In this section of the Bible Knowledge Commentary’s Notes on Romans, we find comments on Romans 3:21-5:21, dealing with the subject of God’s righteousness revealed in justification. This is one of the most beautiful yet profound passages in all the Word of God. It begins with an explanation of God’s provided righteousness. Paul shares with us that since all are under sin, salvation is available to all on an equal basis. All human beings share the same condition. We are all condemned in our sin. This goes to show that there is nothing that any person can do to earn merit or favor from God. Therefore, in order to be saved from the condemnation of sin, we must be justified. To be justified is to be ‘declared righteous.’ This declaration of righteousness comes only as a work of God through the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ. The death of Christ demonstrated the justice of God. God is just and right in His judgment on sin. Keeping with the legal sense, those who believe in Him by faith are declared righteous. This does not take away the fact that we are sinners. However, it is a removal of the penalty of sin on our lives and a legal and binding declaration of God that we are righteous based upon the righteousness of Jesus.
This righteousness that God provides for us through Jesus is illustrated in Romans chapter four. Paul examines the life of both Abraham and David and shows how we are justified by faith and not by works, religious rites, or the law. Instead, we are justified by faith in the promises of God. We are promised by God, eternal life, if we believe in that promise by faith. We are promised the removal of the penalty of sin, if we believe in that promise by faith. We are promised the imputed righteousness of Christ, if we believe in that promise by faith.
In chapter five, we find how we can enjoy the provided righteousness of God. Since we have been justified by faith, we now have an ongoing peace with God. We are not responsible for this peace; however, we enjoy this peace that we have with God. This peace with God, thus, gives us access into the grace of God. Because of the access we have to God we also rejoice in the hope or confidence that we have in Him. This hope then gives us the perseverance that we need to get through the trials of life, which then in turn produces in us a Godly character.
The provided righteousness of God is then contrasted in 5:12-21. Here we find the comparison between Adam and Christ. By Adam, we are all sinners. Through the sin of Adam, death now comes to all people. On the contrary, through Jesus, the grace of God is made available to and offered to all. All those who by faith receive that gift of grace, is given life and will reign in that life with Christ. The law then comes into play in order to show us our desperate sinful state so that grace may abound.
One can never grow weary of studying the great truths of justification by faith. The grace of God is beyond measure. It is beyond anything we can imagine. All we can do is humbly accept His gift of grace and stand in awe of Him!