Romans Series- Session 4- Justified

Session #4- Justified

Romans 3:21-4:3


Video Summary:


Romans Session 4 Notes

Romans Session 4 Powerpoint

Romans Session 4 Handout


Subject:  Justification

Central Theme:  How we are justified

Objective Sentence:  We can be right with God through justification by understanding 4 desciptions of how we are justified before God.

Keyword:  Description

Description #1- Justified by Faith.  V.21-24

Decription #2- Justified by the blood.  V.25-26

Description #3- Justified outside of the law.  V.27-31

Description #4- Justified by imputed righteousness.  V.1-3.




  • Guys, have you ever bought your wife or girlfriend flowers because you said something wrong?
  • I had a buddy in college who was on a date and called his current girlfriend his previous girlfriends name. It did not go well, and when he told us we gave him a really hard time about it.
  • Have you ever done something to try to make up to someone you’ve done wrong?


  • There are things that happen that once it happens, it can’t be undone.
  • The damage is done.
  • The words can’t be unsaid.
  • No amount of good deed doing can make up for it.
  • It’s in those moments that we want forgiveness, and forgiveness is not deserved.
  • Now for a more serious illustration.
  • Imagine if someone did something terrible to your loved one- say a child. Let’s say someone kidnapped your child.
  • And when they got caught, they tried to make it up to the judge and to you by giving you a bribe. “Hey, no hard feelings.  Here’s $100.00.”
  • How do you feel about the $100 bill at that moment.
  • It is offensive, right? Why?
  • Because that offering to you can’t possibly make up for the damage that has been caused.
  • Much more than that, our good deeds on their own, outside of Christ, can not please God.
  • The Bible says that our “righteousnesses are like filthy rags” to God.
  • We can not be justified by our good works.
  • So how can we be made right with God.
  • How can we be justified with God?

Objective Statement:  We can make the decision to be right with God through justification by understanding 4 descriptions of how we are justified before God.


Description #1- Justified by Faith.  V.21-24


Romans 3:21-23

(21)  But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;

(22)  Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:

(23)  For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

(24)  Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:



  • There is a righteousness that can come by keeping the law.  It is the righteousness that Jesus fulfilled.
    • He was born without a sin nature, and kept the law perfectly.
    • He never sinned by commission or omission.  He perfectly did God’s Will.
    • This is the only way to be positionally righteous by the law.
  • This creates a problem for us, because we are born with a sin nature.  We are sinners by nature and by action.
  • This is the case that Paul has been making through the first part of the espistle, even until now.
  • We all stand guilty before God, “for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
  • The Words ” but now” indicate a transition in topic.  This is a transition that introduces something new that is founded upon previous part.
    • He has declared and fortified the idea that all of mankind stands guilty when it comes to God’s law. Now Paul declares something incredible.
    • Paul begins this passage by saying there is another way to be considered righteous before God.
    • This is good news, since we can’t do it by the law.
    • He says that this righteous standing before God was witnessed by the law and the prophets.
    • The Old Testament gives indication to this fact.
      • How does it give indication to it?
        • There was always a moral law, which we can not keep perfectly.
        • But there was also a ceremonial law.
          • This law demanded things like ceremonial washings, blood sacrifices, and much more that were pictures and shadows of the atonement that is needed to cover and purge our sin.
          • Of course these things were pointing beyond the need for the ceremony itself, but for the Messiah to come and be the final atoneing sacrifice for sin.
        • This righteousness of God that is available “without the law” or outside of the law, is named.
        • He says it is “even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe“.
        • This is a right standing before God that does not come by the works of the law, but by the righteousness of God imputed to those who believe on Jesus Christ.
        • What does he mean by “there is no difference”.
          • There is no difference between those who have the law and those who don’t.  All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.  All need to be saved, and can only be saved by faith that is in Jesus Christ.



  • Our sin and its consequences are the greatest problem we face as human beings.
  • We can not be made right with God on our own.  No amount of good deed doing can cover up our sin.  We need to be forgiven.
  • The good news is that God the Son kept the law on our behalf.
  • We can be made righteous by believing on Him.  To do that we have to agree with God about our sin through repentance and humbly place our faith and trust on Jesus.


  • Have you repented and trusted in Christ?
    • No?  Do it now!
    • Yes?  Take some time to pray and thank God for your salvation.  Also, think about who needs to hear this and go tell them!


Description #2- Justified by the blood.  V.25-26

Romans 3:25-26

(25)  Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;

(26)  To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.



  • I want to talk about three terms which we find in these verses.
  • Justified.
    • We are justified, that is declared righteous, based on God’s unmerited favor towards us based on the fact that Jesus Christ bought the right to declare us as righteous by His blood on the cross.
  • Propitiation.
    • God could legally dismiss our case because Jesus Christ became the “propitiation” for our sins.
    • Propitiation means “wrath bearing sacrifice”.
    • So, because God poured out His wrath for our sin on Jesus as He died on the cross.
    • All this was done by the forbearance, patience, and longsuffering of God.
    • Christ’s blood was shed to atone for our sins and satisfy the wrath of God.
  • Righteousness
    • Righteousness is rightness and right standing with God.
    • Part of God’s motivation in doing this for us was to declare His righteousness.
    • God is completely righteous.
    • He is pure, holy, innocent and completely free from sin.
    • It is on this basis that God could accept Christ’s blood sacrifice as a propitiation.
    • In 2 Corinthians 5:21 Paul said it this way,

2 Corinthians 5:21

(21)  For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

  • We can be credited with Christ’s righteousness while He took on our sin and it’s punishment.
  • How does this happen? It happens “through faith in His blood“.
  • We can’t earn it.  We don’t deserve it.
  • It is graciously given to us by trusting in Christ alone for that forgiveness.


