I am glad to be returning to our initial series and commentary, the Roman Road Home. To those who have been following this post I apologize for taking such a detour onto other subjects and to those new followers of this post I would encourage you to view the previous articles in my archives.
All Scriptural quotes will be taken from the NASB unless otherwise noted. Transliterations and pronunciations will be taken from Thayer’s Greek lexicon.
Paul had stated to the Jew that his having the Law did not justify him, for he did not keep the Law of God’s righteousness. That no one could be justified by the Law, for the Law brought only the knowledge of sin. As Jesus said, “But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” It is not just the outward observance of the Law that mattered, but the inner observance of God’s commandments that matters. The circumcision of the heart not the flesh is what matters to God.
Now Paul will explain God’s plan of redemption for man. His plan that had been testified by the Law and the Prophets, His plan that had been laid from the foundations of the world, the righteousness of God as revealed through faith in Christ Jesus.
21 But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; 25 whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; 26 for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
V.21 “But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested… ”
A new dispensation has been established, a new covenant in Jesus’ name and an atonement with His blood. The old things have passed away. We are now under the dispensation of grace.
“Being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets”
This phrase is a direct reference to the Holy scriptures, the oracles of God that the Jewish people had received. The Old Testament law was fulfilled through Christ and the Prophets bore testimony of Him.
V.22 “even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction;”
Returning to the essential truth of the gospel message. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” Romans 1:16
It does not matter if you are rich or poor, educated or uneducated, what your nationality or ethnic heritage is, for there is no distinction with God. We are all His children through adoption in Christ. “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:28
V.23 “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”
One of the most quoted verses in the Bible and an essential truth, which is why no one can be justified by the works of the Law apart from faith in Christ.
V.24 “being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus”
“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9
It has been said that justice is receiving what you deserve and that mercy is not being punished for what you deserve, but grace is receiving an abundant reward that you do not deserve. May we all be found worthy through faith to one day hear our God say, “Well done good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your Lord.”
V.25 “whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed”
Christ was and is the propitiation for our sins. The Greek word translated here as ‘Propitiation’ and in the book of Hebrews as The Mercy Seat’ was a term used for the cover of the ark of the covenant in the Holy of Holies, which was sprinkled with the blood of the expiatory victim on the annual day of atonement. So Paul is saying that Christ’s blood being shed was the literal atoning sacrifice for all humanity just as the sacrifice on the annual day of atonement was for the Jewish people.
God’s plan to reconcile mankind to Himself is now fully revealed and it shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned, just as He remains patient and slow to wrath today. “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9
V.26 “for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”
I like the way it is paraphrased in the New Living Translation, “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 declares sinners to be right in his sight when they believe in Jesus.”
We are so blessed to be born in the dispensation of Grace and not under the Law, but neither dispensation is of any value apart from faith in God. Faith in the One God has and always will remain the key to salvation in any dispensation of God for there is no distinction with God. He chose to reveal His only begotten Son at the time He did. It was His plan from the foundation of the world to redeem fallen mankind and the Law and the Prophets bore witness to His plan. The question for each of us is will we put our faith in the Faithful One, we will allow His will to be done in our lives as it is done in heaven. When we do, when we submit our will to His perfect will for our lives then we will see the glory of God being manifested in our lives.
May The Lord bless you and keep you until we study His Word again. Amen.