Romans 3:21-26 The Central Passage to Understanding the Bible

21 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 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. 26 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.

The Central Passage to Understanding the Bible

Martin Luther believed the above passage was the central passage to understanding the Bible.  It is a link between the 39 books of the Old Testament and the 27 books of the New Testament.  The ‘but now’ connects the old to the new.  In the beginning of Romans we see that under the Old Testament a case was made through God’s revelation which condemned mankind.  There was no hope because all humanity starts life in an estranged condition.  The Old Testament points forward to a coming salvation, but in the first century that mysterious salvation was revealed to the world.

Faith/Belief is central to God’s salvation.  Only those who believe actually take hold of what God has provided.  Everyone needs saving, everyone can be saved, only those who believe are actually saved.

Legal language and commercial language are combined in this paragraph.  Legally, Jesus takes on the punishment which sin demands.  We are therefore declared ‘not guilty’.  Commercially, God purchases his children from slavery to sin.  In either case, God has brought about the salvation of the same wretches that know themselves to be condemned because of chapters 1-3.

Prayer

Father, thank you for the justification that you have provided.  Thank you for the redemption.  You have reached so far into the depths of our darkened world and you have brought light and life to us.  May we be grateful.

Questions

  1. With what words does this paragraph begin?
  2. What words are repeated in this passage?
  3. Why might Luther have called this passage the central passage of scripture?
  4. How do you define justification and redemption?
  5. What difference does being freely justified and redeemed make to you?
Advertisements

About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Romans 3:21-26 The Central Passage to Understanding the Bible

  1. Christina W. says:

    1. “But now”
    2. The righteousness of God/ God’s righteousness.
    3. Luther called it the central passage of Scripture because it combined the teaching of the Old and New Testaments. Mankind is condemned until the way of salvation comes.

  2. Kimberly W. says:

    I love the connection in this passage between the Old and New Testaments. Jesus is the Messiah prophesied about in the Old Testament. Both testaments are necessary to our faith. Without the Old Testament the New loses its foundation and significance, and without the New Testament the Old leaves us still making animal sacrifices and longing for a Messiah.

  3. Maria T. says:

    There is no on righteous in the law, “but now” there is a way to be righteous in Christ! Luther was absolutely right. These verses connect the Old and New Testaments by explaining that the prophets testified to Christ, but now Christ has come. In coming, He has made those found in Him righteous through redemption in Him.

  4. Michael McCardle says:

    With what words does this paragraph begin?
    The words “But now” begin the paragraph indicating a contrast.
    What words are repeated in this passage?
    The righteousness of God and God’s righteousness.
    Why might Luther have called this passage the central passage of scripture?
    1. It connects the thematic element of redemption between the Old and New Testaments.
    2. It tells all of mankind that they are sinner.
    3. It shows the love that God has for us; in that, while we were still sinners he died for us.
    4. It explains how justification comes to man; through faith alone in Jesus Christ (by grace through faith).

  5. Christa says:

    1. With what words does this paragraph begin? But now (which shows contrast to what was just previously stated)
    2. What words are repeated in this passage? Righteousness, “of God,” “in Jesus”
    3. Why might Luther have called this passage the central passage of scripture? It ties together the Law and Prophets from the OT and the gospel of Christ in the NT to show the righteousness of God in our salvation.
    4. How do you define justification and redemption? Justification is when Christ takes upon himself all of my sins and gives me all of his righteousness. Redemption: being brought from death to life, from darkness to light in Christ
    5. What difference does being freely justified and redeemed make to you? It makes me feel secure within Christ, knowing that what he did for me I could never repay and am not expected to repay him

  6. Maelynn says:

    This is one of my favorite passages of Scripture. I love how Romans shows the contrast between the Law and Christ. The last couple verses in this passage are very intriguing. Is this referring to all the individuals who died before Christ came into the world? This would be a good passage to point an individual to if they have questions on that topic.

  7. Megumi says:

    1.”but now…
    2. righteousness of God, faith
    3. it connects the old and new, provides the solution to humanity’s problem, and summarizes the gospel
    4. justification = legally declared righteous
    redemption = bought back at a price
    5. it means I didn’t deserve it because I didn’t work for it or pay for it

  8. 1. “But now”
    2. “righteousness of God”, “faith”, “in Jesus”
    3. ties together the OT and the NT and show that Jesus is the solution
    4. Justification is being declared righteous; redemption is being taken from death into life
    5. It brings me security and peace knowing what Christ did for me, despite my sinfulness

  9. Emmy R says:

    We don’t deserve salvation, what a beautiful gift. Sometimes, I just stand in awe at the way God has turned our lives around. We literally were doomed for disaster, until Jesus sacrificed Himself to save us. It is a beautiful mystery, and there is nothing on this earth that even comes close to comparing it to.

  10. 1. “But now”
    2. Righteousness and varying forms of justness are both mentioned frequently.
    3. It explains the turning point with the “But now”. Things are different and this passage explains the key components of the gospel.
    4. Justification is a legal term that means to be made right despite the past while I believe that the righteousness mentioned is God’s own perfect virtue which He transfers to us through Christ.
    5. Because I am justified I am declared just in God’s sight and through His redemption I am able to be His forever. It makes all the difference in my life because the orientation of my entire being has been changed towards Christ and I am being renewed in the image of Christ all through the grace and power of God.

  11. Olyn says:

    With what words does this paragraph begin?
    “But now”
    What words are repeated in this passage?
    “Righteousness”-repeated 4 times
    “God”-repeated 5 times
    “faith”-repeated 3 times

  12. Andrew Moore says:

    1. “With what words does this paragraph begin?” – But Now
    2. “What words are repeated in this passage?” – Jesus, God, Righteousness
    3. “Why might Luther have called this passage the central passage of scripture?” – Because it helps us to understand scripture as a whole in the way that it connects the Old and New Testaments.

  13. Nate Silvieus says:

    I heard one evangelist say that one of his favorite words in the entire Bible is the word ‘but’. It conveys the way things were but how God is in the work of transformation. Since the passage begins with “but now”, it gives us hope because the first three chapters outlined our sinfulness and impending doom. BUT NOW, implies that there is something that will change all of that, there is a Savior, one who takes this sin away, one who provides justification and atonement for us before God. My next favorite word is ‘freely’ (NIV). This entire gift of God’s salvation through Jesus Christ is completely free. We have nothing to do to earn, we only must believe it.

  14. Jung Kim says:

    Faith/Belief is central to God’s salvation. Yes, this is perfectly true within our lives as well. Just a week ago, I found out that my mom has a thyroid cancer. IT was devastating and sad to hear that news, especially being away from her. I was little mad and did not understand why God was letting that happen. However, God continuously and visibly revealed Himself to allow me to have faith in Him and believe Him even though I do not see Him. Thank you God for reminding me through people of who you are and that you are at work of our lives.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s