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Justification by Faith in Jesus Christ

“Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the law and the prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law.” ~Romans 3:19-28

My name is Mike Peek. I am a registered nurse; I have done many things in my nursing career but have spent the majority of my career working with critically ill cardiac patients, people on the very precipice of death. I have witnessed much in all the years God has had me do this and there has been one continuous theme I have found throughout my years of working with these patients. No one expects or accepts death! No one! The families don’t and the patients don’t, but I am here to tell you as a witness of death, everyone dies. I have been witness to hundreds of deaths and it never comes easy, no one expects it or accepts it. I have talked with patients who were telling me about their plans for the next day or when they get out of the hospital and then die while telling me their plans for the future, and then try all means we have as human beings to resuscitate them; mechanical, electrical, and chemical to no avail. Ten out of ten people die and we all know this fact, not one person denies that; but with every person it is always some mythical time in the future, it’s never now. I being a witness of death and a witness of people’s reaction to death have something to say about death. You will die, and it will be unexpectedly; it may be today, tomorrow, or years in the future, but you will die and you won’t expect it when it happens. I have a question for you and I want you to give an honest answer. (Hebrews 9:27) says “And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment.” We are all criminals; we have broken the law, God’s law. And just like criminals on earth we have a court date, and that date is set, you cannot change it and cannot avoid it, it is coming weather you like it or not. There is a date set for you to go before the Judge, and this Judge is not like a human judge, He is a good Judge, in fact He is the only One who is good, and He will judge you justly and a good judge punishes the guilty. The question I have for you is this: Are you ready to give an account of your life to God? Yes or no and why, write your answer down and hold on to it, that answer is yours, no one else’s, it is yours.

Now back to our scripture: “Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” ~Romans 3:19-20. What is God’s law and who is under His law? Well, our scripture says all the world. So what is the law? Some people say the law of God is no more, they say we are not under the law, but oh they are so wrong. Jesus said of the law, “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.” ~Matthew 5:17-18. Then in heaven we have the ark of His covenant, “Then the temple of God was opened in heaven, and the ark of His covenant was seen in His temple.” ~Revelation 11:19. Now what was in the ark of His covenant? “Nothing was in the ark except the two tablets which Moses put there at Horeb” _2 Chronicles 5:10. What was on the Tablets? God spoke from the mountain the Ten Commandments to the entire assembly of Israel. Moses said, “And He wrote them on two tablets of stone and gave them to me” ~Deuteronomy 5:22. God wrote His laws, “The Ten Commandments” on stone because they are permanent. You know these laws, they are written on your heart, God has written them on the heart of every person on earth. Let us go over just three of these commandments (see Deuteronomy 5):

1. The third commandment says “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.” Have you ever used the name of the Lord in place of a filthy curse word to express disgust, or how about saying or writing OMG on facebook? Don’t justify yourself by saying you’re saying gosh instead of God, gosh is a euphemism for God it is used in place of God to make yourself feel better about it, but what you are really doing is lowering God’s name down to a lower level than He deserves. This command says further, “for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.” In other words He will not let you off the hook for doing this.

2. The sixth commandment says, “You shall not commit adultery” God is Spirit, so you are just as guilty about what you think as well as what you do with your body. Jesus said: “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Have you looked at another person ever with lust who was not your husband or wife? This commandment includes fornication, sex outside of wedlock. Sex with another person physically or mentally other than the one you are married to is adultery.

3. The ninth commandment says, “You shall not bear false witness”, in other words you shall not lie. Have you ever lied?
Now that is just three of God’s Holy Ten Commandments and I don’t know about you but I am doing poorly, in fact I have broken all Ten of the Commandments a multitude of times. Even if you have broken only one of these commandments just one time you’re in trouble. (James 2:10) says, “For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble on one point, he is guilty of all.” So what does the law do? It shuts the mouth of every man, no one can say before the law of God “I’m a good person”, no one. You are not justified before God under the law you are guilty, the law brings the knowledge of sin, because of the law you know that you are a sinner before God.

