Chapter 3:20-26

Fred R. Coulter—December 7, 1996

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We can see one of the most profound mistakes that they made in the King James Version of the Bible, which led to people believing that you didn't have to keep the laws of God.

Romans 3:20 (KJV): "Therefore, for the deeds of the law…" The definite article before the words deeds and law is not in italic. When you read that you think it's talking about the Ten Commandments!

Let's look at something here that is very important for us to realize, which shows that the King James translators should never have inserted those two definite articles.

 Romans 3:20 (Interlinear): "Wherefore by works of law…" There are no definite articles in the Greek. Why is that important? Because it's giving an overall principle not necessarily related to the Ten Commandments! "…by works of law not shall be justified any flesh before Him; for through law [is] knowledge of sin."

 Romans 3:20 (FV)—" Therefore, by works of law there shall no flesh be justified before Him; for through the Law is the knowledge of sin." Notice that when I put the definite article there when it wasn't in the Interlinear, I put it in italic form so that you would know that it was an insertion.

We need to go all the way through Rom. 3 and then come back to it. But, let's remember one profound, important thing: Nothing can substitute for the sacrifice of Jesus Christ! Nothing can substitute for the life, the crucifixion and death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ!

  •  Can Sabbath-keeping substitute for Christ? No!
  • Do the Jews understand the Sabbath and keep it, in their way? Yes!
  • Do they have Christ? No!

'Works of law' in this case is a broad principle statement, which means the work of any law cannot accomplish what the sacrifice of Christ does!

If you keep that in mind, then it will simplify some of the most complicated Scriptures that we find in the New Testament, especially written by the Apostle Paul. That's a hard principle for law-keepers to understand. All commandment-keeping is required by everyone, whether you are justified or not. The keeping of it does not justify you. The keeping of it just keeps you from sinning, because the law is the knowledge of sin, that's all.
Verse 21 is another difficult thing. When I first read this, it was one of the most difficult things for me to understand. I had just come into the Worldwide Church of God, was accepted to and going to Ambassador College and was studying the Bible and all this sort of thing.

Verse 21 (KJV)—this becomes almost a contradiction. We're going to see that it's very contradictory from a couple of points of view. "But now the righteousness of God without the law…" What does 'without' mean to you? It can mean apart from or the absence of. How can you have righteousness in the absence of law?

Verse 31 (FV): "Are we, then, abolishing the Law through faith? MAY IT NEVER BE! Rather, we are establishing the Law." How can you establish law when you have no law? This is exactly what the Protestants assume—we don't need any law—but they never address establishing law. So this is really quite a contradictory thing!

Verse 21 (AT): "But now, at this time, quite separate from law, the righteousness of God has been revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets; even the righteousness of God which is through faith of Jesus Christ, toward all and upon all those who are believing [present tense]; for there is no difference, because all have sinned and they are falling short of the glory of God" (vs 21-23). Nearly every place where you see the 'ing' it is either a present tense verb or it is a present tense participle.

Verse 24: "We are being justified gratuitously by His Whom God has openly manifested to be a propitiation through faith in His blood, in order to demonstrate His righteousness, in respect to the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; yes, to publicly declare His righteousness in the present time, that He might be just, and the One Who justifies the one who is of the faith of Jesus. Therefore, where is boasting? It is excluded. Through what law? The law of works? By no means! Rather, it is through a law of faith" (vs 24-27). That is almost contradictory.

Verse 28: "Consequently, we reckon that a man is justified by faith, separate from works of law. Is He the God of the Jews only? Is He not also the God of the Gentiles? YES! He is also God of the Gentiles since it is indeed one God Who will justify the circumcision by faith, and the uncircumcision through faith. Are we, then, abolishing the Law through faith? MAY IT NEVER BE! Rather, we are establishing the Law!" (vs 28-31).

Let's come back to v 21, and we will see why we are establishing law. Let's answer the question of righteousness of law: "But now the righteousness of God that is separate from law has been revealed…"—life death and resurrection of Christ—past tense.

Romans 1:17 ties right back in there. Remember, vs 17-20 are all one connected thought: how we come to the righteousness of God. "For therein [the Gospel] the righteousness of God is revealed…"

Romans 3:21: "…has been revealed…" It is being revealed on an ongoing basis to all of those whom God is calling, and it has been once revealed in the life permanently as a public declaration once for all. That was:

  • separate from the law
  • separate from the Ten Commandments
  • separate from the righteousness of the Law

which they had with Moses under the Old Covenant.

