The Fulfilling Of The Law
I. ALL WHO BELIEVE DECLARED RIGHTEOUS BY FAITH (vv. 21-26).
II. THERE IS NO BOASTING WHEN ONE IS JUSTIFIED BY FAITH (vv. 27-28).
III. THERE IS ONE GOD WHO JUSTIFIES ALL (vv. 29-30).
IV. THE LAW IS HONORED THROUGH FAITH (v. 31)
There are a few words in these eleven verses that are very important Biblical terms. Righteousness, faith, justified, redemption, grace, propitiation, remission. They are all favorable toward the sinner.
These are more than just words. They are a description of God and His love for humankind. Righteousness describes God and His requirements of pure worship. Faith is the only thing a person can do to be declared righteous by God; and God gives the faith too (Eph 2:8-9). Justification [justified] is God’s declaration to the repentant believing sinner that he is righteous. God declares the believer righteous because of faith: he believes God. Justification; the word justified may be easily remembered as God making me “Just-as-if-I’d” never sinned. Redemption is a term related to slave auctions where the purchaser pays the agreed price to set the slave free. The only adequate price to be paid for the slave of sin was/is the death of Jesus on the cross; because the law commands death for sin. Grace of course is God’s unmerited favor toward sinners. Sinners are undeserving of grace. God in His love grants it to all who believe. Propitiation is a word sometimes hared to pronounce, but it is a beautiful word. It describes the work [sacrifice] of Jesus on the cross. It describes the hatred of God for sin, yet the depths He is willing to reach to redeem fallen man. Jesus was our propitiate. He lovingly, and willingly went to the cross to be the sacrifice for our sin. Not only was Jesus the sacrifice, but He was “Made…to be sin for us…” (2 Cor. 5:21). All God’s hatred for sin was poured out upon the sinless Son of God who was now ‘made to be sin for us’.
“In this case Christ’s violent death satisfied the offended holiness and wrath of God against those for whom Christ died.” MACARTHUR STUDY BIBLE note on 2:25; page 1698.
In pagan worship it is the worshipper who must appease the wrath of their offended deity. The only way sinful man can appease the wrath of God is by spending eternity in Hell. The final word is Remission which means forgiveness. God accepted, for the forgiveness of sin; the sacrifices of blood that were offered in faith until the true sacrifice for sin would die for sin. The sacrifice for all sin is paid in full. There is no more sacrifice for sin. God’s forgiveness is available for all who will repent and believe in Jesus.
ALL WHO BELIEVE ARE DECLARED BY GOD TO BE RIGHTEOUS (vv. 21-26).
The ‘righteousness’ unobtainable by the law is revealed by the faith in Jesus Christ. This same righteousness of God is witnessed to by the written revelation of God in the law and the messages of the prophets.
This righteousness is for all who will believe and trust only Jesus for it. The previous verses of chapter 1:18 – 3:20 plainly tell us who is righteous. NONE!!! Now we see that God’s righteousness is available for all – that is the pagan, the moral pagan, the immoral pagan, the moral religious, the immoral religious, the religious; the Jew, moral and immoral. All are included in God’s invitation to His righteousness.
“There is no difference” in the Gentile and the Jew – “For all have sinned and come short” – miss the mark – “of the glory of God”. The glory of God is the place where God desires for us to be . A man just as well try to pick up an automobile and throw it to China from the east coast of the United States of America, as to try to gain God’s favor by keeping the law. We fall short; we miss God’s ‘bull’s eye’.
“Being justified” means being declared righteous by God. It is far superior to be declared righteous by God Himself, than for me to declare myself righteous. God’s declaration is true. Mine only a vain attempt. We might make note of the word “freely”. This wonderful justification is free to us. But that is because God already paid the price. His ‘grace’ – the undeserved favor of God – is the reason it is free. The ‘redemption’ price for our freedom from sin, and its penalty and bondage was paid by God’s Son, Jesus Christ as He willingly laid His life down for our sins.
