Righteousness & Justification

(Chapter 3:20-31)

Fred R. Coulter—December 14, 1996

pdfIcon - PDF | Audio | [Up]

or Download

I want to reiterate something that's very important. I feel in this time and considering all the doctrinal things going around are like a big windstorm, and there are so many different doctrinal things that are coming. It's amazing what people will believe. I had an elder—who's been an elder for years and years—call me because he read an article claiming that Jesus was not the Messiah; that the New Testament was all a pagan mythology; we should not follow anything in the New Testament at all. He was about ready to be carried away with that doctrine sweeping through his congregation. It's going to hit every church, every congregation.

Therefore, we need to be prepared, and the lack of true doctrinal understanding and preparation by one of the largest Churches of God has caused its fall. It has caused many brethren to fall with it because they were not doctrinally grounded in the Truth. One woman expressed it real well several weeks ago: I would go to church and I used to take notes, then gradually I was just hearing the same thing over and over again, so I quit taking notes and just turned in my Bible. Gradually, over a period of time, I just sat there with my Bible in my lap. She said, 'I knew I was in trouble when I found myself sleeping or going to sleep most of the time.' This is what has happened to so many people. Then, when they're confronted with sound doctrine here's what happens:

 2-Timothy 4:3: "For there shall come a time when they will not tolerate sound doctrine… [sound doctrine is based on the Truth of the Scriptures] …but according to their own lusts they shall accumulate to themselves a great number of teachers, having ears itching to hear what satisfies their cravings; and they shall turn away their own ears from the Truth; and they shall be turned aside unto myths (vs 3-4).

So, you have a complete process that takes place, to turn people away 180-degrees around and go the opposite direction. There are plenty of teachers out there—wannabes or wouldbes—who want to be teaching.

Therefore, doctrine is very important! Doctrine means teaching. Sound doctrine means the proper teaching from the Scripture. We based that on what Jesus said. Jesus said, 'I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.' Sound doctrine must be based on the Scriptures.

In this series that we've been going through in the book of Romans, we have come to chapter three. In this particular section we really needed to cover some things out the book of Galatians. Let's turn to The Epistle of the Apostle Paul to the Galatians booklet. The reason that I'm doing these translations is:

  • So that I can prove to myself as a teacher what the Truth really is.

The New Testament is based on Greek and I have studied the Greek now for many years.

  • The world today is going away from the Truth.

I was in a Bible bookstore and there was not a New King James Version on the shelf. They're all NIVs! If you've not heard the two sermons—New Age Bible Versions—you need to hear them, you need to get the book, New Age Bible Versions by Gail Riplinger. This motivated me to translate as accurately and precisely as I can from the Greek text of 1550, called The Textus Receptus. Carl [Franklin] today is doing a sermon on the Preservation of the Text—the New Testament. I'm going to do one on the indication within the Scriptures on how the apostles knew that they were writing the New Testament. God did not leave it to word of mouth. God did not leave it to the Catholics 300 years later to canonize the Scriptures. As we will see, it was finished with John. That's why at the end of Revelation John wrote what he wrote.

 In the book of Galatians I found one explosion and two bombs. What do I mean? An explosion is something that really gets you excited when you clearly understand it! It's there in the Greek. A bomb is one that is so absolutely moving in its understanding that it's like a bomb going off. Let's look at the minor explosion. In going through Galatians there are about four different ways to approach Galatians. We're going to come and do some of it in Gal. 2 today, but I want to cover one part of it here:

Galatians 2:11: "But when Peter came to Antioch, I withstood him to his face because he was to be condemned… [not just blamed, but condemned, public condemnation] …for, before certain ones came from James, he was eating with the Gentiles. However, when they came, he drew back and separated himself from the Gentiles being afraid of those of the circumcision party" (vs 11-12). There was a circumcision party within the Church (Acts 15); they were the Pharisees.
Also, I'll call your attention to when that incident occurred in Acts 15, we no longer hear of the Pharisees within the Church. I believe that was the first separation and those people became the Ebionites who followed the Pharisaical way {note sermon series: Scripturalism vs Judaism}.

