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Problem Texts for Sovereign Grace (Part 27) - Rom 1:16-17; Rom 3:21-31

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For a paperback book in outline form which addresses over 150 difficult verses that Arminians use against Sovereign Grace, check out: Problem Texts for Sovereign Grace: Rooting Arminianism Out of Every Verse.

For a master copy of the outline, click here: Problem Texts for Sovereign Grace

64. Rom 1:16-17
A. "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. 17) For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith." (Rom 1:16-17)
B. Do these verses teach that when the gospel is believed it has the power to save the believer eternally, and that the righteousness of God is imparted to a believer by believing the gospel?
C. The gospel (good news) of Jesus Christ is not what saves a person eternally; Jesus Christ's death on the cross is what saves a person eternally.
i. Jesus' offering of Himself as a sacrifice for sin perfected forever (eternally) them that are sanctified (the elect) (Heb 10:10-14).
ii. When Jesus entered into the holy place to present His blood, He did so having obtained eternal redemption for us (Heb 9:12).
iii. Jesus purged our sins by Himself (Heb 1:3).
iv. God hath saved us by grace (2Ti 1:9; Eph 2:4-5).
v. God saved us by His mercy by regeneration (Tit 3:5).
D. The gospel (the good news of what Jesus did for us) doesn't bring life and immortality to a sinner who believes it, it rather brings it to light (2Ti 1:10).
i. Light n. - 3. The state of being visible or exposed to view. to come to light (in early use †in, on light): to be revealed, disclosed, made visible or made known. to bring (rarely †put) to light : to reveal, make known, publish.
ii. Jesus Christ reveals, makes known, and publishes life and immortality by the gospel.
a. This is exactly what Rom 1:17 says: "For therein (in the gospel) is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith..."
b. It doesn't say "For therein is the righteousness of God imparted from faith to faith..."
iii. It was by Jesus' death that he abolished death (2Ti 1:10 c/w Heb 2:14).
iv. The gospel simply tells us about Christ's death which abolished death (2Ti 1:10).
a. For example: if someone tells you about the time a stranger jumped in front of a bus and died to save your life when you were two years old, the story didn't save your life, the dead guy did.
b. The story simply makes you grateful for what the man did to save your life.
c. So it is with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
E. Since it's clear that the gospel is not the power of God unto eternal salvation, it must therefore be the power of God unto temporal salvation?
i. The gospel is only the power of God to those who are saved eternally, not to those who perish (are lost eternally) (1Co 1:18).
ii. Therefore the salvation that the gospel is the power of God to must be temporal salvation.
iii. Belief of the gospel will save one from: ignorance of God's righteousness, going about to establish their own righteousness, deception and bondage, the power of Satan and sin, fear of death, chastisement from God for sin, and an untoward and wicked generation.
iv. Belief of the gospel will save one to: knowledge and assurance of eternal life, knowledge and assurance of their election of God, fellowship with God and with believers of like faith, fullness of joy, rest, and victorious living.
v. For verse references for the last two points, see Section II,7,B on Temporal Salvation.