There is good news, “But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the law and the prophets,” ~Romans 3:21. The law and the prophets mean the Old Testament. This time, the present time we are in now was told about in the Old Testament, that there would be a Way to be made right with God apart from keeping the law and that Way has been revealed. What is that Way? The next verse tells us “even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ to all and on all who believe.” ~Romans 3:22. Even the righteousness of God Himself would be applied to you, and you would be looked upon as righteous as Jesus Christ Himself, through faith in Jesus Christ. Think about that a minute, the righteousness of God, to you and on you. John the Baptist in talking about Jesus said that he wasn’t even worthy to lose His sandal, and God would count you as righteous as Jesus, and look upon you as righteous as Jesus? That my friend is amazing and how can this be and why does God do it. Why does God count us righteous for having faith in Jesus?

Most of you recognize Romans 3:23 because it is used in what we call the Roman road. As I have learned to study scripture I have learned to read scripture in complete thoughts rather than how they are broken up into verses. The verses help us locate a section, but they cause a problem when they change the way you think about scripture because of the way they are broken up. Take the Roman road for example: It is several different scriptures throughout the Epistle to the Romans, jumping back and forth to give a gospel message. First of all, I think that is unnecessary since the gospel message is contained right here in Chapter three without jumping around, and second of all many of the verses are taken out of context. The thought for Romans 3:23 actually begins in Romans 3:22. You have all heard many times, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”. In reading it this way it makes you believe that the verse is intended to show you that you’re a sinner, we don’t need it for that, the law of God does that. There is a comma before the word “for” at the beginning of the verse because the first part of the thought begins earlier. Here is the full thought. “For there is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,” ~Romans 3:22-24. When you put Romans 3:23 in contexts with the other supporting verses it gives a different meaning and what is the thought here?

The thought is this. You are no better than anyone else. People tend to compare themselves to other people and say, “I must be good because I am better than that man”, but what you are doing is claiming goodness by your own standards rather than God’s. You can take a man in prison guilty of awful murders and many other crimes, before God, you and he are just as guilty, you have both broken the law of God. It doesn’t matter if you’ve broken the law once or thousands of times, if you’ve broken the law, you’ve broken the law. Earlier I quoted you (James 2:10) “For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble on one point, he is guilty of all.” You and the criminal in our human prison system are saved the same way, and there is no difference, you have both sinned and fall short of the glory of God. You both are freely justified by the grace of God through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. There is no difference. Now how did God justify us? Now this is why I wanted to talk about this scripture because this is really cool.

Verse 25 says, “whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood through faith,” ~Romans 3:25. What I find so cool about this is that it is a mathematical equation. Now I’m going to give you some definitions, and I use these words because they are the words used in the literal translations of the word of God and they bring incredible clarity in helping to understand the message God has for us.

1. Propitiation - to propitiate is a legal term, it means to bring appeasement. In this case you are appeasing the wrath of God. You see, as I showed you earlier we are law breakers, God is lawful.

2. Enmity – a feeling or condition of hostility; hatred; ill will; animosity between two parties. The bible tells us that there is an enmity that separates us from God. A wall of hostility. “Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be” ~Romans 8:7.

3. Holy – the word Holy in Hebrew means separate. God is separate from us and what separates God from us is the enmity, the law of God.
It’s like this; there is a wall of hostility that separates us and God. On one side of the wall is God who is lawful, He upholds the law, He is righteous, on the other side of the wall is man, we are lawless, we do not keep the law, we are law breakers, we are unrighteous. God decided to do something in His grace; He gave us a free gift. God said through the bible that all law breakers would see death, but a graciously gave us a free gift, a Way to become righteous in His sight. He set forth His only begotten Son Jesus as that Way, He took the punishment of death for our breaking the law, He only requires you to accept that gift by faith. So here is the greatest mathematical equation in the history of the world. Mathematical equations have an equal sign =, with each side of the equal sign adding up to equal parts. So here is the equation.