In truth Jesus became the very object of God’s wrath. On the cross Jesus became sin; my sin and yours. We could not endure God’s wrath because we would only die and spend eternity in Hell. The law commands death for sin. Jesus had no sin, but took the wrath that was ours. Since He had no sin, but bore our sins God struck Him (“…stricken, smitten of God…” Isaiah 53:4), He died – sin was condemned (Rom 8:3), by the flesh of a sinless. The law did require death for sin – He died. YES! He died, but rose again conquering the power of sin and as evidence of who He is (Rom 1:4).
Through the sacrifice [propitiation] of Jesus God declares us righteous; He forgives our sin; and justifies all who believe in Jesus.
THERE IS NO BOASTING WHEN SINNERS ARE JUSTIFIED BY FAITH (vv. 27-28).
Human beings love to boast of their accomplishments and things which they achieve.
There are many things in which the human ego can be boosted. There is one area however in which there is no room to boast. That is our worship. We fall far short. We have everyone, turned from the true way to our own way (Isaiah 53:6). When we try to worship God in our own way it is evident we have turned from God.
Since true righteousness is a gift from God we have nothing in which to boast; except in the grace of God. We ought to boast loudly and clearly of the goodness, mercy and grace of God who loved His enemies so much He would sacrifice His holy Son to reconcile us to Himself. That is someone in whom to boast.
If anyone could obey the law he would have much to boast about, and would deserve the praise of God; but only God deserves the praise of God (Ps. 110:1), thus God became flesh – “the Word became flesh”. By faith in the work of Jesus Christ – the Word (John 1:1-5, 14) – on the cross we are saved (delivered from the penalty of the demands of God’s law). There is therefore no room for boasting because someone else paid our debt of sin. That Person has the praise of God – He kept; He fulfilled the whole law – and gives to all who believe eternal life.
Reading the book of Romans was the thing that pointed Martin Luther to Christ. He was a catholic priest in Germany, and felt something was missing in his religion. The liturgies, rosary, indulgences, confession, etc.; the whole ritual scheme left him empty. While reading Romans he read 1:17, “The just shall live by faith”. He read 3:28, “We conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law”. In his translation he wrote, “by faith alone…” which is a proper interpretation. To add anything to faith is to nullify faith.
Remember ‘justification’ is the act of God by which He declares the believing sinner righteous. It is the act and declaration of God; not of any man. It is received by faith and God alone is the giver of faith.
THERE IS ONE GOD WHO JUSTIFIES ALL (vv. 29-30).
Just as all mankind is condemned in the law by sin, so too, all who are justified (declared righteous by God) are so by faith.
Te color of one’s skin, their culture, their morality (Moral or immoral), their religion, etc. does not negate the fact of one God who justifies all who believe.
God is not only the God of the Jews, but the God of all – believing and unbelieving – people. He is the God of the Jew and the Gentile whether He is recognized by them or not.
Faith in Jesus Christ and His death for the atoning of sin; His burial for the carrying away of sins dominion; the resurrection of His body from the grave as the evidence of the conquering of sins power, and proof of His deity and Son-ship; and His return [a promise of God yet to be] to totally redeem all who have believed Him and to put an end to sin, and to reign in the hearts and lives of men on earth for all eternity: is the only way of salvation for all mankind. Any who add anything to faith or take away from faith teach a false gospel.
THE LAW IS HONORED THROUGH FAITH (v. 31).
Since people are justified by faith without the law does that void the law? Paul says, “NO!” The law was given to show mankind his condemnation; to cause him to fall on his knees before our righteous and holy God in repentance, calling on Him by faith.
In the work of Jesus Christ on the cross the demands of the law were fulfilled, thus, by faith it is possible for a sinner to be made righteous before God; not on his own merit, but on the merit of Jesus Christ.
In Christ the holiness and righteousness of God toward sin is intact. His love for His enemies is shown. All who believe Him are declared righteous. That is an amazing salvation
Actually the law is firmly established. All God desired is accomplished. Sinners; by God’s declaration; become saints.
When a person puts their faith in Jesus Christ the desire of their heart is to be with Him; to be like Him; to serve Him whenever and however possible. We desire to learn more about Him. We desire to be around others who love Him. We grieve over our sins and seek forgiveness quickly and diligently. We grieve over lost sinners who are condemned and pray for them, witness to them, and lead them to personal faith in Jesus. We seek to worship God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. That certainly sounds like the establishment/fulfillment of the law to me.
-Tim A. Blankenship