Let's look at the righteousness, which was by law. This is the thing that got me when I first read it in the King James. How can you have righteousness without law? The absence of it?

Deuteronomy 6:24: "And the LORD commanded us to do all these statutes—to fear the LORD our God for our good always so that He might preserve us alive, as it is today. And it shall be righteousness for us if we observe to do all these commandments before the LORD our God as He has commanded us.. (vs 24-25).

There is a righteousness of the Law, but this is not God's righteousness. Does God have a greater righteousness than just the Ten Commandments? or the laws and statutes? Yes, He does!

Psalm 119:172: "My tongue shall speak of Your word, for all Your commandments are righteousness." How could you have righteousness separate, or removed from, the law, or the absence of law? I couldn't understand that. This is what is so difficult for people to understand when they read the King James and especially that no one is going to be justified by the works of the law.

Let's see what the answer is. What did we cover all the way up to this point? We covered all the sins of the civilizations, the sins of the Jews, all the sins of the Gentiles. All are under sin! That every mouth may be stopped? Now then, if God has shut us up to sin (Galatians)—He shut everyone up to sin, and 'no one is righteous, no, not one!' How then can a person ever be right with God? So God is the One Who has to take the action to make it so, because God is the One Who included all under sin, shut them all up under sin. God is the One Who gave us the law of sin and death. That's why we are sinners from birth.

So, quite separate from law—which tells us what the knowledge of sin is—the righteousness of God has been revealed through Christ. That is the righteousness of God that He would be so righteous and good as to provide a way to be put in right standing with Him. That is the righteousness of God 'being witnessed to by the prophets' (Rom. 3:21)

From the Special Word Study from the Greek booklet, pg 16, the last section of Righteousness of Faith: The English word "righteousness" comes from the Greek word 'dikosunee,' and means: the doing or being what is just and right, or righteous. It is the character and the acts of a person commanded and approved of God in virtue of the fact that the individual is in submission and is obedient to His will as His perfect ideal and His perfect standard. As such it is not only what God demands from a person, but what He gives… [God is giving something of His righteousness.]
…or imputes to the individual by faith. Therefore, it is the person's righteous standing before God as imputed to him or her by God's act of justification through His deliverance from all that stands in the way of being righteous.

Not just the forgiveness of sin; that is only the first start of it. We're going to get these definitions in our mind clearly so that when we go back and study the Scriptures we will know what we're talking about.

pg. 11, Justification: Justification is freely granted… [no charge, no cost, no work] …to the called and repentant believer by God the Father through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Justification takes place when the believer's sins are removed by the blood of Jesus Christ and he or she is put into right standing with God the Father. In order to receive God's gift of justification, a person must repent toward God, believe in the sacrifice and blood of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and be baptized by immersion….

And we will see when we get to Rom. 6 why immersion is so very important.

…The believer is then cleansed from sin and is without condemnation, placing him or her in right standing with God the Father. This state of justification is called the "gift of righteousness" because…

Here is the righteousness of God; I want you to understand what God does and then you'll understand why no work of any law can accomplish this.

…the righteousness of Jesus Christ is freely imputed… [given freely; un-worked for; unearned] …to the believer by God the Father. The English word "justification" comes from the Greek word 'dikaioosis'

Notice how closely that is to 'dikosunee'; the first part of the word is exactly the same because it comes from the same stem.

…which means the action of God which establishes right, therefore justification. The establishment of a man as just by acquittal from guilt.

I hope you understand as we go along, because if you do, you are going to understand some of the most complicated Scriptures in the entirety of the New Testament and the writings of the Apostle Paul to which even scholars stumble. This is why I'm going through it very carefully so that we establish all of our definitions as we are going along here.

When all of those who were of the 5,000 that were fed by Jesus Christ and they came to Him saying, 'Good Master, what should we do that we may work the works of God.' Remember what Jesus' answer was?

 John 6:29: "Jesus answered and said to them, 'This is the work of God: that you believe in Him Whom He has sent.'" Believe on Christ. To be convicted in heart, mind and belief is greater than a work you can do out here.

