Under trial man proved himself to be wholly without righteousness. Under test he failed to produce what God demanded and without righteousness man could not stand before a holy God. “But now the righteousness of God is seen.” “Well,” says God, “If man has no righteousness, I have, and I will bring in my own righteousness and put it at the disposal of the sinner who trusts in me.”
The story of how God justifies the sinner is found in the verses we have read, Romans 3:21-31 and we notice a number of important and interesting things about God’s righteousness in them.
1. God’s Righteousness is wholly apart from Law vs. 21.
The law could never justify a sinner, nor could it impute divine righteousness. If any man were able to keep the law and fulfill its requirements that would have been his righteousness. We read in Deut. 6:………. “It shall be our righteousness if we observe to do all these commandments.” And if we do not observe to do all, the law could only condemn, for thus it is written. “Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.” Gal. 3 vs………
Only God can wrap the mantle of righteousness round a condemned sinner and place him so completely beyond the reach of the law that there is not a prosecutor who can lay a single “charge” to his account. Rom. 8 vs……….
2. God’s Righteousness Has Been Manifested vs. 21.
During the time of man’s trial it was held in reserve, hidden from view, but now it is “unveiled,” it is brought into full view so that all may see it and avail themselves of it.
Man’s sin was manifested but now all that is of man fades away and God fills the scene. He is seen in His marvelous grace justifying the sinner.
In the story of the prodigal in Luke 15 we are first introduced to the sad state into which his sins brought him, but later on the prodigal is lost sight of in the arms of a loving father who invests him with the very best from his wardrobe. Thus the righteousness of God displaces our sin and we are seen robed in spotless white.
3. God’s Righteousness was Witnessed by the Law and Prophets—vs. 21.
Just as signs along the road direct the traveler, and point to the destination ahead, so in olden days men of God spoke of God’s righteousness.
The witnesses are not brought in here but we might turn back the pages of history and listen to one or two as they tell of God’s wonderful salvation.
Isaiah, greatest of all the prophets, is a good witness. Hear him in Ch. 46 of his prophecy, vs………..
“I bring near my righteousness, it shall not be far off. And my salvation shall not tarry.”
And again in that marvelous 53rd chapter vs………
“By his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.”
And Jeremiah points in the same direction. He speaks of the coming Son of David who will be Israel’s king and he says,
“In his days Judah shall be saved
And Israel shall dwell safely
And this is His name whereby He shall be called
“The Lord our Righteousness.” Jer. 23:
At the beginning of the Old Testament times stands Moses; Daniel and Malachi stand at the close. They too. witness to the righteousness that has come to us.
See, Deut. 32:4; Dan. 9:24; Mal. 4:2.
4. God’s Righteousness is all in a Person, vs. 22.
The righteousness that God has provided for the sinner is all in and through the Lord Jesus Christ.
We are healed by His stripes;
Would’st thou add to the word?
And He is thy righteousness made
The best robe of heaven He bids thee put on
Oh could’st thou be better arrayed?
1. Why was it important that man should have a righteousness?
2. In what way does the story of the Prodigal Son illustrate the manifestation of the righteousness of God?
3. What is the righteousness of God likened to in this lesson?
4. Fill in blank references.