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CMF eZine


The online magazine of the Christian Military Fellowship.


Author: Bob Flynn

Bob Flynn was born and raised in Los Angeles County, California.  He is the son of a watchmaker and jeweler.  He spent 23 years in the Navy where he enjoyed flying on the P-3 Orion as a flight engineer and serving as a manager in aircraft maintenance.  He has been married to his high school sweetheart, Nancy, for 49 years and they have two grown sons.  Bob came to the day of salvation as an adult while caring for his mother as she was dying of cancer.  Bob joined the Christian Military Fellowship in 1981 and served as Local Representative and then later as President of the governing Counsel.  Upon retirement from the Navy, Bob was called to serve on the staff of CMF as the Coordinator of Ministries, later Chief Operating Officer, and now President and Chief Executive Officer.  His undergraduate and graduate university studies include business management, human resource management, church ministries, Biblical studies, and information technology management.


Romans 4:01 - Sola Fide

Christian, take good care of thy faith; for recollect faith is the only way whereby thou canst obtain blessings.  If we want blessings from God, nothing can fetch them down but faith.  Prayer cannot draw down answers from God’s throne except it be the earnest prayer of the man who believes.  Faith is the angelic messenger between the soul and the Lord Jesus in glory.  Let that angel be withdrawn, we can neither send up prayer, nor receive the answers.  Faith is the telegraphic wire which links earth and heaven—on which God’s messages of love fly so fast, that before we call he answers, and while we are yet speaking he hears us.  But if that telegraphic wire of faith be snapped, how can we receive the promise? Am I in trouble?—I can obtain help for trouble by faith.  Am I beaten about by the enemy?—my soul on her dear Refuge leans by faith.  But take faith away—in vain I call to God.  There is no road betwixt my soul and heaven.  In the deepest wintertime faith is a road on which the horses of prayer may travel—aye, and all the better for the biting frost; but blockade the road, and how can we communicate with the Great King?  Faith links me with divinity.  Faith clothes me with the power of God.  Faith engages on my side the omnipotence of Jehovah.  Faith ensures every attribute of God in my defense.  It helps me to defy the hosts of hell.  It makes me march triumphant over the necks of my enemies.  But without faith how can I receive anything of the Lord?  Let not him that wavereth—who is like a wave of the Sea—expect that he will receive anything of God!  O, then, Christian, watch well thy faith; for with it thou canst win all things, however poor thou art, but without it thou canst obtain nothing.  “If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.” Charles Haddon Spurgeon, Morning and evening

"What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, has found?" (NASB)

"What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found?" (KJV)

"Abraham was, humanly speaking, the founder of our Jewish nation. What did He discover about being made right with God?" (NLT)

"Abraham was, humanly speaking, the founder of our Jewish nation. What were his experiences concerning this question of being saved by faith?" (NLT 1996)

"What then shall we say that Abraham, our ancestor according to the flesh, has discovered regarding this matter?" (NET)

Sola Fide - Salvation comes only through faith in Jesus and not good works (in particular the belief in atonement for sins at the cross and the resurrection of Christ)

We begin a new journey into what is old. The Apostle Paul here begins the argument that salvation has always been by faith. He starts with considering the Jewish ancestor Abraham. Does this supposedly new doctrine of Paul agree with the account already preserved in Scripture? Was Abraham some kind of special case because of who he was in the flesh? It is important that we discover the very same thing as Abraham if we are to "know with certainty" (Romans 6:6) the foundation of our faith.

Healing

Healing

John Bunyan (author of the classic Pilgrim's Progress) wrote the following in his book Grace Abounding to the Chief Sinners:

As for my own natural life for the time that I was without God in the world, it was indeed “according to the course of this world,” and “the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience.” (Eph. 2:2,3) It was my delight to be taken captive by the “devil at his will,” 2 Tim. 2: 26, being filled with all unrighteousness; the which did also so strongly work and put forth itself both in my heart and life, and that from a child, that I had few equals, especially considering my years, which were tender, for cursing, swearing, lying, and blaspheming the holy name of God.  Yea, so settled and rooted was I in these things, that they became as a second nature to me; the which, as I have also with soberness considered since, did so offend the Lord, that even in my childhood he did scare and affrighten me with fearful dreams, and did terrify me with fearful visions.  For often, after I had spent this and the other day in sin, I have in my bed been greatly afflicted, while asleep, with the apprehensions of devils and wicked spirits, who still, as I then thought, labored to draw me away with them, of which I could never be rid.

Observe this vivid and honest confession of a man who has recognized that he is in fact dead in his sin.  Can you hear the excruciating anguish of his words? Can you feel the struggle of his soul against the utter wretchedness of his estate?  For is that not where Christ finds us all adrift and helpless in the misery of our self-made death?  Is it not life that He offers us?  The question He asks each one of us is, “Do you want to be healed?”

