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Romans 3:21 (conclusion)


Darlene

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Heavenly Father,

 

The study today will probably be one of my most ungraceful studies.

 

I'm in a 'mood', I wanna run and not do this study today cause I'm not feeling balanced or centered with You. I'm feeling antsy, I wanna pick up and move 'em on out, I'm not happy, I'm not sad, I'm just blahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh and that just annoys the heck outta me.

 

I dunno why, but I feel Your presence in my soul and while I don't want to be too disrespectful, I just don't know why You're doing that, I don't know what You want from me (ok, well I know some things You want...obedience (that sometimes sux), my love, my devotion, my attention, my trust. And as I type that last sentence out, I think to myself, "well that's not so bad, I can do that...it's just this other stuff that is distracting me, annoying me, causing me to feel restless and discontent".

 

I dunno Father, I have no answers, just a history of taking things into my own hands yet never achieving what I really need.

 

So, here I am. A little put out, not wanting to do today's study cause I'm being a brat and not proud of it.

 

You'd think I could come in here and write a beautiful prayer and focus on the beautiful sunshine and the good things in my life. But noooooooooooooooooooooooo, I'm just in this 'mood' and I get a bad feeling in my gut thinking about pretending, and not being honest, with what I'm really thinking and feeling right now. So, I'm being honest with You...I feel bad cause I wish I could put something more beautiful at the foot of Your throne but I'm not having a good morning and I really don't wanna do this Romans study right now.

 

Please help me. It's embarassing to type the above out and contemplate letting others read my genuine thoughts. I might just edit this opening prayer out after I finish todays study, but we'll see.

 

I'm having a 'bad hair day' Father, and I don't think taking a shower and blow drying my hair is gonna fix it. I need You...Your help, Your intervention, cause I can feel myself working up into a whirlwind and THAT would leave everyone having a 'bad hair day' too...

 

In Jesus Name,

 

 

 

Ok, let's see where I left off in the study of verse 21...

 

The rvbv goes on to write, "God is able to come forth to us now in absolute GRACE, sending out His messengers "preaching peace by Jesus Christ"; - nay, preaching much more than peace. In effect, God says, "Utter and infinite oceans of grace shall roll over the place where judgment and condemnation were!" Forgiving us all our trespasses, He goes further: having raised up Christ from the dead, He says, I will now place you in my Son. I will give you a standing fully and only in Him risen from the dead! Not only did He bear your sins, putting away your guilt, but in His death I released you from your standing and responsibility in Adam the first. You who have believed are now new creatures in Christ: for I have created you in Him.

 

And because this is so, it is announced further: "Him who knew no sin, God made to be sin on our behalf; that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." These astonishing words state the present fact as to all believers, - of all those in Christ: they are the righteousness of God in Him!

 

In the book of Romans, Paul is describing God's action toward a believing sinner in view of the shed blood of Christ. It is as if God were holding court with the infinite value and benefit of the propitiatory sacrifice and resurrection of Christ only and ever before Him. No other apostle will be called upon to set this forth fully as does Paul. Of course it would not be stated by the Old Testament writers in its fulness and clearness; for our Lord had not then offered Himself, and all the Law and Prophets could was to declare sin temporarily "covered" (Heb., kaphar) from God's sight; and so the Old Testament believer was one who rested on what God would do, in view of these types and shadows and promises.

 

John the Baptist, however, pointing to Christ, said, "Behold the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world," something that had never before been! Therefore, after the cross, it is written, "Once in the consummation of the ages, hath He [Christ] been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself."

 

In the Old Testament, we repeat, sin is covered, - which is the meaning of the word kaphar, "atonement," - used only in the Old Testament, and there constantly (some 13 times in one chapter - Leviticus 16), to express the covering from God's sight of sin: though the sin remained untaken away until Christ died. In the New Testament, therefore, sin is said to be put away by Christ's sacrifice.