  • We can be saved through faith in Christ.
  • We should be grateful for Christ’s death for us.
  • We should praise and worship God for His righteousness.
  • We should live our lives pursuing righteousness in response.
  • We should tell others that their sins can be forgiven through faith in the blood of Jesus Christ.

Description #3- Justified outside of the law.  V.27-31


Rom 3:27-28  Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.  (28)  Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.



  • Imagine someone being rescued from a house fire by a fireman, and at the press conference afterward they kept talking about how great a job they did at being rescued.
  • How would they be received?  People would think this person is crazy.
  • They may even see you as ungrateful and narcissistic.  Of course this would be an unreasonable response to what had been done for them.
  • If you are saved by faith in Christ alone, then He is the one who gets the credit.
  • If you boast about what you did to receive the gift then it may be sign that you didn’t understand it in the first place.  There is no boasting.
  • All that happened on your part is that you received the gift of salvation that was offered freely to You by Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross.
  • The only way for man to be declared righteous before God is by faith apart from keeping the law.  Any law keeping that we now do after salvation is to bring honor to Christ who is transforming us by His Spirit from the inside out.


“I can not boast in anything.

No gifts. No power.  No wisdom.

But I will boast in Jesus Christ,

His Death and Resurrection.

Why should I gain from His reward?

I can not give an answer.

But this I know with all my heart.

His wounds have paid my ransom.”


Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also:  (30)  Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith.  (31)  Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.

Rom 3:29-31



  • So if we are not saved by the works of the law but by faith, what does that mean for Jews and gentiles?
    • For gentiles it means that you don’t have to “become Jewish” through the keeping of the ceremonial law to be right with God.
      • The gentile doesn’t have to keep the ceremonial or moral law to be justified.  God is the God of the gentiles.
    • For the Jews it does not mean that the law is not void.
      • Rather the law is established to do what it was revealed to do.
      • It helps the sinner understand their lost condition and need for a Savior.
      • It helps the sinner see how that the law pointed to Christ Himself, and His sacrificial death for sins.
      • It helps the believer to know what God’s will is for their lives after they are justified.
    • What does obedience to the God who saved me look like?  It looks like the keeping of the law of God by faith in Jesus Christ.



  • Let me summarize here:
    • – Salvation is for everyone regardless of any human distinction.  Men, women, jew, gentile, high class, low class.  Everyone.
    • – The law is important, but it will not save anyone.
    • – Faith in Christ is the only way to be justified.  Jesus said,

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

(John 14:6)


Description #4- Justified by imputed righteousness.  V.1-3.


What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.

(Rom 4:1-3)


  • Throughout the book or Romans Paul is very aware of questions and objections that might be coming into the mind of the reader.
  • For instance, as Paul has made the argument that someone is saved apart from the law, a jew may be thinking, “Is that really how the patriarchs were made right with God?  They kept the law.”
    • It’s a fair question.  If you are saying that the law can not save people, then that must be true of those who came before Christ.  They sure seemed concerned about the law.
    • Paul knows that this may be a question, and so He addresses it through what the Old Testament said about Father Abraham himself.
      • He was a patriarch.
      • He started the nation of Israel humanly speaking.
      • He was the first Hebrew.
      • Paul points out that Abraham was not justified by works, but by faith.  He pointed to the scripture.


And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.

(Gen 15:6)


  • The idea of this word “counted” has the idea of “imputing” or “reckoning” or “considering”.
    • The idea is that God responded to Abraham’s faith and considered him to be righteous even though he had done wrong and was a sinner.
    • God declared Him righteous by His faith, and not by His works.
  • Of course we know that Abraham’s works justified his claim to faith.
  • Because he had faith he manifested that through good works.
  • But the faith and the justification before God came before the works that justified his faith.
  • Right faith always produces good works.


  • Justification by faith is not a new thing.
  • It is not exclusively a New Testament thing.
  • Everyone who has ever been made right with God has been made right based on the graciousness of God in responding to sincere faith.
  • The people in the Old Testament believed in the revelation that they had looking to God and trusting in Him.
  • Since Christ has come we put our trust in the finished work of Christ on the cross.


  • Sincere worship to God by those who have placed their trust in Christ is the appropriate response.
  • Obedience to the faith for those who have never trusted Christ is the right response as well.


We can be right with God through justification by understanding 4 descriptions of how we are justified before God.

Description #1- Justified by Faith.  V.21-24

Decription #2- Justified by the blood.  V.25-26

Description #3- Justified outside of the law.  V.27-31

Description #4- Justified by imputed righteousness.  V.1-3.


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