The Righteousness of God
By Bobby Blakey on October 31, 2022
The Righteousness of God
By Bobby Blakey on October 31, 2022
Well, our prayer has been and your eyes have been opened, and that you can see Jesus died on that cross that you can see Jesus died for your sins. But tonight, as we look at the cross, and we're going to take communion together at the end of this service, as we get ready for communion, as we think about Jesus dying for us, we don't just want to see Jesus dying for us. We want to see what the cross reveals about God. We're going to try to do the impossible. We're going to do here tonight what no living man or woman can do and still be alive, something that says you can't do this, or you will die. We want to see a God here tonight. That's our goal. And so, I invite you to open the Bible and turn with me to Romans chapter 3, verses 25 to 31. We're going to finish our study of Romans chapter 3. And we're going to look past what Jesus did for us to justify us on the cross. And we're going to try to see what this means about who God is, as he makes himself known and reveals himself to us. The sermon is entitled, The Righteousness of God, and I pray that you will give this text of Scripture your full and undivided attention. So, let's all stand up out of respect for the public reading of Scripture. If you're watching this online tonight, I invite you to stand up with us. We're going to read Romans 3:25-31. Please follow along, as I read. This is the word of God. And in context here, it's talking about Christ Jesus. And then verse 25,
“whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith. For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of 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—who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith. Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law.”
That's the reading of God's Word, please have your seat. So right here in verse 25, we get a key word, the focus shifts here. And it's a famous passage in the book of Romans, famous. Martin Luther, maybe you know the story of how he called this the centerpiece of really, the whole Scripture, maybe you know, the history of the Reformation. Well, we kind of reached a shift in the focus here, because he talked about verse 24. Looking back to where we left off, that we, all of us, we've all sinned, we've all fallen short, but we are justified, we are declared righteous by God's grace as a gift. And it's through the redemption, the ransom that was paid when Jesus shed his precious blood for us a ransom greater than any silver or gold, greater than anything money can buy. Jesus paid it all for you. We’re just saying it. We talked about it last week. We are righteous through the blood of Jesus. But then it says in verse 25, and the focus shifts here, from us getting justified to God taking the initiative in our justification. And it says here that God put forward, he set forth as a propitiation by his blood. So, God is setting forth Jesus to shed his blood for us. So, this is a work that God did, and the goal, you can see it says it two times here, halfway through verse 25 and halfway through verse 26, it says to this was to (underline it) show God's righteousness. And then in verse 26, it was to show his righteousness. So, if you've got the handout that's in your bullet, and you want to take some notes, you can underline those two phrases halfway through verse 25, halfway through verse 26.
We want to make sure that we see the righteousness of God in the Scripture tonight. We've been praying that you would see that you are someone who is not good before God, that you are under sin, that you are under the law. So, you would see your need for Jesus to die for you. But tonight, we're not here to focus on what the Bible says about you. Tonight, we want to see what the Bible says about God. When God set forth Jesus to be our propitiation, he was showing us his righteousness.
Go back to Romans 3:21. This was the moment here but now the turning point where we go from talking about God's wrath that is going to come in judgment for our sin. Well now, but now we want to talk about how we get right with God. And notice what it says in verse 21. “But now the righteousness of God has been manifested.” Verse 22, “the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ, for all who believe.” So, if you look at those two “righteousness of God” statements in verse 21, and 22, then verse 25 and 26, they say, to show his righteousness.
If we go through Romans chapter three, and we don't come away from it blown away by the righteousness of God, and we just walk away thinking about how we can be righteous with God, then we've missed what it's trying to show us here. It's not just trying to show you that you can be made right with God as you believe in Jesus. No, look what God did. Can you see past the cross? Can you see past the blood and the body of Jesus there, and how he's laying down his life for you? Can you see what God is doing? Can you see that God is setting forth Jesus because God wants to be known. He wants to show you something about himself. God wants to set forth his righteousness. So, that's the goal here tonight that all of us would have our eyes open to see the righteousness of God. And so, look with me at Romans 3:25. We're going to work our way through the text. And in verse 25, it gives a word, somebody in the room already told me, this is their favorite word in all of the Bible, okay, maybe you know what it means. Maybe you don't look at verse 25, “whom God put forward as a” here's the word “propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith.” So, God is like setting forth Jesus. He's putting Jesus forward. He's putting out Jesus there on the cross for everyone to see. And Jesus is God's propitiation. So that's the question we want to try to figure out. What does propitiation mean? And this is really awesome. If you love studying the Bible, you're in the right place here tonight. Everybody, brace yourselves, because God doesn't just give us a definition. We'll come up with a definition of propitiation, but God actually gives us a whole picture of what propitiation is.