Have you ever been compelled to obey a law that you didn't believe in or agree with? All of us have! Yes, indeed! Though you kept it in the letter, did you keep it in your mind with a willing heart? No! That is precisely why the first step in belief in Jesus Christ is the spiritual work of believing. That is not something that is done without the body, so to speak; something you can do aside from that. What happens when you are in that frame of mind? Especially if you're in the service (military)—hurry up and wait! Stand in line! And all this sort of thing! The orders of the sergeant and the lieutenant, and you see all these ridiculous things coming down, all of the laws from bureaucrats that are coming down today—do this, do that, do the other thing. Some of them are so stupid that for a six-year-old boy kissing a girl was arrested for kissing a girl, sexual harassment.

pgs 25-26: "Work," "Works," "Works of Law" and "to Work": The English word "work" or "works" is translated from the Greek word, 'ergon,' and means: a work, a deed, an action, or the result or object of a work or endeavor; a work as a single act; that which is brought into being by a work or labor; an accomplishment, an occupation or work. In the singular, when the definite article is used, it is 'to ergoon,' and means "the work." In the plural it is 'toon ergoon,' and means the works. Many times 'toon ergoon,'in the plural, is used…

—a long 'o' or omega in the Greek language. Wherever you see 'o-n' in nearly every case with a verb it is plural. Notice the ending which is singular: 'ergon' vs 'ergoon'; there can be no disputing which is which.

…without the article and is used mainly in the term works of law, 'ergoon nomou,' and means any work, deed or endeavor of any law. The translators of the KJV added two definite articles….

We covered that—and made to read improperly 'the works of the law.' Then I talked about not using the italics, we already covered that.

…By adding these two definite articles to the phrase, works of law, 'ergoon nomou,' to make it read "the works of the law," this phrase was, in turn, misinterpreted to mean all the laws and commandments of God. Hence, it paved the way for greater misinterpretation that obedience to laws and commandments of God were not required for salvation. [Key, very important point.]

In the entirely of the New Testament, there is only one Scripture in which the definite article "the: is used in connection with "work" or "works," in conjunction with the phrase "works of law." That is found in Romans 2:15 and in the Greek reads: to ergon tou nomou, and is translated, "the work of the law"…. [that's the only place. Every other place it is "works of law." Then I explain that and so forth.]

To help us understand all of this concerning the righteousness of God, and it has been revealed that the righteousness of God means this: God, in His righteousness, provided Jesus Christ.

Romans 3:21: "But now the righteousness of God that is separate from law has been revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets; even the righteousness of God that is through the faith of Jesus Christ…" (vs 21-22).

Many of those who write commentaries cannot figure out why Paul would use the personal possessive of Jesus, which means Jesus' own faith, the faith of Jesus. That has to be given. This kind of faith has to come from God—you can't work it up yourself, it has to come from Christ.

"…toward all and upon all those who believe; for there is no difference" (v 22).

John 3:16—this ties right back with it: "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, so that everyone who believes in Him may not perish, but may have everlasting life." This is how it is done through Jesus Christ. You have to believe.

What we're talking about here is one of the greatest events in all the history of the world. That God would manifest Himself in the flesh; take upon Himself the form of human flesh, just like we have; and to live a perfect life and become that perfect sacrifice for all mankind. That's why it says later on 'as a public proclamation'—that's what it means in the Greek. I think this gives a whole lot more powerful understanding of it, that God did this as a profound thing right in the middle of history.

Romans 3:23: "For all have sinned… [Jews and Gentiles] …and they are falling short of the glory of God. We are being… [present tense passive] …justified gratuitously by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus" (vs 23-24)—to be freed from. What was the other profound event in history that God did? The Passover in Egypt, bringing the children of Israel out of Egypt! God intervened in history to do it.

Now then, Paul is comparing it to that. When they came out of Egypt it was known everywhere—all of the plagues and all of the things and all of the power of God. The children of Israel didn't want to believe; they didn't want to accept God. Isn't that something? With God right there they didn't want to do it! You talk about how difficult human nature really is. That is the epitome of it!

  • Can you imagine, every day for 40 years, having manna and still not believe in God?
  • Can you believe every day and every night seeing the pillar of the cloud and the fire and still not believing in God?

That is amazing!

Verse 25: "Whom God has openly manifested…"—and gave four witnesses: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John written for us so that we would know. Could not depend upon men to do that, God had to do it.

"…to be a propitiation through faith in His blood…" (v 25). Let's look at the word 'propitiation' meaning a continual atoning action. It is nearly the same word as used for the mercy seat of God. This is telling us that through Christ we have direct access to God the Father for the mercy seat and the forgiveness of sins on a continuous, ongoing basis.

