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  • Chad Werkhoven

Romans 3:25-28 - Faith Alone

Grace is delivered to you through faith. How much grace would you like?

 

Romans 3:25-28 (NIV)


25 God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished—26 he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.

27 Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. Because of what law? The law that requires works? No, because of the law that requires faith. 28 For we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law.

 

Listen to passage & devotional:


 

Belgic Confession of Faith, Article 22 - Our Justification Through Faith in Christ


We believe that

for us to acquire the true knowledge of this great mystery

the Holy Spirit kindles in our hearts a true faith

that embraces Jesus Christ,

with all his merits,

and makes him its own,

and no longer looks for anything

apart from him.


For it must necessarily follow

that either all that is required for our salvation

is not in Christ or,

if all is in him,

then he who has Christ by faith

has his salvation entirely.


Therefore,

to say that Christ is not enough

but that something else is needed as well

is a most enormous blasphemy against God—

for it then would follow

that Jesus Christ is only half a Savior.

And therefore we justly say with Paul

that we are justified “by faith alone”

or by faith “apart from works.”


However,

we do not mean,

properly speaking,

that it is faith itself that justifies us—

for faith is only the instrument

by which we embrace Christ,

our righteousness.


But Jesus Christ is our righteousness

in making available to us all his merits

and all the holy works he has done

for us and in our place.

And faith is the instrument

that keeps us in communion with him

and with all his benefits.


When those benefits are made ours

they are more than enough to absolve us

of our sins.

 

Summary


We looked at a couple of these verses last month as we worked to understand how it is that Christ's atonement (payment), which came "through the shedding of His blood (v25)," makes us right with God. Today our focus is on the words that immediately follow: Christ's sacrifice of atonement is "to be received by faith."


What Paul is getting at here is that salvation is a two step procedure. First, a payment for sin needed to be made, and as we've seen, this payment needed to satisfy God's perfect justice, and as we'll see in the coming week, the payment also needed to fulfill our covenantal obligation: perfect righteousness. Jesus Christ, the God-man, is the only one capable of making such a perfect payment. Christ's atonement is the substance, so to speak, that grace is made of.


The second step in salvation is applying this grace to the sinner being saved. It's with this in mind that our confession speaks of faith as being an instrument. In the same way that a pipe delivers water to a specific spot, faith delivers grace - the saving blood of Christ - to you as a sinner.


As Paul puts it, God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, and you receive the benefits of atonement by faith (or more properly, through [διὰ] faith, as the NET Bible puts it).



Dig Deeper


Paul, especially in the book of Romans, has a writing style that sort of goads the reader on with rhetorical questions. Verse 27 is a perfect example. Since grace comes through faith, where then is boasting? In other words, which part of the salvation process can you stand back and exclaim to others, 'I did that'?


Our sinful instinct, especially as Americans (and also you Canadians!), is to think we did something extraordinary to have gained salvation. Certainly we would never consciously claim that we don't need God's grace, but yet we often do nurse the idea that somehow we're somehow better, smarter, or more obedient because we've placed our faith in it.


This isn't just an American (or Canadian) thing. Paul and these early Christians he wrote to struggled with the same temptation, which is why he so emphatically shoots down the rhetorical question he posed. Where then is boasting? It is excluded. Literally translated, it's shut out. There's absolutely no room for anyone to take credit for his own salvation.


Salvation is by God's grace alone (which is made possible by Christ alone) credited to you through faith alone, which is itself a gift from God (Ephesians 2:8). So it stands to reason, that the bigger and stronger your faith is, the more grace you'll experience! God gives you faith, but He calls you to make every effort to grow and strengthen it.


So the question for you to chew on is, how much grace would you like?



  • ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our Father, the one who is both just and who justifies those who have faith in Christ Jesus (v26);

  • ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Give thanks for the gift of faith, and pray for the desire and ability to grow your faith to experience more and more grace;

  • ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED:

 

Read the New Testament in a year! Today: Luke 9

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