The Apostle John preserves for us this wondrous illustration:

Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Hebrew called Beth-zatha, which has five porticoes.  In these lay a multitude of invalids, blind, lame, paralyzed.  One man was there, who had been ill for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him and knew that he had been lying there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be healed?”  The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is troubled, and while I am going another steps down before me.”  Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your pallet, and walk.”  And at once the man was healed, and he took up his pallet and walked. (John 5:2-9 RSV)

We have all kinds of open wounds we call hurts, angers, and fears. We keep them hidden deep within our hearts yet they nevertheless affect the way we live.  These are wounds that must be healed if we are to live our lives for the Savior.  Only He can heal them. The question is, will we let Him?  Jesus says to us, "Do you want to be healed?"  These wounds are fortresses where the enemy of our soul still holds us captive.  They are strongholds of the enemy still because we were the ones who chose to guard the gate with impotence, arrogance and passivity as our weapons: arrogance in our belief that we have, in our own strength, the ability to live a life worthy of our calling; impotence in our perceived, yet hollow, victories against this terrible foe; passivity in our faith experience as we await the holy lightning bolt to set it all straight.

Mother Martyria (1904-1999, the much loved co-founder of the Evangelical Sisterhood of Mary) once said, “It is your constant patience in faith which will decide the struggle against sin, not occasional victories or defeats.”  Perhaps Isaiah said it best, “ Have you never heard or understood?  Don’t you know that the Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth?  He never grows faint or weary.  No one can measure the depths of his understanding.  He gives power to those who are tired and worn out; he offers strength to the weak. Even youths will become exhausted, and young men will give up.  But those who wait on the Lord will find new strength.  They will fly high on wings like eagles.  They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.”  (Isaiah 40:28-31 NLT) Get it? “Constant patience in faith which will decide the struggle.” Hebrews calls it entering into the “Sabbath rest.”

Hanna Whitall Smith, in The Christian’s Secret to a Happy Life, described this phenomena as follows:  “You have found Jesus as your Savior from the penalty of sin, but you have not found Him as your Savior from its power.  You have carefully studied the Holy Scriptures and have gathered much precious truth from them.  You have trusted that this would feed and nourish your spiritual life. But in spite of it all, your souls are starving and dying within you.  You cry out in secret, again and again, for that bread and water of life which you see promised in the Scriptures to all believers. In the very depths of your heart, you know that your experience is not a Scriptural experience.  As an old writer said, your religion is ‘merely talk whereas, the early Christians enjoyed, possessed, and lived it.’  Your hearts have weakened within you, as day after day, and year after year, your early visions of triumph have grown dimmer.  You have accepted that the best you can expect from your religion is a life of alternate failure and victory one hour sinning and the next repenting, and then beginning again, only to fail and repent again.”

It is one thing to know of our great need and yet another to know God’s way of deliverance from our sin. We feel that our life is not what it ought to be. We can see in our past, seasons of spiritual highs that did not last that were followed by the slow declension back into the pit from where we once came.  Andrew Murray said in The Spirit of Christ: “There can be little doubt that the answer must be this: they did not know or honor the Indwelling Spirit as the strength of their life, as the power of their faith, to keep them always looking to Jesus and trusting in Him.  They knew not what it was, day by day, to wait in lowly reverence for the Holy Spirit to deliver from the power of the flesh, and to maintain the wonderful presence of the Father and the Son within them.

For John Bunyan, the way of healing began when the Holy Spirit illuminated this passage from Scripture, “For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people's sins against them. This is the wonderful message he has given us to tell others." 2 Corinthians 5:19 NLT

Are you drowning in the pool of sin of your own making?  Does the victorious life in Christ seem only a distant dream?  Jesus is still asking, “Do you want to be healed?” Romans 9:16 says: “So receiving God's promise is not up to us.  We can't get it by choosing it or working hard for it. God will show mercy to anyone he chooses.”  Beloved we are a vessel of mercy by God’s sovereign choice. We then can learn to rest in His mercy.

“He personally carried away our sins in his own body on the cross so we can be dead to sin and live for what is right.  You have been healed by his wounds! (1 Peter 2:24 NLT)

Romans 3:31 - Faith Unfurled

Rom 3:31 Do we then make void the law — Do we render it vain and useless; do we destroy its moral obligation; and do we prevent obedience to it, by the doctrine of justification by faith?  This was an objection which would naturally be made; and which has thousands of times been since made, that the doctrine of justification by faith tends to licentiousness.  The word “law” here, I understand as referring to the moral law, and not merely to the Old Testament.  This is evident from Romans 3:20-21, where the apostle shows that no man could be justified by deeds of law, by conformity with the moral law.  God forbid - By no means.  This is an explicit denial of any such tendency.

