Martin Luther calls Romans 3:21-26:
The chief point, and the very central place of the Epistle, and of the whole Bible.
–qtd in Moo, The Epistle to the Romans, New International Commentary on the New Testament, p. 218
I’ve heard it said that Romans (especially 1-8), in some sense, is like the heart of the Bible – for it so clearly explains the gospel that is seen throughout the Bible.
If that be so, then Romans 3:21-26 can likewise be called, in some sense, the heart of Romans.
Thus, this passage is at the heart of the heart of God’s word for humanity.
So here it is in full:
21 But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22 This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25 God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— 26 he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.
Said in more basic language:
- We are incapable of attaining righteousness through obeying God’s commands
- But God’s commands point to the way we are made righteous: Jesus!
- All who believe that Jesus (who was righteous) took the punishment we (who are unrighteous) deserve, are declared fully righteous in God’s sight
- This is the ONLY way anyone can be right with God
Glory to the Lamb who was slain!