Verse 13: "And the rest of the Jews joined him in this hypocritical act… [Greek: 'hupokrites'] …insomuch that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy."

The account in the King James kind of softens it a bit and doesn't give you the full flavor as to what was happening.

  • Why was this a great hypocrisy for Peter? He went to Cornelius, the first account of the Gentiles!
  • What did he tell Cornelius? 'I see that God is no respecter of persons and that I should not call any man common or unclean!'
  • What is an unclean person, according to a description of Judaism? An unclean person is a Gentile who is not circumcised!

That's why Peter was the hypocrite; he knew better. That's why Luke wrote of the account in the book of Acts. I don't think if Peter would have been in charge of writing the book of Acts he would have been too inclined to include that little episode in the light of this.

Galatians 3:1—this was one of the bombs: "O foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you into not obeying the Truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ, crucified, was set forth in a written public proclamation?"—for all to read!

  • (KJV): "O foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you, that you should not obey the Truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ has been evidently set forth, crucified among you?"

Notice the difference in the translation: Why would I translate it "…in a written public proclamation…"

  • (Interlinear) "…was openly set forth…"—'prographo'—meaning written before. What are the Scriptures called in the Greek? All Scripture—'graphe'—is given by inspiration of God.

So, he is pointing to two things:

  • the Scriptures of the Old Testament, because it was written
  • the writing of the New Testament

They found a Greek written partial text of the book of Matthew, not Aramaic—that becomes important—but Greek; that they can conclusively date to be as early as 54A.D. Let's understand something clearly here: the coming of Christ—the first coming—was the greatest fulfillment of Bible prophecy. The establishment of the New Covenant was going to be the profound relationship between God and man from that time forward. Do you think that God would leave it to just word of mouth? No!

Luke wrote sometime in the 50sA.D. Luke was what to the Apostle Paul? Luke was his traveling companion and physician! I guess he needed a personal physician, being stoned, beaten, left to drown and the whole thing. The book of Luke is really Paul's gospel. In other words, Luke wrote under the supervision of Paul.

Luke 1:1: "Since many have taken in hand to compile a written narration of the matters…" They were delivering written accounts of the life of Christ! That's what they were doing.

"…which have been fully believed among us, as they delivered them to us, those who from the beginning had been eyewitnesses and ministers of the Word, It seemed good to me also, having accurately understood everything from the very first, to write these things in an orderly sequence to you… [a systematic, chronological order] …most excellent Theophilus, so that you might know the absolute certainty of the things in which you have been instructed" (vs 1-4).

Now let's re-read Gal. 3:1 in the light of that. This then gives a much more powerful impact of what was happening. It wasn't that someone was coming along and kind of changing their oral traditions or instruction. It was written!

Galatians 3:1: "O foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you into not obeying the Truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ, crucified, was set forth in a written public proclamation?" That was the first big bombshell! When I went through that I was excited all day. There it is! Look at this! This is tremendous!

Gal. 4—we'll look at the second bombshell. This one was even more so. This is one of the key, most important doctrinal point of the anti-law people within the Church and out of the Church; they turn to and read:

Galatians 4:10 (KJV): "You observe days, and months, and times, and years." So, they were observing Sabbath and the Holy Days and things like this.

Let's read some of this in context in the translation. Let's follow it through, and as we're doing this let's understand something that most people have not understood. As a matter of fact, we did not understand until the last 20-plus years, because we didn't research deep enough, or there were some things that were not written to provide the information for us—which is this: There were Jews who believed in circumcision and keeping law—their own code of law—who were sun-worshippers. They were the Essenes. Their Sabbath was in the middle of the week on a Wednesday, and they had a solar calendar of 364 days. They were coming along and that's part of the problem that we have here: pagan Jews. That sounds like a contradictory term, but it's not; they were sun-worshippers. So, they were coming along requiring circumcision and keeping of law as the Essenes would do.

