Romans 3 The Way Of Grace
Paul now compares the way of the law to the way of grace. It has been said that the law is designed to show us our own weakness and our own sinfulness. It makes us aware of our sin and how fallen this world really is. Does this mean we are cut off from God? William Barclay answers this question writing, “Far from it… the way to God is not the way of law, but the way of Grace; not… works, but… faith.”
Paul writes, “This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”
The point, the thing that needs to emphasize is not our sin but God’s awesome mercy in sending Jesus. Justification means that utterly guilty as we are God reckons us, treats as if we were innocent. All have sinned, fallen short and deserve to be treated as such, yet in God there is a different way, a way of grace that sees us and transforms us into the blameless people of God. This is radical, scandal and many question how this can be so. Jesus said it. Jesus told us that God loves us then went about showing us in his life, death, and resurrection that it is so. When we discover and embrace this, it changes everything, our relationship to God and response to life.
Paul continues, “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”
Through Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection reparation for all sin has been made and a way of grace by which all can be reconciled back to God has been made. Jesus made the final and complete sacrifice. Jesus did what no one else could do by his life and death of love and obedience. God in the resurrection of Jesus shows that everything has changed nothing will ever be the same. The cross makes a way back to a right relationship with God. This is not about going to heaven someday, but about living here and now with and in God.
Paul finishes up with, “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.”
We need to be concerned with what can, is, and has done for us. Nothing we do can secure God’s forgiveness Jesus already has done it. A right relationship with God is not dependent on our desperate doomed pursuit through doing but in the humble penitent response to the love and grace of God found in Jesus Christ. It’s not about religion, but relationship. Religion says we can do it on our own, that our doing is what makes God act whereas relationship is about living with God and doing the things that Jesus calls us to do—love and serve the least. As William Barclay writes, “Real religion involves an open heart and an open door.”
Relationship not religion, grace not law, mercy not judgment is the way of Jesus. Jesus shows us the way to live with God and how we should respond to all of life.