"…through faith in His blood, in order to demonstrate His righteousness…" (v 25)—and all that went with that.

You can go back and read all the accounts there and one that is really profound is where all of those who were resurrected back to physical life and went and appeared to many in the city. If one of my relatives came back from the dead, that would be mighty convincing to me! It was done 'publicly.' What did the Apostle Paul say when he was talking to Festus and Agrippa? This was not done in a corner!

"…in respect of the passing over of the sins which had taken place before, through the forbearance of God; for a public declaration of His righteousness in the present time, for His being just and the One Who is justifying the one who is of the faith of Jesus" (vs 25-26).

Let's go back and look at some of the things where this was testified before in the Law and the Prophets. This is another thing that was kind of a little disconcerting in trying to understand this. If you do away with the Law, what good does it do to have it testified in the Law and the Prophets? It wouldn't! Let's look at the Law, 'witnessed to by the Law and the Prophets.' The first place this is done is in Gen. 3:15[corrected]—the first prophecy of the coming of Christ, a foretaste of it, a witness of it. The next one we have is Abel (Gen. 4:1-4).

Abel did what God asked him to do, and he believed God, and what he did was by faith!

Hebrews 11:4: "By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts; and through it, though he died, he is yet speaking." So, he was accounted righteous because he believed God!

It's the same way with Abraham. Here is the pattern, and I think when we get to Rom. 4, you're going to be surprised how much the New Testament must be based upon Abraham rather than being based upon Israel. I don't want that to blow your mind; it doesn't change anything, but it gives us a greater and more appreciative understanding. I think you're going to be surprised how much Abraham is mentioned in the New Testament, especially by the Apostle Paul.

Genesis 15:6: "And he [Abraham] believed in the LORD. And He accounted it to him for righteousness." That is imputed! There's a witness of it.

Right in the Ten Commandments is a witness of this, Exodus 20:3: "You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourselves any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in the heavens above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the waters under the earth. You shall not bow yourself down to them, nor serve them, for I, the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of those who hate Me, but showing mercy… [A form of kindness, righteousness!] …to thousands of those who love Me and keep My commandments" (vs 3-6).

As I've said before, if anyone starts saying to you that the commandments have nothing to do with love, you take them right back there and say, 'All right, right in the Ten Commandments God shows love and commandment is there, and that's the same as:

John 14:15: "If you love Me, keep the commandments—namely, My commandments." Precisely, exactly the same. Here's also part of it, showing God's righteousness, which is exemplified

  • by His mercy
  • by His love
  • by His grace
  • by His kindness
  • by His forgiveness
  • by His forbearance

This is where the children of Israel had sinned, Exodus 32:9: And the LORD said to Moses, 'I have seen this people, and behold, it is a stiff-necked people. And now leave Me alone, so that My wrath may burn hot against them and that I may consume them. And I will make of you a great nation'" (vs 9-10). Notice how humble Moses was. He didn't say, 'Yeah, Lord, just You and me; let's go for it.'

Verse 11: "And Moses prayed to the LORD his God, and said, 'LORD, why does Your wrath burn hot against Your people whom You have brought forth out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand? Why should the Egyptians speak and say, "He brought them out with an evil intent, to kill them in the mountains and to consume them from the face of the earth"? Turn from Your fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against Your people. Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, Your servants…" (vs 11-13). So, even everything with Israel was based upon that.

"'…to whom You swore by Your own self, and said to them, "I will multiply your seed as the stars of the heavens, and all this land that I have spoken of will I give to your seed, and they shall inherit it forever."' And the LORD repented of the evil, which He spoke of doing to His people" (vs 13-14). That's an expression of God's righteousness. A foretaste of undeserved forgiveness.

Exodus 34:6—this is when Moses was able to see the backside of the Lord in glory: "And the LORD passed by before him and proclaimed, 'The LORD, the LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy to the thousandth generation, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but Who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children's children, to the third and to the fourth generation.' And Moses made haste and bowed his head toward the earth, and worshiped. And he said, 'If now I have found grace in Your sight, O LORD, I pray You, let my LORD go among us, although it is a stiff-necked people. And pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us for Your inheritance'" (vs 6-9).

So God did! That's a foretaste of His kindness and mercy!

(go to the next track)

Now let's look at one more, Numbers 14:19, just to show God's mercy: "'I beseech You, pardon the iniquity of this people according to the greatness of Your mercy, and as You have forgiven this people from Egypt even until now.' And the LORD said, 'I have pardoned according to your word'" (vs 19-20).