Propitiation = Jesus Christ + Faith

For demonstrative purposes let us assign some values to these:
0. No Faith or absence of Faith, unbelief.
1. Faith – I assigned it the numeral 1 because it is the Holy Spirit who gives us faith.
2. Jesus Christ’s sacrifice on the cross – I assigned this the numeral 2 because Father and Son were involved during the crucifixion, Jesus went to the Cross at the Fathers will and the Father turned His back on Him pouring out His wrath on the Son for the sins of mankind.
3. Propitiation – I assigned propitiation the number 3 because the Trinity is present in Propitiation, it requires all three.
So now we have our equation: 3=2+1 equal parts on both sides. Now what are some things that people may put their faith in other than Jesus Christ Crucified for their sins?
4. I’m a good person – they think that they will get to heaven on their own merit.
5. Works – they think if you do a bunch of good deeds, or a bunch of religious acts that will earn favor with God.
6. I prayed a prayer – I have looked and I can’t find even one example in the bible where anyone was ever saved by a prayer.
7. I walked down a church aisle – again that is a work
8. I gave my life to Jesus – again a work
9. A god – the god of Muhammad, Buddha, or any number of Hindu gods.

So let us assign some of these numerals to our equation. Remember God has given Propitiation so whatever you do it needs to add up to propitiation which we have assigned the numeral 3.

3=2+0 Absence of faith – Jesus paid the price for all of mankind but if you do not have faith in him it doesn’t add up to propitiation.

3=4 I’m a good person + 1, 4+1=5 not three so faith in anything other than Jesus Christ Crucified does not = 3 does not equal propitiation, we could go on and on trying, but nothing adds up to propitiation but faith in Jesus Christ Crucified for your sins, NOTHING!

So why did God do this? The remainder of verse 25 and verse 26 tell us, “to demonstrate His righteousness”. Now why would anyone question the righteousness of God? Well let us look at the remainder of verse 25. “to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed” ~Romans 3:25. The reason someone might question the righteousness of God is because you live. You heard me right, because you live. God created us, and He established His law, His perfect law, and that is the law by which we are to live by, and punishment for breaking that law is death and eternal separation from God. God had every right to destroy you the very first time you sinned, but He didn’t. God had every right to destroy Adam & Eve when they sinned, removing mankind from existence but He didn’t, and why didn’t He? Well verse 26 tells why He didn’t, “to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” ~Romans 3:26. God is a good judge, in fact He is the only one good, He is the only One who has kept His law, never once sinning. The law is the embodiment of His person, it is who He is, He is lawful. The law says “do not lie,” the bible tells us He cannot lie. So God will be just in His judgments and there must be punishment for anyone who breaks His law. But God through His grace has given a Way for us to be justified and that Way is faith in Jesus Christ crucified for your sins. So God can be both just in making sure that there is punishment for sin and He can be justified in letting sinners go free at the same time because He took your punishment Himself.

“Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of Works? No but by the law of faith” ~Romans 3:27. Now how are you going to boast, you can’t boast in yourself, you’re a sinner, you can’t boast in your ability to follow the law, you’ve broken the law, you can’t boast in your works or accomplishments, and they can’t earn you eternal life. My friends all that we can boast in is Jesus Christ Crucified, and what a wonderful thing that is to boast in Jesus. “Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law” ~Romans 3:28. Now at the beginning of this, I asked you a question, and that question was this: Are you ready to give an account of your life to God? The reason I asked that question is because I have found that the answer one gives to that question reveals the heart. The answer you give to that question is where your faith truly is. I am here to tell you today, if you gave as an answer anything other than Jesus Christ crucified, Jesus paid it all on the cross, I plead with you to repent. Repent means to stop what you are doing and turn around. So repent, turn from whatever your faith is currently on and turn away from that thing and turn to Jesus. Put your faith in Jesus Christ alone and you will be saved. I had a twofold purpose in writing this. 1) If your faith was in anything other than Jesus Christ crucified for your sins, to get your faith off of that other thing, and on what will save you on your day of judgment, Jesus Christ. 2) If your faith is in Jesus Christ to give you confidence in your salvation.


I hope this has brought you close to the Lord,
Mike Peek