Don’t forget about justification.
In an ordinary chair in an ordinary room sitting in the same old chair I was broadsided with grace by Romans 3.
…the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ
(Romans 3:22 ESV)
Lets do a bit of exegetical footwork for a moment. What it is that Paul talking about? For two chapters a charge has been leveled against all of mankind: Every person on the planet has exchanged the glory of God for the glory of man.
God is glorious. And instead of worshipping him and being satisfied by him, we’ve worshipped ourselves. We’ve taken our glory and put it in throne of worship that God alone deserves.
As a result, God stoops. He stoops in grace. He condescends (what a wonderful word!) and lowers himself, taking our place and bearing our punishment. Jesus substitutes himself on the cross and pays the penalty for sin. On Monday, unaware of what would come next, I knew that much. But I had forgot (are you prone to forget?) that there is more.
God provides His own righteousness.
His own. For us. That’s what Romans 3:22 means.
In effect, God provides the righteousness of God. That’s why I said, “Don’t forget about justification.” It’s at the heart of the gospel. If you are a Christian, your sins are forgiven, and what glorious news this is! But there is more!
You stand on the righteousness of Christ. Like an oxygen-desperate climber stands on the peak of Everest, or like how a scuba diver sits on the floor of the ocean, you and I won’t stay there unless we have help. But the oxygen is there. See it in Romans 3. And don’t forget about justification.