21 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus (Romans 3.21-26).
Memory Verse: Romans 3.23 – “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
Everything we have discussed thus far has brought us to this point about God’s righteousness. It was to show us His righteousness, to let us know how righteous He really was, whether with the law or without the law, God was righteous. God demonstrated His amazing righteousness to us when He allowed His Son to come and die in our place, to take our penalty, our sins upon Himself becoming sin for us as Paul says, “For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God” (II Corinthians 5.21, ESV).
Look at this verse for a moment, for our sake, because of us, who we are and, on our behalf, God made Christ to be sin, to take sin upon Himself, someone Who knew no sin so that through Christ we would have the possibility to have the righteousness of God in us. Just imagine the love and compassion God has for us to allow His Son do such a thing, amazing! Just as the scripture says, “For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “But the righteous man shall live by faith” (Romans 1.17, NASB95).
In our faith we trust what God has done, we trust Jesus Christ’s actions on the cross, in the grave and through the resurrection. By faith we live, by faith we have God’s righteousness on us, by faith we serve Him, by faith we move from day to day knowing God is on our side, and we are His children saved by grace. By faith we continue to run the race set before us, laying aside every weight and the sin which so easily causes us trouble. We are able to do all this because of Christ’s shed blood, the Author and Finisher of our faith, Who for the joy of it endured the cross; despising the shame of it, He then was seated at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12.1-2, emphasis added).
John MacArthur in his commentary on Romans sums up this verse perfectly;
The real “problem,” as it were, with salvation was not the matter of getting sinful men to a holy God but of getting a holy God to accept sinful men without violating His justice. It was only through the cross that God could provide a just redemption for sinful men. But of immeasurably more importance was that the cross demonstrates forever that God is both supremely just and supremely gracious. First and foremost, Christ died that the world might see that neither God’s holiness nor His justice have been abrogated. God has perfect and absolute integrity. The cross was the ultimate vindication of God’s justice and righteousness. The most unfathomable of all spiritual mysteries is that of the holy and just God providing redemption for sinful men and in that gracious act, not violating any attribute of His nature, but bringing supreme glory to Himself.
Just as the primary purpose of salvation is to glorify God, so is the confession of sin by those who are saved. When God chastens His children and they confess their sin, they testify to their heavenly Father’s justice and righteousness and therefore to His glory. It is as if a person saw a father spanking his child and the child told the onlooker that he was being rightly punished for something wrong he had done. Just as such a confession by a human child honors and vindicates his human father, so the confession of sin by God’s children honors, vindicates, and glorifies their heavenly Father.
One final thought about this passage, God’s righteousness is powerful, something we should feel within our lives and never take for granted. However, we must also understand God has given each of us His righteousness when we ask His Son into our lives as our Savior. The Holy Spirit seals us, and Christ’s blood pays the price for us, God’s righteousness allows us all the access into His Holy presence. We should never waste this gift, abuse this gift, or take this gift for granted, but we must share this gift with others, and let the world know what God has done in our lives each and every day.
Think on these words by the great song writer Isaac Watts from his song ‘When I Survey The Wonderous Cross’
When I survey the wondrous cross,
On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.
Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.
God You are Awesome, Your love and compassion are beyond compare. When I think about all You should have done and all You did do, I cannot understand why You love me today. I am not worthy of Your time, energy, nor Your love, yet You not only loved me, You sent Your Son to die in my place taking my sins upon Himself. Lord help me to be willing to share this amazing love and righteousness with others. To show them how great and awesome You are by how I live my life each day, by the things I say and by the way I act. Lord give me wisdom and understanding as I study Your word so I may share when the time comes. All this I pray In Jesus Christ’s Name, Amen.
 The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Ro 3:21–26). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.
 The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (2 Co 5:21). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.
 New American Standard Bible: 1995 update. (1995). (Ro 1:17). La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.
 MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1991). Romans (Vol. 1, p. 219). Chicago: Moody Press.
 Logos Hymnal. (1995). (1st edition.). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
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