Galatians 4:8: "Now on the one hand, when you did not know God, you were in bondage to those who are not gods by nature…. [very key important statement there] …not gods by nature. But on the other hand, after having known God—rather, after having been known by God—how is it that you are turning again to the weak and impotent elements, to which you again desire to be in bondage? You are of your own selves… [not of God[…observing days, and months, and times and years. I am afraid for you, lest somehow I have labored among you in vain" (vs 8-11).

Why did I translate v 10: "…You are of your own selves…"? The Greek has a particular, special, very exacting verb called the middle voice. We don't have this in English quite this way. The middle voice in Greek means this: You are the subject and the object. So, if you're doing something for yourself, you're not doing it to God. What he's saying is that these days that they were keeping—days, month, years, times—were not of God. But to those who were, by nature, not gods and was a conflict with what God had been teaching them. This has nothing whatsoever to do concerning Sabbath Days or Holy Days. How do we know that? Here's how we know:

Colossians 2:16: "Therefore, do not allow anyone to judge you in eating or in drinking, or with regard to a Festival… [Holy Day] …or new moon, or the Sabbaths."

  • Did Paul know how to write Sabbaths?
  • Did Paul know how to write Holy Days?
  • Did Paul know how to write new moon?
  • Yes, he did!
  • Why then did he not do so in Gal. 4, if that's what they were doing? Because they were not doing that!
  • If you have a Sabbath on a Wednesday, are you observing the Sabbath or a day? A day!
  • If you are keeping the first day of the week, are you observing the Sabbath or a day? A day!

But more particularly so when you consider the middle voice verb, which is you're doing it for yourself: this is of your own initiation; this is what you are doing! Now, let's compare that with John, the seventh chapter. I wanted to cover these particular three places because I feel that these are so important for us in understanding what Paul was writing.

John 7:16: "Jesus answered them and said, 'My doctrine… [teaching] …is not Mine, but His Who sent Me.'"

  • Would Jesus have changed anything that the Father had given or that they had agreed and given at any time? No!
  • How much less Paul?
  • How much less another man?

Verse 17: "If anyone desires to do His will…" Very important thing! A key in understanding Truth and doctrine is to do it!

  • How many people who no longer keep the Sabbath understand the Sabbath?
  • How many people who have given up eating unleavened bread during the Feast of Unleavened Bread still understand what sin is?

It's been my observation that when people quit doing it they are violating a Scriptural principle and they cease to understand. When it came out that 'during the Feast of Unleavened Bread:

  • if you want to put out the leaven that's all right
  • if you don't want to put out the leaven that is all right
  • if you want eat unleavened bread, that's all right
  • if you want to eat leavened bread, that's all right
  • if you want to come to the Night to be Remembered, or if you don't want to come, that's all right

Christ said none of that!

Verse 17: "If anyone desires to do His will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it is from God, or whether I speak from My own self. The one who speaks of himself is seeking his own glory; but He Who seeks the glory of Him Who sent Him is true, and there is no unrighteousness in Him" (vs 17-18).

Do we not believe that Christ taught Paul the same thing? Certainly! Paul did not do anything that was not the will of God!

That's what this is so important. If you are observing for yourself—there it is right there: "The one who speaks of himself is seeking his own glory…" So, if they are observing these days on their own, they are not observing it to God. Can you observe Christmas to God if you put God's name on it? No! It was not ever a teaching of God! These things help firm up and solidify and give strength to the Word of God—the way it should be.

Now, let's come back to the Epistle of Romans, chapter three. I want to cover it in depth today; let's understand something that's very, very important here. We're going to cover one of the places where the King James translators have caused no end of confusion.

