Let’s not skip over this detail. The salvation that Jesus bought is not for everyone. Hear me well. God did not suddenly say to the whole world, “You’re all free. I forgive you. Go on your way rejoicing.”
This awful doctrine is called universalism. This is the notion that regardless of the evils men have committed or continue to commit, when it’s all said and done, God’s heart is so big He will just forgive everyone whether they ask forgiveness or not.
Can you imagine the trampling down of Heaven’s beauty and glory by un-changed un-repentant foul-mouthed loose-living earthlings? The unholy suddenly made partakers of God’s Holy places without once ever giving a nod to Jesus Christ?
God is seen as the great Psychologist in the Sky, who looks at each poor human and says, “I understand. You had it rough. You were poor. You were rich. You were not parented well. You got some bad teaching. You were abused. You were hurt. You lived in the wrong part of the city or the nation or the world. I understand. You are excused, come on in.”
That’s partly true. All of it is partly true. God will come down to our level and forgive everything in our past, if and only if we place our confidence in what Jesus did on the cross. Paul spells it out better in chapter 10 of this letter. "Whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." This is the Lord Jesus in whom they must be made to believe. This is a faith that will come by hearing from the preached Word of God. He is very specific. No Gospel, no salvation and no entrance into Heaven.
God will justify anyone. But finish that sentence, “…who has faith in Jesus.”
We’re not talking here about intellectual belief in a Man called Jesus who lived long ago. We’re talking about a supernatural faith that invades your soul and tells you, as you hear God’s Word about the crucifixion, the resurrection, the promise of the Spirit, eternal life, that it is all true. You just know it’s true. No one has to convince you or pound it into you. You’re reading, and you just know.
Please include the reading part. Or the hearing part. No one is saved by a dream or a vision or a personal thought. No one is saved without the Word that comes from Spirit-filled apostles. All the false religions have begun by a notion inside the head or from a demon spirit or a fallen angel or a dream or a vision.
The truth must come from the Word.
But it comes. And it’s real. And your acceptance of God’s Truth is one of the ways you can know you have been born again. One moment you did not believe. You did not care. The Spirit comes, and with the heart you believe and you start doing the things God said you should do. You confess this faith to others around you. Life is new.
And the true believer knows that what Paul is about to say is so true…
“Where is boasting then? It is excluded.”
Why does Paul bring this up to begin with? Why suddenly talk about boasting? You have to go back to verse 1. He asks, “What advantage does the Jew have?” And the ordinary Jew will answer, “I’ve been circumcised,” or “I have the Law,” or “My people were called directly by God,” or “God spoke to our fathers, God Himself made us special.”
But Paul, though he would agree that all these things happened, asks another question in verse 9: “Are we Jews better than the Gentiles?” Astonishingly – to the Jewish mind – Paul says, "No. We’re all included under sin."
No one has bragging rights! I’m not better than you. You’re not better than me. I have no right to brag about my accomplishments, my history. Neither do you.
The world used to love to say, “I’m OK, you’re OK.” Paul says, “I’m not OK. And you’re not OK either.” Nobody gets to boast.
“By what law? Of works?...”
I say no one gets to boast, and you Romans might ask me, Show me your logic. What principle are you acting upon here? What’s your basis for believing that people cannot boast?
There are only two bases upon which man can stand before God justified. Only two types of religion in the world. One is based on what I do, the other is based on believing in what He did, and does.
Let’s look at option number one: works. What I do. Can we exclude the possibility of boasting, taking personal credit for our salvation, by the whole works idea? Paul says no. It is works that is the very thing that makes people boast.
Look what I did, they say. I was good enough to choose Jesus for myself. I started going to church. I started giving my money. I started singing in the choir. I got a haircut and a shave. I started wearing the right kind of clothes. I got elected to the board. I give to charity. I fast twice in the week. And every time these people tell you something they did, they are expecting you to say, in some way, why you dear person! Aren’t you special!
Worse, they are expecting God to do the same. Look what I did! I picked myself up and reformed my whole personality. Sure, God helped, ‘cause God helps those who help themselves. Sure God gets credit, but so do I.
The Jew of course would point to his circumcision, his heritage, his history, as we pointed out before.
Obviously works is not the way to exclude boasting and pride. The more you do to earn your salvation, the more you boast about it, and God does not receive the glory. And by the way, you are lost.
CONTINUED FROM 32A above.... There’s another religion. Another way. Paul calls it the law of faith. A principle, a rule, that if followed, eliminates all pride all boasting. Faith. Faith that what God did at Calvary is enough. Faith that the...[ abbreviated | read entire ]
3:25 “whom God set forth as a propitiation [through faith in] His blood…” The “whom” is still Jesus. We are in the middle of a long Paul-type sentence that stretches from verses 21 to 26. Let’s review....[ abbreviated | read entire ]
(CONTINUED FROM 31 A above) “… to demonstrate His righteousness…” This brings us back to verse 21, that a righteousness separate from the law of Moses has been revealed in Christ, and the first part of this verse,...[ abbreviated | read entire ]
“But now…” Been to a Bulls game lately? The announcer slowly and boringly wades through the names of the opposing team. So and so, center, so and so, guard….zzzz. Then what? Lights flash. Excitement in the arena...[ abbreviated | read entire ]
3:24 “being justified freely by His grace…” A ton of treasure in these verses. So much there that we don’t want to be in a hurry here. You just got a mouthful of meaning and it is important to chew your food a long...[ abbreviated | read entire ]
3:9 “What then? Are we better than they?” Therefore, what? I’ve just shown you that, in spite of their sin, God chose Israel and gave them a very specific advantage, namely the words of God Himself! What have I proved? That...[ abbreviated | read entire ]
3:12 “They have all turned aside…” Psalm 14:3 reads the same way. And the Greek ekklino “gone out of the way” in the KJV has to do with deviating from the norm. A soldier running the wrong way, even deserting....[ abbreviated | read entire ]
I mentioned in previous audio and blog posts seven things for us to be looking for: 1. The great apostasy. 2. the rise of Rome. 3. The next ruler of the Roman Empire. 4. Antichrist and the Tribulation. 5. The coming of Jesus. 6. The Kingdom of...[ abbreviated | read entire ]
3:2 “Much every way! Chiefly because to them were committed the oracles of God.” The logion. That’s the greatest advantage any man can have. The sayings. The very words of God. You can hear logos in that word. It’s...[ abbreviated | read entire ]