 

God can, therefore, not only forgive the sinner, but also proceed to declare the believing sinner righteous, not at all meaning that he has any righteousness of his own, or that "the 'merits' of Christ are imputed to him" (a fiction of theology); but that God, acting in righteousness, recons righteous the ungodly man who trusts Him: because He places him in the full value of the infinite work of Christ on the cross, and transfers him into Christ Risen, who becomes his righteousness.

 

1. From God's side, the expression "God's rightousness," must be regarded as an absolute one. It is His attribute of righteousness. It can be nothing else. He must, and ever will, act in righteousness, whether it be toward Christ, toward those in Christ, or toward those finally impenitent, whether angels, demons, or men.

 

2. From Christ's side, it is His being received by God into glory according to God's estimation of His mediatorial work. Our Lord had said that when the Spirit would come, He would "convince the world...of righteousness, because I go unto the Father and ye see me no more" (John 16); and, He had said "I glorified Thee on the earth, having accomplished the work Thou gavest me to do. And now, Father, glorify Thou me, with Thine own self, with the glory I had with Thee before the world was" (John 17). In answer to this prayer Christ was "raised from the dead through the glory of the Father" (Rom. 6:4), and was "received up in glory" (I Tim. 3:16). Now our Lord was a man, as well as God. And when the Father glorified Him "with His own self," with that glory Christ "had with Him before the world was," it was as man that God thus glorified Him. So that, at God's right hand, Christ set forth publicly the righteousness of God; for (a ) as the slain Lamb He shows the holiness of God and God's righteousness fully satisfied, - since God had "spared not His own Son" when sin had been laid upon Him. The truth of God as to the wages of sin had been shown in Christ's death; thus the majesty of the insulted throne of God had been publicly vindicated, so that Christ's being raised and "received up in glory" set forth the righteousness of God; for it were unrighteous that Christ should not be glorified! And (b ) Christ not only thus set forth the righteousness of God, but being God the Son, as well as man, He was that righteousness! Christ dead, risen, glorified, is the very righteousness of God!

 

3. From the believer's side, the justified sinner's side, what do we see? The amazing declaration of God concerning us is "Him who knew no sin God made to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him" (II Cor 5:21). The saints are said to be the righteousness of God, in Christ. Of course self-righteousness simply shrivels before a verse like this! All is in Christ: we are in Christ - one with Him!

 

The expression "God's righteousness" then signifies:

 

1. God Himself acting in rightousness (a ) toward Christ in raising Him from the dead and seating Him as a man in the place of absolute honor and glory; (b ) in giving those who believe on Christ the same acceptance before God as Christ now has, inasmuch as He actually bare their sins, putting them away by His blood, and also became identified with the sinner - was "made to be sin for us" and, our old man was thus "crucified with Him." Just as it would have been unrightousness in God not to raise His Son after His Son had completely glorified Him in His death; so it would also be unrighteous in God not to declare the righteous in Christ those who, deserting all trust in themselves, have transferred their faith and hope to Christ alone.

 

2. Thus Christ, now risen and glorified, is Himself the righteousness of believers. It is not that He acted righteously while on earth, and that that is reckoned to us. This is, we repeat, the heresy of "vicarious law-keeping." He was indeed the spotless Lamb of God; but He had no connection with sinners until His death. He was "separate from sinners." "Except a grain of wheat fall into the earth and die, it abideth by itself alone." It is the Risen Christ who is our righteousness. "Christianity begins at the resurrection." The work of the cross of course made Christianity possible; but true Christianity is all on the resurrection side of the cross. "He is not here, but is risen," the angel said.

 

3. Thus Christians find themselves spoken of as the righteousness of God in Christ. Not as "righteous before God," for that would be to think of a personal standing given to us, on account of Christ's death, rather than a federal standing, as in Him, united to Him, which we are! John Wesley said a wise thing indeed: "never think of yourself apart from Christ!"