Yea, we establish the law — That is, by the doctrine of justification by faith; by this scheme of treating people as righteous, the moral law is confirmed, its obligation is enforced, obedience to it is secured.  This is done in the following manner:

  1. God showed respect to it, in being unwilling to pardon sinners without an atonement.  He showed that it could not be violated with impunity; that he was resolved to fulfill its threatenings.
  2. Jesus Christ came to magnify it, and to make it honorable.  He showed respect to it in his life; and he died to show that God was determined to inflict its penalty.
  1. the plan of justification by faith leads to an observance of the Law.  The sinner sees the evil of transgression. He sees the respect which God has shown to the Law.  He gives his heart to God, and yields himself to obey his Law.  All the sentiments that arise from the conviction of sin; that flow from gratitude for mercies; that spring from love to God; all his views of the sacredness of the Law, prompt him to yield obedience to it.  The fact that Christ endured such sufferings to show the evil of violating the Law, is one of the strongest motives prompting to obedience.  We do not easily and readily repeat what overwhelms our best friends in calamity; and we are brought to hate what inflicted such woes on the Savior's soul.  The sentiment recorded by Watts is as true as it is beautiful:

“’Twas for my sins my dearest Lord.
Hung on the cursed tree.
And groan’d away his dying life,
For thee, my soul, for thee.
“O how I hate those lusts of mine.
That crucified my Lord;
Those sins that pierc’d and nail’d his flesh.
Fast to the fatal wood.
“Yes, my Redeemer, they shall die,
My heart hath so decreed;
Nor will I spare the guilty things.
That made my Saviour bleed.”

This is an advantage in moral influence which no cold, abstract law always has over the human mind.  And one of the chief glories of the plan of salvation is, that while it justifies the sinner, it brings a new set of influences from heaven, more tender and mighty than can be drawn from any other source, to produce obedience to the Law of God.  Dr. Albert Barnes

"Do we then nullify the Law through faith?  May it never be!  On the contrary, we establish the Law." (NASB)

"Do we then make void the law through faith?  God forbid: yea, we establish the law." (KJV)

"Well then, if we emphasize faith, does this mean that we can forget about the law?  Of course not! In fact, only when we have faith do we truly fulfill the law." (NLT)

"Do we then nullify the law through faith?  Absolutely not! Instead we uphold the law." (NET)

We see later on in Romans 7 that the law was not scrapped but fulfilled.  Though it would be my thought to do a way with the law, the Lord chose instead to do a way with the lawbreaker.  For now we live by faith in Christ.  We tried with all of our might to use the Law of our Mind to obey the Law of God but the Law but the Law of Sin and Death gave but one outcome, death.  But in Christ we find a new law present, the Law of the Spirit of Life, that has set us free!

 

(This is indeed a beautiful and just view of the moral influence of the gospel, and especially of the doctrine of justification by faith alone.  It may be questioned, however, whether the apostle in this place refers chiefly, or even at all, to the sanctifying tendency of his doctrine.  This he does very fully in the 6th Rom.; and therefore, if another and consistent sense can be found, we need not resort to the supposition that he now anticipates what he intended, in a subsequent part of his epistle, more fully to discuss. In what other way, then, does the apostle’s doctrine establish the Law?  How does he vindicate himself from the charge of making it void?  In the preceding chapter he had pointed out the true ground of pardon in the “righteousness of God.”  He had explained that none could be justified but they who had by faith received it.  “Do we then,” he asks in conclusion,” make void the Law by maintaining thus, that no sinner can be accepted who does not receive a righteousness commensurate with all its demands?.”  “Yea, we establish the law,” is the obvious answer.  Jesus has died to satisfy its claims, and lives to honor its precepts.  Thus, he hath brought in “righteousness,” which, being imputed to them that believe, forms such a ground of pardon and acceptance, as the Law cannot challenge.

Calvin, in his commentary on the passage, though he does not exclude the idea of sanctification, yet gives prominence to the view now stated. “When,” says he, “we come to Christ, the exact righteousness of the Law is first found in him, which also becomes ours by imputation; in the next place sanctification is acquired,” etc.)

Dr. Albert Barnes

Romans 3:30 - One God - One Faith - One Salvation

"since indeed God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith is one." (NASB)

"Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith." (KJV)

"There is only one God, and He makes people right with Himself only by faith, whether they are Jews or Gentiles." (NLT)

"Since God is one, he will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith." (NET)

Rom 3:30
Seeing it is one God - επιπερ εις ο θεος. This has been rendered, Seeing God is one.  It however makes little difference in the sense: the apostle’s meaning most evidently is, it is one and the same God who made both Jews and Gentiles, who shall justify - pardon, the circumcision - the believing Jews, by faith; and the uncircumcision - the believing Gentiles, by the same faith; as there is but one Savior and one atonement provided for the whole.  It is fanciful to suppose that the apostle has one meaning when he says, εκ πιστεως, By faith, and a different meaning when he says, δια της πιστεως, Through faith.  Both the prepositions are to be understood in precisely the same sense; only the addition of the article της, in the last case, extends and more pointedly ascertains the meaning.  It is one and the same God who shall justify the believing Jews by faith; and the believing Gentiles δια της πιστεως, by That Same faith. Dr. Adam Clarke

Rom 3:30 Seeing it is one God,.... God is one in nature and essence, though there are three persons in the Godhead, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; whence it appears, that he that is the God of the Jews, is also the God of the Gentiles, or there would be more gods than one; and that these are justified in one and the same manner, or God must be divided; for God, as he is one in nature, so he is one in will, in his promises, and in the methods of his grace: which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith.  The objects of justification are "the circumcision", the circumcised Jews, and "the uncircumcision", the uncircumcised Gentiles; the circumcision of the one does not forward, and the uncircumcision of the other does not hinder, nor neither of them effect the grace of justification: the justifier of them is one and the same, who is God; and the matter of their justification is the same, which is the righteousness of Christ; and the manner of it, or the means of their comfortable apprehension of it, is the same; for those phrases, "by faith", and "through faith", mean one and the same thing; see Philippians 3:9. Dr. John Gill