Turn with me to Hebrews chapter 9. We're going to do some Bible study. Are you ready? Are your fingers warmed up? Have you stretched out your fingers, everybody, because we're going to be turning some pages here tonight. Listen to the beautiful sound of the Bible pages turning, interrupted by the sound of people tapping with their fingers. This is Hebrews chapter 9, everyone. Hebrews chapter 9. Now this is the other time— there's only one other time in the Greek New Testament that the word translated propitiation. In Romans 3:25, hilasterion in the Greek. There's only one other time that that's used in the New Testament, and it's right here in Hebrews 9:5. And here's what it says, “Above it were the cherubim of glory, overshadowing the mercy seat. Of these things we cannot now speak in detail.” All right, well, so did you notice propitiation there in verse 5? No, you didn't see it? So, you might want to write down the mercy seat is the way that that same word is translated. It's translated here in Hebrews 9:5, the mercy seat, and in fact, in the Septuagint… so the Bible that was written in Hebrew, which we call the Old Testament, and they translated it from Hebrew into Greek in the Septuagint. And this word hilasterion is used for mercy seat throughout that translation and the writer of Hebrews here says, hey, let's talk about the mercy seat. And then he says of these things, we cannot now speak in detail. That was a bummer for the writer of Hebrews. We on the other hand have no problem, having time to speak in detail here this evening. All right.
So, you didn't know you were getting a deep dive on the mercy seat here tonight, everybody, but that's what we're doing. Okay, go back to verse 1. Look at what it says. What does it mean the mercy seat? The mercy seat is meant to be some kind of picture, some type of what propitiation is. Okay, let's dive into Hebrews 9:1. “Now even the first covenant had regulations for worship and an earthly place of holiness. For a tent was prepared.” Let's go back to the tabernacle, “the first section in which were the lamp stand and the table and the bread of the presence. It is called the Holy Place. Beyond the second curtain was a second section called the Most Holy Place, having the golden altar of incense, and the ark of the covenant covered on all sides with gold, in which was a golden urn holding the manna, and Aaron's staff that budded, and the tablets of the covenant. The tablets of the covenant are what everybody shouted out. If you know, okay, now the problem is, when I just read that passage, this is the problem with where we're at in the world. Today, more people thought about Raiders of the Lost Ark, than they thought about the Book of Leviticus. That's the problem with where we're at these days. All right. So, he's sent in a picture, he's taken us back here, the mercy seat, well, we're going to talk about the mercy seat, we're going to go back to the tabernacle, we're going to go behind the veil into the most holy place where you've got that box with the cherubim on it. And in that Ark of the Covenant, there are the two tablets of stone when God spoke to his people on the mountain. Okay, now keep reading. And that's setting up what the mercy seat is. Now look at Hebrews 9:6. “These preparations having thus been made, the priests go regularly into the first section.” The first section is the Holy Place, priests are going in there. But the Most Holy Place the second section, verse 7, into the second, only the high priest goes, and he but once a year, and not without taking blood, which he offers for himself and for the unintentional sins of the people. By this, the Holy Spirit indicates that the way into the holy places is not yet open. As long as the first section is still standing, which is symbolic for the present age. According to this arrangement gifts and sacrifices are offered that cannot perfect the conscience of the worshiper, and then it goes on from there.
So, this idea of propitiation through the blood of Jesus, that God has set forth, well, we want to study that. What does that mean? The propitiation? What has God set forth for all of us? We want to see it. Well, it leads us to the mercy seat, and the mercy seat leads us all the way back to one day of the year. Maybe you've heard of the day, Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, one day of the year when the high priest goes into the Most Holy Place. Let's grab our Bibles. Let's go to Leviticus, chapter 16, everybody, that's right. We're not going to go watch Indiana Jones. We're going to go to the book of Leviticus, chapter 16. And we're going to see what do we mean here? That the high priest, one day of the year goes into the Most Holy Place, and he does something with blood on the mercy seat? What is this all about? So now we're at Leviticus, chapter 16. Maybe your bible gives it a heading there, the Day of Atonement. Look what it says, “The Lord spoke to Moses after the death of the two sons of Aaron, when they drew nearer before the Lord and died. And so, they get a picture now, God is dwelling in the midst of his people in the tabernacle. The very glory of God is manifest among them. And if you approach the glory of God in the wrong way, you die. That's what happened to Aaron's sons. And so, Leviticus 16:2, “the Lord said to Moses, ‘Tell Aaron, your brother, not to come at any time into the Holy Place inside the veil, before the mercy seat.” So this is what we're trying to figure out, what is the mercy that is on the ark, so that he may not die? Hey, tell Aaron not to go into the most holy place where the mercy seat is, or he will die. Skip on down here with me to Leviticus 16:13. He gives Aaron a lot of instructions. But let's pick it up, actually, in Romans 16:11-13. Here's something Aaron is supposed to do. “Aaron,” who's the high priest here “shall present the bowl as a sin offering for himself, and shall make atonement for himself and for his house. He shall kill the bull as a sin offering for himself. And he shall take a sensor, full of coals of fire from the altar before the Lord, and two handfuls of sweet incense beaten small, and he shall bring it inside the veil and put the incense on the fire before the Lord, that the cloud of the incense may cover the mercy seat, that is over the testimony.” And then again here, this is a theme here in Leviticus 16, so that he does not die. So, tell Aaron, first of all, you can't just go into God's presence in the holy place where the mercy seat is, or else he'll die. But on one day of the year, when he puts on the priestly garments, and he makes this sacrifice, on that day of atonement, he can go in there, but he has to put this incense on the fire, and he has to kind of cover the mercy seat with the cloud of the incense. Because if he just goes right up to where the mercy seat is, he will die.
