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Volume 11 - Page 18 of 161 Index | Zoom | |
Similarly with the use of "righteousness" and its cognates ("just", "justify"), whilst it
is true that Romans clearly establishes the doctrine of justification by faith, it also as
clearly emphasizes the Godward side. Not only does the Scripture reveal God as "the
justifier of him that believeth in Jesus", but, more important still, the gospel is so
designed that this blessing can be prefaced by the words, "that He might be just and the
justifier of him that believeth in Jesus" (3: 26). Particular care is taken that the
righteousness of God should not be compromised in any way. Christ has been set forth
as a propitiation, not first for the remission of sins, but first "to declare His righteousness
for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God". "The passing by
of the sins that had taken place before" was not without a righteous basis, and the apostle
is careful to make it evident that by the proclamation of the gospel God is justified as
well as man, as in the past, so in the present, "to declare at this time His righteousness".
Look again at the argument in Rom. 3: 1-8. Complicated as it may be, one fact stand
out clearly, God is just in all His ways. "That Thou mightest be justified" is the aspect of
truth we here seek to emphasize. Again note the reasoning:--
"If our righteousness commend the righteousness of God, what shall we say? Is God
unrighteous Who taketh vengeance? (I speak as a man). Let it not be so, for then how
shall God judge the world?"
Any system of teaching which reflects upon the righteousness of God touches the very
basis of all things. The two following verses expand the though as follows:--
If the truth of God is really after all furthered by my lie, then I should not be judged
as a sinner, for my sin has really contributed towards the fulfillment of God's purposes,
and He is as much implicated in it as I am; why am I judged as a sinner? Why not rather
(as some slanderously reported that the apostle taught) take this line, "let us do evil that
good may come"?
By the teaching of Rom. 3: neither God nor man can "do evil that good may come"
without being involved in unrighteousness. Of those who do such things the apostle said,
"Their judgment is just", and he has already spoken of God Himself being "justified" and
overcoming when He is "judged". A similar case is exhibited in Rom. 7::--
"What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Let it not be; nay, I had not known sin, but
by the law.......wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good:
was then that which is good made death unto me? Let it not be so, but sin, that it might
appear sin, working out death in me by that which is good: that sin by the commandment
might become exceeding sinful."
Another rendering of this verse may be helpful:--
"That good thing, then, has become death to me? By no means, but sin has; that sin
might be manifest, through that good thing producing death to me; so that sin through the
commandment might become an exceeding great sinner" (verses 7-13).
"Sin is lawlessness"; "He that committeth sin is of the devil.......in this the children
of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is
not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother" (I John 3: 4, 8, 10). The line of