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Romans 3:21


Darlene

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Heavenly Father,

 

I've missed You...in fact, this morning when I woke up, I felt Your presence very strong and all I could think was, "it's time to do the Romans study...I have to do it this morning..." I've been doing one of my mini hideouts from You and that is embarassing to admit publically and makes my heart sad to admit it to You.

 

There are times in my walk with You where it seems pinnacle to valley. I don't necessarily like or want that...I'd prefer more balance...more consistancy. I guess the last couple of days haven't been high highs or low lows (thank You so much for that), but I have strayed for a few moments, from the intimacy that I have begun to cherish and crave, with You.

 

So, forgive me Father...I'm so sorry. A part of me doesn't wanna write that in public, but after all the studies I've done so far, why stop now sharing honestly, the communication that I have with You.

 

I don't wanna feel 'dry', like I have the last couple of days...just going about in life, having alot of distractions that have consumed my time to the point where I didn't take my normal time with You. As I write that, it's interesting how understandable distractions can be...how these 'emergencies' in life, can consume my whole days to the point where the day has flown and it's time to rest...leaving nothing more than another day that was not spent in deep communication with You.

 

So Father, here I am again. I've stopped because Your precious and gentle Holy Spirit has been whispering to my heart the last 2 days to drop everything and to come running to the foot of the Father's throne because He misses me. In all honesty, I've missed You Father. It's not that I haven't said quick, short prayers occassionally throughout the day. It's not that I haven't shared with others, about You. I have, but this time that I spend alone with You, in Your Word is critically important to me. It takes me to a level where I begin to empty of myself and become more filled with You. Your Spirit draws me in that direction, even though sometimes I say, "wait...let me do this first" or "no, I don't wanna talk right now" or "I'm not sure I'm liking what You're asking from me so maybe I'll just take a break". The Spirit's woo'ing though, is ongoing, constant, undeniable...while at the same time, gentle, soft, and it touches my heart.

 

So, once again, "What is man that You are mindful of him"...and who am I, that You are mindful of me...that You desire to interact with me on tender and precious and intimate levels. Who am I that You are so patient with me when I'm such a brat. Who am I that You love me when I'm not the most loveable. And who am I, that You would choose to forgive me of so much, forgetting and releasing the failures of my life.

 

I dunno who I am Father, that You would do all that and more, but here I am, once again, willing to hand You back the reins, humbling myself not because I hafta, but because I wanna, because I miss You and because I love You.

 

The next section in Newell's book is titled, "Justification by Faith in Christ". I just ask now Father, before I even start this study today, that You would release Your Holy Spirit, in a powerful way, opening our spiritual eyes, that we might see the depth, the breath and the fullness of all that Jesus did for us.

 

Bless this study Father...may it bring exceeding glory to You because You deserve it all, and more.

 

Today, Father, I'd like to crawl back up into Your lap and feel Your arms fold around me...as I've been writing the above, I've noticed my heart longing to be close to You. So, I figure it would mean alot to me if I were to crawl up into Your lap and hold Your Word in mine, and let You teach me, and us, what You would have us learn today.

 

In Jesus Name I pray,

 

 

 

This next section, which encompasses Romans 3:21-31, occupies 40 pages in this book lol. I'm going to try to figure out how to break that into sections because verse 21 itself is 14 pages long. Today just might be a long study.

 

21. But now apart from law, God's righteousness hath been manifested, - borne witness to by the Law and the Prophets;

 

Watchman Nee points out in verse 21, the word "apart" and writes, "God's righteousness, which is revealed in the gospel (1:17), is the basis and foundation of His dispensing Himself into man in His New Testament economy. This righteousness has nothing to do with the law in His Old Testament economy."

 

Nee also highlights the word "manifested" and writes, "The Jews sought the righteousness of God by keeping the law. However, they did not attain to it, for out of the works of the law no flesh shall be justified before God (v. 20). But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been manifested to us through faith in Christ (1:17)."

 

The rvbv writes, "We now come to the unfolding of that word which Paul in Chapter One declares to be the very heart of the gospel, - the reason it is "the power of God unto salvation": namely, "therein is God's righteousness on the faith-principle revealed to any having faith" (1:17)."

 

I find it interesting that both Nee and Newell, in their notes, reference verse 3:21 here, back to verse 1:17 which states, "17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith."

 

The rvbv goes on to state, "The first work of the apostle, as we have seen in studying Chapter 1:18 to Chapter 3:20, was to bring the whole world under the judgment of God, guilty, helpless. His second task (and it is a blessed one!) is to reveal God's coming out in righteousness at the cross unto us. Let us most diligently read, ponder, yea, and commit to memory, verses 21 to 26; for it is God's great statement of justification by faith...

 

...The first words, "But now," should be hailed by us joyfully, as beginning an account of something heavenly different from our guilt and helplessness, detailed in the preceeding part of the Epistle (1:18-3:20).