So, this is the idea. This is a picture that this word would be bringing up. And perhaps the original readers of The Book of Romans, they're now going in their mind, when they hear about God setting forth the mercy seat, or some kind of blood, some kind of propitiation, this is perhaps some of what the people might have been thinking of, when they were reading the book of Romans, that the high priest is going to go in there. And then look what it says in Leviticus 16:14, he's got to cover it with a cloud of incense, so that he does not die, but he's going to take some of the blood of the bowl, and sprinkle it with his finger on the front of the mercy seat on the east side, and in front of the mercy seat, he shall sprinkle some of the blood with his finger seven times, then he shall kill the goat of the sin offering. Now this is for the people. He already did an offering for himself in his own house. Now he's offering a goat that is a sacrifice on behalf of the people of Israel. And he will bring the blood of the goat inside the veil and do with its blood as he did with the blood of the bull, sprinkling it over the mercy seat and in front of the mercy seat. “Thus he shall make atonement for the Holy Place because of the uncleanness of the people of Israel, and because of their transgressions, all their sins.” So, you can see, okay, there's a picture. What is propitiation? Well, we're going to come up with a definition, but there is a picture of the mercy seat. And it's in the Holy Place, and the high priest goes in there. And there's a cloud because you can't just go up to the mercy seat, or you're going to die. But the sprinkling of the blood is to atone for the sins of God's people. So that's how it's supposed to work.
Turn with me even further back to Exodus 25. Let's get back now to the building of the mercy seat. Let's take this picture all the way back to Exodus 25. It starts here in verse 17. And Exodus 25:17, this is the construction here. And when they're building the tabernacle, they're building the ark of the covenant. It says in Exodus 25:17, “You shall make a mercy seat of pure gold.” Okay, so it's “two cubits and a half shall be its length and a cubit and a half its breadth. And you shall make two cherubim of gold here. So, when you see the mercy seat, the seat at the top of the Ark of the Covenant, and then it's going to have two cherubim of gold. So, this is meant to take us now into the throne room of God, where we know there's these cherubim, creatures that have wings, and they cover their faces, they cover their feet, they fly with these wings. Well, on this mercy seat, we're making “two cherubim of gold, of hammered work shall you make them, on the two ends of the mercy seat. Make one cherub on the one end and one cherub on the other end. Of one piece with the mercy seat shall you make the cherubim on its two ends. The cherubim shall spread out their wings above, overshadowing the mercy seat with their wings, their faces to one another toward the mercy seat shall the faces of the cherubim be,” which is basically what the picture we get in the throne room of Heaven is that everyone's attention is fixed on the throne, on God. Well, now we're representing that here on this mercy seat, verse 21. “And you shall put the mercy seat on the top of the ark and in the ark you shall put the testimony that I shall give you. There I will meet with you.” That's the idea. This is the spot where God is going to make himself known to his people right on the top of the Ark of the Covenant between those two cherubs. God says, “I will meet with you, and from above the mercy seat from between the two cherubim that are on the Ark of the testimony, I will speak with you about all that I will give you in commandment for the people of Israel.”
So now, hopefully, you can see the history that there was a specific spot that represented the very presence of God, a place where God would meet with his people, a place where God would speak to his people, this place was known as the mercy seat, and now in Romans 3:25 it says that God set forth in Jesus, God set forth a mercy seat in his blood, a propitiation in his blood. In Jesus, God has now put forward a place to meet with you to speak with you. And it is all there in propitiation we have in Christ. So, this word, and I can see why somebody would say this is their favorite word in the Bible, because the history of this word is very deep in the Scripture, and it goes all the way back to the most important thing in your life, which is you knowing God, that is the purpose of life. This is eternal life, not that you would live forever, but that you would know God, and you would know him both now, and forevermore. This is the point, God created the world, not just so that you could be saved by the blood of Jesus. But God created the world, that through the blood of Jesus, he might set forth His Son and make himself known. The point of planet Earth, the point of the universe we live in, is God wants to show us his glory. Can I get an Amen from anybody here tonight?
