The Letter to the Romans



11. Good News At Last!


Romans 3:21-25a

21 But now a righteousness from God, apart from the law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify.

22 his righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference,

23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

24 and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

25 God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood.


Key Words





The blood of Jesus


Paul finally introduces the good news; now, after millennia of people trying to be good and to keep the law, God reveals a righteousness apart from the law. This righteousness was foretold in the Law and the Prophets.


1. If this righteousness was only now made known, how did the Law and the Prophets testify of it? (see Genesis 15:6; Leviticus 17:11; 23:26-32; Psalm 32:1-2; 85:1-3; 106:28-31; Habakkuk 2:4; Jeremiah 3:14-18; Hosea 3:1; 10:1-4, 8-11; 14:1-2, 4-6, 9; Zechariah 3:1-10)


2. This "righteousness from God" is not God's righteousness. What is this righteousness? (see Romans 1:17; 4:5, 13; 9:30-32; 10:6-9; Galatians 2:15-16; Philippians 3:8-9; Hebrews 11:7)


3. The clause beginning in v. 22, "There is no difference" and ending with verse 23, "and fall short of the glory of God," is parenthetical. In other words, "All who believeare justified freely" About whom is Paul saying, "There is no difference"? (see Romans 3:9; 10:12)


4. Although everyone is equally unworthy, all are equally justified by believing in Christ. What does it mean to be "justified"? (see Romans 2:13; 3:20; Isaiah 53:11; Romans 4:25; Romans 5:1-2, 16, 18; 8:30; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11; 2 Corinthians 5:15; Ephesians 2:8; Titus 2:11; Hebrews 4:16)


5. Paul describes a paradox in v. 22-25. In verses 9-19 he has shown how no one deserves anything but guilt and condemnation. Now he explains that all can be justified even though they are not deserving. Find the four ways Paul says God administers justification, and explain the paradox. (Refer to verses 24-25)


6. In verse 25 Paul says we are justified freely by his grace. What is God's grace? (see Exodus 34:6-7; Psalm 6:4; Proverbs 16:6; Jonah 4:2; Luke 1:30; 2:52; 4:15-22; John 1:14; Acts 7:45-46; 14:3; 20:24; Ephesians 1:4-8; 2 Timothy 1:8-10; Titus 3:4-7)


7. Look up "redemption" in a dictionary. What is "the redemption that came by Christ" mentioned in verse 24? (see Psalm 130:7-8; 1 Corinthians 1:30; Galatians 4:5; Ephesians 1:7-8; 13-14; Hebrews 9:11-14)


8. Look up "atonement" in a dictionary or Bible dictionary. Once you understand the meaning of atonement, what has the atonement mentioned in verse 25 accomplished for us? (see Leviticus 16:6-10; Isaiah 53:5; John 1:25; Romans 4:25;5:10; 2 Corinthians 5:14-15, 21; Galatians 3:13; Hebrews 1:3; 2:17; 9:27-28; 1 Peter 2:24-25; 1 John 4:10)


9. Why does Paul make a point of stressing that the atonement has power and meaning "through faith in his blood"? (see Matthew 26:27-28; Romans 5:8-9; Colossians 1:19-20; Hebrews 9:16-22; 1 Peter 1:18-19; 1 John 1:7; Revelation 1:4-6; 5:9; 7:14; 12:10-11; 19:11-14)


Commitment and Application

10. How have your understandings of justification, atonement, and grace changed as you have begun to understand the new covenant?


11. What habits and memories do you fear examining and presenting to Jesus so his blood can wash them clean and fill your heart with peace and the assurance of his atonement for you?


12. Ask Jesus to reveal to you what lies behind the habitual frustrations you experience where you get "stuck" and can't resolve your problems or handle them constructively. Ask him to show you what he wants you to see, to know what he wants you to know, and to change what he wants changed in you. Ask him to enter those hurt places in your memories and to heal your deep shame and brokenness, replacing the pain with his Spirit. Praise him for being faithful to complete the work he has already begun in you!

Copyright (c) 2003 Graphics Studio, Redlands, CA USA. All rights reserved. Posted August 15, 2003.
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