Lesson 11—Romans 3:21-31 (Cont'd.) God the Justifier

5. God’s Righteousness is Obtained By Faith (22)

The sinner who believes God and takes Him at His word is clothed with God’s righteousness.

Faith is a very simple thing
Though little understood
It frees the soul from death’s dread sting
By resting on the blood
Faith is not what we see or feel;
It is a simple trust
In what the God of love has said
Of Jesus as the Just.

It is “unto all” that God offers this salvation, but it is only “upon all them that believe.” The sinner who does not believe is still in his sins and under the wrath of God.

6. God’s Righteousness is Offered to All (22, 23)

It is upon “all” who believe because there is no difference—no distinction for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. It makes very little difference whether one is in the depths of a mine or on the top of a mountain as far as reaching the stars is concerned. All alike need salvation and it is offered to all and all who believe have it. The wonder is that so few possess it and rejoice in it.

7. God’s Righteousness is the gift of His Grace—vs. 24.

Of course guilty sinners should be punished for their sins nor would it be right if God passed them by, but Christ suffered in our stead. He took our guilt upon Himself and died for us. Now then we are “justified freely by His grace.” The word translated “freely” here is really “gratuitously.” It is translated “without a cause” in John 15:25 and this is very simply its meaning. Men hated the blessed Saviour “without a cause” and just so we are loved by God and “justified” without a cause.

If “grace” is the ground of our blessing “redemption” is the means. God loved us when we were in our sins but His love made it necessary for Him to separate us from our sins and so He sent the Lord Jesus to deliver us. “Redemption” means the payment of a ransom. There was only One who could pay the price to deliver us.

We are redeemed but not with silver
We are bought but not with gold,
Bought with a price the blood of Jesus,
Precious price of love untold.

Many years ago, the principal of a school thought it necessary to make a rule that anyone found playing truant would be punished by flogging. Among the boys of the school was the principal’s own son—John. One day it happened to be John’s chum who had broken the rule. He was known to be hiding in a wood near by, but the dread of the flogging kept him from returning for a bad conscience told him he rightly deserved to be punished.

John could not rest, so going to his father he begged to be allowed to be punished instead of his chum. After a while his father consented, and John bravely bore the blows that would have fallen on his chum. Obtaining leave, he found his chum and begged him to return. “Look at the red marks across my back,” said John. “You can come back now as there is nothing to fear, I have borne the punishment for you.”

The Lord Jesus Christ became a substitute for sinners and died on the cross in their stead, thus He secured their release and satisfied every claim of God against the sinner.

“Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His blood, to declare His righteousness for the remission of sins that are past through the forbearance of God.”

The only other place in the New Testament where the word “propitiation” is found is in Hebrews 10:5 and there it is translated “mercy seat.”

The Judge has become our Saviour and the judgment seat is now a mercy seat.

Think of the publican praying in the temple (Lk. 18:13). He may or may not have known fully what he was saying but his prayer might thus be paraphrased: “O God, be to me what Thou art whilst gazing upon the atoning blood—a mercy seat.”


1. What is the ground of our blessing?

2. What does redemption mean?

3. What do we learn about redemption in 1 Peter 1:18-25?

4. How is the righteousness of God obtained?