Ask God to orient or reorient you to Himself. Confess any known sin. Thank Him for His forgiveness. Be still and reflect on Jesus and His sacrifice for you. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart and mind to God’s Word. Pray for others in your life that they, too, would know and love God today.
“21 But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22 This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
This week we are going to work our way through this passage. Before we get started, I want you to know that there is so much packed into these six verses. I know we will not be able to cover the depth and richness of what is here, so I encourage you to plan on coming back later and dig down deep into the theological riches found in these verses.
With that said, let’s get started.
Verse 21 begins with “But now.” It’s a phrase that signals a transition from the sobering and depressing portrait of sinful humanity to the celebration of the salvation available through God’s righteousness in Christ. It’s now at this point that Paul wants us to know that he is now going to talk about God’s activity of putting people right with Himself.
Remember that God is Holy; He cannot condone sin or overlook it or wink at it. He must punish it. The punishment for sin is death, yet God loves the sinner and wants to save him…so there is the dilemma! God’s righteousness demands death, but His love desires the sinner’s eternal happiness. The answer to this dilemma is the gospel! The gospel reveals how God can save sinners without compromising His righteousness.
Paul says the righteousness of God has been revealed apart from the law. This means a way has been revealed by which God can righteously save unrighteous sinners and that it is not by requiring men to keep the law. It wasn’t something new; in fact, the Prophets testified to it. This righteousness was foretold in the types and shadows of the sacrificial system that required the shedding of blood for atonement, and it was foretold by direct prophecies.
Verse 22 tells us that this righteousness is given to “All who believe,” emphasizing the inclusive nature of the gospel message. The gift of righteousness applies to all who have faith in Christ, without any distinction. We don’t have to be the right ethnicity or come from the right family, not even from the right country or city. No, the gospel is open to all who believe. As Paul has made clear, all people of all types sin and fall short of God’s righteousness.
The good news for you and I is that God acts in Christ to put people in right relationship with Himself, but that act cannot finally be accomplished without human response. People must believe in Christ to experience for themselves God’s righteousness. Because all human beings have sinned, all are offered the opportunity to believe in Christ and experience God’s righteousness.
When I write, sometimes it seems harsh to write the word “sinner.” The truth is, all sins—even those things we do that we think are small sins—make us sinners. We cannot rack and stack our sins; we can’t compare murder to anger and adultery to lust and think “Well, I haven’t murdered anyone, I just get mad at them” and then think that we’re off the hook. It doesn’t work like that. The truth is, all sin disqualifies us from living with God regardless of how small they may seem to us. Sin is sin; it all separates us from God. It levels the playing field, it reveals our brokenness, and it shows us just how far we all have fallen when we look to the righteousness of God.
Thank God this is not the end of the story. The Good News for us is found in the gospel! The gospel is the answer for all of us. The gospel is what brings us back into a right standing with God; the gospel makes it possible for all our sins to be forgiven and no longer separated from God.
*From what you have just read and considered: What is a personal implication/application for your life today?
(Personalize this prayer today; make it specific to the circumstances that face you.)
Ask God to lead you through His Spirit as you go through your day. Ask Him to bring to mind the truth of the gospel and its implications for what you will encounter today. Tell Him “Yes” to His will and ask Him for His power and protection to live this “yes.” Ask God to create and reveal opportunities to proclaim the good news today. KEEP PRAYING THROUGHOUT YOUR DAY.
Inspiration and insight for the devotionals came from the following books: Reading Romans with John Stott; The Message of Romans: God’s Good News for the World (The Bible Speaks Today Series), Stott, John; Romans (The NIV Application Commentary Book 6) Moo, Douglas J.; Encountering the Book of Romans: A Theological Survey (Encountering Biblical Studies) Moo, Douglas J.; Believers Bible Commentary; The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, with the New International Version, Romans through Galatians. NIV Life Application Study Bible.