 

Now to be or become "righteous before God"; to have or obtain a standing that will "bear God's scrutiny," is the fond dream of very many earnest Christians. But however stated, and by whomsoever stated, that idea of our obtaining a "standing before God" falls short, and that vitally, of Paul's gospel of our being made the righteousness of God in Christ. It denies that we died with Christ; and that we have been made dead to the whole legal principle in Christ's death (7:4). Thus it leaves us under the necessity of "obtaining a standing" before God; whereas believers federally shared the death of Christ, and Christ Risen is Himself now our standing!

 

Negatively, then (as Paul begins to declare in his first recorded discourse, Acts 13:39), "Every one that believeth on Him is justified from all things:; - "justified in His blood" (Rom. 5:9); and

 

Positively, Christ was "raised for our justification (4:25): that we might receive a new place, a place in a Risen Christ, - and be thus the righteousness of God in Him, as one with Him who is that righteousness.

 

God declares that He reckons righteous the ungodly man who ceases from all works, and believes on Him (God), as the God who, on the ground of Christ's shed blood, "justifies the ungodly" (4:5). He declares such an one righteous: reckoning to him all the absolute value of Christ's work, - of His expiating death, and of His resurrection, and placing him in Christ: where he is the righteousness of God: for Christ is that!

 

Does Christ need something yet, that He may stand in acceptance with God? Then do I need something, - for I am in Christ, and He alone is my righteousness. If He stands in full, eternal acceptance, then do I also: for I am now in Him alone, - having died with Him to my old place in Adam.

 

Earnest and godly men, wonderfully used of God, have brought out, as did the Reformers, that we are justified by faith, not works: without, however going on to show, as does Paul, our complete deliverance, in Christ, from our former place in Adam, and from the whole principle of law.

 

The Reformation statements were as follows:

 

Luther: "The righteousness of God is that righteousness which avails before God." This means a "substantive righteousness," - a quality bestowed which "avails." But I am not in these words seen as dead, and now in Christ only.

 

Calvin: "By the righteousness of God, I understand that righteousness which is approved before the tribunal seat of God." Here again is a quality, not Christ Himself, who is made righteousness unto me, and I myself "of God," in Him (I Cor. 1:30). And according to Calvin I must stand before God's "tribunal"! But Christ at the cross met all the claims of God's "tribunal," - and that forever; and I am now in Christ Risen!

 

Again, Calvin, writing on II Corinthians 5:21, concerning our being made or becoming "the righeousness of God in Christ," says: "In this place nothing else is to be understood than that we stand supported by the expiation of Christ's death before the tribunal of God." Here is still the thought of a future (or present) "Tribunal." Only the negative side - expiation of guilt, is brought out. But this text in II Corinthians is positive: we are God's righteousness in Christ! Believers are not seen by Calvin as having died with Christ, and having no connection at all with Adam's responsibility to furnish a righteousness and holiness before God's "Tribunal." Believers, say Paul, are not now "in the flesh" in their standing, - they are seen by God in Christ only! (Rom 8:9). Calvin, and all the Reformers, and the Puritans after them, placed believers under the Law of Moses as a "rule of life"; because they did not see that a believer's history in Adam ended at the cross. But Paul, in Galations 6:15-16, says that those in Christ are to walk as "new creatures": they are a new creation! "And as many as shall walk by this rule, peace be upon them!" This is God's prescription for your walk, whatever men may teach!

 

We do quote Luther, that great man of God, in connection with Chapter Seven, in the expressions of his wonderful personal faith, as saying: "These words, 'am dead to the Law' (Gal. 2:19) are very effectual. For he saith simply, 'I am dead to the Law'; that is, I have nothing to do with the Law...Let him that would live to God come out of the grave with Christ." (Luther on Galations; in which book is often shown a vigor and boldness of faith hardly to be matched since Paul!)

