Focal passages: Romans 3:21-4:3
Faith, righteousness, justification. These words permeate our discussions of the Bible and what it means to be saved, but I wonder if we have heard them so many times that we fail to stop and ponder what they truly mean to the believer.
Martin Luther, in referring to Romans 3:21-26, called this section of the letter, “the chief point, and the very central place of the Epistle, and of the whole Bible.”
Faith, the righteous shall live by it (Romans 1:17). Paul elaborates on this Good News here, declaring that our righteousness (right standing, literally upright) before God comes through faith, but not just any faith. Our faith lies solely in Jesus. Having established previously that no one can live perfectly, and all need a Savior, Paul dutifully reminds us that God freely gives salvation to all who come to Him by faith. In that alone are we made right with God.
Justification. Through faith in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus we become righteous through God’s free gift. This reality means that God now looks upon us “just as if” we had never sinned.
This faith, Paul points out, is exclusive (v. 28). It excludes boasting (v. 27), provides for the inclusion of the Gentiles (vv. 29-30)- so it is for all people, and compliments rather than nullifies the law (v. 31).
Faith. Righteousness. Justification. If we are to understand the gospel, we must understand these words. May we never lose sight of their centrality to the message.