How quick was that? Just as soon as Moses asked! How quick does God forgive your sins? Just as soon as you ask!

Verse 21: "But truly, as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the LORD. Because all those men who have seen My glory and My miracles which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have tempted Me now these ten times, and have not hearkened to My voice" (vs 21-22).

This ties right in with what Paul was talking about, the goodness and righteousness of God vs the wrath of God. If you do that which is right and you believe God—goodness! If you do that which is wrong and evil—wrath! Just exactly what we have here.

We'll take a quick survey of quite a few Psalms, then we'll go to the prophets. Psa. 5 talks a lot about God's righteousness. This is why David was a man 'after God's heart.'

Psalm 5:8: "Lead me, O LORD, in Your righteousness… [not his own; in God's righteousness] …because of my enemies; make Your way straight before my face."

Here's the part that is very important for us to understand, not only was this a Psalm of the present time, but this was also a prophecy of the future.

Psalm 103:1: "Bless the LORD, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His Holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits" (vs 1-2). Let's not forget His spiritual benefits; those are far more important than any physical benefits.

Verse 3: "Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases." That's something! God does! God will! Maybe there are a lot of thing we need to do, that's true, but He still heals!

I have a letter from a man back in the New York whose daughter I anointed back in Rochester. She was supposed to have glasses for 20/50 vision and she went to have the examination and they said there was nothing wrong with her eyes. They had another examination and her eyes are 20/25; that was right after she was anointed. We've had many different healings that God has given, and God will do more. But I'm also convinced that we have to become more yielded to God, more living within the righteousness of God and letting God use us in the way that He wants us to. Everything comes from God!

This is New Testament doctrine v 4: "Who redeems your life from destruction..."—in the Lake of Fire. You're redeemed! The redemption that is in Christ Jesus!

Romans 3:24: "But are being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus."

Psalm 103:4: "Who redeems your life from destruction, Who crowns you with loving kindness…" This is what we need, brethren. This is what God wants to establish in His Church.

He: "…crowns you with loving kindness and tender mercies" (v 4). His goodness. That's what God wants. He's sick and tired of all of this playing corporate church. This is what He wants to give us.
Verse 8: "The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abundant in mercy. He will not always chasten, nor will He keep His anger forever. He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor rewarded us according to our iniquities" (vs 8-10). No! He has said:

  • I give you the life of Jesus Christ!
  • I impute to you the righteousness of Christ!
  • I give to you the Holy Spirit!

Then after that, we have been given a propitiation, continuously!

Verse 11: "For as the heavens are high above the earth, so is His mercy toward those who fear Him…. [how much more to those that love Him] …As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us…. [all testifying of the coming grace] …As a father has compassion upon his children, so the LORD has compassion upon those who fear Him, for He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust. As for man, his days are as grass; as a flower of the field, so he flourishes, for the wind passes over it, and it is gone; and its place shall know it no more. But the steadfast love of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting upon those who fear Him, and His righteousness is unto children's children, to those who keep His covenant, and to those who remember His precepts to do them" (vs 11-18).

That is quite a Psalm, all of Psa. 103 in New Testament prophecy, when you take and apply it to what we are going through and what Christ has done.

Psalm 11:7: "For the LORD is righteous, He loves righteousness; the upright will behold His face." Isn't that something!

I've experienced this, and hopefully I can experience it on a more continuing, ongoing basis: The more I seek to love God and ask God for His Spirit and His love, and ask to help me use it, especially in those circumstances that I'm just not likely to do—to be loving to someone who is not love to you. The more that I see that, many of the sins and problems and difficulties are overcome without having to beat the flesh. Maybe if all of us could concentrate on doing that:

  • ask God to really grant us His righteousness, which He's freely given
  • ask God to grant us His love, which He wants us to have

—because it says 'the righteous Lord loves righteousness'

  • ask God to grant it to us!

That's tremendous!

Psalm 15:1: "LORD, who shall dwell in Your tabernacle? Who shall dwell upon Your Holy hill? He who walks uprightly, and works righteousness, and speaks the Truth in his heart" (vs 1-2). If Christ is in there, that's what we will have, brethren.

