Romans 3:21-31 (Righteousness Through Faith, Apart from the Law)

Rom 3:21-24 How is “the righteousness of God” that has been revealed in the gospel different from what Paul’s opponents supposed it to be?  See also Rom 1:17.  What is the significance to his Jewish opponents that this righteousness was “witnessed by the Law and the Prophets?  Where is it witnessed in the Law and the Prophets?  See Rom 1:17 (quoting Hab 2:4), Rom 4:3 & 9 (quoting Gen 15:6), Rom 4:7-8 (quoting Ps 32:1-2), etc…  What truth that Paul has expounded upon in the previous chapters makes abundantly clear that the righteousness of God must be through faith and not through observance of the Law?  See Rom 3:23.  Define these key terms in Rom 3:24: justified, gift, grace, redemption.  Note: inherent to the idea of redemption is a ransom that is paid to free someone who has been enslaved; to what are all men in bondage, and what ransom did Christ pay to redeem us?

Rom 3:25-26 What does Paul mean by a propitiation in Rom 3:25?  What is the significance that this word is translated elsewhere in the Bible as “mercy seat” (see Heb 9:5, Ex 25:17-22, Lev 16:13-15)?  In what sense is Christ our mercy seat?  Note: a related word is that used to translate the word “atonement” (see Num 5:8) and both derive from the Hebrew word related to a covering (i.e., for our sin; see Genesis 3:7-10,21 for the Lord covering man’s sin which man was unable to do himself).  What part of God’s nature allows Him to pass over the sins committed by a person or people for a period of time and prevents Him from immediately carrying out its penalty?  See also 1 Cor 13:7.  For what reason does He do so?  See Rom 2:4.  What part of His nature will not allow Him to continue to overlook a person’s or people’s sin indefinitely?  How is the righteousness of God that is rooted both in His infinite love and His infinite justice perfectly demonstrated in the person of Jesus Christ?  Why is the propitiation of Christ effectual only for those who have a true and sincere faith in Jesus, and not for the whole world?  See again Rom 2:4-11.

Rom 3:27-28 Who was boasting about their religious practice in Paul’s day?  What sort of people boast about their religious practice today?  How does a true understanding of the gospel leave no room for such boasting?  How is the seeming contradiction between Rom 3:28 and James 2:24 to be reconciled?  Does Paul mean to say that works are of no importance and need not follow faith?  See Rom 3:31, 2:4,7.  Does James mean to say that works are of only importance and not preceded by faith?  See James 2:14-20.  Would Paul disagree with James that true faith is exemplified by good works?  See Rom 6:1-2, 12-14.  Would James disagree with Paul that the basis upon which God reckons righteousness to a person is faith and not by the works of the law?  See James 2:22-23.

Rom 3:29-30 Did the Jews have a clear understanding that Yahweh was not only their God but also the God of the Gentiles?  What affect did their notions of spiritual superiority and exclusiveness have upon their ability to discern and walk in the light of the truths of the gospel?  Is it possible for Christians to develop the same false notions?  See Rom 11:17-21.  What warning does the example of the Jews offer us?  See 1 Cor 10:11-12.

Rom 3:31        Does a true understanding of the gospel and salvation by grace through faith nullify or make void the law of God?  What do Paul’s emphatic words in this verse teach us about the notion held by some that since a Christian is saved by grace it doesn’t really matter if we sin because we are not under the law.  See Rom 6:15-16, 2 Thess 1:8-9, 1 Tim 1:8-11.  What does this verse teach us is the proper response to God’s law by one who has a true understanding of the gospel?  What does it mean to establish the law?  See Rom 8:4, Jer 31:33.

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