God’s Glory on Display

Paul, writing God’s Word in Romans 3:21-31, turns from the logical argument that all men have sinned before God. “But now” indicates a change in the flow of Paul’s (and since he was being used of God to write, God’s) logical argument. Paul has shown that it is impossible to gain right standing with God through human effort. Now he shows that true righteous is provided by God Himself. But it is more than just an act for our benefit. God reveals that His righteousness has been revealed in the law and we have miserable failed. That’s the sin part. But again, there is a transition and the focus is on the “righteousness of God” that has not been revealed by the law or sin, but in a different way. Notice the word “manifested”. The idea behind this word is “displayed” or “seen”. This is a righteousness man could see! This righteousness, which focuses upon God, was witnessed by the law and prophet in over 300 predictions. Only through Jesus has this righteousness been seen, and that is through the life lived in the midst of this violent and sinful world by God Himself. He lived a life of total obedience to the laws which showed us the righteousness that God expects and He did it as 100% man, although He remained 100% God. The miracle of the virgin birth is that Jesus took the form of man and became a servant. Jesus did it! He lived in perfect obedience to each standard and every law. Not one small part of the law was ignored, set aside, or broken. Perfect and complete righteousness was obtained by Jesus the Anointed One, selected before the foundation of the earth to show the righteousness of God to us who could not imagine what it looked like, much less achieve it for ourselves.
Notice that all are guilty of failing to live according to the perfect standards of God and is incapable of fixing the situation. So God steps in to be the solution. I notice the word “all” appears twice in verse 22. Repetition is a strong way for God to emphasize something. It appears that that this solution is unto and upon all. Our part is to believe that we are incapable of solving our sin problem and that God has provided the solution through Jesus Christ, who has been displayed as the all-righteous One.
Then we go to the famous verse, Romans 3:23. In the Romans Road plan of salvation, this is the starting place. “For all (affirming what God has revealed in the first section of Romans) have sinned. This is the crucial point for us. The natural “me” doesn’t see this because it has to be spiritually revealed. This is a difficult decision point because we struggle with admitting we’re wrong, unable to solve our problems, and accountable to a Supreme God. This shakes our foundation. Jesus spoke of this as us becoming aware that we are “poor in spirit”. The Holy Spirit convicts of sin and we are suddenly aware of the overwhelming judicial guilt we have without any solution. What a wonderful point when we see ourselves as the sinners God tells us we are. But there is a second part of this verse that is equally important. We have come short of the glory of God. Since we are self-centered, we see this as “we have failed to live up to God’s standard which we call ‘glory’!” But I think this in more than just a man-centered verse. In Romans 1, a part of the accusation against man was that he had exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for worthless counterfeits. In simple terms, man had no respect for the greatness of our supernatural God because we can’t understand what is beyond our reasoning. At stake was our understanding “the glory of God”. God wanted to show just how amazing He is. We sin because we have settled for the inferior instead of the Ultimate. One important thing to note in verse 23 is the two different tenses. All have sinned (past tense) and come short (present tense). We have sinned because we don’t value the glory of God right now. That’s man’s dilemma, sin separates us from God and therefore we have a low view of God. So God has to do something that solves man’s separation from God because of missing the mark of God’s specific laws while at the same time restoring man’s view of God’s glory.
So let’s go back to verse 21. The righteousness of God is displayed by Jesus Christ who allows us who have sinned to be “justified freely by his grace through redemption that is in Christ Jesus”. We don’t have to justify ourselves because God did it for us. We receives this “freely” by God’s “undeserved favor” though the “purchasing from the slave marketplace” by the only price that satisfied God. In verse 25, Jesus is set forth or publicly displayed as the propitiation or perfect sacrifice which would satisfy both the justice of our Holy God who punishes sin and the love of our Gracious God who wants to purchase sinners from the slave market. God then remits or blots out our sin so He can make us His sons, who because of their awareness of the awesomeness of God, follow Him and desire to be His servants. The last part of verse 25, tells us that Christ’s death on the cross was the public display that God was, is, and will always be, righteous. Notice the part of the verse that tells us “for the remission or sins that are past through the forbearance of God”. In the Old Testament, God accepted animal sacrifices from sinners. In Psalms 103:10 we read, “He (God) hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities”. God saw the cross as the final payment for sins as well as the proof that God judged sin severely. Yet man saw that man didn’t get judged the way they thought man should be judged. Job’s three friends saw his “punishment” as God judging Job for sin, yet didn’t understand why God would bless him as recorded at the end of the book. The Jews listened to Jeremiah’s warnings without fear because they thought God would deal with them after their sins, nor would they be rewarded based on their iniquities. God’s glory wasn’t “feared” or honored by those who were pagan believers or those who were His people. Yet there were those who believed God and were overtaken by Him and His awesomeness. This believers are the heroes of the Old Testament who believed God did deal with sin and saw the sacrifices and types of the Old Testament as pictures of God’s Ultimate Sacrifice, the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ. The cross was God publicly displaying His serious judgment of sin as Jesus Christ took the wrath of God for man’s sin. No one could walk away from the cross without understanding how serious God was about the punishment sin deserved. The questions about His righteousness and justice were settled and His glory displayed. What an amazing demonstration of the glory of God. God’s glory was upheld by the cross. God’s wrath is satisfied by the sacrifice of Jesus. God assumed the responsibility for the redemption of man, His creation. God’s righteousness is demonstrated. The cross was to show God’s glory and solve man’s sin problem. Man can take no credit for salvation because it is totally God who does everything. He alone can take credit for salvation because He did everything. When we see God as One who is so incredible, it is evident that He alone deserves our worship because He alone is worthy of our praise and devotion. The question, we each have to answer is: “Are you right now trusting in a God that is so incredible that you are willing to turn from everything and in faith trust Him to the point of turning everything over to Him and surrendering and following Him as the King of your life just so you can bring glory to Him each day?”
the cross


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