Romans 2:17-4:8 Comments by Stephen Ricker
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Justification Through Faith
Comments for Study 3

Romans 2:17-4:8
Memory Verse: 24

BEFORE READING PLEASE CLICK HERE TO ANSWER THE QUESTIONS.

I. No One is Righteous (2:17-3:20)

>1. What are the advantages of the Jews and of those who have studied the Bible? (2:17-24; 3:1-2)

* "Now you, if you call yourself a Jew; if you rely on the law and brag about your relationship to God; if you know his will and approve of what is superior because you are instructed by the law; if you are convinced that you are a guide for the blind, a light for those who are in the dark, an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of infants, because you have in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth-- you, then, who teach others, do you not teach yourself? You who preach against stealing, do you steal? You who say that people should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? You who brag about the law, do you dishonor God by breaking the law? As it is written: "God's name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you." (Rom. 2:17-24)

* "What advantage, then, is there in being a Jew, or what value is there in circumcision? Much in every way! First of all, they have been entrusted with the very words of God." (Rom. 3:1-2)

* "your relationship to God" -clear identity

* "know his will" -understand what God is doing and why

* "a guide to the blind" -clear mission from God

* "embodiment of knowledge and truth" -3:2 says entrusted with the very words of God

* Law is capitalized in 3:21. Thus Paul is personifying it.

* In 2:17-29 law is repeated eleven times.

* Law is "Torah" in Hebrew. Some regard the first five books of the Old Testament as the Law. Even Jesus said, "Law and Prophets" referring to the first five books seperate from the rest of the Old Testament. Paul is speaking more to the whole Old Testament here. Pride in the Law is great amongst the Jews even to this day.

Moses wrote the first five books of the Bible. The first "law" was given by God to Moses. We know them as the ten commandments. The LORD wrote the ten commandments on rocks at Mt. Sinai just after he led them out of slavery in Egypt. After giving the ten commandments, for the next fourty years Moses would go into the tabernacle and the LORD would give him words to write which became the first five books of the Bible.

After Moses died many men wrote the other books of the Old Testament over a thousand years (1400 B.C. to 430 B.C.). Some of the books are pure historical, others poetic, some prophecy and instructions, and some a combination of the three. The entire Old Testament pointed to the Messiah.

* The Israelites were special because they had the Word of God, privilege of God's presence, a mission to be a holy people, and the promises given to their ancestors.

* Paul's point here is that justification comes not to those who have and understand the law, but to those who practice the law completely in spirit and in truth. Jesus said, "A time is coming and has come when true worshipers will worship is spirit and truth."

* In these verses Paul proves to the Jews that he did not condemn them out of ignorance of what they had to say for themselves, but he proves he did know the best of their assests.

>How can these strengths become weaknesses that make the people of God enemies of God's redemptive work in the world? (23, 24)

* "You who brag about the law, do you dishonor God by breaking the law? As it is written: "God's name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you." (Rom. 2:23-24)

* "brag" -Bragging comes from self edification and magnification. They bragged as if they were the origin of the law. In fact many of them bragged that Moses was the originator of the law, one of their ancestors. Thus they nolified God. The end result of giving the law to the Israelites was not to make them proud.

* "dishonor God" -They were a bad witness to others in action and word.

* "teach others, do you teach yourself" - hypocrisy defined. Teaching is not bad. Before Jesus left he told us to teach. The pitfall is to teach and then not obey. Paul said in 1 Cor. 9:27, "No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize."

* "rely on the law" -the Jewish leaders, especially the Pharisees actually relied and used the law and God for their own benefit at the cost of others. They were puffed up in doing so. In this way they made the law useless to anyone else. It is dangerous to rely on privedges of God. (Some Pharisees became believers in Jesus as the Messiah and brought this attitude to the church. See Acts 15:5.)

* The whole reason God gave the law was to humble man by pointing out our inability to do what God requires and not live according to the sinful nature. Thus, its point was to magnify the need for God to change us.