So we are made right with God through faith and not by obeying the law.  (Romans 3:28 NLT)

Circumcision was a sign that Abraham already had faith and that God had already accepted him and declared him to be righteous—even before he was circumcised.  So Abraham is the spiritual father of those who have faith but have not been circumcised.  They are counted as righteous because of their faith. And Abraham is also the spiritual father of those who have been circumcised, but only if they have the same kind of faith Abraham had before he was circumcised.  (Romans 4:11-12 NLT)

Jew and Gentile are the same in this respect.  They have the same Lord, who gives generously to all who call on Him.  For "Everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved."  (Romans 10:12-13 NLT)

When I saw that they were not following the truth of the gospel message, I said to Peter in front of all the others, "Since you, a Jew by birth, have discarded the Jewish laws and are living like a Gentile, why are you now trying to make these Gentiles follow the Jewish traditions?  "You and I are Jews by birth, not 'sinners' like the Gentiles.  Yet we know that a person is made right with God by faith in Jesus Christ, not by obeying the law.  And we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we might be made right with God because of our faith in Christ, not because we have obeyed the law.  For no one will ever be made right with God by obeying the law."  (Galatians 2:14-16 NLT)

What's more, the Scriptures looked forward to this time when God would declare the Gentiles to be righteous because of their faith.  God proclaimed this good news to Abraham long ago when He said, "All nations will be blessed through you."  (Galatians 3:8 NLT)

Now a mediator is helpful if more than one party must reach an agreement.  But God, who is one, did not use a mediator when He gave His promise to Abraham.  (Galatians 3:20 NLT)

There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female.  For you are all one in Christ Jesus.  (Galatians 3:28 NLT)

For when we place our faith in Christ Jesus, there is no benefit in being circumcised or being uncircumcised.  What is important is faith expressing itself in love.  (Galatians 5:6 NLT)

It doesn't matter whether we have been circumcised or not.  What counts is whether we have been transformed into a new creation.  (Galatians 6:15 NLT)

For we who worship by the Spirit of God are the ones who are truly circumcised.  We rely on what Christ Jesus has done for us.  We put no confidence in human effort,  (Philippians 3:3 NLT)

So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority.  When you came to Christ, you were "circumcised," but not by a physical procedure. Christ performed a spiritual circumcision—the cutting away of your sinful nature.  (Colossians 2:10-11 NLT)

I was much surprised by a recently published poll to find that only 35% of Evangelical Christians believe that Christ is the only way!  It is pretty hard to miss the doctrinal implication herein described. The New Living Translation pretty well reiterates the reformation mantra: Salvation by Grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.

Romans 3:29 - The God of all

Rom 3:29-30
Is he the God ... - The Jews supposed that he was the God of their nation only, that they only were to be admitted to his favor.  In these verses Paul showed that as all had alike sinned, Jews and Gentiles; and as the plan of salvation by faith was adapted to sinners, without any special reference to Jews; so God could show favors to all, and all might be admitted on the same terms to the benefits of the plan of salvation.
It is one God - The same God, there is but one, and his plan is equally suited to Jews and Gentiles.
The circumcision - Those who are circumcised - the Jews.
The uncircumcision - Gentiles; all who were not Jews.
By faith ...through faith - There is no difference in the meaning of these expressions.  Both denote that faith is the instrumental cause of justification, or acceptance with God.  Dr. Albert Barnes
Rom 3:29
Is he the God of the Jews only? - Do not begin to suppose that because you cannot be justified by the works of the law and God has in his mercy found out a new method of saving you, that therefore this mercy shall apply to the Jews exclusively.  Is not God the maker, preserver, and redeemer, also of the Gentiles?  Yes, of the Gentiles also, as much as of the Jews; for all have equally sinned and there is no reason, if God be disposed to show mercy at all, that he should prefer the one to the other; since they are all equally guilty, sinful, and necessitous.  Dr. Adam Clarke

 

"Or is God the God of Jews only? Is He not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also" (NASB)

"Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also:" (KJV)

"After all, is God the God of the Jews only? Isn't He also the God of the Gentiles? Of course He is." (NLT)

"Or is God the God of the Jews only? Is he not the God of the Gentiles too? Yes, of the Gentiles too!" (NET)

Paul again anticipates and refutes the absurd argument.  If justification depended upon the Law of Moses, then God could be the savior of the Jews only.  If then He would save the Jew by one means and the Gentile by another He could not be consistent.  Therefore, God justifies everyone by the same way, Faith!  The faith gives rise to a relationship between the Lord Jesus Christ and the sinner that brings pardon and justification for Jesus sake.  The unbeliever who remains unrelated continues to abide in condemnation.  The law remains useful to convince us of our past and to give us a sense of direction for our future.  The law will not save us but by grace we live in a manner above mere submission but rather fulfillment.

