Declared Righteous - Romans 3

Declared Righteous

Romans 3:1-31

Evangelical Christians speak often about salvation.  It's a major theme of Bible believers, and rightly so.  Nothing is more important than eternal salvation.  When witnessing to unbelievers the question is often asked, "Are you saved?"  Seldom, if ever, is the question raised, "Have you been justified?"  Perhaps that's because most people don't understand the meaning of the word justified.

In Paul's letter to the Romans the apostle frequently uses the word.  Justification is the major theme of the first five chapters of Romans.  What does it mean?  To be justified is to be "declared righteous."  Someone has said, "Justification means 'just as if I had never sinned; just as if I had lived righteously all my life.'"  How can someone who is unrighteous, a sinner, be declared righteous before a holy God?  Paul deals with that question here.

But first, he is clear as to how we are not justified.  "Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin."  Romans 3:20.  Unfortunately, many people mistakenly think that they can have a right relationship with God by obeying the Ten Commandments, doing good, or being good.  Some resort to the image of scales to illustrate the justice of divine judgment, believing that those whose good works outweigh their bad works will go to heaven.  They're wrong.

The law cannot save anyone from sin.  The purpose of the law is to reveal sin.  "Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God."  Romans 3:19.  The whole world is found guilty, because all have sinned.  A sinner cannot save himself by obeying the law that he has already violated.

We are not declared righteous by the works of the law, but rather we are "justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus."  Romans 3:24.  Since we are justified by God's grace, we are freely justified.  Justification is a gift like eternal life and salvation.  See Romans 6:23; Ephesians 2:8, 9.  Also, being through the redemption that is in Christ, our justification is "by His blood."  Romans 3:25.  God made an open display of His righteousness in the vicarious sacrifice of His Son, who died the righteous for the unrighteous.

The blood of Christ and the grace of God are God's part in our justification.  What does the Lord require of us?  "But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed...even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe."  Romans 3:21, 22.  "Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law."  Romans 3:28.  Any and all, who rely upon God's grace and Christ's death, are justified by believing in the Savior, our Lord Jesus Christ. 

Dear Christian, the blood of the Lamb has taken away your sins.  Now when God looks at you, He sees the righteousness of Christ.  You are accepted in Him, and declared righteous!

 

Heavenly Father, You are both just and justifier of those who believe on the Son.  Thank You for the blood that was shed, and the grace freely given.  We praise You, and give You all the glory.  In Jesus' name.  Amen!

 

The Faith of Abraham - Romans 4

 
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