But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 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. 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.
Romans 3:21-26 (ESV)
How do we know we are sinners? God's law shows us we are sinners because it is in the Law that we see God's righteousness and the requirements for righteousness. It is in the Law that we recognize three things: 1) We see that we are not like God, who is perfectly righteous and good; 2) We have all sinned and fallen short of His glory; and 3) That we have broken His Law many times over.
In Romans 3:21-26, Paul added that God's righteousness has now “been manifested apart from the Law” (v.21). How can that be? By God forgiving sinners. There is a problem with this though. You see, me and you want God to forgive us and it cost us absolutely nothing. But, we also understand that God must punish sin because He is a just God. Sin against God is treason against the Creator of the universe. We simply just assume that because of his love, we should just be forgiven. We hear all the time on our favorite shows and movies, "Everyone deserves a second chance." The simple problem with this famous quote people like to throw around is that we are slaves. Thus, we do not deserve anything good. Instead, we deserve Hell for our sin and rebellion and deserve physical and spiritual death. But God is gracious – “all have sinned and have fall short of the glory of God” (v.23).
All who are justified, are "justified by His grace as a gift" (v.24). I love this passage in the Greek. Grace as a gift is literally a gift of favor. Something by its very definition cannot be earned. And it is done by the redemption found only in Christ. We are bought by a great price, Jesus. Jesus was put forth as a sacrifice by God in our place. We deserve death, but because Jesus' blood was shed our penalty has been paid. The word propitiation means to satisfy. Jesus completely and utterly swallowed all of the wrath of God that we deserved. He passed over our sins and showed divine forbearance, which means to hold back His wrath in patience. He did all of this and we receive it by faith in Jesus. It is after this that we are declared righteous. God did all of this to justify you so that you could be made right with Him.
So, contrary to popular belief, God did not break the law for love. His love led Him to give us His Son in our place. His love led Him to give grace to us by pouring out wrath on His Son. Believe in this. This is our hope. This is our redemption.
This post was written by Armando Yzaguirre Jr., our Family Ministry Pastor.