Romans 3:20 (KJV): "Therefore, by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in His sight…"

Is this not the very Scripture that is used to say that 'you do not have to keep the Law'? This is one of them; one of the major ones. If you read that, it makes you wonder why you should keep the commandments:

  • What did Jesus say to the rich man who asked, 'What should I do that I may inherit eternal life?'? He said, 'Keep the commandments'!
  • What did the Apostle John write in 1-John 2? 'Hereby we know that we know Him if we keep His commandments, and the one who says I know him and is not keeping His commandments, is a liar and the Truth is not in him.'
  • How can you square this up?
  • How can you say you have to keep the commandments when it says: "Therefore, by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in His sight…"? (v 20 KJV)

The word deeds in the Greek is 'ergon'—meaning works. If works don't count, how can Jesus do this?

Revelation 2:2—to the Church at Ephesus: "I know your works…" Are all those works in vain if you can't be justified? Is that what He's saying? This is the very heart and core of the technical thing that is killing all the Churches of God right today. By bringing in lawlessness—because they focus in on something and apply it in a wrong way—they come to a wrong conclusion. Every one of the churches:

  • v 9: "I know your works…"
  • v 13: "I know your works…"
  • v 19: "I know your works…"
  • v 23: "And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am He Who searches the reins and hearts; and I will give to each of you according to your works."

If your works don't justify you, why should you have works? That is the question! But is that what Paul is talking about? We can go through and see, yes, works are important, the right kind.

Romans 3:20: "Therefore, by works of law…" Compare that with the King James. What is missing? The definite article 'the.' Why did I not put it there? It's not in the Greek! That's a very important point of understanding.

"…there shall not be any flesh justified before Him… [Why?] …for through the Law is the knowledge of sin" (v 20).

The Law was never designed to justify you. The Law was designed to show what sin is and what you ought to do. Justification is another whole different aspect of your relationship with God. That's what's so important.

Romans 3:20 (Int): "Wherefore by works…" Notice there is no definite article there.

Romans 2:15 (Int): "Who shew the work of the law…" I want you to understand something very important and very profound. This is the only place in the entire New Testament where it is the definite article—"…the work of the law…"—the only place. There is a difference between works of law and the work of the law. But in any event, neither one of them justifies you. That's where everyone gets all confused. I know you don't know the Greek, but I'll help you understand those things as we go along.

  • Romans 3:21 (FV): "But now the righteousness of God that is separate from law…"
  • (KJV): "But now the righteousness of God without the law…"

That really throws a curveball into it—doesn't it? 'Without' in English generally means the absence of: I'm without a wife; I have none. But that's not what the Greek means. Again, this (KJV) translation has caused no end of confusion. So I translated it the way it should be:

  • (FV): "…that is separate from law…" I'll leave out the italicized words that I put in there for clarification. Notice the definite article is not there.
  • (Int): "But now apart from law…" There's no definite article. It's not 'ho nomos'; it's just 'nomos' or in this case 'nomou' because of the tense that it's in.
  • (FV): "…separate from law, the righteousness of God has been revealed, being witnessed by the law and the prophets." That's where I ended up in the previous sermon. I went through and showed many of the places how the law was prophesying of this justification to take place.

Verse 22: "Even the righteousness of God which is through faith of Jesus Christ… [that's possessive; Jesus' own faith] …towards all and upon all those who are believing, for there is no difference, because all have sinned, and they are falling short of the glory of God. We are being justified gratuitously by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; whom god has displayed publicly as a propitiation through faith in His blood…" (vs 22-25).

It was public! It was known! Propitiation means a continuous ongoing source of mercy and relationship with God. That's differentiated from 'expatiation'—means to put aside one thing, at one time. Propitiation means continuous; which is quite different.
"…through faith in His Blood, for a public declaration of His righteousness, in the 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).

God did something to all human beings, which He alone can solve. This ties in with the first part of Rom. 3.

Galatians 3:22[corrected]: "But the Scriptures have shut up all things under sin…" Everyone has been condemned to live under sin. God shut them all up. How did this happen? God gave us all the 'law of sin and death' from Adam and Eve!

How are you going to make that right? If we, being sinners, by nature, can we do anything truly, truly righteous? Even if we wanted to? No! We can't! The whole book of Job teaches us that. We may be sincere. We may even evidence some good things, because human nature is a mixture of good and evil. But can do something truly righteous? No! Even if we kept the Sabbath perfectly all of our life! That's not to denigrate Sabbath-keeping; Sabbath-keeping is a great and wonderful commandment of God; that's just to illustrate a point.

