By: Pastor Jay Jackson
Paul began by convincing us that we have no hope because we lived lives by our daily disobedience to God. He also made it clear to us that God expects us to be righteous but highlighted that we are not righteous no matter how hard we try. At the end of the passage Paul also encourages us that God has made us righteous through our faith in Jesus Christ.
This may sound strange and we have to wonder how this happens.
Paul mentions righteousness that comes to us APART from the works of the law and righteousness that is GIVEN TO US by God.
As Paul tries to explain Romans 3, there is a story from old testament that reinforces these passages. Genesis 14-15 is an account of how Abram rescued Lot and his people, then Melchizedek, king of Salem blessed him. Followed by the Lord's covenant to Abram of giving him numerous descendants.
Genesis tells us that Abraham was a good man, but also made mistakes in his life. Still God holds up Abraham as an example to us not because of the things he behaved but because of the way he believed.
Similarly in Romans 3, Paul lays out for us that we all failed to be righteous because of our disobedience. The moment we decide to disobey God, we are also deciding to be punished.
What shall we conclude then? Do we have any advantage? Not at all! For we have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under the power of sin. As it is written:“There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.” --Romans 3:9-12
Romans reveals that no matter how hard we try not to sin but we sin anyways and that consequence is inevitable.
Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin. --Romans 3:19-20
God's law didn't make us better people but God's law made us guiltier. While it is true that God demanded that we become righteous, and then gave the Law to prove that we are not righteous, He also sent His Son Jesus Christ to die for us that He could give us the righteousness he demanded.
This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe... for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement ... to be received by faith... he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus. --Romans 3:21-26
God's righteousness is not something that we earned, God's righteousness is His gift to us because we believed. This truth will leave us nothing to boast about, but it will change our life forever.