65. Rom 3:21-31
A. "But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; 22) Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: 23) For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; 24) Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: 25) Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; 26) To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. 27) Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. 28) Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. 29) Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also: 30) Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith. 31) Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law." (Rom 3:21-31)
B. In order to properly understand this passage of scripture, a proper knowledge of the twofold nature of justification is necessary.
C. The following is from Section II,9 on Two Justifications:
i. There are two senses in which a person can be justified before God: either by being made (caused to be) righteous by God, or by being accounted (considered) righteous by God.
a. Justified ppl. - Made just or right; made or accounted righteous; warranted; supported by evidence
b. Justification n. - 4. Theol. The action whereby man is justified, or freed from the penalty of sin, and accounted or made righteous by God; the fact or condition of being so justified.
c. Justify v. - 4. To absolve, acquit, exculpate; spec. in Theol. to declare free from the penalty of sin on the ground of Christ's righteousness, or to make inherently righteous by the infusion of grace: see justification 4.
d. Make v. - III. To cause to be or become (something specified). a. With adj. as compl.: To cause to be, render.
e. Accounted - Counted, reckoned, considered.
ii. Being made righteous by God
a. Jesus justified us in the sense of making and causing us to be righteous by His:
1. Blood (Rom 5:8-10).
2. Grace (Tit 3:7; Rom 3:24).
3. Faith (Gal 2:16).
4. Knowledge (Isa 53:11).
b. Jesus made us righteous by His obedience alone (Rom 5:19).
c. We were made the righteousness of God by Christ being made sin for us (2Co 5:21).
d. We are passive recipients of this justification by Christ.
iii. Being shown to be righteous by our faith
a. Abraham is the eminent example of being justified in the sense of being shown to be just.
b. Abraham was not justified by his works (in the sense of being made righteous) (Rom 4:2).
c. Abraham was justified by his faith (Rom 4:3).
1. His faith was counted unto him for righteousness.
2. Counted righteous = accounted righteous = justified (see definitions above)
3. Faith is a token which is the evidence of (counted for) righteousness, just as poker chips are tokens which are the evidence of (counted for) the possession of real wealth.
4. Just as the poker chips are not real wealth, nor do they cause real wealth, so faith is not itself righteousness, nor does it cause righteousness.
5. Abraham's faith didn't make him righteous, it showed him to be righteous.
i. Abraham's faith was said to be counted for righteousness in Gen 15:6.
ii. This happened after he left Ur by faith (Heb 11:8) in Gen 12:1-4.
iii. Abraham was already righteous when his faith was counted unto him for righteousness in Genesis 15.
iv. Furthermore, if the phrase "counted for righteousness" means "made righteous" or "given eternal life", then there is another means by which a person can become righteous and get eternal life (Num 25:7-8 c/w Psa 106:30-31).
D. Rom 3:22
i. Does this verse say that the righteousness of God is acquired by one's belief?
ii. No. Notice that in this verse the righteousness of God is by faith of Jesus Christ (Christ's faith).
iii. God's children are justified (made righteous; given the righteousness of God) by the faith of Jesus Christ (Gal 2:16).
iv. This justification is unto all and upon all them that believe -- their belief evidences (not causes) that they have been made righteous by God (see Act 13:39 - Section III,60).
v. Their belief, like Abraham's, is counted for righteousness (it demonstrates that they are righteous) (Rom 4:3).
E. Rom 3:25
i. Does this verse say that Jesus becomes the propitiation for our sins when we have faith in His blood?
ii. The question is often asked, "What happened to all the people who died before Jesus came and died on the cross for their sins? Did they all go to hell, and if not, how were they saved?"
iii. Rom 3:25 answers that question.
iv. Definition of terms:
a. Set v. - 144. set forth - b. To send out (soldiers, etc.) for service; hence, to equip, fit out (men, a fleet, a voyage).
b. Propitiation n. - 1. The action or an act of propitiating; appeasement, conciliation; atonement, expiation.
c. Declare v. - 1. trans. To make clear or plain (anything that is obscure or imperfectly understood); to clear up, explain, expound, interpret, elucidate.
d. Remission n. - 1. Forgiveness or pardon of sins (cf. 2) or other offences.
e. Forbearance n. - 1. The action or habit of forbearing, dispensing with, refraining or abstaining from (some action or thing).
v. Some preliminary info first:
a. God chose out His elect out of every nation and people (including those who lived and died prior to Jesus coming) before the foundation of the world whom he would make holy and blameless by Christ (Eph 1:4 c/w Rev 5:9).
b. In due time, God would give Christ all of his elect and give Him power to give them eternal life by dying for them and thereby making atonement for their sins (Joh 17:2 c/w Joh 10:15).
c. Jesus' mission was to come to earth in time and save eternally all that the Father gave Him (Joh 6:39).
d. When God says something is going to happen, it's as good as done (Rom 4:17).
vi. Now, consider Rom 3:25 in light of this information and the definitions, and see what it teaches.
vii. God sent out Jesus Christ to make atonement for the sins of His elect, having faith in Christ's blood that He would live a sinless life and offer Himself as a sacrifice for the sins of His elect. God, having faith in Christ to do the work He was sent to do, could refrain and abstain from punishing the elect's sins which were committed prior to Christ dying for them, declaring Christ's righteousness for the forgiveness of those sins.
F. Rom 3:26
i. Does this verse say that God justifies people because (or after) they believe in Jesus?
ii. Just as God declared Christ's righteousness for the sins which were committed prior to Christ dying for them (Rom 3:25), God presently (at this time) declares Christ's righteousness for sins that are committed now, and by doing so, He shows that He is just in forgiving them, being the justifier of those that believe in Jesus.
iii. As was shown above in Rom 3:22, one's belief evidences that Jesus made him righteous (justified him); it is not the cause of Jesus justifying him.
G. Rom 3:28,30
i. Of whose faith is this verse speaking? What aspect of justification is being referred to?
ii. God's children are justified in the sense of being made righteous by Christ's faith (the faith of Christ) (Gal 2:16; Rom 3:22).
iii. God's children are justified in the sense of being counted or considered righteous by their faith (Rom 4:3).

For a master copy of the outline, click here: Problem Texts for Sovereign Grace