* Can we live completely in the way the law of God demands? No. Why? We are still in a weak and decaying body and the world we live in is still under the curse. (Matt. 6:13, 26:41, Luke 11:4, 22:46, Phillip. 2:12) A.W. Tozer wrote in Echoes from Eden, “One of the great German poets of 200 years ago, von Goethe, summed it up for us all, when he wrote: ‘I have never heard of a sin being committed without knowing full well that I had the seed of it within myself.’ We are on the most blessed ground with our forgiving Savior when we dare to be honest, telling Him, ‘O dear Lord, I have the potential of all those sins within me. I did not get them done but I have had the seed within me. Forgive me and cleanse me and keep me, for Thy glory!’" Romans 2:1b states, “…you who pass judgment do the same things.”

* The point of the law is to humble us and honor God, so that we may be the benefactor both in repentance and receiving the grace that is in Jesus, who is Savior and Lord.

* "God's name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you" -The Israelites and the Jew sinned and thus both nations were defeated, exiled, and made slaves and servants in foreign lands. When the Gentiles saw their defeat they said that Israel and Judah's God was weak compared to their gods. When we don't live by the spirit of the law, but by the letter of the law due to ignorance of the one true God we become like the Pharisees. When we don't live by faith others look at our lives and think our God is weak. Unbelievers can be turned off and reject God because of us.

>2. What kind of circumcision is valuable?

* The answer is two fold.

1) if the law is completely observed

2) if one is circumcised in the heart (inwardly)

The first is impossible because the whole law must be kept. This is impossible for descendants of Adam for we inherited his sinful nature. This was not impossible for Jesus because he did not inherit the seed of Adam for he was born of a virgin and thus God was his father.

* "circumcision has value if you observe the law" -Matthew Henry wrote, "obedient Jews (and Israelites) shall not lose the reward of their obedience, but will gain this by their being Jews, that they have a clearer rule of obedience than the Gentiles have."

* "not circumcised" -Isa. 52:1, Ephesians 2:11-12.

* Jer. 9:25-26, "The days are coming," declares the Lord, "when I will punish all who are circumcised only in the flesh-- Egypt, Judah, Edom, Ammon, Moab and all who live in the desert in distant places. For all these nations are really uncircumcised, and even the whole house of Israel is uncircumcised in heart."

* When Abraham received the rite of circumcision, Isaac had not been born yet. Those who were became some of these nations. Genesis 17:23-27 says. "On that very day Abraham took his son Ishmael and all those born in his household or bought with his money, every male in his household, and circumcised them, as God told him. Abraham was ninety-nine years old when he was circumcised, and his son Ishmael was thirteen; Abraham and his son Ishmael were both circumcised on that same day. And every male in Abraham's household, including those born in his household or bought from a foreigner, was circumcised with him."

>What does this mean? (2:25-29; Dt. 10:16; 10:6; Jer. 4:4)

* Deuteronomy 10:16 "Circumcise your hearts, therefore, and do not be stiff-necked any longer."

* Romans 10:5-6 "Moses describes in this way the righteousness that is by the law: "The man who does these things will live by them." But the righteousness that is by faith says: "Do not say in your heart, 'Who will ascend into heaven?'" (that is, to bring Christ down)"

* Jeremiah 4:4 "Circumcise yourselves to the Lord, circumcise your hearts, you men of Judah and people of Jerusalem, or my wrath will break out and burn like fire because of the evil you have done-- burn with no one to quench it."

* Romans 2:25-29 "Circumcision has value if you observe the law, but if you break the law, you have become as though you had not been circumcised. If those who are not circumcised keep the law's requirements, will they not be regarded as though they were circumcised? The one who is not circumcised physically and yet obeys the law will condemn you who, even though you have the written code and circumcision, are a lawbreaker. A man is not a Jew if he is only one outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. No, a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a man's praise is not from men, but from God."

* "circumcise" -cut away stiff neck and pride; away from self and turn to God; repentance and obedience, change of heart.

* Overlooking one's self and heart is easy to do.

* Deuteronomy 30:6 "The Lord your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live."

* Colossians 2:11-12 "In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ, having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead."

