Romans: The Case for Christ to a Hostile World (16)

faith1Righteousness through Faith (3:27-31)

The Great Apostle has delivered the Gospel with clarity and completeness.  However, so persistent and powerful is the human will to pride that he once again explains our human helplessness with regard to salvation in the most specific possible manner.

27 Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. On what principle? On the principle of works? No, but on the principle of faith. 28 For we hold that a man is justified by faith apart from works of law. 

It is a testament to the awesome, terrible consequence of sin that throughout the Christian Church works-based theology dominates (either explicitly or implicitly) in spite of the Bible’s absolutely clear testimony to the contrary.  Let there be no doubt, many professing Christians demand their “rightful share” of the glory for their salvation.  How dare God horde all of the glory?  How dare God presume to decide whom to save?  How dare God declare us all to be dead in our sins, thus denying those of us “better persons” our higher moral status?  It is an outrage that cannot be allowed to stand!

And so, we Christians prance around pretending to have achieved a higher moral and spiritual status because of our works.  We treat God Almighty like an embarrassment.  We presume to be His judge.  And, we mock Him by imagining that His Gospel requires our modification for it to be relevant in our contemporary world.

29 Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, 30 since God is one; and he will justify the circumcised on the ground of their faith and the uncircumcised through their faith. 31 Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law.

Chapter 3 ends with this statement of the Gospel’s universal scope — for the Jews and the Gentiles encompasses all of humanity.  In the next thirteen chapters Paul will expand and elaborate on the themes introduced up to this point.  However, the Gospel — God’s response to human sinfulness — has been delivered to Imperial Rome.  And, in spite of its apparent pagan power, Rome will eventually bow down to Christ because God willed that it would be so.

The Apostle Paul could not have known that, almost three centuries later, this would happen.  However, he did know Christ crucified and risen.  And, on that faith he staked his life, which was likely ended by an executioner’s sword near Rome.



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