God’s Righteousness Has Been Revealed to Men: Romans 3:21-31 -- By: Zane C. Hodges
JOTGES 23:45 (Autumn 2010) p. 77
God’s Righteousness Has Been Revealed to Men: Romans 3:21-31
I. God’s Righteousness Is Available By Faith: Romans 3:21-22a
3:21-22a. But now God’s righteousness apart from the law has been manifested, borne witness to by the law and the prophets, that is, God’s righteousness through faith in Jesus Christ, which is for all and is upon all who believe.
The initial word in the Greek of the new unit (nuni = now) is emphatic. [The English word but translates the second word: de.] The emphasis serves to call attention to the new consideration that, despite human unrighteousness, God has another kind of righteousness that is available to mankind. This righteousness is testified to (borne witness to) by the law and the prophets, the very same Scriptural witnesses that Paul has just cited as utterly condemning man for his sinfulness (3:10-20).
In the major section starting at 1:18, Paul began by declaring the wrath of God to be revealed (apokaluptetai) from heaven. The material up to 3:20, in effect, has justified that wrath. Now, however, something else is declared to be “revealed” (pephanerōtai), but this manifestation is not one of wrath, but rather of righteousness. Furthermore, this revelation is not to be discerned from human experience,
JOTGES 23:45 (Autumn 2010) p. 78
as was the case with wrath (cf. 1:19-32). Instead it is a matter that God has communicated in His inspired word, namely, the law and the prophets. Unlike the revelation of wrath that can be deduced from visible phenomena, mankind must be told about this new kind of righteousness.
As a result, God’s righteousness about which Paul is now speaking is a matter of faith. Hence, after mentioning this righteousness, Paul goes on immediately to define it more precisely: that is [= de], God’s righteousness through faith in Jesus Christ. No human mind would or could have imagined such a righteousness had it not been disclosed in Scripture.
Thus justification by faith is not at all a human idea, but a divine idea! The history of the inter...
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