The God Who Is There
Written by D. A. Carson
“The God Who Declares the Guilty Just”– Chapter Eleven
Declaring Someone Just
- The accumulation of good acts cannot “undo” an evil act. In the court of justice, good acts cannot acquit someone of a crime.
- So too with God, there is no scale that will be used to weigh good deeds against bad. If we have done evil, then we are guilty.
- The holy God does not pretend that good deeds make up for bad ones.
- Rather, God has found a way to declare guilty people “just” without contradicting his own integrity or attribute of justice.
Romans 1:18 – 3:20
- Paul’s entire argument is to show us that we are guilty.
- This is the story of the Bible from Genesis 3.
- Both Jews (who have God’s Law) and Gentiles (who don’t) are all sinful and guilty before God.
- “There is no one who does good, not even one.” (Rom 3:10)
- “Good” things that sinful people do are due to God’s common grace, and they can’t erase their sinful acts.
- The heart of evil is wanting to go our own way and disowning the God who made us.
- If the measure of our goodness is obedience to the 2 great commands:
- Love God with all of our heart/soul/mind
- Love our neighbor as ourselves
- …then we have all miserably failed and fallen short of the glory of God (Rom 3:23).
- Revelation of God’s righteousness in its relationship to the OT.
But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. (v. 21)
- Availability of God’s righteousness to all without racial distinction on condition of faith.
This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, (vv. 22-23)
- Source of God’s righteousness in the gracious provision of Christ Jesus as the propitiation for our sins
and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. (v. 24) God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood -- to be received by faith. (v. 25)
- Demonstration of God’s righteousness through the cross of Jesus Christ.
He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished -- (v. 25) he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus. (v. 26)
27 Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. Because of what law? The law that requires works? No, because of the law that requires faith. 28 For we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law. 29 Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles too? Yes, of Gentiles too, 30 since there is only one God, who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith. 31 Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law.
- Faith excludes boasting
- Faith preserves grace
- Faith is necessary to save Jews and Gentiles alike
- Christian faith fulfills the OT
Final Word on Faith
- Faith is not a subjective feeling or a personal, religious choice.
- Faith is always in an object—what or whom you believe.
- Faith’s validation depends in part on the truthfulness of faith’s object.
- Faith is unavoidable, because you will trust someone or something.
In Romans 3, Paul desires us to have a “God-given ability to perceive what God has done by hanging Jesus on the cross, reconciling us to himself, setting aside his own just wrath, demonstrating his love, and declaring us just, even though we are not, because the righteousness of Christ Jesus is now counted as ours and our sin is now counted as his.”