 

The next phrase is, "apart from law"...(The absence of the definite article, the, before the word law, in 3:21,28,31; 4:13, etc., shows that it is the abstract principle of law that is before us rather than the specific, concrete, thing - the Law of Moses, the ten commandments. It will be come evident to us that God is dealing with men now upon a different principle altogether than that of law: for grace confers the blessing, and lets the fruit flow from "faith working through love" by the power of the Spirit. Law demands fulfilment of conditions before blessing: grace announces that Christ has fulfilled all conditions.) Unfortunately, the King James Version misses the emphasis here. For the Greek puts to the very front this great phrase "apart from law" (choris nomou), and thus sets forth most strongly the altogether separateness of this Divine righteousness from any law-performance, any works of man, whatsoever. Luther's rendering was, "without accessory aid of law." In this revelation of God's righteousness, law was left out of account. Righteousness is on another principle than our right-doing!

 

Now the great and most common error in setting forth God's righteousness here, is, to allow law at least some place. Men cannot, it seems get over reasoning thus: that since God once promulgated the dispensation of law, which called for human righteousness, He must thereafter be bound by it forever. And this despite Divine assurance, over and over and over, that the present dispensation proceeds on an altogether different principle; that there has been a "disannulling of a foregoing commandment" (Heb 7:18); for He who had the right to command had also the right to disannul. It was "because of its weakness and unprofitableness - for the Law made nothing perfect," - that the "foregoing commandment" was set aside. It had served its purpose - to make the trespass "abound" (5:20).

 

It is not that God has not the right to demand legal righteousness from us: but that He does not do it. "Righteousness which is of God" speaks in a way diametrically opposite to man's law-obedience, of any sort whatsoever.

 

Men who do not see or believe that the whole history of those in Christ ended at the cross (for they died there, with Christ) must hold that God is still demanding righteousness: for "the law hath dominion over a man so long as he liveth!"

 

The "teachers of the Law" (I Tim. 1:7) say, "Behind God, as He talks with you in 'grace' is His eternal Law. And He must carry out what He has expressed in that Law. But, because you are not able to perform it, He has 'graciously' given Christ, to perform all its reuirements for you. And the positive, or 'active' requirements are, the observance of all the commands of the Law to the letter, - which (these teachers say) Christ has by His perfect life of obedience to the Law on earth, furnished for you. And the negative, or 'passive' obedience, as they call it - that is, the penalty of death for your sins which the Law (say they) demanded, Christ has paid on the cross. So that, now your debts cancelled by Christ's death, you have Christ's legal 'merits' as your actual righteousness before God: for God must demand (they say) perfect righteousness from you, as measured by His holy Law," - etc, etc.

 

This seemingly beautiful talk is both unscriptural and anti-scriptural.

 

God says that the believer is not under law, that he is dead to law, - to that whole principle, being in the Risen Christ; and Christ is certainly not under law in Heaven! Believers are "in Him"; they are "not in the flesh" (Rom. 8:9). They were formerly in the flesh (in the old natural life of Adam); but are now "new creatures" in Christ Risen!

 

If you put believers under law, you must put their federal Head, Christ, back under law: for "as He is, even so are we in this world." To do this you must reverse Calvary, and have Christ back again on earth "under law." For law, we repeat was not given to a heavenly company, but to an earthly nation. Scripture says it was to redeem that earthly people (Israel) who were under law, that Christ was "born under the Law" (Gal 4:4). You must thus, if you are "under law," be joined to a Christ belonging to Israel, a flesh and blood Christ; and must consent to be an Israelite - to which nation He was sent. But alas! You find that such a Christ is not here! That He said He must "abide alone," - like the grain of wheat unless it "fall into the ground and die." To an earthly, Jewish Christ, you therefore cannot be united. And so your vain hope of having Moses and Christ is wholly gone. Therefore you must be united with a Risen Christ, or with none at all! But if to a Risen Christ, it is unto One who died unto sin (6:10); and those (Jewish) believers who were under the Law died with Him unto it (7:4). And you, if you are Christ's, are now wholly, as Christ is, on resurrection ground. This truth will be brought out fully in Chapters Six and Seven; we can but note it here. (Your body - you are waiting for the redemption of that. But your body is only the "tabernacle" in which you dwell, - it is not yourself. "That which is born of the Spirit is spirit" (John 3:6). "He that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit: (I Cor. 6:17).

 

The words hath been manifested (of verse 21) Conybeare lucidly paraphrases, "not by law but by another way, God's righteousness is brought to light." God had always dealt righteously, although His way was not as yet plain. He pardoned many, and He did not seem wholly to judge sin even in the unsaved world. But at the cross "He spared not His own Son." Here was revealed, indeed, righteousness to the uttermost!

