Theme: By Faith Alone
From this week’s lessons we learn that Romans 3 can be considered the heart of the Bible because of the clear and comprehensive way it shows us the depth of our sin, and what the Lord Jesus Christ has done to save us from it.
Scripture: Romans 3
Yesterday we looked at propitiation and justification. The third term is redemption. It is a business term. It has to do with buying something back. In the ancient world much of the commerce had to do with the purchase and selling of slaves, and this term relates particularly to slavery. It meant to buy a slave out of slavery and set the slave free. It is what Jesus has done for us.
Our problem is not merely that we sin and merit sin’s penalty. That is bad enough. But it is also the fact that we are enslaved by sin. That is why there is no one righteous, no one who understands, no one who seeks after God. Sin has us in its power; and, struggle as we will, we cannot get out. But Jesus Christ sets His people free. He fills them with His Spirit, gives them new understanding, sets them on the way they should go, and gives them power to live a new life. So long as we are in this life, sin clings to us. We sin again and again. But we can be free of the power of that sin by the work of our Redeemer.
In the final section of Romans 3 Paul uses the word “faith” eight times. It describes our response to God’s activity. Faith is believing in God. God says, “I sent Jesus Christ to die and be your Savior. He has paid the penalty for your sin. I justify you on the basis of what Jesus Christ has done.” Faith says, “I believe that, and now I am going to act differently as a result.”
Paul uses that word “faith” eight times, as I just said. You find it in verse 22: “This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.” You find it in verse 25: “God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood.” In verse 26: “. . . so as to be just and the one who justifies the man who has faith in Jesus.” In verse 27: “On what principle? On that of observing the law? No, but on that of faith.” Verse 28: “. . . a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law.” Verse 30: “There is only one God, who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith.” Verse 31: “Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law.” Paul could hardly emphasize faith more. It is our necessary response to the gospel.
The gospel has two parts: your need, because of your utter ruin in sin, and God’s perfect solution in Jesus Christ. The question posed to you by any proclamation of that gospel is: Will you respond? Will you believe on Jesus? God calls you to receive Him as your Savior. Go in the way He leads and experience His blessing.
Define the third theological term from Romans 3:21-26.
How does the Bible understand faith?
Application: Over the past two days, we considered the doctrines of propitiation, justification, and redemption. Do you know them well enough to be able to explain them to someone else, and how they fit together as part of an overall presentation of the gospel?
For Further Study: At the center of God’s gracious action in the gospel is the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. Download and listen for free to James Boice’s message from John 3:16, entitled “God’s Greatest Gift.” (Discount will be applied at checkout.)