This is a chapter that has a lot of big words and circular questioning, so reading it through 3 times was very helpful for me to focus in throughout instead of just seeing, “All have sinned and fall short…” and saying, yup that’s the point. As you are following this Bible Study you may not feel like reading the chapters 3 times before you fill out the overview, or you may merely be reading the chapter once. This is not about legalism or restriction, but it is super helpful to read the chapters over a few times to really let them sink in. There is something here for you today, and sometimes I have to read more than three times to find what God is trying to say to me.
Paul is continuing this comparison between Jews and Gentiles to further his point that all mankind needs God. No one can live up to the standards of God or of man, we will fail. With that inevitability it can be easy to get frustrated at God. Paul is telling the Romans that Jews show the righteousness of God even though they are also under sin. God is shown through our unrighteousness to be great, but that doesn’t mean we continue sinning to gain his greatness. What Jesus did was add to the law by manifesting it in person, so we could believe in him and have faith, to be justified whether Jew or Gentile.
God is righteous, and seeing how utterly opposite we are puts God in His rightful place as Lord and gives Him the glory that is His due. This does not make our sin good just because it make God look good.
The Psalms have been showing us the right attitude in this situation: realizing and admitting that God is our righteousness. Our need for God is what needs to be apparent to us, and we must have faith in God to have His righteousness bathe us. This does not overthrow the law, it is what has been within the law all along.
Paul, those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints, Jew/circumcised, God, people-some, none, all-, the world, Greeks, the Law, the Prophets, Christ Jesus
Verse 21 “But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it—”
Once again, there are many verses that make up one thought, so this one seems to include hints, indirect language, of the following verses.
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.””
Romans 16:26 “but now has been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith—”
2 Timothy 1:10 “and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel,”
Acts 10:43 “To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”
Romans 1:2 “which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures,”
John 5:46 “For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me.”
Faith in Jesus is the most important thing! God’s righteousness is revealed through that just as much as through His judgments of sins. Let’s be righteous and holy for God rather than continue sinning to draw Him out, which is foolishness. Belief in Jesus is important.
Louis and I are reading through Romans together, and the study guide we are using asked this question, “How would you reconcile the statements in verses 10-18 with the fact that some non-Christians do seem to seek after God and lead exemplary lives?” For me, there was a huge shift one day when I realized that every single person truly is capable of murder, of going down that path to death. The total depravity of man is apparent to me, just as David says there are none that are good, not even one in the Psalms. This takes our belief that there is only one Savior and allows us leeway if we choose to believe that man can be righteous autonomous from God. That is not truth. The encouragement found in this, for me, is that no one is better off than me. I am a princess chosen by God. This gives me confidence to speak about God, but if I think another sinner may have it all figured out, my fear will make me shy. Satan uses these doubts to trick us into losing our confidence in God.
Take some time to reflect on your own doubts and come to God in prayer for those people you have chosen to not worry about in the past. Everyone needs a Savior, and Jesus is the only one who can foot the bill.
Tomorrow: Psalm 14
Thank you for reading. I am excited to hear your key verses, observations, and thoughts! Please leave a comment to share them with us.
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