Quest for Hope
An Echo 2-24-16
Yesterday, we read about how creation magnifies the presence of Creator God. That creation includes every human being; we are God’s handiwork created to love Him and take care of His creation. Tonight, we will read about God’s presentation of Jesus as the sacrifice for our sin and our ability to now be an echo of his likeness.
Romans 3:21-26 The Passion Translation
21-22 “But now, independently of the Law, the righteousness of God is tangible and brought to light through Jesus, the Anointed One! This is the righteousness that the Scriptures prophesied would come! It is God’s righteousness made visible through the faithfulness of Jesus Christ. And now all who believe in him receive that gift! For there is really no difference between us,
23 for we all have sinned and are deprived of God’s divine splendor. 24 Yet through his powerful declaration of acquittal, God freely gives away his righteousness! His gift of love and favor now cascades over us, all because Jesus the Anointed One has liberated us from the guilt, punishment, and power of sin! 25 Jesus’ God-given destiny was to be the sacrifice to take away sins and now he is our Mercy Seat because of his death on the cross. We come to him for mercy for God has made a provision for us to be forgiven by faith in the sacred blood of Jesus. This is the perfect demonstration of God’s justice, because until now, he had been so patient—holding back his justice because he heard the echo of his likeness in human hearts. So he covered over the sins of those who lived prior to Jesus’ sacrifice. 26 And when the season of tolerance came to an end, there was only one possible way for God to give away his righteousness and still be true to both his justice and his mercy—to offer up his own Son. So now, because we stand on faith in Jesus, God declares us righteous in His eyes.”
From our reading, we can discern that when we accept God’s amazing gift of righteousness, we are not responsible to pay for our sins! That why Scripture calls it a Gift. In fact, we are not responsible and therefore, not guilty.
The Apostle Paul tells us, because we cannot flawlessly live by the Law of Moses we are guilty and deserve to pay the penalty. Everyone has failed to keep the divine Law. The gospel is not contrary to the Law, but upholds it through the obedience of Christ. The gospel is fulfilled through the Spirit’s renewal of believers to conform to the righteousness of God. The righteousness of God has to be received—obedience will be the outcome of authentic reception.
Think about the following words or phrases:
Tangible—perceptible by touch; righteousness is within our reach in Christ.
Acquittal—not guilty as charged; exoneration given away.
Gift—present of love and favor given away; cascades over us.
Echo of his likeness—reminiscent or shared characteristics with—our hearts can share Christ’s character.
Season of tolerance—people who lived by faith prior to Christ are called righteous by God.
One way—God had to be true to his justice/mercy so He sent His Son to pay the price for our sin.
Are some sins bigger than others? Murder seems really much worse than hatred or rage; adultery seems worse than lust, right? Sin makes us sinners and we are cut off from a holy God. All sin leads to death, because we cannot live in the presence of the life of God.
In Romans, the Apostle Paul refers to:
Election: Romans 9:10-13 “God’s choice of an individual or group for a specific purpose or destiny.”
Justification: Romans 4:25; 5:18 “God’s act of declaring us “not guilty” for our sins.” Justification is the opposite of condemnation. Faith is the instrument for justification; Christ’s perfect obedience is the basis of it.
Propitiation: Romans 3:25 “The removal of God’s punishment for sin through the perfect sacrifice of Jesus Christ.”
Redemption: Romans 3:24; 8:23 “Jesus Christ has paid the price so we can go free.” Release from former condition (sin condition).
Sanctification: Romans 5:2; 15:16 “Becoming more and more like Jesus Christ through the work of the Holy Spirit.”
Glorification: Romans 8:18, 19, 30 “The ultimate state of the believer after death when he or she becomes like Christ.” (1 John 3:2)
Because of God’s saving grace we are rescued, redeemed, righteous, and restored in relationship with the Father. Now our part is to live in obedience.