Romans 3:28 - The Liberty of the Yoke

Romans 3:28

Therefore we conclude, etc. - Seeing these things cannot be denied, viz., that all have sinned: that all are guilty, that all are helpless: that none can deliver his own soul, and that God, in his endless mercy, has opened a new and living way to the holiest by the blood of Jesus, Hebrews 10:19-20, etc: therefore we, apostles and Christian teachers, conclude, λογιζομεθα, prove by fair, rational consequence, that a man - any man, is justified - has his sins blotted out, and is received into the Divine favor, by faith in Christ’s blood, without the deeds of the law, which never could afford, either to Jew or Gentile, a ground for justification, because both have sinned against the law which God has given them, and, consequently, forfeited all right and title to the blessings which the obedient might claim. Dr. Adam Clarke

Romans 3:28

Justification:  Justification and righteousness are inseparably united in Scripture by the fact that the same word (Greek, "dikaios", means "righteous"; Greek, "dikaioo", means "to justify") is used for both. The believing sinner is justified because Christ, having borne his sins on the cross, has been "made unto him righteousness" (1Corinthians 1:30).

Justification originates in grace; (Romans 3:24); (Titus 3:4); (Titus 3:5) is through the redemptive and propitiatory work of Christ, who has vindicated the law; (Romans 3:24); (Romans 3:25); (Romans 5:9) is by faith, not works; (Romans 3:28-30); (Romans 4:5); (Romans 5:1); (Galatians 2:16); (Galatians 3:8); (Galatians 3:24) 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. (Romans 8:1); (Romans 8:33); (Romans 8:34). C. I. Scofield

"For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law." (NASB)

"Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law." (KJV)

"So we are made right with God through faith and not by obeying the law." (NLT)

"For we consider that a person is declared righteous by faith apart from the works of the law." (NET)

 

Nothing is more maligned today than the meaning of these few words!  All manner of confusion, deception, error and even heresy have been born from wrongly dividing these words of truth.  Let us consider that the reason this is so is because there is a dynamic tension present in the very concept of Grace.  Jesus invites us to find rest by taking on His yoke.  Lewis Sperry Chafer, in Grace, over emphasized the concept of liberty to the point of entertaining unintentionally antinomian thought.  Liberty by definition is deliverance from oppression and not necessarily the freedom to do what we please.  Yet if you preach Grace hard enough that is the very thought that comes to mind (thus the warning from the Apostle Paul in Romans 6:1 — should we sin more so that Grace might abound?).  Grace, recorded in Titus, says that we should deny the realities of our fleshly nature and rather live according to our new nature:

For the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people. And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God, while we look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed.  (Titus 2:11-13 NLT)

The idea that salvation is a wonderful gift and yet cost us everything that we are remains a paradox but like God and country are not mutually exclusive concepts.

Today we suffer because iniquity abounds and the love of many grows cold (Matthew 24:12).  But we my also abound in hope because the comforter has been given and lives within those who call Christ Savior and Lord.  We are not free to follow the carnal desires of the flesh but rather are empowered to live abounding in the Spirit (2 Corinthians 8:7).  I read in the newspaper this morning of a new church where you can believe whatever you want.  People come there because the did not like the message elsewhere.  We do not want to hear the real truth but instead search for a truth we like!  One that will allow us to cling to the vile creatures we are and thus begin the slow downward spiral of self-deception that leads to eternal separation.

We are saved because we were surrounded by the fullness of Christ's love for the lost.  His love is providential and brings us to that place where we can say yes to His wondrous forgiveness and say no to the sin that so easily entangles us.  The liberty of the yoke!

Romans 3:27 - Boasting in the Lord-Not in the Flesh

Romans 3:27  Where is the boasting then of the Jew against the gentile? It is excluded.  By what law? of works?  Nay - This would have left room for boasting.  But by the law of faith - Since this requires all, without distinction, to apply as guilty and helpless sinners, to the free mercy of God in Christ.  The law of faith is that divine constitution which makes faith, not works, the condition of acceptance.  John Wesley

Romans 3:27  Where is boasting then?.... There is no room nor reason for it, either in Jews or Gentiles: not in the Jews, who were very apt to boast of their being Abraham's seed; of their circumcision; of their being Israelites; of their having and keeping the law; of God being their God; and of their knowledge of him: nor in the Gentiles, who were ready to boast of their philosophy, wisdom, and learning; of their self-sufficiency, freewill, and of the things they had in their own power.

It is excluded; it is shut out of doors; the key is turned upon it; it is not allowed of; it is entirely exploded:

by what law? of works? nay; for, that establishes boasting when men seek life, righteousness, and salvation by the works of it, and fancy they shall be able to attain them this way:

but by the law of faith: not by a law requiring faith; nor as if the Gospel was a law, a new law, a remedial law, a law of milder terms; but the word "law" here answers to the Hebrew word ????, which signifies any "doctrine" or "instruction", and oftentimes the doctrine of the Gospel, as in Isaiah 2:3, and here particularly, the doctrine of a sinner's justification by faith in the righteousness of Christ; according to which doctrine the most unlikely persons are justified, even ungodly persons, the worst and vilest of sinners; and that without any consideration of works, by faith only, which is freely given them; and by faith in Christ's righteousness only: so that there is not the least room for boasting in the creature, but all their boasting is in Christ, who is made unto them righteousness, and by whom they are justified.  Dr. John Gill