We are minor characters in the credits of life. They may not even have our names on the big picture story. Thankfully, our names are written in the Lamb's book of life. But the story is not about you. You self-centered, Californian and American person, right? You are not the center of the story. Okay? We are having a night of church, where the point is not for you to go feel better about yourself. The point is not for you to go think, hey, look what Jesus did for me. The point is for you, to see Jesus and to look past him to the very righteousness of God, so that you would walk out of here not really thinking about yourself, but thinking, wow, look who God is. That is the point. A point that so often so many days we miss, that God put forward a propitiation in the blood of Christ. God says, hey, there's a place where I'm going to meet you. There's a place where I'm going to speak to you. There's a place where you can see me and know me, and really get to behold who I am in all of my glory and splendor. And it was to show God's righteousness. That's why he gave us Jesus. That's why he sent Jesus.
Go back to Romans 3:25. And now with the history of that word hilasterion in the Greek and how it goes down to mercy seat in the Hebrew Bible, and we've seen the construction of it. We've seen how the high priests would go into it. We want to approach this passage like that's what we want to happen here tonight, we want to behold God, we want to see who God is, we want to hear God speak to us. And so, it says here in verse 25, “whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood to be received by faith.” So, Christ is our propitiation, he is our mercy seat, he is the place where God is speaking and making himself known. And just to review, in the book of Romans, go back to chapter 1, verse 17, because a lot of people would argue that Romans 1:17 is the theme verse for the letter to the church in Rome. And it's been a while, say, it’s been months since we talked about this verse here. So, let's go back. And this was the point remember, he wanted to go to Rome to preach the gospel. Because he couldn't get to Rome and speak the gospel to them there in person, he wrote this letter to give them his master class on the gospel. But the reason he wanted to preach the gospel is because he's not ashamed of the gospel, because the gospel is God's power to save. And see, my concern tonight is a lot of times, we're just concerned about that part. Praise God. He sent Jesus to save my soul. I'm so thankful that Jesus paid it all. All for me is kind of the I'm going to sing that Jesus saved my soul for eternity. Well, yes, we should praise the Lord, that he died for us that he saved us. But that's not all that it says; the gospel is looking at Romans 1:17. It says, “For in it,” in the Gospel, “the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written,” in Habakkuk 2:4, “The righteous shall live by faith.” The gospel is God's way of showing you his righteousness. This is the revelation of the righteousness of God. This is the way that you can see who God really is. That's one of the reasons he's not ashamed of the gospel. That's one of the reasons he wants to come and preach the gospel. Yes, does he want people to be saved? Absolutely. The Jew first, but also the Greek, everyone who believes will be saved, all without distinction, but also in the gospel, you can see the righteousness of God. When your eyes are open to the revelation of God, and you respond with faith, then you really know who God is. That's why he's pumped up to preach the gospel. And then in verse 18, he went into the wrath of God. And from Romans 1:18, all the way to Romans 3:20, he went on this long discourse about the wrath of God being revealed in the present against ungodliness, in the future, coming in judgment, coming in judgment that we all deserve, because we've all seen, we're all under the law. And then you get to Romans 3:21.
But now let me get back to my main theme after I spent two chapters on the wrath of God. Now I want to get back to the main theme, which is the righteousness of God. Can we get back to why I wanted to preach the gospel, because “the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith.” You can now see who God really is. He will speak to you, he will show himself, and so in verse 25, that's the idea of the propitiation that God is putting forth Jesus to show us his righteousness. Yes, Jesus in the Gospel is the power to save you. But Jesus is also the putting forward of the righteousness of God.
And so, let's get this down for propitiation point, number one: “Propitiation is the atoning sacrifice of Jesus that satisfies God's wrath.” There's like a definition we can get down. Okay, so it's him setting forth Jesus, and Jesus, his body and his blood that we're here to remember tonight, as we take communion. Jesus is the sacrifice, it is his blood that God is setting forth. And what this does is it satisfies this wrath that we've been talking about for two chapters, that he's been really developing the theme, some of you are like, yeah, we had a lot. I had a guy in a fellowship group, say this week, we've gotten a point at this point. All right? We get the point that there is coming judgment, because we have sin, because we are under the law. He's been driving that point home so that you would see God, setting forth now the satisfaction of his wrath.
