Heavenly Father, You are the great and loving God. Thank You for Your great love, which has been poured out through Jesus Christ. Help me grasp this love even more through Your Word. Use me to speak of this love to others. Amen.
Read Romans 3-5
Outline of Romans 3–5
- The whole world is under sin and accountable to God through His law (3:1–20)
- Through faith in Christ, God freely gives sinners His righteousness (3:21–4:25)
- Through Christ’s sacrifice, God’s righteousness is upheld and freely given to sinners as a gift (3:21–31)
- Abraham is the proof that justification comes to us by faith (4:1–25)
- Two images of what the belief in the gospel produces (5:1–21)
- Peace with God (5:1–11)
- Life through Christ (5:12–21)
Romans 3:1–20 Paul sums up what we see in Romans 1–2, namely, that all humanity is under the wrath of God. According to Paul, the human condition is one in which every part is corrupted by sin. This means the whole world is accountable and guilty before God due to His law (3:9–20).
Romans 3:21–31 But . . . the good news of the gospel is that now, apart from the law, God has provided a different righteousness—one that comes as a gift “through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe” (3:22). How can God give such a gift to sinners and still be righteous? Because at the cross, Jesus was offered as a sacrifice; He made atonement for our sins and therefore upheld the justice of God in justifying those who believe. This good news, once promised in the Old Testament, has now been revealed in Jesus Christ’s life, death, and resurrection.
Abram believed the Lord, and He credited it to him as righteousness.
Romans 4 Paul here is at pains to defend the point that justification must come from faith alone, so he uses the Old Testament example of Abraham. In Romans 4:3, Paul quotes Genesis 15:6: “Abram believed the Lord, and He credited it to him as righteousness.” Paul then quotes Psalm 32, where King David speaks of the blessing and gift of forgiveness. If God is to demonstrate this kindness to anyone, it must be in a way that eliminates all boasting. In other words, salvation cannot be earned by works, but is granted by God to those who believe.
In 4:9–17, Paul makes the case that this kind of faith is a possibility not only for Jewish people, but for the world. When Abram believed God, he was a Gentile who was not yet circumcised, yet God justified him. In the same way, anyone with the faith of Abraham—Jew or Gentile—can be included in Abraham’s faith family. Notice in 4:18–25 that this faith rests particularly on God’s promises. Faith is the means by which we accept and receive God’s promises, especially the gospel promises given in His Word.
READ MORE BELOW FROM THE BFM.
Romans 5 Having laid out this argument for justification by faith, Paul now unpacks the wonderful results of this salvation. In 5:1–11, Paul outlines what it means for Christians to be reconciled to God. We have “gained access . . . into this grace in which we now stand,” and “we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God” (5:2). In spite of our suffering, God is at work producing hope in us, and we know this hope is real because He has given us His Spirit.
Specifically, notice the logic of 5:6–11: If God has shown us so much grace and love while we were His enemies, then how much more grace and love will He show to us now that we’ve been reconciled to Him through Jesus Christ? Followers of Jesus were once God’s enemies, but now we’re God’s friends.
Observe in 5:12–20 the contrast between the first Adam’s failure and the second Adam’s success. Just as Adam brought death into this world through his sinful disobedience, so by His perfect obedience, Christ now brings life to all who are united to Him by faith. In Adam’s disobedience, we’re all condemned, but through Christ’s obedience, we’re made righteous, which results in our eternal life.
- Thabiti Anyabwile - What is the Gospel?
3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance,4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
- Consider some ways you’re tempted to place your trust in your own performance, rather than Christ’s. How does your union with Christ make a difference?
- Sometimes, we may be tempted to doubt God’s love for us, particularly in times of trial or difficulty. How does Romans 5 help you with this?
- What do you see here in Romans 3–5 that helps you see the glory of God’s love in the gospel?
Choose one of the following:
- Find a younger Christian to read through a portion of Romans 3–5 and practice sharing the gospel to one another from this passage.
- Schedule time to spend with a non-Christian friend for the purpose of building that relationship.
- Use one of these articles or worksheets—20 Idol Crushing Questions, Identifying Personal Idols, or Identifying Idols—to prayerfully evaluate your heart and its idols. Discuss with your accountability partner, and think about a plan for growth. See this example, or this one for help with growth plans. [Being a Disciple]
- Take your family or a friend on a prayer walk around your neighborhood, noting who you don’t know. Be intentional to meet two or three neighbors you don’t know. Continue to look for people with spiritual interest. [Making Disciples]