"Where then is boasting?  It is excluded.  By what kind of law?  Of works?  No, but by a law of faith." (NASB)

"Where is boasting then?  It is excluded.  By what law?  of works?  Nay: but by the law of faith." (KJV)

"Can we boast, then, that we have done anything to be accepted by God?  No, because our acquittal is not based on obeying the law.  It is based on faith." (NLT)

"Where, then, is boasting?  It is excluded!  By what principle?  Of works?  No, but by the principle of faith!" (NET)

Let us then glory in the Lord!  Is this not the fruit of the joy of the Lord made real in our lives?  We cannot glory in the flesh in the presence of a perfect and holy God.  But rather cling to this old promise and boast in the Lord only.  Our hearts are in the heavenlies and the things of this world are no longer our primary interest.  We live on Calvary time and find our sustenance in God's economy.

Ephesians 2:9 NLT "Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it."

1 Corinthians 1:29, 31 NLT "As a result, no one can ever boast in the presence of God.  Therefore, as the Scriptures say, 'If you want to boast, boast only about the LORD.'"

Isaiah 45:25 NLT "In the LORD all the generations of Israel will be justified, and in Him they will boast."

Romans 3:26 - The Wonder of the Gospel

Romans 3:21-26  Must guilty man remain under wrath?  Is the wound for ever incurable?  No; blessed be God, there is another way laid open for us.  This is the righteousness of God; righteousness of his ordaining, and providing, and accepting.  It is by that faith which has Jesus Christ for its object; an anointed Savior, so Jesus Christ signifies.  Justifying faith respects Christ as a Savior, in all his three anointed offices, as Prophet, Priest, and King; trusting in him, accepting him, and cleaving to him: in all these, Jews and Gentiles are alike welcome to God through Christ.  There is no difference, his righteousness is upon all that believe; not only offered to them, but put upon them as a crown, as a robe.  It is free grace, mere mercy; there is nothing in us to deserve such favors.  It comes freely unto us, but Christ bought it, and paid the price.  And faith has special regard to the blood of Christ, as that which made the atonement.  God, in all this, declares his righteousness.  It is plain that he hates sin, when nothing less than the blood of Christ would satisfy for it.  And it would not agree with his justice to demand the debt, when the Surety has paid it, and he has accepted that payment in full satisfaction.  Matthew Henry Concise Commentary

Romans 3:26  For a demonstration of his righteousness - Both of his justice and mercy.  That he might be just - Showing his justice on his own Son.  And yet the merciful justifier of every one that believeth in Jesus.  That he might be just - Might evidence himself to be strictly and inviolably righteous in the administration of his government, even while he is the merciful justifier of the sinner that believeth in Jesus.  The attribute of justice must be preserved inviolate; and inviolate it is preserved, if there was a real infliction of punishment on our Savior.  On this plan all the attributes harmonize; every attribute is glorified, and not one superseded no, nor so much as clouded.  John Wesley

 

"for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus." (NASB)

"To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus." (KJV)

"for He was looking ahead and including them in what He would do in this present time.  God did this to demonstrate His righteousness, for He Himself is fair and just, and He declares sinners to be right in His sight when they believe in Jesus." (NLT)

"This was also to demonstrate his righteousness in the present time, so that he would be just and the justifier of the one who lives because of Jesus' faithfulness." (NET)

It is a hard thing for me to understand even after all these years how Christ could look from eternity past to beyond the cross and make a way for lost sinners like me.  This is a good place to reflect upon our own lives and to take ownership for our inner emotions!  Is this the way we look at our neighbors and even the people we love?  Or do you find, like I do, that sometimes and even oftentimes that I fall way short of this attitude that was in Christ Jesus (Philippians Chapter 2).  This is not something that the human heart can conjure up via intestinal fortitude or sheer power of the will.  All we can do is confess our sin (the absence of His Grace) in this area of our life.  Why has Christ bestowed such favor upon fallen man?  For "no reason" (the same way Christ was persecuted).  Because of Christ we are justified! It is the same each day of our life!  In now way can we repay by our actions, "not as a result of works."  We cannot take credit for His Grace in any way!  (Ephesians 2:8-9)  This should give way to thankfulness that grows each day as we begin to see the length and breadth of this amazing pardon.

Romans 3:26 
To declare, I say, at this time - To manifest now, by the dispensation of the Gospel, his righteousness, his infinite mercy; and to manifest it in such a way, that he might still appear to be the just God, and yet the justifier, the pardoner, of him who believeth in Jesus.  Here we learn that God designed to give the most evident displays both of his justice and mercy.  Of his justice, in requiring a sacrifice, and absolutely refusing to give salvation to a lost world in any other way; and of his mercy, in providing The sacrifice which his justice required.  Thus, because Jesus was an atonement, a ransom price, for the sin of the world, therefore God can, consistently with his justice, pardon every soul that believeth in Jesus.  This is the full discovery of God’s righteousness, of his wonderful method of magnifying his law and making it honorable; of showing the infinite purity of his justice, and of saving a lost world.   (Dr. Adam Clarke)