* Physical circumcision became the second big issue in the early church. The first was is right to allow Gentiles into the church. when it was decided that it was Jesus' will to allow the Gentiles in. The next issue was should they be circumsized? The answer was no. Behind the issue of circumcision was whether or not the Gentiles needed to follow the Mosaic laws. The answer was given in a letter that was sent to all the churches. See Acts 15:23-29. In spite of this letter the issue of following the letter of the law, including feasts and the Sabbath is still a highly debated issue.

>From whom should God's people seek praise?

* "from God" - verse 29.

* God is invisible for he is Spirit and men are visable for he is flesh. So seeking praise from God is not easy.

* The only way to get praise from God in our physical acts is when they come from a pure heart.

>How can we please God? (29)

* Romans 2:29 "No, a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a man's praise is not from men, but from God."

* Live for God inwardly and outwardly.

* Depend and believe in the heart first and foremost.

* The spiritual struggle is always going on within us; flesh against spirit. Martin Luther wrote, "The gifts and the spirit increase in us every day, though they are not yet perfect, and their remain in us the evil lust and sin that war against the Spirit, as Paul says in Romans 7 and Galatians 5, and the quarrel between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent is foretold in Genesis 3. Nevertheless, grace does so much that we are accounted wholly righteous before God.""

* People can't see the heart, but God can.

* We shouldn't be what Jesus called, "a white washed tomb."

* Many people rely on outward manifestations such as baptism and speaking in tongues and witnessing to others as the Jews did circumcision.

* Galatians 5:2-4 is addressed to the Gentiles. It states, "Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all. Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law. You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace."

* Hebrews 11:6 says, "Without faith it is impossible to please God."

>3. What is the advantage of being a Jew or being born into a Christian home?

* Romans 3:1-2 "What advantage, then, is there in being a Jew, or what value is there in circumcision? Much in every way! First of all, they have been entrusted with the very words of God."

* 1-8 is an argument by Jews and Paul shooting it down. 9-20 is Paul's conclusion.

* They have seen all the truth in the word of God.

* What do they gain because of having the word of God?
    1) learn prayer
    2) gain moral values
    3) learn to discipline the body
    4) live by God's high standard
    5) learn how to grow in character before God and men
    6) learn how to gain the honor of God
    7) learn about the future plans of God
    8) gain a hope for the future
    9) learn about the Messiah
    10) understand what it means to love God and one's neighbor

>Does a man's failure to be a steward of his opportunities cancel God's faithfulness?

* Romans 3:3-4 "What if some did not have faith? Will their lack of faith nullify God's faithfulness? Not at all! Let God be true, and every man a liar. As it is written: "So that you may be proved right when you speak and prevail when you judge."

* 2 Timothy 2:13 "if we are faithless, he will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself."

* God did not make a mistake. The mistake was that Israel and the Jews failed his vision for them.

* Our (and their) lack of obedience that comes from faith does not mean that God isn't faithful and God words aren't powerful and effective. It just means that in the God given choice they choose to reject and abuse the law.

* Christians are no different than the Jews in that both has a choice to accept or reject.

* Even if we choose wrong God is still glorified because of his character. God stands alone.

* God's will still judges because that person did the wrong thing. God isn't affected by the choice.

* A wrong choice isn't God's fault.

* Salvation doesn't matter what family background one has. It is still up to the individual to choose.

* Even though everyone does or does not see it, all reject the truth.

* What are the disadvantages (dangers)?
    1) take God's gifts for granted,
    2) can't distinguish between flesh and Spirit,
    3) can still miss the inner life and no one will notice,
    4) may be to secluded in ones life,
    5) can't tell the truth from a lie,
    6) can reject the Messiah -God's way of salvation,
    7) can't distinguish God's will from ones own will,
    8) don't understand the cross of mission.

>4. What do the quotations from the Old Testament (3:10-18) show about what it means to be under the power of sin?

* Romans 3:10-18 "As it is written: "There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one. Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit. The poison of vipers is on their lips. Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood; ruin and misery mark their ways, and the way of peace they do not know. There is no fear of God before their eyes."

* "no one" -repeated seven times in one form or another. This truth is all encompassing.