  • What are we talking about? The righteousness of God!
  • What does that mean?
  • What is justification?
  • What does that mean?

Let's understand that as we are going through, so we can understand what we are talking about. They are two separate and different things! Keeping law and justification are two different, separate things!

Let me use an example. Most of us have cars in which we use gasoline for fuel. Could you take that same car and put water in the gas tank and make it run? No! Water was not designed to be used in a gasoline engine. As a matter of fact, if you put the water in, you're going to ruin the engine. It is the same way with an operation of God. Law-keeping—commandment-keeping—is required of God without a doubt, but that does not do the operation of justification. Justification means being put in right standing with God!

Special Word Studies from the Greek, pg 11—Justification: Justification is freely granted 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…

What is the only means of justification? The sacrifice of Christ! An easy way to remember it is: Nothing can substitute for the sacrifice of Christ! No law-keeping of any kind. All the laws and commandments of God are required to be kept. Can the law-keeping of the Catholics in doing laps around the beads: hail Mary, and our father? Does that 'law-keeping' justify you? No! That is a substitute for the sacrifice of Christ.

…and he or she is put into right standing with God the Father. In order to receive God's gift of justification…

If you kill someone and a person is dead, what can you do to bring the person back alive? Nothing! That is the only way you could make that right. So, it's the same way with being in right standing with God. When you sin there's nothing you can do to make it right before God. If you steal, you may make recompense, but that is putting you right with the person you stole from, but you broke God's Law! How are you put in right standing with God? By repentance!

(go to the next track)

Is repentance and operation of law? or Is it an operation of the heart? Operation of the heart! Who leads you to repentance? God does! So, it's an operation of God. That's why only God can justify, and it's through the sacrifice of Christ.

In order to receive god's gift of justification…

You can't pay for it! You can't walk up and say, 'I killed that person, God, here's $100,000.' God's going to say, 'Wait a minute, this person could have been—not going to tell this person about the second resurrection at this point—a very son of God, just like Me.' Now, what value are you going to put on that? You can't make it right with any amount of money.

…a person must repent toward God, believe in the sacrifice and blood of Jesus Christ for the remission of sin, and be baptized by immersion. 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 the righteousness of Jesus Christ is freely imputed to the believer by God the Father.

That makes you truly in right standing with God! You stand before God through the blood of Christ as if Christ Himself were standing there in your place, and He is! That's what justification means.

The English word "justification" comes from the Greek word 'dikaioosis,' which means the action of God which establishes right, therefore justification. The establishment of a man as just by acquittal from guilt.

pg. 13, Justification: The English word justification comes from the Greek word 'dikaiooma' and means the end result of making right or just. The result of the act of God which sets one forth as righteous, or the act of justification accomplished in the sinner.

Let's see about concerning the righteousness of God, because God has to make right something that He did, and only He can make it right. How do you solve the problem of putting everybody under sin? We didn't ask to be; we don't want to be, but we are. So, only God can do that, and it is His righteousness that does it.

pg. 16—the last full paragraph in the explanation of righteousness

{note sermons: The Two Righteousnesses #s 1 & 2—the righteousness of law and righteousness of faith}

The English word "righteousness" comes from the Greek word 'dikiosunee' and means the doing or being what is just and right, or righteous. It is the character and the acts of the 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, 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.

No law accomplishes that! Justification is a righteous act of God!

Chapter One (Romans) (pg. 16): v 17: "For therein the righteousness of God is being revealed from faith into faith…

Why did I translate it that way? Because the Greek means the active involvement of the faith—Christ's faith in you and your faith back into Christ. It's into—faith into faith.

…according as it has been written: 'The just shall live by faith.'"

