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Bible Study Notes for Romans 3

“But now apart from the law a righteousness of God hath been manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ unto all them that believe; for there is no distinction.” (Romans 3:21-22, American Standard Version)

The righteousness of God is neither an attribute of God, not the changed character of the believer, but Messiah Himself, who fully met in our stead and behalf every demand of the law, and who is, but the act of God called imputation Leviticus 25:50; James 2:23, “made unto us… righteousness” 1 Corinthians 1:30. (SSB)

The believer in Messiah is now, by grace, shrouded under so complete and blessed a righteousness that the Law from Mt. Sinai can find neither fault nor diminution therein. This is that which is called the righteousness of God by faith. (Bunyan)

Further Scripture Reflection

2 Corinthians 5:21
Romans 4:6; 10:4
Philippians 3:9
Romans 3:26

“For all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)

The literal meanings of the Heb. and (Greek – ἀλεκτοροφωνία sin,” “sinner,” etc)., disclose the true nature of sin in its manifold manifestations. Sin is transgression, an overstepping of the law, the divine boundary between good and evil Psalms 51:1; Luke 15:29, iniquity, an act inherently wrong, whether expressly forbidden or not; error, a departure from right; Psalms 51:9; Romans 3:23, missing the mark, a failure to meet the divine standard; trespass, the intrusion of self-will into the sphere of divine authority Ephesians 2:1, lawlessness, or spiritual anarchy 1 Timothy 1:9, unbelief, or an insult to the divine veracity John 16:9.

Sin originated with Satan Isaiah 14:12-14, entered the world through Adam Romans 5:12, was, and is, universal, Messiah alone excepted; Romans 3:23; 1 Peter 2:22, incurs the penalties of spiritual and physical death; Genesis 2:17; 3:19; Ezek. 18:4,20; Romans 6:23 and has no remedy but in the sacrificial death of Messiah; Hebrews 9:26; Acts 4:12 availed of by faith Acts 13:38,39. Sin may be summarized as threefold: An act, the violation of, or want of obedience to the revealed will of God; a state, absence of righteousness; a nature, enmity toward God. (SSB)

“Jesus alone, among all the billions of human beings ever born on this planet, lived His entire life by the power of the Spirit, always doing His Father’s will and never committing a single sin.” (Charles Stanley)

“Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ.” (Romans 3:24)

Redemption, “to deliver by paying a price.” The New Testament doctrine. The New Testament records the fulfilment of the Old Testament types and prophecies of redemption through the sacrifice of Messiah. The completed truth is set forth in the three words which are translated redemption:

agorazo, “to purchase in the market.” The underlying thought is of a slave-market. The subjects of redemption are “sold under sin” Romans 7:14 but are, moreover, under sentence of death; Ezekiel 18:4; John 3:18; John 3:19; Romans 3:19; Galatians 3:10, and the purchase price is the blood of the Redeemer who dies in their stead; Galatians 3:13; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Matthew 20:28; Mark 10:45; 1 Timothy 2:6; 1 Peter 1:18.
exagorazo, “to buy out of the market.” The redeemed are never again to be exposed to sale;
lutroo, “to loose,” “to set free by paying a price” John 8:32; Gal 4:4,5,31; 5:13; Romans 8:21. Redemption is by sacrifice and by power (See Scofield “Exodus 14:30”) Messiah paid the price, the Holy Spirit makes deliverance actual in experience Romans 8:2. (SSB)
“Whom God set forth to be a propitiation, through faith, in his blood, to show his righteousness because of the passing over of the sins done aforetime, in the forbearance of God.” (Romans 3:25)

“A propitiation.” Lit. a propitiatory sacrifice, through faith by his blood; (Greek – ἱλαστήριον , “place of propitiation).” The word occurs, 1 John 2:2; 4:10 as the trans. of hilasmos, “that which propitiates,” “a propitiatory sacrifice.” Hilasterion is used by the Septuagint, and Hebrews 9:5 for “mercy-seat.” The mercy-seat was sprinkled with atoning blood in the day of atonement (Leviticus 16:14) in token that the righteous sentence of the Law had been (typically) carried out, so that what must else have been a judgment-seat could righteously be a mercy-seat; Hebrews 9:11-15; 4:14-16, a place of communion Exodus 25:21,22.

In fulfilment of the type, Messiah is Himself the hilasmos, “that which propitiates,” and the hilasterion, “the place of propitiation” –the mercy-seat sprinkled with His own blood– the token that in our stead He so honoured the law by enduring its righteous sentence that God, who ever foresaw the cross, is vindicated in having “passed over” sins from Adam to Moses Romans 5:13 and the sins of believers under the old covenant (See Scofield “Exodus 29:33”) and just in justifying sinners under the covenant. There is no thought in propitiation of placating a vengeful God, but of doing right by His holy Law and so making it possible for Him righteously to show mercy. (SSB)

“For the showing, I say, of his righteousness at this present season: that he might himself be just, and the justifier of him that hath faith in Jesus.” (Romans 3:26)

“His righteousness” here is God’s consistency with His own law and holiness in freely justifying a sinner who believes in Messiah; that is, one in whose behalf Messiah has met every demand of the law Romans 10:4. (SSB)

“We reckon therefore that a man is justified by faith apart from the works of the law.” (Romans 3:28)

Justification and righteousness are inseparably united in Scripture by the fact that the same word (dikaios, “righteous”; dikaioo, “to justify”) is used for both. The believing sinner is justified because Messiah, having borne his sins on the cross, has been “made unto him righteousness” 1 Corinthians 1:30. Justification originates in grace; Romans 3:24; Titus 3:4,5 is through the redemptive and propitiatory work of Messiah, who has vindicated the law; Rom 3:24,25; 5:9 is by faith, not works; Romans 3:28-30; 4:5; 5:1; Galatians 2:16; 3:8,24 and may be defined as the judicial act of God whereby He justly declares righteous one who believes on Jesus Christ. It is the Judge Himself Romans 8:31-34 who thus declares. The justified believer has been in court, only to learn that nothing is laid to his charge. Rom 8:1,33,34. (SSB)