Sermon: God’s Righteousness Questioned (Pt. 2)

“God’s Righteousness Questioned” (Pt. 2)
Romans 3:29-31
March 12, 2017

We have been talking much about justification by faith. Are we over-emphasizing this doctrine?

So does justification still matter?  The answer must be a resounding yes.  Nothing matters more than justification by Christ alone through faith alone.…

Many attempts have been made to move the center ground of Christianity elsewhere.  But the fact remains that the biggest problem facing humanity is God’s justice.  God is committed to judging sin.  And that means he is committed to judging my sin.  This is our biggest problem because that means an eternity excluded from the glory of God.

This is Paul’s argument in Romans 1:18–3:20.  Step by step Paul establishes that all are guilty.  Romans 2:5 says, “Because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.”  He reaches his conclusion in Romans 3:20:  “For by works of the law no human being will be justified in [God’s] sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.”  Christianity brings many blessings.  It is right that Christians be involved in the pursuit of neighborhood renewal and social justice.  But if one day God’s righteous judgment will be revealed, if in the meantime we are storing up God’s wrath against ourselves, if no one can be declared righteous through his or her own righteousness, then every person on earth faces a massive problem:  God’s judgment.  And this problem dwarfs all the other problems we face.  Nothing matters more than justification.

This is why Luther described justification as “the summary of Christian doctrine” and “the article by which the church stands or falls.” [Reeves and Chester, Why the Reformation Still Matters.]

So after explaining justification in Romans 3:21-26, in 3:27-31 Paul again takes up an argument against someone who might object to what he has said about justification, and he poses a series of five questions that this opponent might propose. Those questions really are akin to a series of objections that might be raised in a law court. They get to the heart of the opposition that the Jews had against Christ and the principle of justification by faith.

These questions lead into Paul’s great declaration that became one of the rallying cries of the Reformation — sola fide — salvation is by faith alone (v. 28).

What does Paul say in these verses? He teaches that:

Justification is received only through faith alone.

These five questions can be summarized into three essential questions about justification:

  1. If Justification is by Faith, Where is Boasting? (v. 27-28)
  2. If Justification is by Faith, Is God the God of Jews Only? (v. 29-30)
  3. If Justification is by Faith, Isn’t the Law Obsolete? (v. 31)

Download the rest of this sermon from Romans 3:29-31.

The audio will be posted on the GBC website later today.

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