I think Psa. 22 is very profound, because this is the whole prophecy of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Where they would pierce His feet, strip His flesh. He could count His bones. Forsaken of God. After this is all done,

Psalm 22:30: "A seed shall serve Him…" We are that seed! Did you know that? If you have the Spirit of God as a begettal—which you do—you are that seed! 'We know that we are in Him because His seed abides in us (1-John). What did God tell Abraham when He took him abroad and showed him all of the stars? So shall your seed be! We are the seed who serve Him, because of the crucifixion of Christ. This is all a witness to the righteousness of God that He would do this for us.

"…it shall be told of the LORD to the coming generation. They shall come and shall declare His righteousness unto a people that shall yet be born… [prophesying right down to Christ] …that He has done this" (vs 30-31). That God would make this public declaration; make this public crucifixion. In the Companion Bible it says, "…my seed shall serve Him…"—instead of "A seed...' (v 30). I see no contradiction with it, because we are the seed of the Father! All of this is witnessing in the Law, the Psalms and the Prophets.

Psalm 97:6: "The heavens declare His righteousness… [again, this goes back to the covenant that God made with Abraham] …and all the people see His glory." We shall see Him face-to-face (Rev. 22).

Psalm 111:3: "His work is glory and majesty… [especially the work that He is doing in us] ..and His righteousness endures forever."

Psalm 119:142: "Your righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and Your Law is the Truth."

Now, let's look in the Prophets. Isa. 53 is one of the most profound ones. This is 'a written public proclamation' (Gal. 3:1). They had Scriptures in all the synagogues. They knew! Yes! If you go through Isa. 53 it's talking about the life, death and resurrection of Christ and that He bore our sins.' That is the righteousness of Christ. That is the righteousness that God gives to us because He bore our sins.

Isaiah 53:5: "But He was wounded for our transgressions; He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we ourselves are healed."
Verse 12: …Therefore, I [God the Father] will divide to Him a portion with the great, and He shall divide the spoil with the strong; because He has poured out His soul to death; and He was counted among the transgressors; and He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for transgressors."

This is why it is so profound, that God created everything through Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ—the Lord God of the Old Testament, the One Who became our Savior—made and created Adam and Eve. He is the One Who gave to them the law of sin and death, which is sin, passed down to all of us. He is the One Who had to be punished for ALL iniquity and sin. Because God [Christ] created all humankind, Who is responsible for all of it: the good and the bad, the right and the wrong, the righteousness and the evil. God is! Is it not a tremendous thing that God and His righteousness would put upon Himself the judgment of sin—of death—that He gave to every human being? The wages of sin is death! That is really something!

And this is what we're talking about, brethren, in all of this: that God Himself did it! Since God did it, no work of any law that we can do can accomplish the same thing! That's what He's talking about here. When we're talking about God's righteousness and God's righteous judgment, did God not judge Himself as being responsible for all of His creation and willingly paid the penalty for all sin of all people for all time? Yes! And if the Creator did that, His life is worth every human life all combined together! Has to be, otherwise it could not apply to all human beings.

Isaiah 45:19: "I have not spoken in secret, in a dark place of the earth. I did not say to the seed of Jacob, 'Seek me in vain.' I the LORD speak righteousness, I declare things that are right." There again is foretaste of the coming righteousness.

Verse 22: "'Turn to Me, and be saved, all the ends of the earth… [salvation was not available until Christ came, so this is a prophecy of it] …for I am God, and there is none else. I have sworn by Myself, the word has gone out of My mouth in righteousness, and shall not turn back, that unto Me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.' One shall say, 'Only in the LORD do I have righteousness and strength… [that's all the righteousness that God gives to us] …even to Him shall men come. And they are ashamed, all who are angry against Him.'" (vs 22-24).

When God opens their eyes to understand what a magnificent thing that God has done—through his righteousness and the life and death of Christ—they're going to be ashamed. That's what repentance is all about, even for us.

Verse 25: "In the LORD shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory."

Isaiah 51:1: "'Hearken to Me, you who follow after righteousness, you who seek the LORD: Look to the Rock from which you were cut, and to the hole of the pit from which you were dug. Look to Abraham your father… [we're going to see Abraham come into this very profoundly] …and to Sarah who bore you; for I called him alone, and blessed him, and made him many.' For the LORD shall comfort Zion; He will comfort all her waste places; and He will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the LORD. Joy and gladness shall be found in it, thanksgiving and the voice of melody" (vs 1-3). That's what we are to participate in as kings and priests with Christ!