What's the difference with living by faith and keeping the commandments of God and living by the letter of the Law and not having faith? The difference is of the heart! By faith and the love of God you desire to do the will of God; whereas in the letter, as long as you don't do the specific act, you have not sinned. For example: murder or adultery. If you don't do the specific act in the letter, you have not sinned, but in the spirit you have sinned. That's why it's this way.

We read the part under Chapter Three, and God imputes that to us. Come over to the section Works of Law, pg 25. I know this is technical, and I know this is a little heavy, but, brethren, this is so, so important. This is why people get taken down doctrinally, because they don't know the Word of God and they don't know the difference between commandment-keeping and justification. They don't know the difference between keeping the commandments of God and works of law.

Pg. 25, Work, Works, Works of Law and to Work: The English word "work" or "works" is translated form the Greek word 'ergon'…

I want you to look at that word and you'll be able to tell the difference. This is singular.

…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 ergon,' and means the work. In the plural it is 'ergoon,' and means the works. In the plural it is 'toon ergon'…

Notice the difference in the Greek wording there. Where you see the funny looking 'w'—it's actually an 'omega' giving it the long 'o' sound—

…'toon ergon' and means the works. Many times in the plural it is used without the article and is used mainly in the term the works of law, 'ergoon nomou'; and means any work, deed or endeavor of any law….

The book Code of Jewish Law will tell you what works of law is from a Jewish perspective. The Catholic Catechism will tell you what the code of Catholic law is from a Catholic perspective. If you had the writings of the Buddhists, you would have the seven steps to nirvana—which is the code of their law, same way with the Hindus.

…works of law, 'ergoon nomou'; and means any work, deed or endeavor of any law.

The translators of the KJV added two definite articles 'the' to the phrase 'works of law'—'eroon nomou'—and improperly made it read 'the works of the law.'

And that's where the confusion comes in.

Moreover, they did not use the italic form of the to indicate that a word was added for clarification as they normally did in all other instances where a word was added for clarification. Because they did not use the italicized form of the definite article the in both instances in this phrase to show that the two definite articles "the" were added, it caused great confusion. 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.

Then I gave a little explanation of what we already covered there in Rom. 2:15. Now, let's come and read the study section Works of Law, Chapter Three, pg 26:
20: Therefore, by works of lawthere shall not be any flesh justified before Him; because by law is the knowledge of sin.

  • the law is Holy
  • the law is spiritual
  • the law is just

—to show us what sin is. The law was never designed to forgive. Repentance toward…! God chooses freely to forgive; that is a gift by grace! You can't earn forgiveness. Many times we will even do a little work of law ourselves after we sin. We do it this way: You sin! Utt-oh, great blooper! You feel miserable, nasty, rotten and down. You say, 'When I get right, I'll pray.' I've done it! You've done it! You don't want to pray when you feel so miserable after having sinned. But, that's when you need to. How are you going to make yourself right, come to God and say, 'Okay, God, I've done better now; now You've got to forgive me for what I did last week, because I have made myself right and I deserve Your forgiveness'? Can't do it! That's kind of like our own little work of law that we do. But it can't justify you.

21: But now at this time, quite separate from law,the  righteousness of God has been revealed, being witnessed by the law and the prophets.
27: Therefore, where is boasting?

That's what Job was doing—wasn't he? 'I did this! I did that! God is unfair!' I

It is excluded! Through what law? Is it through works of law? No, by no means! Rather, it is through a law of faith!

What is a law of faith? Repent! Be baptized!

28: Consequently, we are reckoning that a man is being justified by faith separate from works of law.

Now then, to be justified, what does it mean? When you repent, are you holding a scroll of law in your hands? No! What are you doing? You're pouring your heart out to God! Then God, providing that means through Jesus Christ, will justify you. Here's how He does it:

Romans 3:26: "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."

A work of law under Judaism could be any work. Under the Old Testament it could be the offering of an animal sacrifice—that was a work of law. It's called the law of offerings.

Verse 27: "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. Consequently, we reckon that a man is justified by faith, separate from works of law" (vs 26-28). You have to have faith in Jesus Christ and His blood!

