Romans Study Lesson 5 – Romans 3:21-26

The Heart of the Gospel:
Justification by Faith

Romans 1:18-4:25  

Romans 3:21-4:25 – Justification by Faith

Excursion: Justification

  1. Justification in the Old Testament
    1. “‘Justification’ thus takes the form of a legal recognition of an already existing righteousness.” – Westerholm
      1. “He that justifieth the wicked, and he that condemneth the just, Even they both are abomination to the Lord.” – Prov. 17:15
      2. Matt. 11:19
      3. Luke 16:15 is the hint that this isn’t as simple as it appeared in the Old Testament.
    2. Begins the heart of the argument about justification in the New Testament.
  2. The meaning of justification in the New Testament
    1. NT usage by Paul and others:
      1. Legal
        1. How it differed from the Jewish:
          1. The verdict must be just.
          2. The verdict was only at the Judgment. 
          3. The verdict was limited to the past.
        2. Luke 18:14 is the clearest example from Jesus
      2. Definition: A declaration by God as Judge that we are righteous; not only that our sins are forgiven, but that we are righteous in Christ.
  1. How is God righteous if He justifies sinners? (3:21-26)
    1. Not divorced from the OT.
    2. v. 21 – a sea change in the book
      1. “There are no more wonderful words in the whole of Scripture than just these two words ‘But now.’ ” v. 21 – Martyn Lloyd-Jones
      2. Compare with 1:17 and 1:18
      3. Continuity and discontinuity with the OT 
    3. God reveals His righteousness apart from the law (1:18-3:20) through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe (3:21ff)
      1. He is again impartial (“upon all them that believe”)
      2. He acts out of grace, unmerited favor.
        1. Pascal says, “Grace is indeed needed to turn a man into a saint; and he who doubts it does not know what a saint or a man is.”
      3. He redeems us.
        1. In the sense of deliverance, i.e. Moses and the exodus from Egypt.
        2. In the sense of a ransom paid for our sins. 

Excursion: Propitiation

  1. Usage in the Bible as the mercyseat
    1. Majority of the OT uses in the Septuagint refer to the mercy seat
        • 21 out of 27 uses in the LXX
    1. Certainly one of the two uses in the NT
        • Heb. 9:5
  1. Continuation of the OT types and shadows into the New Testament
    1. Jesus as the new temple (John 2)
    2. Rock to be followed in the wilderness (I Cor. 10:4)
    3. Simultaneously high priest and sacrifice (Hebrews)
  2. Expiation or propitiation
    1. Expiation: the wiping away of sins
    2. Propitiation: the removing of God’s wrath so that He is pleased with someone
    3. This verse…both.
    1. God can justify the sinner and still be just because of Jesus.
  1. By what means can a person be justified? (3:27-4:25)
    1. By faith…
    2. We will see faith contrasted with:
      1. Works of the law
      2. Works
      3. Circumcision
      4. The law
      5. Sight
    3. Faith allows salvation to be:
      1. By grace alone
      2. Available to all