 

Dr. Scofield in his note on Romans 3:21, says that the righteousness of the believer "is Christ Himself, who fully met in our stead and behalf every demand of the Law." Yet Scripture says that the Law was given to Israel; and that Gentiles are "without law," as contrasted "with Israel," who were "under the Law." Paul's words to us in Romans 6:14: "Ye are not under law, but under grance," do not mean that we were once under law (as were the Jews) and have now been delivered; but rather mean that we, having died with Christ (our old man crucified with Him, and our history in Adam closed forever before God), are not placed at all under law! It is unfortunate that Dr. Scofield goes on to quote beloved Bunyan: "The believer in Christ is now, by grace, shrouded under so complete and blessed a righteousness that the Law from Mt. Sinai can find neither fault nor diminution therein. This is that which is called the righteousness of God by faith."

 

Now it is at once evident that such a statement as Bunyan's leaves "the Law from Mt. Sinai" master of the field, lord over us. According to this the Law remains Inspector General of those in Christ! We are not "discharged" from it. We are still on earth, under legal trial, men "in the flesh." The gospel however, is that we are, in Christ, not under the law-principle at all! "Ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit." Those who believe are not now under law, but under grace, being "in Christ." We are now in a Risen Christ, who as such "lives unto God"; and it is unthinkable that He is under law! The Word of God says that Christ was "born of a woman," - thus reaching the whole race; and "born under the Law, that He might redeem them that were under the Law," - that is, Israel. But to maintain that the Risen Christ is "under law" in Heaven, is both to deny Scripture (Rom. 6:4) and also to close our eyes to the manner of His risen life (6:10). Christ in Heaven lives under no legal conditions, but freely, in love, unto God. And God has sent forth "the Spirit of His Son" - mark that! - into our hearts. This means not only the witness that we are adult sons (huioi) of God, but that the very same emotions of relationship and nearness to the Father belonging to Christ. God's Son, are ours, - witnessed in our hearts by the Spirit of His Son!

 

We find hardly any writers except indeed certain devoted saints among the "Friends of God" of the fourteenth century; and, later, certain among the mystics like Tauler, Ter Steegen, Suso, and the "prince of German hymnists," Paul Gerhardt; together with many early Methodists; and in the nineteenth century, certain of those remarkable men whose followers were later called "Plymouth Brethren," who have seen or dared believe our complete deliverance before God from Adam the First: that is, from our former place "in the flesh," "under law." The last, the Brethren, indeed speak with more Pauline accuracy. But these earlier saints, though much persecuted, exhibit marvelously in their lives and testimony that heavenly freedom of those taught of God their place in Christ!...

 

...The Law was given to man in the flesh; not to those on resurrection ground. Our relationship now to God is that of standing in the same acceptance as Christ; and we have the same Spirit of Sonship as Christ!

 

Now, Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, and the life that He now liveth, He liveth unto God. And He lives unto God as man. He is God; but He is also a Risen Man.

 

It is into this Risen Christ, thus glorified, that God has brought us. (The "righteousness of God" in the justification of the sinner, is His own attribute of righteousness; that is, His acting in accordance with His own holy nature; manifested, however, not in demanding righteousness from the sinner, but in setting the believing sinner in His own presence, because of the righteous judgment of his sins already visited by God upon his Substitute, Christ. And God is not only Himself righteous, in remitting the penalty of sin; but He sets the sinner in the very standing in which Christ is, with Him!)

 

We do not need therefore a personal "standing" before God at all. This is the perpetual struggle of legalistic theology, - to state how we can have a "standing" before God. But to maintain this is still to think of us as separate from Christ (instead of dead and risen with Him), and needing such a "standing." But if we are in Christ in such an absolute way that Christ Himself has been made unto us righteousness, we are immediately relieved from the need of having any "standing." Christ is our standing, Christ Himself! And Christ being the righteousness of God, we, being thus utterly and vitally in Christ before God, have no other place but in Him. We are "the righeousness of God in Christ."

 

Not to the cherubim, not to the seraphim, not to the elect angels, has been given such a place as this! They may be sinless, - they are. They may be holy, - they are. They may be glorious, - they are. But they are not "the righteousness of God:;for they are not in Christ. They were never cut off, as we have been, by a death that ended completely their former history and standing, and then placed in Christ!

