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 all the world may become accountable to God. Therefore by the works of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for through the law comes the knowledge of sin.Romans 3:19–20 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)
What Paul is writing is that the purpose of the law is to expose the futility of the bondage every human is in. That bondage is sinning unto death. Romans 3 shows us our bondage and silences any objection we might have. We all know that we have missed the mark of perfection.
Even by keeping the law for the rest of our lives, it cannot make up for past offenses. What the law shows us is that barring intervention, we are doomed.
But now, apart from the law, the righteousness of God is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets. This righteousness of God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all and upon all who believe, for there is no distinction.Romans 3:21–22 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)
The law doesn’t show us the righteousness of God. That is revealed apart from the law. Though the law is a witness to the righteousness of God, along with the prophets. It didn’t reveal the righteousness of God.
What is the righteousness of God?
Paul says it comes to all through faith and is upon all who believe. There is a very subtle distinction here. Though the righteousness of God comes to all it is not upon all. It is only upon those who by faith… Believe. Yes, it sounds redundant. It’s an important point.
For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,Romans 3:23–24 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)
Whether a believer or not, Israeli or not, atheist, Buddhist or whatever… There is no difference. All fall short of the mark of righteousness. The righteousness that is revealed to all. Yet every single one of those that have sinned and fallen short is being justified freely right now. That justification comes in Jesus Christ.
What it means is that if you’re breathing and reading this, it’s because of Jesus. That is especially true if you are painfully aware of your personal imperfections.
This is a respite from punishment. Some call it a delay. God calls it a day of salvation. Without the stay of execution, no human could live long enough to escape death and the condemnation that comes with it.
This grace comes to all. That is the righteousness of God revealed. It’s been revealed since the garden when Adam sinned.
Paul will tell you why.
whom God has set forth to be a propitiation through faith, in His blood, for a demonstration of His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins previously committed,Romans 3:25 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)
God set forth Jesus as a propitiation. That’s a big word. What it means is God’s wrath is set aside. It is set aside for everyone. God is ready to forgive!
That’s the demonstration of His righteousness. Because He passed over sins previously committed. He passed over Adam’s. He passed over David’s. He passed over mine. He passed over yours.
All of that is to give time for repentance. That’s the important point we spoke of before. There is a delay. If there wasn’t, each of us would die in our sins. We would not have any time to repent and seek remission of sins.
to prove His righteousness at this present time so that He might be just and be the justifier of him who has faith in Jesus.Romans 3:26 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)
Universally, every human is free to go after sinning. That’s the cross. That’s the proof of His righteousness. He doesn’t wink at sin. Every sin has received a just punishment… At the cross.
Jesus says the problem is dying in sins. Sure, the penalty is removed, yet the sin is not. That’s the condemnation. Sin can only be removed by confession.
God is both just, saying to all who’ve sinned, you’re free to go. What each of us does with that freedom is exactly where the hinge of eternity pivots. Some believe the truth, and by faith confess that and their sin, and they are saved. Others do not and die IN their sin.
Don’t be like the latter.