Does outward righteousness have any purpose? Why then should we act righteous if it’s really about inward change? What’s the point? Well…we’ve heard the good news and it leads us to do something. Because we are inwardly different, this affects us outwardly. Our response does not change God’s gifting. If we are unfaithful, that does not mean God is. It reveals that God is true and we are the liar. In fact, our unfaithfulness proves that God’s word is truth, making his judgment perfect. If we are liars, does this mean God’s justice is wrong? Unfair? No!
Judgment is due because He is holy. If our sin leads to an increase in the grace of God, aren’t we just demonstrating how great God is when we sin more and more? Why should we not sin more? After all, we have changed hearts, right? Wrong. Sin is still sin. What about the people who are “in”? Is there an advantage to being a Jew? No. All are the same in the eyes of God.
- No one is righteous. None.
- None understand, none seek God.
- All have turned away from God, are worthless.
- All are liars, deceitful, shedding blood.
- All are marked by ruin and misery. None know peace.
- There is no fear of God.
The law clearly communicates all of this. Why? Because all are and will be accountable to God. We’re all without excuse. Because of this, God is the Righteous Judge. Completely impartial. Perfect. This law condemns all because we cannot keep it. That’s why when we violate the law, we feel guilt and condemnation. It’s why our consciences ache when we violate the law. It’s why we see evil and wish for justice. But, as demonstrated every single time it’s tried, the justice of man only brings more injustice and imperfection.
It’s not just the law that teaches the righteousness of God; the prophets also testify to it. But this righteousness is not merely a legal righteousness, coming only through full obedience to the rules. Rather, it comes through a faith in Christ because a legal obedience is only outward. If all have sinned, and all fall short, only someone else can make us right, only someone else can justify us. The Someone is Jesus! And, it is in grace and mercy that he does this. How did this happen?
God offered his son in sacrifice, atoning for our sins with his own blood. The only way to accept this gift is through faith. From the very beginning, from the blood shed in the garden to get the skins to cover Adam and Eve, it has been a blood sacrifice that covers sin. God told man that this is how it works, that righteousness only comes through the shedding of blood. We can only believe this in faith. The shedding of the blood of Christ shows the righteousness of God- because if there were no punishment of sins, how could there be justice? God is not simply just, but justifier.
How can we boast? In what? For what reason?
Because of our works? They condemn us.
Because we keep the law? While the law demonstrates what righteousness is, my keeping it only shows that I know how to be good, not that I am. It’s the veneer of goodness.
Only God makes us righteous, this requires faith and trust in that process.
God is the God of Jew and Gentile alike. This is faith: his righteousness includes all people. Is the law then irrelevant? No! Why? It details righteousness, because of this we are to keep it and live by it. Not to make us righteous, but as a demonstration that we are righteous and have been made so through the sacrifice of Christ. This is our faith.- Romans 3