* This truth is absolute.

* The Jews were different because of the gifts and blessings, but not in regard to sin. They also disobeyed.

* "no one seeks God" -God is always the one who indicates, then we seek him.

* Paul proves that everyone is under sin with this quote.

* Verse 5 is saying "I will do it if we bring glory to God even if it was the wrong method. Then I can not be judged for we contributed to God's will."

* In verse 8 Paul nullifies their argument.

>What is Paul's conclusion about the condition of all men?

* Romans 3:19-20 "Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin."

* In verses 10-18 Paul repeats the general truth.

* We must accept all people even ourself, are under the power of sin and under the wrath of God. Then they and us can turn to the power of the Gospel of Jesus the Messiah.

* If we don't accept the gospel we are sinners, thinking one is good enough to go to heaven or be a child of God without Jesus' saving grace.

* The Pharisees didn't want to admit to Jesus that they were sinners. Thus, they could not receive his forgiveness.

>What is the purpose of the Law? (3:19-20)

* Romans 3:19-20 "Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin."

* Points out man's real conditions; that we are sick, but can be cured.

* "so that every mouth many be silenced" -so we can hear the word of salvation.

* Verses 10b-18 is the law. So Paul was saying "Jews read it for I just quoted from it, so shut up your mouth."

>What is the situation of men without God? (3:10; 3:23; 6:23; Rev. 21:8; Heb. 9:27)

* Romans 3:10 "As it is written: "There is no one righteous, not even one."

* Romans 3:23 "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."

* Romans 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."

* Revelation 21:8 "But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars--their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death."

* Hebrews 9:27 "Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment,"

* The consequences:
    1) fall short,
    2) death,
    3) judgement,
    4) eternal punishment (hell)

* All this is a because of the truth in Romans 3:20 "Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin."

II. God's Righteousness and Man's Faith in the Son (21-26)

>5. Read verse 21.

* Romans 3:21 "But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify."

* The main point Paul is making in all this is that we are justified by grace through faith.

>What is "a righteousness from God" to which the Law and Prophets testify? (Gen. 3:15, 22:18; Isa. 9:6-7)

* Genesis 3:15 "And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel."

* Genesis 22:18 "and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me."

* Isaiah 9:6 "For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."

* "has been made known" -The truth has always been there. Genesis shows ever since Adam's sin it has been made knows. As time went on it was revealed more and more.

* "apart from the law" -law's righteousness is good if we kept the law perfectly. But no one can do it, not even Adam who was first created innocent.

* The requirement of the law is still here with us. We will still be judged by the law and found guilty unless the guilt is removed.

* What is set aside in Christ is our attempt to be saved by works.

>What did God do instead of punishing sinners?

* Romans 3:24-26 " and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished-- he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.>

* "freely" -no need for us to do anything but accept it.

* "justified" -made righteous. This does not include receiving rewards.

* "grace" -unmerited divine assistance

* "redemption" -was the Roman legal act of buying a slave out of slavery so they could be a free person if the new owner allowed it.

* "sacrifice of atonement" -as the one who would turn aside his wrath, taking away sin

* "blood" -Hebrews 9:22b states, without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.” In his book, The Chemistry of the Blood, M. R. DeHann, M.D. explains the origin of blood: “The blood which flows in an unborn babe’s arteries and veins is not derived from the mother but is produced within the body of the fetus… It is only after the sperm has entered the ovum and a fetus begins to develop that blood appears. As a very simple illustration of this, think of the egg of a hen. An non-fertilized egg is simply an ovum on a much larger scale than the human ovum. You may incubate this non-fertilized hen's egg, but it will never develop. It will dry up completely but no chick will result. But let that egg be fertilized by the introduction of the male sperm and incubation will bring to light the presence of life in an embryo. After a few hours it visibly develops. In a little while red streaks occur, denoting the presence of blood According to scientists from the time of conception to the time of birth not ONE SINGLE DROP OF BLOOD ever passes from mother to child The mother contributes no blood at all.” Thus Jesus' blood was pure because his father was God. Mary was a virgin.

>How did he keep his promises in this?

