Thursday, 14 March 2013
…even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; Romans 3:22
It will help to understand this verse better by returning to verse 21 along with it –
But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference…
“The righteousness of God” noted here is not a law-based righteousness in and of itself, although the law does play a part in it. Paul says it is “apart from the law” though, so this must be carefully considered. To us the righteousness of God is a faith-based righteousness. Paul has shown that all are under a sentence of condemnation because of the law (be it natural or Mosaic); we simply cannot measure up to what God has revealed to us.
However, Jesus could and did. He was born without inherited sin and He lived perfectly without ever violating God’s law. Now, by faith in His work the righteousness of God is imputed to us. This goes back to the concept of being declared righteous simply by taking God at His word. This was the case with Abraham in Genesis 15:6 –
“And he believed in the Lord, and He accounted it to him for righteousness.”
By simple faith in what seemed otherwise impossible, God declared Abraham righteous. This is the consistent theme throughout the Bible. God knows our weakness and so He asks for us to trust Him and His promises. When we do, “the righteousness of God” is revealed in us and it is based on faith in what Jesus Christ did.
Many translations state here “through the faith of Jesus Christ” instead of “through faith in Jesus Christ.” Actually, it is possible to have the faith “of” Jesus Christ by faith “in” Jesus Christ and so either is possible. The phrase “faith of Jesus Christ” is in what is known as the genitive form. Therefore, this is speaking about Jesus’ faith which He imparts to those who believe.
In order to understand this, we can go to Ephesians 2:8, 9 –
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”
The grace and the faith combined are the gift of God and they are bestowed upon us because of the merits of Jesus Christ “to all and on all who believe.” Simple faith is the key to reconciliation with God the Father and it is faith in the accomplished work of Jesus. What a great bargain!
This verse ends with “For there is no difference…” This thought continues on into the next verse, but the idea here is that there is no “distinction.” Things can differ without having any real distinction. But there is more than just difference between Jew and Gentile and natural law and the Mosaic law; there is a distinction which is made – until Jesus enters the picture. When He does, all distinctions are set aside.
Life application: Today, take time to look back over your life – at the innumerable things you’ve done which are contrary to what is good. Little lies, secret faults of the heart, open rebellion – whatever it may be. Your sins have separated you from your God. And yet all of that is washed away, cleansed, and purified by Someone else’s work, by simple faith in what He did. Think on this and give God the glory for the giving of His Son for you.
Lord Jesus, how can it be that You would give Your perfect life in exchange for my imperfections, flaws, and open rebellion? I stand amazed at what You have done for me. And yet it is more than just me, but anyone who will simply call out to You in faith. Every soul who looks to You will stand spotless and pure because of Your work… amazing. Thank You, Lord. Amen.