(21) But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; (22) Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: (23) For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;Romans 3:21-23
There is a righteousness that can come by keeping the law. It is the righteousness that Jesus fulfilled. He was born without a sin nature, and kept the law perfectly. He never sinned by comission or omission. He perfectly did God’s Will. This is the only way to be positionally righteous by the law.
This creates a problem for us, because we are born with a sin nature. We are sinners by nature and by action. This is the case that Paul has been making through the first part of the espistle, even until now. We all stand guilty before God, “for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
The Words ” but now” indicate a transition in topic. This is a transition that introduces something new that is founded upon previous part. He has declared and fortified the idea that all of mankind stands guilty when it comes to God’s law. Now Paul declares something incredible.
Paul begins this passage by saying there is another way to be considered righteous before God. This is good news, since we can’t do it by the law. He says that this righteous standing before God was witnessed by the law and the prophets. The Old Testament gives indication to this fact.
How does the Old Testament give indication to a righteousness outside of the law? There was always a moral law, which cannot be kept. But there was also a ceremonial law. This law demanded things like ceremonial washings, blood sacrifices, and much more. These were pictures and shadows of the atonement that is needed to cover and purge our sin. Of course, these ceremonies and sacrifices were pointing beyond the need for the ceremony itself, but for the Messiah to come and be the final atoning sacrifice for sin.
This righteousness of God that is avaible “without the law” or outside of the law is named here. He says it is “even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe”. This is a right standing before God that does not come by the works of the law, but by the righteousness of God imputed to those who believe on Jesus Christ.
What does he mean by “there is no difference”. There is no difference between those who have the law and those who don’t. All have sinned and come short of the glory of God. All need to be saved, and can only be saved by faith that is in Jesus Christ.
Our sin and its consequences are the greatest problem we face as human beings. We can not be made right with God on our own. No amount of good deed doing can cover up our sin. We need to be forgiven.
The good news is that God the Son kept the law on our behalf. We can be made righteous by believing on Him. To do that we have to agree with God about our sin through repentance and humbly place our faith and trust on Jesus.
Have you repented and trusted in Christ?
- No? Do it now! Then email me!
- Yes? Take some time to pray and thank God for your salvation. Also, think about who needs to hear this and go tell them!