“God’s Righteousness Revealed” (Pt. 4)
February 12, 2017
It doesn’t take much for even a believer in Christ to become aware of his past sins and the shame and guilt associated with those sins. Though the sin might have been confessed both to the Lord and the one we sinned against, too often we still feel the burden of guilt. Are you one of those people? Jerry Bridges asks a series of questions to help us identify whether we are living with persistent guilt:
- Are you painfully preoccupied with a particular habitual sin?
- Are you discouraged or depressed by your failure to measure up?
- Does it appear that God can use others but not you?
- Is there something in your past that you can’t seem to get over?
- Do you fear that your past will come back to haunt you? [Bookends of the Christian Life, 55-6.]
So what will we do with such guilt? Martin Luther provides the answer in a letter he wrote to a friend who was fighting guilt and failure:
“When the devil throws our sins up to us and declares that we deserve death and hell, we ought to speak thus: ‘I admit that I deserve death and hell. What of it? Does this mean that I shall be sentenced to eternal damnation? By no means. For I know One who suffered and made satisfaction in my behalf. His name is Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Where he is, there I shall be also.” [in Michael Reeves, Rejoicing in Christ, p. 63.]
That’s the answer that not only Martin Luther provided for his young friend, but its also the answer that God provided us through Paul’s pen in Romans 3:21-26. Yes, we have been guilty in the past and yes even after trusting Christ we still sin. But that guilt is no longer our identity. Sin is not our identity. We have been given the perfect righteousness of Christ though our union with Him in His death.
In a word, the solution to our guilt is to admit we are guilty and embrace the completed work of Christ and trust that God will impute His righteousness to us when we have faith in Him.
So what does Paul say in these verses? He teaches that:
When man had no means to save himself, God justly provided a declaration of righteousness through Christ.
Here, then, are seven statements about the nature of justification:
- What Justification Is (v. 21)
- How Justification is Appropriated (v. 22a)
- Who Needs Justification? (v. 22b)
- Why Justification is Necessary (vv. 22b-23)
- Who Accomplished Justification? (v. 24)
- When Justification was Accomplished (v. 25a)
- How Justification Really is Just (vv. 25b-26)
- Some Implications of Justification — Why Justification Matters
- Justification clarifies our joy
- Justification clarifies our purpose
- Justification clarifies our message
Download the rest of this sermon from Romans 3:25-26.
The audio will be posted on the GBC website later today.