That's what we're supposed to see that there was surely judgment coming for sin, and God satisfied his wrath on Jesus, instead of on us. Can we praise the Lord here tonight? Can we worship him? Okay, but let's not just worship him because our sin gets forgiven, we get declared righteous, we get to be saved out of wrath, judgment, sin, law, praise the Lord. No. Now let's look to see, look what it goes right onto. It was to show his righteousness it says there halfway through verse 25. So, I'm hoping that your eyes have been opened to see your sin and to see your need for Jesus dying for you. And that by faith, you've responded to Jesus dying for you by faith, and then you've been justified, God declares you righteous, but the reason that God can declare you righteous is because God is righteous.
So that's what we want to see now. What should you and I be thinking about the righteousness of God? Wow, okay. So is this is like one of God's attributes? This is a part of his character. When you're thinking about who God is, and in your human mind you're trying to comprehend God's ways which are higher than us, so we can't fully comprehend them. That's why we should get so excited when God reveals himself to us through the Scripture, because that's the way that we know God is as he reveals himself to us. And so, we're going to learn something tonight about God that should never be forgotten, that should never be left out. This is something that clearly is the theme of the book of Romans that he's been building up back towards now for two chapters. And here he is, now he's hitting the righteousness of God. Okay? Go look at a list of God's attributes and see if it even mentions the righteousness of God. In that list of attributes.
Paul's pretty excited about it. These are two things, the wrath of God, and the righteousness of God, may not be two things about God that are always brought up these days, but in the book of Romans they're a very big deal. We went to chapters on the wrath of God. And now we're getting back to what he really is excited to tell everybody in the Gospel, the righteousness of God. The righteousness of God, something that you have seen, that you know about that God has spoken to you? Is this a way you think about God? Because this is what it was to show? And look what it says; it shows it two different ways. One was it was in the former sins, it says this was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance, he has passed over former sins. So, one thing we already got a little bit in Hebrews, is that just by killing a goat and sprinkling some blood that does not actually take away sin, that is a symbol that is a type of taking away sin. It's a picture of it, but it doesn't actually take away sin. So, all the sins before the time of Christ, all the people who sin before Jesus came and was set forth as the propitiation by his blood, God passed over those former sins because of his divine forbearance. Okay, was God just letting sin go? Does God just let anybody get away with it? Does God see people who are guilty and say, Ah, it's not that big a deal? You sinned? It's okay. You sin, you sin you all sin, no big deal. Is that how God ever thinks about sin? So, one question is, it looks like there's perhaps been some sin in the past that hasn't been dealt with that hasn't been judged? Is God right if he's not judging sin? Well, let's answer that question. Let's look at the righteousness of God, and how he passed over former sins. And then it says, second part, Romans 3:26, “It was to show his righteousness at the present time now through Christ, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” This is the beautiful phrase, this is really the big idea. Yes, God has passed over, he hadn't yet judged sins that happened before Christ. But now in Christ, there should be two things that you can see, one we're perhaps more familiar with, that anyone who believes in Jesus will be declared righteous by God, but God is also just and he's the justifier. So, this idea of the righteousness of God, okay, this is a big idea, right? I want you to write down the righteousness of God. It's not a point. But I just want you to write it down as one of his attributes, one of the ways you can describe God, and maybe you've never really thought about it very much, maybe you have, but we're going to try to pray about and worship God for his righteousness together. So, the righteousness of God and the idea of righteousness is 92 times in the Greek New Testament, 34 of them are here in Rome. And so, 1/3 of the teaching about righteousness in the Greek New Testament is all right here in the book of Romans, that's 34 times in 16 chapters. So, this is something if we're going to study Romans together, we need to think, not just about how God makes us right, but how God is right.