Romans 3:26  To declare, I say, at this time, his righteousness,.... This end is further explained, it being to declare the righteousness of God "at this time", under the Gospel dispensation; in which there was such a display of the grace, mercy, and goodness of God:

that he might be just; that is, appear to be so: God is naturally and essentially just in himself; and he is evidentially so in all his works, particularly in redemption by Christ; and when and while he is the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus: Jesus, the Savour, is the object of faith, as he is the Lord our righteousness; the believer in Jesus is a real, and not a nominal one; God is the justifier of such in a declarative way, and God only, though not to the exclusion of the Son and Spirit; and which sentence of justification is pronounced by him on the foot of a perfect righteousness, which neither law nor justice can find fault with, but entirely approve of; and so he appears just and righteous, even though he justifies the sinner and the ungodly.   (Dr. John Gill)

Romans 3:26

To declare ... at this time — now for the first time, under the Gospel.

his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus — Glorious paradox! “Just in punishing,” and “merciful in pardoning,” men can understand; but “just in justifying the guilty,” startles them. But the propitiation through faith in Christ’s blood resolves the paradox and harmonizes the discordant elements. For in that “God hath made Him to be sin for us who knew no sin,” justice has full satisfaction; and in that “we are made the righteousness of God in Him,” mercy has her heart’s delight!

Note,

(1). One way of a sinner’s justification is taught in the Old Testament and in the New alike: only more dimly during the twilight of Revelation; in unclouded light under “its perfect day” (Romans 3:21).

(2). As there is no difference in the need, so is there none in the liberty to appropriate the provided salvation. The best need to be saved by faith in Jesus Christ; and the worst only need that. On this common ground all saved sinners meet here, and will stand for ever (Romans 3:22-24).

(3). It is on the atoning blood of Christ, as the one propitiatory sacrifice which God hath set forth to the eye of the guilty, that the faith of the convinced and trembling sinner fastens for deliverance from wrath. Though he knows that he is “justified freely, by God’s grace,” it is only because it is “through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” that he is able to find peace and rest even in this (Romans 3:25).

(4). The strictly accurate view of believers under the Old Testament is not that of a company of pardoned men, but of men whose sins, put up with and passed by in the meantime, awaited a future expiation in the fullness of time (Romans 3:25, Romans 3:26; see on Luke 9:31; see on Hebrews 9:15; see on Hebrews 11:39, Hebrews 11:40).  (A Commentary on the Old and New Testaments by Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset and David Brown)

Romans 3:25 - Free at last

"And are justified — Pardoned and accepted.  Freely — Without any merit of their own.  By his grace — Not their own righteousness or works. Through the redemption — The price Christ has paid.  Freely by his grace — One of these expressions might have served to convey the apostle's meaning; but he doubles his assertion, in order to give us the fullest conviction of the truth, and to impress us with a sense of its peculiar importance. It is not possible to find words that should more absolutely exclude all consideration of our own works and obedience, or more emphatically ascribe the whole of our justification to free, unmerited goodness."  John Wesley

Must guilty man remain under wrath?  Is the wound for ever incurable?  No; blessed be God, there is another way laid open for us.  This is the righteousness of God; righteousness of his ordaining, and providing, and accepting.  It is by that faith which has Jesus Christ for its object; an anointed Savior, so Jesus Christ signifies.  Justifying faith respects Christ as a Savior, in all his three anointed offices, as Prophet, Priest, and King; trusting in him, accepting him, and cleaving to him: in all these, Jews and Gentiles are alike welcome to God through Christ.  There is no difference, his righteousness is upon all that believe; not only offered to them, but put upon them as a crown, as a robe.  It is free grace, mere mercy; there is nothing in us to deserve such favors. It comes freely unto us, but Christ bought it, and paid the price.  And faith has special regard to the blood of Christ, as that which made the atonement.  God, in all this, declares his righteousness.  It is plain that he hates sin, when nothing less than the blood of Christ would satisfy for it.  And it would not agree with his justice to demand the debt, when the Surety has paid it, and he has accepted that payment in full satisfaction.  Matthew Henry Concise Commentary

"whom God displayed publicly as a G2435propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed;" (NASB)

"Whom God hath set forth to be a G2435propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;" (KJV)

"For God presented Jesus as the G2435sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed His life, shedding His blood.  This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when He held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past," (NLT)

"God publicly displayed him at his death as the G2435mercy seat accessible through faith.  This was to demonstrate his righteousness, because God in his forbearance had passed over the sins previously committed." (NET)

"God sent Christ to be our G2435sacrifice.  Christ offered his life's blood, so that by faith in him we could come to God.  And God did this to show that in the past he was right to be patient and forgive sinners.  This also shows that God is right when he accepts people who have faith in Jesus." (CEV)

"God offered him, so that by his blood he should become the means by which people's sins are forgiven through their faith in him.  God did this in order to demonstrate that he is righteous.  In the past he was patient and overlooked people's sins; but in the present time he deals with their sins, in order to demonstrate his righteousness.  In this way God shows that he himself is righteous and that he puts right everyone who believes in Jesus." (GNB)

