Gift Of Righteousness
“ 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.” Rom 3:23-24
It is important for God’s elect in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness which constitutes Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection to know the significance of God’s free gift of Righteousness. The ‘gift of righteousness’ is the Spirit of Jesus Christ. All righteousness of God was justified by Jesus Christ through His baptism, death and resurrection.
The Bible declares that no man can ever stand un-condemned in the sight of God, the Judge of all, unless he receives righteousness as the gift of God’s grace. As elects at NCCkl, we are so grateful to God that the Lord Jesus Christ took the condemnation and judgment for our sins upon Himself. He did it through His baptism by John at the River Jordan and willingly faced the vicarious judgment at Calvary so that His righteousness might be imputed to us by grace through faith. Let us examine Rom 3:23-24 which tells us our true condition as human beings and what God has done to save those who put their trust in His Son, Jesus.
- Unshakeable Foundation Rom 3:23-24
If the truth of these two verses become the foundation of our lives, we will be able to overcome all crises and circumstances. If these verses become the sun in the solar system of our lives, all our planets will orbit in harmony around the will of God. However, if we put these verses on the rim of our lives, then we need not be surprised if there is confusion, uncertainty, fear and weakness in our lives. There are some truths that are so foundational and so central that elects should memorize, meditate and bind them to our mind and heart. Many so called professing Christians are very weak and pretty much like unbelievers because they don’t hold on to these verses the way a drowning man hold of his rescuer’s arm. Verse 23 gives the universal need ‘for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.’ All of us have sinned. No exceptions. That was the point of Rom 1:18-3:20. The outworking of that sin is that we are falling short of God’s glory. Falling short is literally ‘lacking’. What does this mean? It doesn’t mean that we are supposed to be as glorious as God is but we aren’t and so we lack glory. In describing those who ‘suppress the truth in unrighteousness’ Rom 1:18, Paul says in Rom 1:23, they changed the glory of the incorruptible God for an image. In Rom 1:28, Paul says ‘they disapproved of having God in their knowledge.’ The picture we have is that all have sinned and that sin is essentially rejection of God and His glory as the supreme value of our lives. Sin considers God and His glory and instead of loving God’s glory and treasuring God’s glory, sin exchanges God’s glory for something else. That is what sin is. Sin has to do with God, mainly. It is not mainly hurting people, though it does hurt people. Mainly, it is dishonoring God. Sin is belittling God’s glory by not trusting Him, treasuring Him and wanting Him as the foundation and the center of our lives. How shall we get right with God and be saved from this God-dishonoring condition of sin? How shall we ever be accepted in eternity by God when all of us have scorned His infinite Word so deeply by treating Him as if He had less worth than everything else.
- God’s Action For Sinners Rom 3:24
In verse 24, the answer is given with 4 descriptions of God’s action for sinners. What is so great of this verse is that it is all about what God has done to save us, not what we do to save ourselves.
- Justified – Consider the phrase, ‘being justified.’ Notice three things about it. First, the verb is passive, it says, ‘being justified’ not ‘justifying.’ We are not doing this, it is being done to us. Justifying is something that God does, not something that we do, Second, notice that the word ‘justified’ is the word ‘just.’ Now, ‘just’ is essentially the same as ‘righteous.’ Justification is the act of God, once for all declaring us just and righteous in His sight. Third observation about the phrase ‘being justified.’ In what sense do we receive righteousness? It is an act of God that declares us righteous. Righteousness is attained through faith in the Gospel Truth of Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection for all who believe.
- Gift– This great act is done for us as a ‘gift.’ That is the next phrase in verse 24. Being justified ‘as a gift.’ The point is that we are justified in a way that we cannot pay for it. We cannot purchase our justification. It is a gift. It is free. There are no payment we can make. God’s act of justification is a gift.
- Grace – Now this is underlined in the third phrase, ‘by His grace,’ Being justified is a gift by His grace. This is one of the most important words in the letters of Paul. He uses it 95 times. What does Paul mean here that God’s act of justifying is by His grace. The easiest way to see it is to look a few verses later in Rom 4:4. If we work for somebody, we don’t get grace, we get wages. If we work for someone, what we bring about is not grace but debt. This is why it is an abomination to try to work for God. God cannot be put in anyone’s debt. Rom 11:35
- Redemption – Now can God declare a sinner to be righteous? If we don’t pay for it, we don’t work for it, then what is the basis of it? How can it be just to justify the ungodly? The last phrase in verse 24 gives the answer. It is provided through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus. Being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus. What does redemption mean? It means deliverance at a cost or release by payment of a price. In other words, the idea of redemption is deliverance or release by payment of a ransom. In redemption, someone’s release or deliverance is accomplished at the cost of a ransom payment. The answer is that the life of the Son of Man is the ransom paid in redemption. Redemption is in Christ Jesus because Jesus is the ransom. From what? From the guilt, condemnation and power of sin which is the universal problem of verse 23. The basis of justification is not in ourselves or anything we do, it is through the redemption that is found in Christ Jesus.