitiate means to appease an offended person. Jesus endured the wrath of God in our place when He died on the cross. He satisfied the righteous demands of God as our substitute. It is also translated “Mercy seat”. Mercy seat was the golden lid that covered the Ark of the Covenant which contained the tablets of the law (Ex 25:16-22). It is the place where God met Israel. It was the place where by blood the sins of Israel were atoned, the penalty paid and the wrath of God was appeased. Jesus Christ is our mercy seat. By His death our sins were atoned, our penalty was paid and the wrath of God was appeased. Christ became our mercy seat to atone for our sins. Prior to Calvary sins were not permanently dealt with. They were only covered and not removed. Christ’s death was the atoning sacrifice for the past, present and future sins of the world. Therefore God is the "Just and the Justifier" of those who believe in Jesus Christ (Rom 3:26). On the cross our sin was punished, yet we are declared "not guilty". Man is justified by faith in Christ. God is not the God of Jews only but also of Gentiles. Is the law useless? God forbid. Faith in Christ is the proper response to the law. For what the law could not do, Christ alone has done and made it meaningful. Since Christ fulfilled the law, faith in the finished work of Christ alone can justify sinners. How wonderful is God's wisdom in rescuing the guilty sinner without compromising His justice and holiness. We cannot take any credit for our salvation. Hallelujah What a Savior!
Justification is by Faith: This is the faith chapter of the Bible. The word faith or believe occurs almost sixteen times in this chapter. The argument of this chapter is “without faith it is impossible to please God”. God justifies all who believe in Jesus Christ and declare them righteous apart from the works of the law (Rom 3:28). Justification means to “declare and treat someone as righteous”. Justification is more than forgiveness. Forgiveness means “send away”. The priest had to offer sacrifice to make an atonement to forgive sin (Lev 4:35). Without shedding of blood there is no remission of sin (Heb 9:22; 10:18). The salvation brought by the finished work of Christ on the cross eliminates all boasting. It is freely received by faith in Jesus.
Forgiveness is not at the Expense of God’s Righteousness: The righteousness of God requires that justice to be carried out and the penalty is paid. This was only possible through the propitiatory sacrifice of Christ. Atonement in the Old Testament was to cover sin (Lev 16:14). Propitiation expresses the idea of satisfaction. Christ is our propitiation or mercy seat. He covers our sins by satisfying the Father's holy decree (1 John 4:10). So God can forgive our sins while declaring us righteous (Rom 3:24-26). Forgiveness is the negative aspect of justification. It will remove guilt and penalty of sins from us because of the death of Christ (Rom 5:9; Eph 1:7). Our forgiveness is complete in Christ (Rom 8:1; Psalm 103:12; Isaiah 44:22; 38:17; Micah 7:19; Heb 8:12). It is free, full and final according to the riches of His grace. Justification does not mean we become sinless.. Sanctification does that. It makes believers to sin less. Only at the return of Christ we become like Christ. The positive aspect of justification is associated with the resurrection of Christ.(4:25). Also it is the proof that God accepted Christ’s sacrifice. By believing in Christ we become righteous by imputation. (Rom 10:10; 2 Cor 5:21)..
Abraham Justified by Faith: 4:1-12. Abraham is the father of Jews. They believed that justification and salvation come by the deeds of the law. Paul asks, “Was Abraham saved by works or by faith?” Paul says “For what does the scripture say?” Whenever we are asked for a spiritual answer we should ask ourselves, “What does the Scriptures say about it”? Abraham believed God and it was counted to him as righteousness (Gen 15:6). The word counted or imputed means “to put to one’s account”. There are two ways we might be declared righteous. By imputation or by earning. If we earn it by work, salvation would not be a gift. The justification by faith rests on the principle that God imputes righteousness to the ungodly when a sinner puts his faith in Christ. Abraham was justified apart from works. Abraham serves as "the father of all who believe (Rom 4:11). Just as Abraham believers are declared righteous by faith in Christ apart from our work and religious ritual. Paul also introduces the testimony of King David to support this argument. Here Paul introduces the testimony of two to strengthens his argument (Deut 19:15). David describes the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes the righteousness without works (Psalm 32:1, 2). Abraham lived before the law was given and David lived under the law. Both of them were justified by faith.. Now believer’s sins are not reckoned against them because they have been reckoned against Christ on their behalf (1 Pet 2:24, 2 Cor 5:21). Abraham was justified by faith before he was circumcised (Gen 15:6). Abraham was circumcised 14 years after he was declared righteous (Gen 17:25, 26). It was a sign of the covenant between God and His chosen people (Gen 17:9-14). Circumcision was the visible sign to Abraham’s descendants that he was made righteous by faith. Abraham is the father of all them that believes (Rom 4:12). So justification is by faith alone apart from works and human ordinances.
Abraham Received his Inheritance by Faith: 4:13-16. Abraham inherited the promise by faith apart from works (Gen 12:3).. If God would offer this inheritance through the law, then this promise would fail because no one ever kept the law completely. In Galatians 3:16, we see that this promise was made to Abraham and his seed. This promise will be fulfilled when the seed of Abraham, Jesus Christ, sits on the throne of David during the Millennium (Rev 19:16). Only Jesus has ever been able to keep the law entirely. Failure to keep the law brings penalty. Where there is no law, there is no penalty. The law simply declares what is right and requires conformity to it. But the law does not give either power to obey it or atonement when it is not obeyed. So God’s promise must be received on the principle of grace through faith. It can’t fail because it depends upon God who gave the promise. Those who possess the faith of Abraham are the spiritual seed of Abraham. God’s promise is given as a free gift. It can’t fail because God cannot fail. Abraham is the father of all who believe in the promises of God whether we are Jews or Gentiles.
Abraham is the Father of many Nations by Faith: 4:17-25. In Genesis 17 God said to Abraham “I have made you a father of many nations”. At that time Abraham was childless (Gen 17:5). Abraham believed God who brings the dead back into life (Rom 4:17). Abraham did not have a son when God made this promise and he was 100 years old. God does the very thing for us today who believes in His promises. “He calls things that are not as though they were”. When Abraham considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb, he believed against hope that God has made him the father of many nations. Out of faith comes hope. Abraham believed in spite of his adverse circumstances. No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God (Rom 4:20). How can we reconcile this with his laughter in Genesis 17:17? Scholars suggest that it was a laughter of joy and wonder. Abraham was strong in the faith and brought glory to God. His faith was not a wistful hope, but absolutely convinced that God is able to do what He has promised (4:21). By faith Abraham gained all his blessings and God declared him righteous. Faith , promise, hope and grace mention in this chapter. Faith is the humble trust for approaching God. Promise is God's invitation to have faith in Christ that He will save you (Mat 11:28). Grace is God's unmerited gift of forgiveness in Christ Jesus. Abraham’s faith in a way was in the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus said to the unbelieving Jews “Abraham rejoiced to see my day; and he saw it and was glad” (John 8:56). The joy of Abraham refers to the birth of Isaac. He saw in Isaac the hope of mankind and the promise of Messiah. Abraham saw the promise afar off (Heb 11:13). His faith foreshadows the faith we must have in the resurrection of Jesus Christ (Heb 11:19). Christ died on account of our sins and was raised from the dead for our justification. Salvation is always through faith in the promise of God. Without faith it is impossible to please God (Heb 11:6).