G2435

ι?λαστη?ριος

hilaste??rios; gen. hilaste?ríou, adj. from hiláskomai (G2433), to propitiate, expiate. Propitiatory, expiatory, merciful.  Mercy seat, viewed as a subst. Used in the NT as a neut. noun.  The lid or covering of the ark of the covenant made of pure gold, on and before which the high priest was to sprinkle the blood of the expiatory sacrifices on the Day of Atonement, and where the Lord promised to meet His people.  Word Studies

"used of the cover of the ark of the covenant in the Holy of Holies, which was sprinkled with the blood of the expiatory victim on the annual day of atonement (this rite signifying that the life of the people, the loss of which they had merited by their sins, was offered to God in the blood as the life of the victim, and that God by this ceremony was appeased and their sins expiated); hence the lid of expiation, the propitiatory.  Thayer

"An expiatory (place or thing), that is, (concretely) an atoning victim, or (specifically) the lid of the Ark (in the Temple): - mercy seat, propitiation. Strong

To be a propitiation - ι?λαστη?ριον hilaste?rion.  This word occurs but in one other place in the New Testament. Hebrews 9:5, and over it (the ark) the cherubim of glory shadowing the mercy-seat.  It is used here to denote the lid or cover of the ark of the covenant. It was made of gold, and over it were the cherubim.  Dr. Albert Barnes

Propitiation (ι?λαστη?ριον)

This word is most important, since it is the key to the conception of Christ's atoning work.  In the New Testament it occurs only here and Hebrews 9:5; and must be studied in connection with the following kindred words: ι?λα?σκομαι which occurs in the New Testament only Luke 18:13, God be merciful, and Hebrews 2:17, to make reconciliation. Ι?λασμο?ς twice, 1John 2:2; 1John 4:10; in both cases rendered propitiation. The compound ε?ξιλα?σκομαι, which is not found in the New Testament, but is frequent in the Septuagint and is rendered purge, cleanse, reconcile, make atonement.  (Marvin R. Vincent, D.D., Vincent Word Studies)

"God then is the author of that free justification, because it pleased him: and Christ is he who suffered punishment for our sins, and in whom we have remission of them: and the means by which we apprehend Christ is faith.  In short, the result is the setting forth of the goodness of God, that by this means it may appear that he is indeed merciful, and faithful in his promises, as he that freely, and of grace alone, justifies the believers."  (Geneva Bible Notes)

We can see from the Greek word definition that the translators struggle to find a single word to convey the fullness of what Christ has done for us.  He is like unto the "mercy seat"—the very place on the Arc of the Covenant where the blood of the sacrifice was sprinkled by the High Priest to make atonement for sin.  In this case the Lord Jesus Christ Himself is that sacrifice and the blood is His that is the final and complete atonement for the sins of the world.  "For all have sinned" and Jesus has paid the penalty for ALL.

This then becomes the most amazing act of selflessness in the history of the universe.  We are made right with God when we by faith believe in Christ's sacrifice as an atonement for our sins.  He paid a debt we could not pay for the (our sins) the sins He did not commit so that we (his enemies) could accept a pardon we did not deserve and be made righteous in Him.

Romans 3:24 - A Gift Beyond Imagination

And are justified - Pardoned and accepted.  Freely - Without any merit of their own. By his grace - Not their own righteousness or works.  Through the redemption - The price Christ has paid. Freely by his grace - One of these expressions might have served to convey the apostle's meaning; but he doubles his assertion, in order to give us the fullest conviction of the truth, and to impress us with a sense of its peculiar importance. It is not possible to find words that should more absolutely exclude all consideration of our own works and obedience, or more emphatically ascribe the whole of our justification to free, unmerited goodness. (John Wesley)

"being justified as a giftG1432 by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus;" (NASB)

"Being justified freelyG1432 by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:" (KJV)

"Yet God, with undeserved kindnessG1432, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when He freed us from the penalty for our sins." (NLT)

"But they are justified freelyG1432 by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus." (NET)

"This fulfills what is written in their Scriptures: 'They hated Me without causeG1432.'" (John 15:25 NLT)

G1432 - δωρεα?ν do?rean - without a cause, freely, for naught, in vain. (Strong's)

We are redeemed in Christ for the same reason that Christ was hated - "without a cause."  "For no reason" lest anyone boast!  A gift beyond imagination that the Son of God should purchase us out of the marketplace of sin with His own blood while we were still His enemies!

Freely - δωρεα?ν do?rean. This word stands opposed to what is purchased, or which is obtained by labor, or which is a matter of claim.  It is a free, undeserved gift, not merited by our obedience to the Law, and not that to which we have any claim.  The apostle uses the word here in reference to those who are justified.  To them it is a mere undeserved gift, It does not mean that it has been obtained, however, without any price or merit from anyone, for the Lord Jesus has purchased it with his own blood, and to him it becomes a matter of justice that those who were given to him should be justified, 1Co 6:20; 1Co 7:23; 2Pe 2:1; 1Pe 2:9.  (Greek).  Act 20:28; Isa 53:11.  We have no offering to bring, and no claim.  To us, therefore, it is entirely a matter of gift. (Dr. Albert Barnes)


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