* He sent his Son, Jesus, who died for our sins as he had testified.

* "Law and the Prophets" -See above on meaning of this. Both testify to Jesus.

>6. How is the "wrath of God" (1:18) different from "a righteousness from God"? (3:21)

* Romans 1:18 "The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness,"

* Romans 3:21 "But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify."

* Wrath comes to those who suppresses the truth.

* Righteousness comes through faith.

* Wrath came through unbelief.

* Righteousness came because of Jesus which is God's love and forgiveness.

* God has not changed his nature. He is still the same. Wrath and righteousness is presented at all times.

* Both are from God.

>What is the situation of mankind? (3:19-20, 23; 6:23a)

* Romans 3:19-20 "Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin."

* Romans 3:23 "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,"

* Romans 6:23a "For the wages of sin is death"

* We are helpless under the law.

* "fall all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" -Every person that lived has sinned, which is disobeying God's word, the Law. All men fall short, not matching the good and perfect righteousness (glory). All are under the law. The standard is the glory of God. We must meet this standard or else we can't be accepted.

>Why does all mankind need this righteousness from God?

* If we do not receive it we will go to hell in our sin. If we do not accept the gift, he will not force it on us. He will let our choice stand for all eternity. He is gentle and humble and will not force anyone to receive the free gift of forgiveness of sins.

* God will not forgive without meeting all the requirements of the law. Laws were written based on God's character. This is different than man. God's charactor dictates that the law has to be kept. God's love is thus conditional or it would not be love. Since man can not keep all the requirements of the law, God sent his son so that he could keep all the requirements of the law for us.

>7. How can we obtain this righteousness?

* According to verse 22 and 28 its through faith in Jesus Christ alone.

* There is no other way.

* One must understand and accept the earlier statement "all have sinned" for this to have real meaning.

* We must understand and accept ourselves before God before we can really accept Christ by faith.

>From whom does it come?

* Romans 3:29-30 "Is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles too? Yes, of Gentiles too, since there is only one God, who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith."

>To whom is it available? (22)

* Romans 3:22 "This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference,"

* There is no difference in wrath and mercy. They are for all.

* "no difference" -race, age, gender, Jew, Gentile, knowledge, IQ, wealth, looks, parents, upbringing, life events, etc.

>8. Read verse 24.

* Romans 3:24 "and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus."

>What does "redemption" mean? (Think about what it means to be redeemed from slavery. Ex. 6:5-6)

* Exodus 6:5-6 "Moreover, I have heard the groaning of the Israelites, whom the Egyptians are enslaving, and I have remembered my covenant.Therefore, say to the Israelites: 'I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. I will free you from being slaves to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment."/p>

* "redemption" -As mentioned above, this was a term used in slave markets. It meant deliverance from slavery because someone had paid the price of their freedom. There was a transfer of ownership. There was a change in the point of view of the condition of the slave. They were freed from one slave master and sold to a new master. The Israelites were transferred from Pharaoh to God. Our owner is Jesus. We are now free to do what ever we want as Jesus' servants. Yet, he said he does not call us servants, but brothers in John 15:15. Elsewhere he said, "You are my treasured possession."

* Chapter 6 makes this clear again by exploring and expounding on it.

* The Jews were delivered from Pharaoh by the blood of the lamb spread on their door posts. The first born were slain if they did not have the blood over the door posts. Jesus, the firstborn was slain so that his blood could be poured over our hearts.

>How does God redeem man from sin? (Eph. 1:7-8; and 1 Pet. 1:18-19)

* Ephesians 1:6-8 "to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding."

* 1 Peter 1:18-19 "For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect."

* Paul used the word redemption because the Roman could understand his point from the slave market. Paul used "sacrifice of atonement" because the Jews could understand his point from the temple sacrifice.

>9. Read 25a.

* Romans 3:25a "God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood."

>What is a sacrifice of atonement? (Lev. 17:11; Heb. 9:12, 14, 22; and 1 Jn. 1:7b)

* Leviticus 17:11 "For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one's life."

* Hebrews 9:12 "He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption."

