Romans 3:21-31 – Righteousness through Faith
But now, apart from law, the righteousness of God has been disclosed, and is attested by the law and the prophets, the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction, since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God; they are now justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a sacrifice of atonement by his blood, effective through faith. He did this to show his righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over the sins previously committed; it was to prove at the present time that he himself is righteous and that he justifies the one who has faith in Jesus.
Then what becomes of boasting? It is excluded. By what law? By that of works? No, but by the law of faith. For we hold that a person is justified by faith apart from works prescribed by the law. Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, since God is one; and he will justify the circumcised on the ground of faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith. Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law.
I am not sure you will find too many reflections upon this part of Romans that involve a small plush orca, but here is one. I love the contrast in lines early on in this passage…first a reaffirmation of what just came before – all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Not just a few or some, but all. But then comes something wonderful to follow…they (all) are justified (made right) by God’s gift of grace. Who saw that coming? The best gifts are those that we have no idea about. We may give gifts for birthdays and Christmas, but if it’s just purchasing what is on a list, there’s not much of a surprise. It’s like this picture. I was downloading pictures from my phone a while ago and found this picture on my camera roll. I didn’t take it and I had no idea what was behind it. After asking around in my house, my youngest said that he wanted to get a picture of this orca because “he was so cute!” And what a great picture! That picture was a gift – to see some of the creativity of one of our children and the intentionality to capture it.