Verse 29: "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!…. [Greek is 'me ginoito'] …Rather, we are establishing the Law" (vs 29-31).

How do you establish law? Through justification! When you receive the Holy Spirit of God you desire to do and keep the laws of God. Therefore, you are establishing it now because it's from the heart, from within. Just like all of us who have children. It's a real pleasure when our children do the things that they have been told to do without being told to do it. So it is with God! That's how we grow spiritually, when we do the things that please God. We're establishing law. We're using it properly. We're using it the way that God wants it done.

What was it that God did? Why was this called the righteousness of God? There's a 'righteousness of the Law' but this is the 'righteousness of God.' If God gave us all human nature, how is God going to solve the problem? He has judged us all sinners. 'The wages of sin is death.'

  • How is God going to solve this problem?
  • Who created mankind? Jesus Christ!
  • Who gave mankind the law of sin and death, or the human nature that we have? God did!
  • How is God going to make this right for all human beings since God did it, and shut us up under sin?
    • All have sinned and come short of the glory of God!
    • The wages of sin is death!

Let's see what happened. In His righteous God judged Himself. That's pretty heavy! Think on that! Since God is responsible for all of this, God must take care of it. If God is righteous, should He not then judge Himself with the same judgment that He judged us? That is heavy! We're getting into some deep and profound things which really show the love of God. So, what did He do? Christ came in the flesh! One of Elohim Who became Christ divested Himself of being God and took upon Himself the same kind of flesh that we have and with the law of sin and death within His members. Since He gave it to human beings, He took it upon Himself as a human being so that He would in effect become sin for us. I want you to think about how great this is! How marvelous this is, that God would do it.

2-Corinthians 5:18: "And all things are from God, Who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given to us the ministry of reconciliation; which is, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself…" (vs 18-19). So, even God the Father was experiencing, because of having the Holy Spirit in Christ to the fullness.

 "…not imputing their trespasses to them; and He has entrusted to us this message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ; and God, as it were, is exhorting you through us. We beseech you on behalf of Christ, 'Be reconciled to God.' For He made Him Who knew no sin to be sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him" (vs 18-21).

That being the case, is God fair? Yes! More than fair! We know all the Scriptures where 'He was tempted like as we are, yet without sin…' and so forth. That shows the righteous judgment of God upon Himself for all human beings. It is so special that He, in particular, can apply it to every human being individually one at a time.

This is given, brethren, to inspire us of how great God is, that He would do this for us in such a wonderful and profound way!

Let's look at some of the things of how difficult this was for Christ. Let's understand a little bit more why Jesus did what He did when He went and prayed.

Luke 22:39: "Then He left the house and went, as He was accustomed, to the Mount of Olives; and His disciples also followed Him. And when He arrived at the place, He said to them, 'Pray that you do not enter into temptation.' And He withdrew from them about a stone's throw; and falling to His knees, He prayed, saying, 'Father, if You are willing to take away this cup from Me…'" (vs 39-42).

  • What cup is this?
  • Why would He say, 'remove it'? It was so difficult!

"…nevertheless, not My will, but Your will be done.'…. [He always did the will of the Father] …Then an angel from heaven appeared to Him, strengthening Him. And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. And His sweat became as great drops of blood falling down to the ground" (vs 42-44).

Why was He so traumatized at this particular point? He knew the crucifixion and everything that would happen; He would be taking upon Himself publicly once for all, all the sins of human kind! So, symbolically—in order to get rid of all of the sins of humankind and those sins that were caused by the great whore—He drank of that cup to get rid of those sins—symbolically.

Revelation 17:2 talks about the 'great whore'; she caused all the sins on the earth: "'With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and those who dwell on the earth were made drunk with the wine of her fornication.' Then he carried me away in the spirit to a wilderness; and I saw a woman sitting upon a scarlet beast that had seven heads and ten horns, full of names of blasphemy. And the woman was clothed in purple and scarlet, and was adorned with gold and pearls and precious stones; and she had a golden cup in her hand, filled with abominations and the filthiness of her fornication" (vs 2-4).

