Romans 3:1-2 – So, if we are all law breaker, is there any advantage in being a Jew? “Absolutely!” says Paul. The equivalent today would be, since we all need to go through a conversion experience, what advantage is there in growing up in a Christian family?
God’s word is not without effect, even when imperfectly followed (thankfully). So, when it plays a role in our lives, we are blessed by whatever sin it helps us avoid. Just because it cannot make us whole, does not mean it cannot make us better.
Romans 3:20 – “For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.” This one gave me fits in my younger years, still does a bit. The law, the written commands of God, where we find the good that God wants us to do, ultimately just reveals us as sinners. Sure, with every command we follow, every good deed we do, we become more like God, but the more we study it and dig into it, the more ways we see that we have missed it.
It seems that for every new Godly discipline learned, there are multiple revelations of my sin. So, yes, I continue to learn and grow, yet in the process, ironically, I see myself more and more inadequate, in need of salvation.
Romans 3:23-24 – “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift” (emphasis mine) In view of the humbling and depressing knowledge that comes from the study of the law – namely that we are doomed to fail – the gift of grace, complete purity, absolute righteousness, total sanctification, ought to repeatedly both drop us to our knees in humble reverence and lift us to our feet in joyous celebration.
Romans 3:255 – The ESV says “[Jesus] whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith.’ A what? So I looked up propitiation on dictionary.com and found this:
The act of appeasing the wrath and conciliating the favor of an offended person; the act of making propitious. (Websters)
the act of atoning for sin or wrongdoing (especially appeasing a deity) (WordNet)
OK, that makes sense, until you realize that it’s the offender who offeres the sacrifice to the offended. We, the offenders offered nothing to God, the offended. In fact, the verse here that it was God who offered the “propitiation” (Jesus) to Himself on our behalf.
So why then, Christian, are you unhappy? Do you really get what has been done for you?