 

 

 

Heavenly Father,

 

I'm kinda surprised at the power there is, from just studying Your Word. Your Word is a living, breathing testament to You.

 

The words I wrote in opening prayer to this study, are not the words I would write now. While I can't say much at the moment about what unfolded in today's study (I need time to absorb and digest it), I can say that before I started it, I could feel Your presence. Since I completed it, I feel Your power, Your peace. I no longer feel an urgency to run...I instead feel an urgency to rest.

 

I dunno Father God, I sure don't have the answers and I sure can't put what's happened during the course of today's study, into the written word right now, but I do know one thing...it's You and it's always You...Your love, Your faithfulness, Your salvation, Your plan, Your hope, Yours Yours Yours Yours Yours.

 

To think that You see Jesus when You look at me, just is too overwhelming for me to contain. To think that just because I really do love You, believe You, want You, need You (even though I'm so hard headed at times), causes You to only see how Christ's blood has removed all my sins and failures in life, is a little hard to grasp within the confines of my mind, too.

 

So, I wonder how You really DO see me....and us. How can You, as God, work in our lives to get us to lay down our sins or things that are not within Your perfect will for us, and still see us as righteous in Christ? At the same time? lol (yes, I know, it's impossible to understand You with just the human mind...we're too finite lol...but I still wonder...)

 

Thank You Father God. That's what's on my heart right now...just, Thank You. For all that You are, and all that we mean to You.

 

You must realllllllllllllllllllllly love us to have done all that You did to save us....all You sacrificed, all You gave...

 

Ok Holy Spirit, do that thang You do so well...open our hearts and our minds and may His Truth flow like that river in Ezekiel that got higher and higher, leaving no room for anything but Your perfect and holy Truth.

 

Thank You Father for helping me over that hump this morning. My heart is so grateful You did.

 

In Jesus Precious Name,

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Here is my struggle with the normal commentataries on this part of Romans. If we are not very careful we can develop a very negative concept of 'The Law'. The Law of God is not a thing to be held in disdain or 'freed' from. The Law of God is a good and wonderful thing in our lives.

 

Here's what Jesus said about the Law.

 

Mat 5:17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. KJV

 

"Don't misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to fulfill them. NLT

 

So many Believers want to embrace the freedom of "GRACE" without acknowledging the place of the "LAW" . It just FEELS so good to think "I Can Do Whatever I Want and it's okay, because I'm UNDER GRACE and NOT THE LAW". This is a very dangerous place to be. It is an attitude that shuns accountability and feeds an attidude of rebellion.

 

We are saved by Grace, but I don't agree with the concept of an AGE of GRACE. Instead I believe we serve and belong to a God of Grace, He doesn't change from age to age, He remains the same.

 

While we are not saved by works, don't our deeds, our works reflect the condition of our heart? If our heart is truly filled with Him, belongs to Him and we are not our own. Then surely we will long to see the Law of God fulfilled by the way we live our lives, just as Jesus Himself came to do. To fulfill, means to bring into the fullness...it doesn't me to disregard instead to 'bloom' !

 

The law said do not commit adultery ... a fleshly obedience. Jesus came to fulfill and expand and expound and not to require less, but to require MORE...he said, If you even LOOK on a woman with lust, you have committed adultery in your heart.

 

Well, I'm not sure I'm explaining what I'm feeling, thinking, believing...but let me just say this. God did not send Jesus so that we could have fewer requirements and less law - instead He came so that the we could have our eyes opened to the fullness of the law, the deeper things, and have the courage and strength to walk in obedience, instant and unquestioned obedience.

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Here is my struggle with the normal commentataries on this part of Romans. If we are not very careful we can develop a very negative concept of 'The Law'. The Law of God is not a thing to be held in disdain or 'freed' from. The Law of God is a good and wonderful thing in our lives.

 

I agree...neither extreme is appropriate to me. I see those that preach the age of grace we are in, and lessen the effects/consequences/etc of their choices because they flaunt that they're free from the Law. If one really comprehends all that Christ did, and what the Father gave up, so that we could be saved, I would think that we'd walk with much caution as to not respect those holy sacrifices.