 

Borne witness to by the Law and the Prophets - by the Law, in its sacrificial offerings; by the Prophets, in direct statements: "This is His name whereby He shall be called: Jehovah our righteousness" (Jer. 23:6); and again, "Thy righteousness" - 21 times in the Psalms! as, "I will make mention of Thy righteousness, even of Thine only" (71:2,15,16,19,24); and Isaiah: "By the knowledge of Himself shall be righteous Servant make many righteous" (53:11). (Peter indeed, declares that "God had foreshowed by the mouth of all the prophets that His Christ should suffer" and "to Him bear all the prophets witness, that through His name every one that believeth on Him shall receive remission of sins" (Acts 3:18; 10:43). It is well to remember that Paul reminds his hearers in Pisidian Antioch that it is possible to hear the prophets read and really not understand "the voice of the prophets" nor Him of whom they spake (Acts 13:27).) Yet is was not brought to light how this should be, until "the fulness of the time" came, and God sent His suffer for sins, the just for the unjust," to "put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself," that God's righteousness might be "manifested," both in His dealing with sin, and in glorifying His Son in heaven, who had glorified His Father on earth.

 

It would have been righteous for God to smite Adam and Eve as He did the angels that sinned. He could have revealed Himself in righteousness of judgment in accord with His holiness and justice. He was not obliged to save any man. But it was God's will to reveal Himself: for He is Love.

 

Therefore, He now comes forth at the cross in love, - albeit He must there come forth also in righteousness, - for He Himself must righteously and fully judge sin upon the person of His own provided Lamb. The sword "awakened against His Shepherd, the Man who was His Fellow," - the "fellow" of Jehovah of hosts! The Shepherd was smitten: "He was bruised for our iniquity, the chastisement of our peace [that would procure peace for us] was upon Him." God spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up, and the penalty for our sin was visited upon Him, Jesus, God's provided Sacrifice (Zech. 13:7; Isa. 53:5,6)."

 

I gotta pause here a moment because my eyes are filling with tears as I type all this. The Father who is righteous, who had every right to smite Adam and Eve in the garden (as He had the angels who had sinned against Him in heaven)...and all who came after them, did not, out of love. So He came to the cross, in all His righteousness, but also His love, where He judged our sin, as it was placed upon Christ's body alone...where Christ paid our penalty, so that we could be pronounced free and clean in the Father's sight.

 

This just makes me cry. :( He did it all for us...everything that would be needed so that we could have our relationship with Him. We choose to sin, but He chooses to forgive, if we will only believe all that He did to procure that forgiveness on the Cross.

 

Oh my gosh, how offended and hurt the Father must be when I'm a brat and choose to do wrong. How He must feel when my actions say, "I don't want Your way, I want mine". I can't even begin to put into words how I'm feeling in my heart at the moment...these words just feel so ridiculously shallow and I'm in tears. I dunno if anyone else is seeing what I'm seeing but it's wrecking me.

 

Heavenly Father,

 

I'm gonna stop here. This is one of those times I kinda wish that I wasn't sharing this study publically cause I just have no freaking idea, how to put how I'm feeling in my heart at the moment, into the written word. I don't know how to explain it...I don't know how to do it justice with mere words alone.

 

All I know is that I can't quit crying.

 

I didn't realize that there will be times, while doing this Romans study, that it is going to wreck me. I did know, that I was going to learn depths as I went along, but I never imagined it would be something like this, that would dissolve me in tears.

 

I just can't get past the thought of how puffed up we can all be at times...how blind, how "all those things Paul wrote about in Chapters 1 through the beginning of 3". As I would do the studies in those chapters, I would 'see' some of those traits in me, in other people. My heart would be pinched with guilt at times too. I would talk about how I always knew how Holy You are, how righteous...how You alone are worthy to be the Most High Judge.

 

And then, as I started this study in verse 21, it suddenly hit me, that although I know all that I wrote above, I never 'saw' till now, how You, inspite of our sin, provided the escape through Your Son too. I don't mean it exactly how I just wrote that...it's MORE than that, but I don't know how to put it into words.

 

I'm just stunned at the realization and comprehension that's in my heart at the moment, that You did it all...and even that doesn't quite explain it.

 

I dunno but I do know that what Newell wrote here, is what suddenly hit me so hard, "It would have been righteous for God to smite Adam and Eve as He did the angels that sinned. He could have revealed Himself in righteousness of judgment in accord with His holiness and justice. He was not obliged to save any man. But it was God's will to reveal Himself: for He is Love."

 

I'm just feeling very small at the moment. I guess Your love is what is hitting me...how undeserving I am yet how You still honor me with Your love. No wonder that scripture "what is man that You are mindful of him" keeps ringing in my head. Oh Father, I don't know why there are so many who reject You, I just don't understand it. If they could feel like I feel in my heart right now, I just can't understand how they could walk away.

 

You certainly weren't obliged to save me, yet You did.

 

I'm not making any sense trying to write this out Father...I'm feeling embarassed, but here goes anyway.

 

I just need a little time alone with You.

 

In Jesus Name I pray,

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