Verse 4: "Hearken to Me, My people; and give ear to Me, O My nation; for instruction shall proceed from Me, and I will make My justice as a light to the people. My righteousness is near… [to us we already have it, brethren] …My salvation has gone out… [through Christ] …and My arms shall judge the people; the isles shall wait upon Me, and on My arm they shall trust. Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look upon the earth beneath; for the heavens shall vanish away like smoke, and the earth shall become old like a garment; and its inhabitants shall die in the same way. But My salvation shall be forever, and My righteousness shall not be abolished…. [an everlasting righteousness] …Hearken to Me, you who know righteousness, the people in whose heart is My Law…" (vs 4-7).

This is a prophecy of what would happen after Christ came. This is us today; and all of those from the time of Christ down to today whom God has called. We know righteousness!

"…in whose heart is My law… [and that is a righteous thing to do] …do not fear the reproach of men, nor be afraid of their revilings; for the moth shall eat them up like a garment, and the worm shall eat them like wool; but My righteousness shall be forever, and My salvation from generation to generation'" (vs 7-8).

All of these then are the prophecy of what God would do. Do you see what a great and profound and tremendous thing that God has done? This is what Paul is talking about!

Jeremiah 31:3: "The LORD has appeared to me from afar, saying, 'Yea, I have loved you with an everlasting love… [the righteousness of God] …therefore, with loving kindness I have drawn you."

Verse 33: "'But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel: After those days,' says the LORD, 'I will put My Law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.'"

This is not just to the house of Israel as the physical tribes of Israel. This is a prophecy of the Church being the true Israel of God. That's what God has done for us.

"…put My Law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts…" Isn't that the righteousness of God? Only God can do that with His Spirit and by conversion!

Then we see in the book of Ezekiel where He says He doesn't 'delight in the death of the wicked, but that they would turn' back to God instead of going their own way.

Let's come back to Romans, and let's read this with all that we have in mind:

Romans 3:23: "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; but are being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus" (vs 23-24).

John 14:6: "Jesus said to him, 'I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life…'"

Verse 25: "Whom God has openly manifested…" Right up on top of that hill; Jesus on that cross or stake—whatever it was—without any clothes on; nothing to cover His shame; beaten, scourged, bleeding to death, fulfilling the will of God. Finally, having that spear thrust into His side that I'm sure went up and pierced His heart so that all of His blood would be shed.

"…to be a propitiation through faith in His blood, in order to demonstrate His righteousness…" (v 25).

Remember the Centurion that was there? Remember what he said when he saw the veil in the temple rent—torn in two from top to bottom? He said, 'Surely this was the Son of God!' Even that man could see that.

Notice what this accomplished then, "…in respect to the remission of sins that are past… [What is Christ called for us? Our Passover!] …through the forbearance of God; yes, to publicly declare His righteousness in the present time… [God wants it known that this is what has been missing so much] …that He might be just, and the One Who justifies the one who is of the faith of Jesus" (vs 25-26).

In the next sermon, we'll cover a little bit more concerning the faith of Jesus; that is Jesus' own faith and the works of law.

Scripture from The Holy Bible in Its Original Order, A Faithful Version (except where noted)

Scriptural References:

  • Romans 3:20-21, 31, 23-31, 21
  • Romans 3:21
  • Romans 1:17
  • Romans 3:21
  • Deuteronomy 6:24-25
  • Psalm 119:172
  • John 6:29
  • Romans 3:21-22
  • John 3:16
  • Romans 3:23-26
  • Hebrews 11:4
  • Genesis 15:6
  • Exodus 20:3-6
  • Exodus 32:9-14
  • Exodus 34:6-9
  • Numbers 14:19-22
  • Psalm 5:8
  • Psalm 103:1-4
  • Romans 3:24
  • Psalm 103:4, 8-18
  • Psalm 11:7
  • Psalm 15:1-2
  • Psalm 22:30-31
  • Psalm 97:6
  • Psalm 111:3
  • Psalm 119:142
  • Isaiah 53:5, 12
  • Isaiah 45:19, 22-25
  • Isaiah 51:1-8
  • Jeremiah 31:3, 33
  • Romans 3:23-24
  • John 14:6
  • Romans 3:25-26

Scripture referenced, not quoted:

  • Genesis 3:15; 4:1-4
  • John 14:15
  • 1 John
  • Psalm 23
  • Revelation 22
  • Galatians 3:1
  • John 14:6

FRC:bo   
Transcribed:  11-21-10
Reformatted/Corrected: November/2016

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