 

I did however, find it interesting how the Gentiles were never under the Law, as it was given to Israel specifically by God.

 

So many Believers want to embrace the freedom of "GRACE" without acknowledging the place of the "LAW" . It just FEELS so good to think "I Can Do Whatever I Want and it's okay, because I'm UNDER GRACE and NOT THE LAW". This is a very dangerous place to be. It is an attitude that shuns accountability and feeds an attidude of rebellion.

 

Exactly...and is what I was trying to say above lol.

 

We are saved by Grace, but I don't agree with the concept of an AGE of GRACE. Instead I believe we serve and belong to a God of Grace, He doesn't change from age to age, He remains the same.

 

Perhaps it's semantics, but how I see it is that up until Christ died on the Cross and rose again, it was an 'age' (time, whatever you wanna say) of the Law...after His resurrection, it's an 'age' (which ever word one want to describe this period of time after Christ's resurrection) of grace. While He never changes, I believe He has reveal more of His fulness...His plan...for our salvation through His Son.

 

While we are not saved by works, don't our deeds, our works reflect the condition of our heart? If our heart is truly filled with Him, belongs to Him and we are not our own. Then surely we will long to see the Law of God fulfilled by the way we live our lives, just as Jesus Himself came to do. To fulfill, means to bring into the fullness...it doesn't me to disregard instead to 'bloom' !

 

I totally agree, and well said. I agree that there is a balance here and we need to caution not to go to one extreme or another.

 

Well, I'm not sure I'm explaining what I'm feeling, thinking, believing...but let me just say this. God did not send Jesus so that we could have fewer requirements and less law - instead He came so that the we could have our eyes opened to the fullness of the law, the deeper things, and have the courage and strength to walk in obedience, instant and unquestioned obedience.

 

Our brains are so puny sometimes, aren't they? I dunno about anyone else, but I do understand what you're trying to say.

 

Isn't it frustrating through sometimes, trying to put whats in our hearts, into the written word?

 

:0327:

 

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Somewhere else, Paul states something to the effect that God's grace handles our sin [sorry I can't be more accurate..but here's the important part....] so then should I sin so that God's grace can abound.... DUH! Of COURSE NOT!

 

 

Yeah, Paul says it like that. ;)

 

 

I think that those who are in loving RELATIONSHIP with God can be set loose to something more than the law. Mebbe this is what Steph was trying to say...mebbe not. This easily gets tangled within the confines of mere words...cuz this is of Spirit..... Anyone acting in full LOVE of God....can be free to act accordingly within that LOVE of GOD relationship. And I think within THAT, the Law will become [not wrong but...] dim and petty and coarse and such a paltry mere outline for our behavior/attitudes. Can we ever set down in writing, exactly HOW we should love our children & spouses? How can that begin to describe it? I look at the Law like that. A beginning....but so pale against the understanding that comes from LOVE with God thru Christ.

 

 

But even Paul admits that 'he does what he doesn't wanna do and doesn't do what he intends to do'. And so do we all. Cuz we still get into loving ourselves here & there...and we can't LOVE God and love ourselves in the same moment. But there is Christ....who shines so brightly that HE is all God sees????? Even then?

 

 

How do we ever comprehend the infinite? With finite minds and bodies? Only what He reveals thru spirit. There....we meet faith. Faith to believe that without all the answers clear, HE will hold us to the end....when we become infinite and can understand.

 

 

And....I seriously do NOT know if I have communicated anything of value ....or if I have even successfully communicated anything that I am trying to say..... LOL

 

 

But pondering upon God is good....

 

 

Thanks Darlene, for pushing thru your 'mood' and being obedient anyway this day. [Don't think we can't all relate to these 'moods', btw! ;) This was my favorite line:

John Wesley said a wise thing indeed: "never think of yourself apart from Christ!"

 

MtRider

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