And what it's saying here, if you want to get this down for point number two: “God is right to both judge and save.” God is right to both judge and save. God is just in that sin will be judged. And God is the justifier in that anyone who sees Jesus and trusts in Jesus is declared righteous by grace through the redemption in Christ or both. now and forevermore. God will say you are righteous when you believe in Jesus. So, you're supposed to see both of these things while God is at the same time, both judging sin on Jesus and offering righteousness, which will forgive the sin of everyone who puts their faith in Jesus. Can you see this? Can you behold our God? He can both judge sin and declare ungodly, unrighteous enemies; he can declare them righteous while he's judging sin. At the same time, in the same act when you see the cross of Jesus. Yes, there is God's power to save. And yes, there is God's righteousness right there. I want to make sure everybody here sees both that he is judging and that he is saving. God is revealing to us his glory, in that through judgment of sin comes our salvation from sin. Now, I love this word “both,” but I can't say it. Have you noticed that about me? I sometimes have a hard time pronouncing words. Some of you who have been listening to these sermons for many years, you can say amen right now if you want to, okay, because sometimes I have a hard time pronouncing words. And one of the words that I have a hard time pronouncing is sometimes people's names here at this church. Right? So, I'm sorry, there are many people in this room I need to apologize to. Some of you, I have apologized to you many times. And then I said your name wrong again after that. All right. I have a hard time for a guy who speaks a lot. You would think I would be better at pronunciation, right? But I have to think about it. Like I have to stop myself and think “both”. Because I want to say “bolth.” I want to put a bowl in it like a cereal bowl. All right. You're like, where are you going with this? Okay, well, when I say “bolth,” and you can write it how I say it. And I'm not going to stop saying it. Because I don't have time to pause every time. I had a big debate about this before the sermon. Am I going to say “both”? I'm not even going to make it. I'm just going to say “bolth”. So, you guys are all with me now in this, all right. So, what I'm telling you is that when you see Jesus on the cross, you can think bowls of wrath if you want to, all right, because God is pouring out his wrath. You can hear when Jesus is on the cross. You can hear him say, “O my God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” You can hear him say to tell us die. It is finished because he just paid it in full. What is he doing? He is satisfying the wrath of God. The bowls of wrath are a very terrifying picture. The bowls of wrath. If you've ever read the book of Revelation, there are bowls. And now see, I can just say bowls freely. This is a good point right here. There are bowls, literally, that will be poured from the heavens down on to the planet. And when you read about these bowls of wrath, it disturbs you. It is meant to make you feel uncomfortable. It is meant to describe to you the great day of judgment that is coming upon all human beings. There is a great day of fire coming upon this planet. There is something coming in the future that everybody should think we want to prepare for today. And it's a day of judgment. You know what the Day of Judgment is classically called throughout the Scripture? It is called The Day of who? “The Lord,” because it's God's day. Because one of the things that we're supposed to think about when we think about God is we have a righteous God. And God is going to judge sin. And there is coming a great and terrible day of clouds and thick darkness, a day of thunder, a day of lightning, a day of death when bowls of wrath will be poured out from the heavens and like the rivers of the earth will turn into blood and 1/3 of the earth will die when one of these bowls of wrath is poured out from the heavens. Yes, God is taking wrath on Jesus. God is pouring out judgment on Jesus. When you look at the cross, you can see an example there of judgment of bowls of wrath. What you can also see is what Solomon refers to in Ecclesiastes 12. There is a golden bowl. Have you ever heard of the Golden Bowl? When the Golden Bowl is broken, when the silver cord is snapped, when the picture is shattered on the fountain when the wheel is broken in the system, when we returned to dust and our spirit returns to God who gave it is talking about the wooden bowl, it's some picture of death, when the bowl breaks, when the cord is snapped. When the wheel breaks, when the picture is shattered, when your body returns to dust and your soul goes back to God, who gave you life in the first place. See, you can see God pouring out judgment. And you can see Jesus laying down his life and love, grace and mercy. Make sure when you look at the cross, you see both God who is just, and justifier, because the cross was him setting for Jesus to show you his righteousness.
So, I hear a lot of people talking about how God is the justifier through Jesus on the cross, I'm asking you, when you look at the cross, do you see both how he is judge and savior? Do you see both wrath and love? Do you see steadfast love and faithfulness, justice and mercy? They meet all right there at the cross of Jesus. See, this is how you view God. We call it, do you have a high view of God, or a low view of God? A low view of God would be you just seeing a part of God, you just kind of picking out a favorite aspect of God, you knowing a little bit of God and acting like it's the whole thing about God, that's a low view of God, a high view of God is when you can see God more accurately for who he is and all of his attributes.
Do you just see one thing going on at the cross? Or can you see that not only is Jesus shedding his blood, so that you can be righteous, but Jesus is shedding his blood because God is righteous, and he is judging sin. And Jesus really is dying. Because that's how God is, there must be death, there must be blood, to pay for sin. Turn to Psalm 98. This is meant to, to inspire worship, a response to God based on who he is. And I want you to see the righteousness of God. In Psalm 98… there are many different Psalms we could turn to, that will give us pictures of the righteousness of God. And if you want to read some of these psalms, in your times of worship, you could look up righteousness or justice. And you can read the psalmist. We're not afraid to praise God for his righteousness and his justice. And there's plenty of songs about it. Let's just get into Psalm 98:1-3 here together. It says, “Oh, sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous things. His right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him. The Lord has made known his salvation.” Look at what it says, “he has revealed His righteousness in the sight of the nations. He has remembered his steadfast love and faithfulness to the house of Israel. All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.”
