Romans 3:19-20 - That every mouth may be stopped; and here it is, the jury foreman is rendering the jury’s verdict and the judge brings down his gavel and pronounces the human race guilty. The law was never given as a standard by which people could live their life and achieve righteousness. It was given to be a mirror, so that those who were placed under the law might gain a better glimpse of themselves. It allowed the human race to stand back when looking at that law and see themselves in a proper light. It was given in order to reflect a perfectly clear picture of how sinful the human race really is.
What God wanted Israel to see was her shortcoming, her sin. The law was given to manifest or to bring to light the indisputable reality of sin; the undeniable truth of the existence of sin, even in a person who thought they were performing sufficiently righteously to merit a justified standing before God. Now if a religious Israelite was sinful, what does that say about the rest of the world? The law was given to Israel and that condemned the entire world.
Everyone has done exactly like Israel, it condemned the entire human race according to Paul, for all have sinned. God alone decided to make peace with the human race, while the human race is an active enemy to God. Certainly the bible shows that God does not like the actions of the human race, but God reconciled himself to his enemies while they are still in hostility.
These are important words; God’s reconciliation to the human race took place when the human race was actively his enemy, not after the human race repented. The entire human race is guilty when it comes to human merit, performance, and production and all fall short continually coming short of the righteousness of God himself. All of the human race are in need of a justification that will come totally apart from anything that they do. Paul wants the human race to know at one point in time something was true, but now something else is true.
Romans 3: BUT NOW, no longer does the human race have to strive to attain and maintain God’s acceptance on the basis of who they are and what they can do. Our decree of judicial perfection in the eyes of God comes not through Christ’s death for our sins, but through our union with Christ’s resurrection life. If a person believes Christ died for their sins, but does not believe that God’s justice was satisfied, when Christ died for those sins, that person has not believed Christ died for their sins. God purchased the human race out of sins dominion, never to be returned to the market place of sin again.
By removing the sin issue from the table of God’s justice, God effectively canceled Satan’s ownership of all the human race. Satan can lay claim to no person based on that persons sinfulness. If we misunderstand justification, we are going to have a difficult time understanding the cornerstone that comes prior to sanctification. Since people link a justified standing before God with performance of their own, they also link a sanctified standing before God with their own performance. And as a result, they believe the degree to which they stand sanctified in God’s eyes depends entirely upon the degree to which they remain holy in behavior.
If they do not see themselves as being holy in conduct, they do not believe that God sees them as being holy, either. We need to understand that forgiveness was all upfront and all-inclusive, but when we accept this idea of conditional forgiveness/forgiveness on the installment plan; a little forgiveness here, a little forgiveness there, the need for new forgiveness for new sin, that is the atonement program of Israel. The truth is, our deeds do not determine our destiny, our faith in Christ’s faithfulness determines our destiny.
Today people think they have to ask God to forgive them for the sins that God is no longer charging to their account in the first place. Ministers of righteousness would have people believe God is not totally reconciled in his mind. Satan and his forces want to keep sin on the table of God’s justice today, as much in the Age of Grace as he has in the other ages. If Satan had known what Jesus Christ would actually accomplish where the sins of the world are concerned, Satan would not have had Christ crucified.