That cup that was so hard for Christ to take was the sins of the whole world. There's no law; that was His choice. That was the righteous judgment of God!

So therefore, when God begins to call us and we are convicted of sin and He forgives our sins, we know that they are taken care of completely:

  • freely, because of the act of God!
  • freely, because there's no way you can buy this!
  • freely, because there's no way you can work for it!

Romans 3:24: "But are being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus… [it can't be by a work] …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" (vs 24-26).

Knowing that it is that free, fantastic and marvelous act of God that all of this is possible.

Galatians 2:14: "But when I saw that they did not walk uprightly according to the Truth of the Gospel, I said to Peter in the presence of them all, 'If you, being a Jew, are living like the Gentiles, and not according to Judaism, why do you compel the Gentiles to Judaize?…. [separate—Jews over here, Gentiles over here] …We who are Jews by nature—and not sinners of the Gentiles—knowing that a man is not justified by works of law, but through the faith of Jesus Christ, we also have believed in Christ Jesus in order that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by works of law…'" (vs 14-16).

Separation was a work of law. They felt better! They felt in right standing with God! They had separated themselves from them. But, they knew better.

"'…because by works of law shall no flesh be justified. Now then, if we are seeking to be justified in Christ, and we ourselves are found to be sinners, is Christ then the minister of sin? MAY IT NEVER BE! For if I build again those things that I destroyed, I am making myself a transgressor. For I through law died to works of law… [the wages of sin death] …in order that I may live to God!'" (vs 16-19).

Here's how He died! Here's how all of us died! We just described a little bit of what Christ went through in burying the sins of the whole world. Now it's applied and imputed to each one individually.

Verse 20: "I have been crucified with Christ…" That's what the Greek means. When you are baptized, you are jointly baptized into His death!

"…yet I live. Indeed, it is no longer I; but Christ lives in me…. [which is the gift of the Holy Spirit] …For the life that I am now living in the flesh, I live by faith—that very faith of the Son of God… [Christ's very own faith, and that can only come as a gift from God] … Who loved me and gave Himself for me. I do not nullify the grace of God; for if righteousness… [to achieve the justification] …is through works of law, then Christ died in vain" (vs 20-21).

This is important to really understand. I don't think we will have anything quite as heavy as this. I think this is the most technical and the heaviest part of the study of the book of Romans that we will go through in understanding works of law! If you understand that, then this will help you greatly in your relationship with God, because now you know that any time you can go to Christ, you live under His grace, we are to grow in grace. If grace is only the forgiveness of sin, how are you going to grow in the forgiveness of sin? No! Grace means that it is based and motivated on

  • loving God
  • seeking to please Him
  • letting Christ live in you like the Apostle Paul said

That's how you grow in the grace and knowledge.

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

Scriptural References:

  • 2 Timothy 4:3-4
  • Galatians 2:11-13
  • Galatians 3:1
  • Luke 1:1-4
  • Galatians 32:1
  • Galatians 4:10, 8-11
  • Colossians 2:16
  • John 7:16-18
  • Romans 3:20
  • Revelation 2:2, 9, 13, 19, 23
  • Romans 3:20
  • Romans 2:15
  • Romans 3:21-26
  • Galatians 3:22
  • Romans 3:26-31
  • 2 Corinthians 5:18-21
  • Luke 22:39-44
  • Revelation 17:2-4
  • Romans 3:24-26
  • Galatians 2:14-21

Scriptures referenced, not quoted:

  • Acts 15
  • 1-John 2

Also referenced:

  • Books:
  • New Age Bible Versions by Gail Riplinger
  • Code of Jewish Law by Solomon Ganzfried & Hyman E. Goldin
  • Sermons:
    • New Age Bible Versions #s 1 & 2
    • Preservation of the Text (Carl Franklin)
    • The Two Righteousnesses #s 1 & 2
      • Sermon Series: Scripturalism vs Judaism

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

BOOKS