So, when Paul makes the righteousness of God a theme in the book of Romans, if not the theme of the book of Romans, it's not just Paul's idea that when God saves in the Gospel, he's going to reveal his righteousness. No, that's what they were already singing in the Hebrew hymnal here in Psalm 98. They reverse to when God makes known his salvation, one of the things you're supposed to know about God is he is revealing his righteousness to the nations, not just to the Jews, to all people to the ends of the earth, to us. 2000 years after Jesus, on the opposite side of the planet from Jerusalem, here we are, God wants to be known by you. He wants you to see his righteousness. That's why he set forth Jesus. It goes on to say here in verse Psalm 98:4-9, “Make a joyful noise to the Lord all the earth; break forth into joyous song and sing praises, sing praises to the Lord with the lyre, with the lyre in the sound of melody. With trumpets in the sound of the horn make a joyful noise before the king the Lord! let the sea roar and all that fills it; the world and those who dwell in it, Let the rivers clap their hands, let the hills sing for joy together before the Lord for he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world with righteousness and the peoples with equity.”
Now, that was a lot of hype. Did anybody else pay attention to what we just read? That's a lot of hype. We're getting out the lyre. We're making the sound of melody. We got trumpets. Our worship team needs to step it up after reading this song. Where is the brass section here, right? I mean, look at all this we're making a joyful noise. Do the singers need to step it up a little bit, and some shouts of joy here this evening. And in fact, making some noise to some horns up here, shouting out with our voices. That's not enough. Let's get a big swell to come in here and worship the Lord. All right, let's let the hills, let's let the mountain start clapping their hands together, and what are we worshiping God about? What's God everybody blowing horns and shouting, and the rivers and the seas are rising up in the hills are clapping their hands, because here comes the righteous judge of heaven to make things right on Earth.
In heaven right now they are praising God for his righteousness, the angels and the chair of him are looking at him and seeing his righteousness we have gathered together to worship God, do you see his righteousness as a reason to worship? Does the fact that no sin will ever go unpunished, that God will make every wicked thing right, that God has a zeal, has a passion for all things to be made right? That is who he is? Is that a reason for you to burst forth into singing, and to praise our God? Can we see his righteousness? And if you can see a God, people long for justice, not so much for themselves, but when they see problems, they wish there was justice, they wish those people got justice. And then the oppressed over here got justice. And the evil over here got justice. Everybody wants justice, maybe not so much for themselves. But for sure, we could use some more justice around here. Well, there is one who loves justice, and he will come to make all things right, in his perfect time. Do you see that? And do you worship him for it? Because he said for Jesus to show you his righteousness, don't just see God as the justifier. He is both just and justifier. And we should worship God for who he is.
Go back to Romans chapter 3, because then he's going to give us some rapid fire questions here to end the chapter. And really, these questions are going to become the foundation for chapter four and the next study that we're going to do. So, he's got some questions here, look with me at Romans 3:27-31.
And we're going to see three facts of faith. If you want to get that down there on the handout. Three facts of faith that we're going to see in these last five verses. As we go through them. We've already seen that we are justified by his grace, it's through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, the response to the work that God has done in Jesus. When your eyes are open to see that God is just and justifier is you want to be the one who has faith in Jesus. That's the response. You see what Jesus has done, you trust in Jesus, that it is by his blood you're going to be declared righteous by God. And so, you trust in the death of Jesus that God judged Jesus for your sin. And God when you trust in Jesus's death for you that he is your propitiation to satisfy God's wrath with that faith will God declare you righteous by your faith. And so, it says, now these three facts about faith, verse 27, then what becomes of our boasting? Well, there is no boasting. Okay? It is excluded, by what kind of law by law of works? No, but by the law of faith, for we hold that one is justified, we are declared righteous by faith, apart from works of the law.
So, first fact of faith, number one, it’s “not about you.” It is not about you. It doesn’t make having faith about you as if you are doing something there is nothing for you to boast about. There is no work you can do. Well, God is doing it. God is setting forth Jesus. God is judging Jesus for your sin. He is pouring out his wrath on Jesus. God is declaring you righteous as you believe in Jesus. God is the one who is saving you; don't make it about you. Even when you share your testimony, don't make it about I did this, and I did that. It was a big moment for me as I came for be like and that's when God declared me righteous. Boast about who God is, and what God did for you. Don't make it about this is the big moment for me. No, this is the big moment when God saved me. Make that moment about God. You can write down Jeremiah 9:23-24, which says Don't boast in your wisdom, don't boast in your strength. Don't boast in your riches. Boast that you know God specifically, boast that we know about God that we know him and his steadfast love. We know him and his justice and wait for it. We know him in his righteousness, that God can declare me righteous because Jesus already took my wrath. That's what I'm here to boast about. That's what I'm trusting in. It's not about me. And it's not anything that I did. So, you can under point number one right there say, no boasting, no works. Two things. It says there in verse 27 and verse 28, this was to show God's righteousness. Don't make it then about you, what you did; don't boast in it. There's no boasting in it. And don't think you did a work to get there. There's no works. It's not done by the works of the law. It's done by the law of faith. And then it says here in verse 29, “Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also?” Yes, he's the God of all people of all nations, of the Gentiles also. And since God is one, he's going to justify, he's going to declare righteous, both the circumcised the Jews by faith, and the uncircumcised the Gentiles through faith.
