As we continue to look through Romans, we are going to see Paul address those who ask what are the requirements to salvation. We live in a world where there are churches who ask people to jump through hoops to be saved. Where one church has one set of requirements and another has a different set. But we see Jesus address this directly in that all one has to do is accept Jesus as Lord, and nothing else is required.
When Paul addresses this in Romans, he speaks of the “Law” and “Prophets”. There was no New Testament, so all they had was the Old Testament. And people might think that they are OK in life, that they are not “bad”. But Paul is trying to show them that there is no “good enough”. Paul previously has laid out the need of Jesus, he now talks about the importance. What has God given and what does that mean to me?
Here Paul shows that God’s righteousness is known regardless of the Old Testament. It testifies to who God is, and that it is real and complete. This righteousness is available to all who believe. No matter what your background. God wants us to stand before him. But the reality is that we cannot do that on our own. So God is asking us to believe in His heart for us that He ordained this before creation. But it requires us to take Him at his word.
Do you think that maybe Paul was saying this because there were those who were saying something contrary to this? We definitely see groups of people in our time who put the requirements before the faith.
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. This is good news. Because it prepares our hearts and minds to see that we are all sinners in need of a savior. If we all have sinned, in Christ, we are all justified through the grace and redemption of Jesus. Justified is a legal term that means we are declared right before the court. And because this is given freely, it means that we didn’t have to bring anything to the table. Jesus paid the price.
Have any of us faced a judge and find that the judge has paid our fine for us? Surely not! But here we find ourselves before the judge, and he pays the price of our sin. No one is exempt from standing before the judge. And the offer is given to everyone.
Everyone has been redeemed through the cross. And the moment that we take him up on that offer, our sin is placed on Jesus, and Jesus’ righteousness is placed on us before God. But there is a decision to be made. We have to take up that offer by faith. Past, present, and future the only way we are made righteous is through Jesus’ blood.
So Paul asks, “Where is boasting?” The law of works that people relied on was not there to show when they are righteous (which could lead to boasting.) But it was there to show that righteousness was unattainable on our own. And whether Jew or Gentile, it is by faith. So does this faith nullify the law? Nope. Because the law was an expression of our relationship with God. Because if we are truly serious in our faith, the law becomes an expression of our faith.
So review and learn the principles that Paul brings forth in these passages. As we interact with the world, it will be these truths that should be the starting point for what it means to have salvation.
29 Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” (ESV)
21 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: (ESV)
23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, (ESV)
25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. (ESV)
27 Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith. 28 For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law. 29 Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, 30 since God is one—who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith. 31 Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law. (ESV)