* Hebrews 9:14 "How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!"

* Hebrews 9:22 "In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness."

* 1 John 1:7b "and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin."

* "atonement" -pay back the price demanded; the one who would turn aside God's wrath, taking away sins; reconciliation.

* Sin must be removed before man could have a relationship with God.

>What does it mean that Jesus' blood atones for our sins?

* It means he poured out his life in our place.

* It is based on God's love.

>What practical change does this bring in our lives? (Lk. 1:74-75)

* Luke 1:74-75 "to rescue us from the hand of our enemies, and to enable us to serve him without fear in holiness and righteousness before him all our days."

* Men are burdened with holiness and light. But once they accept Jesus they change. Slowly they are burdened by sin and darkness.

* "from first to last"

>10. Read 24 again. What is "justification"?

* Make right, to be free of guilt and penalty that goes with it, to turn away legally, right before God.

* Being pronounced not guilty by the judge.

* Just-as-if-I never sinned.

* God's one sided love.

>How is this different from self-justification?

* Justification is from God not from self.

* Man's righteousness is not God's righteousness for man's is based on what society and self say. God's is based on purity.

* Man's is subjective. God is active.

* Man's is active in our minds because of fear of judgment. God's is active in the heart because of the reality of judgement.

>What does it mean to be justified freely by his grace? (Eph. 2:8-9)

* Ephesians 2:8-9 "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-- not by works, so that no one can boast."

* Grace is unmerited divine assistance.

* Price paid and relationship established again.

>What does this show about the necessity of redemption and atonement? (26)

* Romans 3:26 "he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus."

* Redemption and atonement must be there for justification.

>11. What is grace? (Think about the two thieves who hung on crosses with Jesus. (Lk. 23:42-43)

* Luke 23:42-43 "Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." Jesus answered him, "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise."

* The thief did nothing worthy, but Jesus shed grace on him.

* Two thieves. Two kinds of people.

* Its easy to think we should do something to be saved.

III. God's Character in His Redemption (3:25b, 26)

>12. What do these verses teach us about God's justice?

* God's justice through Jesus did away with sin, any form of sin.

>What does it mean that God is just?

* God's love demands to find a way to save man.

* Example in Cain and Able.

* Can't separate sin and sinners without an act of God.

* Two statements are made. Jesus died for two reasons:
    1) to be just,
    2) to justify.

* God doesn't show partiality.

* Everyone has a requirement -faith.

>What reveals God's love? (26b; 5:8; Jn. 3:16)

* Romans 3:26 "so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus."

* John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that he sent his only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but have eternal life."

* Both justification and love is revealed.

* Isaiah 45:2

* Zech. 9:9

>Why is only faith in Jesus, and nothing else, necessary? (22, 26b-31)

* Romans 3:22 "This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference,

* Romans 3:26b-31 "so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus. Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. On what principle? On that of observing the law? No, but on that of faith. For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law. Is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles too? Yes, of Gentiles too, since there is only one God, who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith. Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law.

* This upheld the law. Nothing else upholds the law.

V. Abraham and David, Forefathers of Faith (4:1-8)

>13. What characterizes Abraham's faith? (1-3)

* Chapter 4 is an illustration of what Paul just wrote.

* Abraham believe God because God came to him first.

* Abraham was sinful and an idol worshipper.

>What did he believe? (4:1-5; 9-25; Gen. 15:1-6)

* He would be the father of many nations.

* In Genesis Abraham was in a hopeless condition.

* Before circumcision he received the promise. So circumcision has no place and it is not relevant to righteousness.

* Abraham believed in the God who would raise Jesus from the dead.

>14. What did David have in common with Abraham? (4:6-8)

* David learned forgiveness when he committed sin.

* Both Abraham and David learned faith in different circumstances.

>What did David learn about the blessedness of being forgiven? (4:7, 8; Ps. 32: 1-5; and 2 Sa. 12:7-13)

* He did not earn forgiveness, but was given it.

>How can we apply these lessons of faith? (4:23-25)

* Their case is the same with us.

* Universal in sin.

* Universal in forgiveness.

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