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. (Romans 3)
John Piper has declared Romans 3:21-26 as the most important paragraph written in the entire Bible. And some biblical scholars have even labeled Romans 3:21-26 as possibly the most important single paragraph ever written in the history of literature. It is in this profound paragraph, that the apostle Paul reminds his readers of the amazing grace of God and the incredible hope that he has given humanity.
This morning, I sat down to read the entire letter to the Romans all the way through. I tried to put myself in the sandals of Paul’s original audience and read the letter out loud to myself without stopping to take any notes or underline any passages. After finishing the letter, I took some time to just think about what I read, and it was clear to me that everything Paul is trying to say and communicate in this letter hinges on what he says in Romans 3.
Paul wants the Jewish Christians and the non-Jewish Christians to humble themselves and to get over their differences and their non-essential disagreements and to come together as the new multi-ethnic family of God who love, forgive and respect one another. And the primary way that he tries to get them to do this is by presenting a thorough account of the gospel and reminding them of who we would be without Jesus and who we have now become because of Jesus.
I love the way that the guys at The Bible Project put it in their video on Romans:
“Jesus became what we are so we could become what he is.”
Remembering the sacrifice of Jesus should lead us to become living sacrifices ourselves who forgive one another and fulfill all that God desires through love.
Praise God that he has not just left me to myself — trapped in my own sinfulness and guilt! Praise God that I don’t have to reach some high level of moral character or religious devotion in order to be loved and accepted and blessed by him!
Praise God because it is his own faithfulness to us as his special creatures and his own goodness and his own love and his own genius that has given us a new status, a new family and a new future.
This remarkable letter reminds us that it is because of what God has done through Jesus that we are now right with him and forgiven (new status) and included into his people (new family) and experiencing a transformed and eternal life (new future). And so, just like the first readers in Rome, lets listen to what Paul is trying to tell us and be thankful to our great God, loving towards everyone else and live everyday like a loved child of God ought to live.