Audio: The Just and the Justifier

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Sermon - The Just and the Justifier - Rom. 3:24-26

Rev. Mark Sumpter

Romans 1:17 stands as the mother verse in The Book of Romans. Romans 1:17 “For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, ‘The righteous shall live by faith.’”

And to see its centrality,

■ Note the unfolding progress of the theme of man’s sin taken up in Romans 1:18-3:20

■ Note the two divisions as Paul opens up his letter—a) the sin of the Gentiles [chap 1:18-2:16] and b) the sin of the Jews [2:17-3:10]

■ Note the summary statement of the whole human race charged with guilt and with culpability: Romans 3:10b-20.

Paul designs his elaboration and teaching this way in order to prove that God must provide his own divine righteousness; it is utterly essential to the provision of salvation for any man, woman, or child. Here is man’s pressing, inescapable spiritual need; and God must be the fount of this blessing.

But why is it necessary that God provide and accomplish salvation?

God’s own character, he, who is righteous (his being), is at stake. He must remain true to his own nature. He will not wink at sin. Equally true, what else is at stake is satisfying his holy standards, which are thoroughly righteous (we’re talking about his revealed will, his commandments). A pure, righteous life must be provided for God to be glorified. He is both just and the justifier.

Therefore, the salvation viewed in Romans 3:24-26 centers on God’s own provision for man’s need to be restored to God (reconciled), to be righteous in his sight (vindicated), and to be made suitable to dwell in his presence (sanctification and glorification). God must be the provider, for he alone possesses righteousness.

The hymn writer, John Newton, put it so poignantly, “Great, wise, holy, just, and gracious, [God] hates and punishes the sin, he saves and loves the sinner. May we sit at the foot of the cross; and there learn what sin has done, what justice has done, what love has done…” Letters of John Newton