So, let's get this down for the second fact that “God offers to all,” all being the key here, there is no distinction, whether Jew or Gentile, doesn't matter what nation you come from, no, God is offering to you he is offering it to all. That is a very important point here. God is the God of all people, if there is anyone, anywhere, Jew or Gentile, who God declares righteous. It's because God does it. And God, he can do that with anybody, because he is the God of all. We should not limit in any way, the offer of the righteous God making people righteous. We should declare it to all nations, to all people, groups, to anybody, you can get the ear of anybody you're able to talk to, you should let them know that they can be right with God because God set forth Jesus to be our righteousness. And then Romans 3:31, here, the last verse, “Do we then overthrow the law by this faith?” Okay, well, if it's no longer about the law, and it's about faith, well, then let's just forget the law. Right? And well, no, “By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law.”
So, let's get this down for the third factor of faith: “Trust leads to obey. Trust leads to obey. This idea here of upholding the law establishing the law, perhaps even standing firm in the law, we're not going to now throw out the law. No, now we're ready. If God is a God of righteousness, and God has now declared us to be righteous, we are now ready to live out a righteousness by faith with God. And we're going to get more into that as we get later on into the book of Romans. So maybe you've heard that we are saved by faith alone. And we got to make that clear here in Romans 3, don't boast about it, because you didn't bring anything to it. Don't act like hey, look at me. Everybody will know what work did you do? You're saved by faith alone, Jesus did all the work. God set forth Jesus. This is about God's saving you. This is not about you, or but the faith that saves you. It's by faith alone, but the faith that saves you is never alone. Have you heard that one? Because faith without works is what? Dead! That's not real faith. If you really can see that God is righteous, and you can really see the wrath that Jesus took for you, and that Jesus through his blood paid for your sinful soul, and that God by his grace is ready to declare you righteous when you put your faith in Jesus. If God is righteous, and he's ready to make you righteous through your faith in Jesus, how could you then not want to go and live out righteousness? How could you go back to your old ways of sin? so much more on that is coming really, these questions about faith in the outline of Romans chapter 4. And if you look at Romans 4:1, it says, “What then shall we say was gained by Abraham?” So, we're going to start looking into father Abraham as the prototype, as the example now of what it looks like to be declared righteous by God, counted righteous through faith. And so, Abraham and David in the weeks to come are going to be case studies of faith for people like us who want to be right with God. We want to be saved by faith and we want to even see God and his righteousness. Well, we're going to have some examples to live too, in the weeks to come. But what I want to do right now is I want to pray for you as we get ready to take communion. We want to give you a time in your heart to see the righteousness of God. And for you to really think through, maybe you want to open up to Psalm 98 again, or maybe you want to get your eyeballs on Romans 3 again, maybe you want to turn to Jeremiah 9 that we just referenced, 9:23-24. But we are now going to have a time to see that when Jesus sacrificed his body and shed his blood, those elements of communion we’ll take after a song, and a time for you to worship and meditate on what we've just heard. I’ll come back and we'll take this communion together. But when we see the body of Jesus as our sacrifice, and we see the blood of Jesus, which is our redemption, or our propitiation, as we're learning about what Jesus did for us, with his body and his blood, we also want to make sure that we see the righteousness of God, and that we worship God not just for what he's done for us, but for who he is. And now he is both just and justifier. Let's pray together.
Father, we just want to confess to you, our short-sightedness, our nearsightedness that so many times when we study your Word, we're looking in the word for what's in it for us, when your Word shows us who you are as a father. We pray that through these verses tonight, you would reveal to us your righteousness. Father, we pray that you would show us your glory, that you are just, that you have wrath for all ungodliness and yet, at the same time, you will declare the ungodly righteous. How can you be so awesome? How can you do such a marvelous thing that at one time at the focal point of history when Jesus died for us on the cross? You both judged all ungodliness, and you declared all ungodly people who believe in Jesus righteous. Father, open our eyes to see this. Open our eyes to see who you are, let us see your righteousness to both judge and to save through your Son Jesus. Let us see this gospel, this good news that we should never be ashamed of, the gospel that is your power to save us out of all of our sins. But it is also the revelation of your Righteousness through faith for faith. Father, we want to thank you as people who were ungodly, as people who were sinners, people who were your enemies. Father, we praise you and worship you that through the propitiation in the blood of Jesus, you declared us righteous by faith. And Father, we also come to worship you that you are the judge of all the earth, that you never let any sin go unpunished. That you have a righteous indignation and anger toward sin, and that you will judge, that you are just, that there is no unrighteousness in your character. We worship you for that. We can see that about you. And we give you glory that in Jesus we have your righteousness, we pray this in his name. Amen.
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