Key Verse: “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: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.”
FROM THE TIME THAT Adam sinned in Eden, he lost the privilege of communion with God that he had enjoyed in his perfect state, and eventually he died. Because of Abraham’s faith and obedience in preparing to offer his son Isaac in sacrifice, this act was imputed unto him for righteousness, and he was called “the Friend of God.” (James 2:23) Nevertheless, Abraham experienced the effects of inherited sin from Adam, and he also died.
During the Jewish Age, a sacrificial system that required the shedding of animal blood to effect the reconciliation of that nation back to God was instituted. These repeated rituals, however, could never effect actual atonement from sin for the Jews.—Rom. 3:20; Heb. 10:1-4
Our Key Verses indicate, nevertheless, that righteousness or justification from God is available to believers who have faith in the efficacy of Christ’s ransom sacrifice. This redemptive offering is a manifestation of God’s abundant grace, regardless of one’s former background of being either a Jew or a Gentile.
The philosophy of this mechanism for obtaining reconciliation with God is elaborated further as follows. “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; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.”—Rom. 3:25-27
The foregoing clearly explains that the law of works does not justify. Instead, a man is justified by faith, which allows all believers in Christ to become sons of God. This affirmation eliminated any cause for boasting by the Jews who had been nurtured under the Law Covenant, which they could not keep and was no longer operative. “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.”—Gal. 3:24-26
Access to God has become available to believing Jews and Gentiles through justification by faith. “Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith.” (Rom. 3:30) Nevertheless, the Mosaic Law was a righteous standard for morality. Indeed, it served to convict the Jews because of their inability as sinners to live up to its strict demands. Through his ability to keep all its features perfectly during his earthly sojourn, Christ magnified and established God’s law.—vss. 28-31
As a result of Satan’s being bound and evil being restrained, the human family will be given an opportunity to be reconciled to God and attain perfection. Ultimately the benefits of the New “Law” Covenant will accrue to all mankind, who will then be able to keep its provisions, both in the letter as well as in spirit.