Paul is building to the fact that we all need the righteousness of God that comes by faith. Over the last few days we have seen
- Naughty Gentiles need it
- Moral people need it
- Jews need it
We are all under sin – v.9. Paul backs that up with some quotes from Scripture – between v.10-18 he uses one from Ecclesiastes, five from the Psalms and one from Isaiah to let us know we need grace:
Sin is ungodly – no one seeks God, v.11 and there is no fear of God, v.18. Sin ultimately tries to make us god to ourselves, to occupy the throne that God should be on.
Sin is pervasive – it affects every part of us. Paul mentions tongue, lips, mouth, feet and eyes. None of us is as bad as could be – I am no Hitler! But none of is as good as we could be. So I have no defence. I am guilty as charged – a dirty rotten stinking sinner. In v.19 we see every mouth is stopped. We are like a defendant in court who is allowed to speak in their own defence, but is speechless because of the weight of evidence against us.
We’ve hit rock bottom – the point Paul needed to get us to – no one will be declared righteous by themselves. We need Jesus. So now comes 3:21 with it’s delicious “But”.
“But now the righteousness of God has been manifested…” It’s through faith for all who believe. Before Christ – we sinned and were sinners. We fell short of the glory of God. Now by trusting in Jesus we are:
Justified – a legal term meaning declared not guilty. We are justified as a gift.
Redeemed – our debt of sin is totally paid for and we are set free from the slavery that sin has led us into.
Propitiated – God’s wrath for our sin has gone.
All of this is a free gift, received by faith.
So we can’t boast, v.27. We can’t boast that observing the law has done it; we can’t boast that circumcision has done it.
Hallelujah! Have you received this? Have you stopped trying to earn God’s favour by what you do or don’t do? Have you simply trusted in Jesus’ death on the cross as the way that you can be justified, redeemed and have your sin propitiated? Simply believe that Jesus died for you and rose again and confess him to be your new boss – your Lord (Romans 10:9) and then enjoy these incredible benefits! I’m forgiven! I’m free! God loves me!