Saturday, October 24, 2020



Romans 3:19-28

Living By Works or Faith?

O almighty God, You have shown Your faithfulness by raising up those in every generation who call Your Church to repentance and renewal. Continue to raise up voices in our own day who herald the truth of Your Word and proclaim the faith in purity and truth. Bless this day the proclamation and the meditation of Your word in Jesus’ Name. Amen

It is told that upon reading St. Paul’s letter to the Romans that Martin Luther finally got it. He discovered the answer for which he had been searching. How does a man get right with God? His quest was simple. “How do I find a merciful God?” How? Is it by works? Or by faith? Let’s see how Luther was drawn to the Gospel message of grace as Paul speaks to us this morning.

So how does one get right with God?

I. The whole world is involved - Romans 3:23-24 “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus;”

A.      All have sinned. No one is exempt. There is not a single religion known to man which states that man is somehow perfect. Or that he is exempt from sin. Each will readily admit that man is far from perfect. But in trying to justify themselves; folk will conclude one of two possibilities. - Either God will make up for the bad. Or He will somehow close His eyes to your sin. Yet this kind of religion will not stand the test of every man.

We must therefore come to the Father through Christ who, as Paul explains to us, has freed us from the punishment of which our sin has brought.  (But) being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus;” V.24

B.      Redemption is a free gift! It is given to us by the LORD’s free favor. - With no strings attached. If it were anything else but a gift. We would have an obligation. - Which we could never repay. The LORD lavishes upon us His mercy and grace. As an offering of His love.


II. The whole world stands accountable to God. - Romans 3:19 “ Now we know that whatever the Law says, it speaks to those who are under the Law, that every mouth may be closed, and all the world may become accountable to God;”

A.     The Law speaks

1.      As a Curb – Which checks our sin. – Where we fear punishment. Retribution. And payback. The emotion which is employed is fear. When an exasperated and frustrated mother says to her child, “just wait until your father gets home!” that’s the 1st use of the Law at work – Fear!


When the sign on the front door of the Wal-mart store reads, “all shoplifters will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law” and there are cameras about; one thinks twice.


Walk through the front door of the Stake and Shake or any connivance store and notice the yard stick inside the doorway. That’s a deterrent.  And a warning. It restrains us.


2.      The Law works as a Mirror - Here we feel guilt. The Law shows us our sin. It shows us what we have done and what we have left undone.  It shows us our failing and our flaws. Embarrassment is a byproduct of the 2nd use of the Law. Under its use you feel guilt.


3.      The Law is a Ruler - Expressed in Joy. As we gladly do those things, which the LORD would have us, do. With respect to God’s Word; we gladly hear and learn it.  

B.     The Law condemns us before God

1.      We are under its curse. And it is a dreadful curse. It is the curse of death. “The souls which sins it will die” the Scriptures teach. And, “The wages of sin is death.”


2.       The Law crushes us. Under the weight of sin no one can bear. Unless that burden and load is removed. We will be eternally devastated.

III. The inability of the Law to reconcile – Romans 3:20 “because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law {comes} the knowledge of sin.”

A.      The Law can only show us the knowledge of sin. Which always condemns. Which always destroys. There is no saving power in the Law. The Law can only charge. Prosecute. And indict us. The Law always accuses.


B.      Therefore no one can be justified by means of following the Law. If all it can do is charge us as guilt. There is nothing the Law can do to free us from its curse.

IV. Reconciliation therefore is a gift. – Romans 3:23-24 “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus;”

A.      It comes through the redemption which is in Jesus Christ. – To be at one with Him. The Gospel message is at the same time so simple and yet so significant. It is so straightforward that a mere child can know and accept it.  Yet, at the same time, it challenges us. To seek the Lord. To plead for mercy. To run headlong into the waiting arms of the Savior.      


B.      It is a gift given freely. The hymn writer put it so clearly – “not the labors of my hands could fulfill Thy law’s demands…  What we are unable to do the Savior does for us. He forgives our sins and credits our account.

V. This gift of God is made possible only by grace. – Romans 3:25 “whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. {this was} to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed;”

A.      He passed over sins previously committed. This was demonstrated in the Passover event in the Old Testament. When the LORD saw the blood splattered on the doorpost - He bypassed that house. And spared those who remained inside. They were safe. Because of the mark. What He did in Egypt the LORD does in your life.


His mark was placed on you on the day you were baptized. You received the sign of the cross upon your forehead and upon your heart. As a sign that you have been redeemed by Christ the crucified. When you make the sign of the cross {as a devotional aid} you are reminding yourself of this reality. Because of Christ’s victory at the glorious cross – your sins are gone. You are forgiven. The Father has passed them over. 


B.      It is a sacrifice that satisfies. What good news! “There is therefore now, no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.


C.      The Father is now appeased. – Christ has compensated for you. There is nothing left to be done. Christ’s reward is granted you by grace.

Christ has accomplished everything we need to be in a right with God. Christ has done it all. He has done all things well.

D.     Saving faith looks to Jesus Christ in His sacrificial death for you. When you read there is “faith in His blood,” that simply mean there is faith in what Jesus’ blood has purchased and won for you.   The blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin.”

VI. It is necessary for faith to appropriate the gifts. Romans 3:28 “For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law.”

A.      When Luther translated this verse into German he added the word “alone.” It’s not faith plus works. Not faith plus my prayers. Not faith plus my co-operation. Not faith plus my pious behavior. Actions. And activities. It is faith and faith alone which saves.


B.      Faith is not man’s contribution. Or decision. But the Savior’s gift. The Scriptures are quite clear on the matter. “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing from the Word of Christ.” Even your faith. Which clings only to merits of Jesus Christ. Is a good and gracious gift.

What more could be said then to add what Paul has stated in Ephesians 2:8-9  For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, {it is} the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast.”


Words – 1,405
Passive Sentences –7 %
Readability –85.8 %
Reading Level –3.4
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