How can a man be in the right before God?
This week we will learn the answer to life’s most important question. It is the question Job asked: “How can a man be in the right before God?” (Job 9:2).
When you think about it, isn’t that the bottom-line question of all existence? How can we be in a right standing with God? Admittedly, that is not a question many people are asking today. Most people today are more interested in short-term gratification than they are in eternal salvation.
But that is nothing new. People’s disinterest in spiritual matters has always been a part of history. When Paul wrote to the Christians in Rome, he wrote to a culture 2,000 years ago that was much more interested in sports and sex than it was in spirituality. Does that sound familiar? Today, we, too, are saturated with sports and sex. Few people are interested in spiritual matters. But that spiritual disinterest did not keep the Apostle Paul from proclaiming boldly and clearly the answer to life’s most important question: “How can a man be in the right before God?” This week, we will discover the answer to that question in our continued study of the book of Romans.
In the first section of Romans, Paul talked about the problem of righteousness. What is the problem of righteousness? The problem is that none of us has any righteousness of our own. Paul said there is not one righteous among us, no, not even one (Romans 3:10, 12). But now we come to Romans 3:21, which is the turning point into the second section of Romans–the provision for righteousness. Paul said, “But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested.”
Those two words “but now” are the contrast between the way we were apart from Christ, dead without hope in this world, and what has happened to us through Christ. It is that provision for righteousness that we will discover, beginning in verse 21. In his commentary on the book of Romans, the great expositor Donald Grey Barnhouse said that these 11 verses are the most important 11 verses in the Bible because these verses answer the most important question in all of existence: How can a person be right with God?
How did Paul answer that question? Paul explained that God’s righteousness is not a reward, but it is a gift to those who trust in the redemptive work of Christ.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “And Now for the Gospel” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2014.
Donald Grey Barnhouse, “Expositions of Bible Doctrines: Taking the Epistle to the Romans as a Point of Departure,” 4 vols. (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1966).
Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.