1 Samuel 3 & Romans 3

1 Samuel 3

    Now the boy Samuel was ministering to the LORD in the presence of Eli. And the word of the LORD was rare in those days; there was no frequent vision.

    At that time Eli, whose eyesight had begun to grow dim so that he could not see, was lying down in his own place. The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the LORD, where the ark of God was.

    Then the LORD called Samuel, and he said, “Here I am!” and ran to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he said, “I did not call; lie down again.” So he went and lay down.

    And the LORD called again, “Samuel!” and Samuel arose and went to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he said, “I did not call, my son; lie down again.” Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD, and the word of the LORD had not yet been revealed to him.

    And the LORD called Samuel again the third time. And he arose and went to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” Then Eli perceived that the LORD was calling the boy. Therefore Eli said to Samuel, “Go, lie down, and if he calls you, you shall say, ‘Speak, LORD, for your servant hears.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.

    And the LORD came and stood, calling as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant hears.” Then the LORD said to Samuel, “Behold, I am about to do a thing in Israel at which the two ears of everyone who hears it will tingle. On that day I will fulfill against Eli all that I have spoken concerning his house, from beginning to end. And I declare to him that I am about to punish his house forever, for the iniquity that he knew, because his sons were blaspheming God, and he did not restrain them. Therefore I swear to the house of Eli that the iniquity of Eli's house shall not be atoned for by sacrifice or offering forever.”

    Samuel lay until morning; then he opened the doors of the house of the LORD. And Samuel was afraid to tell the vision to Eli. But Eli called Samuel and said, “Samuel, my son.” And he said, “Here I am.” And Eli said, “What was it that he told you? Do not hide it from me. May God do so to you and more also if you hide anything from me of all that he told you.” So Samuel told him everything and hid nothing from him. And he said, “It is the LORD. Let him do what seems good to him.”

    And Samuel grew, and the LORD was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground. And all Israel from Dan to Beersheba knew that Samuel was established as a prophet of the LORD. And the LORD appeared again at Shiloh, for the LORD revealed himself to Samuel at Shiloh by the word of the LORD.

(1 Samuel 3 ESV)

Romans 3

    Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the value of circumcision? Much in every way. To begin with, the Jews were entrusted with the oracles of God. What if some were unfaithful? Does their faithlessness nullify the faithfulness of God? By no means! Let God be true though every one were a liar, as it is written,

    “That you may be justified in your words,
        and prevail when you are judged.”
        But if our unrighteousness serves to show the righteousness of God, what shall we say? That God is unrighteous to inflict wrath on us? (I speak in a human way.) By no means! For then how could God judge the world? But if through my lie God's truth abounds to his glory, why am I still being condemned as a sinner? And why not do evil that good may come?—as some people slanderously charge us with saying. Their condemnation is just.

    What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, as it is written:

    “None is righteous, no, not one;
        no one understands;
        no one seeks for God.
    All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;
        no one does good,
        not even one.”
    “Their throat is an open grave;
        they use their tongues to deceive.”
    “The venom of asps is under their lips.”
        “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.”
    “Their feet are swift to shed blood;
        in their paths are ruin and misery,
    and the way of peace they have not known.”
        “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
        Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.

    But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it—the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 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. 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.

    Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith. For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law. Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, since God is one—who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith. Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law.

(Romans 3 ESV)

Something to Consider

Romans 3: The gospel of Jesus Christ answers the great difficulty of man’s greatest dilemma. How is it possible for a righteous God to declare unrighteous people to be righteous without either compromising His own righteousness or condoning their unrighteousness? How could a just God justify guilty sinners and still remain a perfectly just God who exercises perfect justice?

According to the apostle Paul, that is the good news that has now been manifested (unveiled; revealed; clearly laid out). The good news is that the unrighteous can be regarded as righteous on account of what Christ has done. Faith in what God accomplished through Christ on the cross grants us a right standing before God. When we place all of our hope, confidence and trust in what Christ did on that cross, God transfers our sins (our criminal record) to Jesus who has already paid that debt and then accredits Jesus’ righteousness (His perfect record) to us which is the only type of righteousness sufficient for us to stand before the judgement of God. This is the “alien righteousness” (one that comes from outside of ourselves) that justifies the sinner before a just God.

Now, in observing Paul’s powerful explanation of how God has granted us righteousness, there are four notable expressions associated with the cross here in this passage:

  • justified by God’s grace (v. 24)
  • redemption of sinners (v. 24)
  • propitiation of God’s wrath (v. 25)
  • demonstration of God’s justice (v. 25-26)

Justification is the one-time judicial act of God in which He pronounces that He regards the sinner as righteous on account of the righteousness of Christ which God accredits to our account and on which we can rest assured in faith. It is a judicial term. Justification does not refer to God making us perfectly righteous, but that He regards us as perfectly righteous or declares us to be righteous.    

Redemption is the releasing of someone or something for a ransom payment in return. Jesus bought us out of our corrupted condition by giving His life as a ransom payment. The redemption price of sin was the death of a perfect man.
Propitiation is the satisfaction or appeasement of God’s wrath and the turning it into favor instead. God’s righteous anger needed to be appeased before sin could be forgiven, and God in His love sent His Son (who offered Himself willingly) to satisfy God’s holy anger against sin. God Himself, gave Himself to save us from Himself.

Demonstration which is communicated in this passage by the word “show” refers to the act of God proving His righteousness and perfect justice. God’s righteousness is non-negotiable and He will not compromise His holiness in order to save us. The righteousness of God requires justice to be served and sin to be punished. The cross clearly demonstrates and proves God as being ‘just’ (an attribute) and as being the ‘justifier’ (an action).  

Every other religion declares that we must provide a righteousness that we can offer to God for Him to accept us. But the gospel declares that God has provided a righteousness that He has offered to us if we will accept Him through faith. The gospel turns every other religion and view of God completely on its head.

The gospel is the good news about the righteousness provided by God through faith in Jesus Christ, and what He accomplished for everyone who actually believes.