What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, as it is written:
“None is righteous, no, not one;
no one understands;
no one seeks for God.
All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;
no one does good,
not even one.”
“Their throat is an open grave;
they use their tongues to deceive.”
“The venom of asps is under their lips.”
“Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.”
“Their feet are swift to shed blood;
in their paths are ruin and misery,
and the way of peace they have not known.”
“There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.
But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it—the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
There are many things being named “gospel” that are not the gospel. If we get the gospel wrong, we get everything else wrong. The gospel is the “matter of first importance” (1 Cor. 15).
There will be no spiritual awakening apart from a revived church. And there will be no revival apart from the recovery and proclamation of the biblical gospel.
Every religion in the world save one offers a self-engineered salvation. The “good news” of these religions and systems is that man is good enough to behave his way into salvation. Only Christianity tells man that he is hopelessly sinful and therefore completely unable to save or even help himself. The bad news of man’s inability is unique to Christianity. But it is absolutely essential to understanding the good news.
1. What is our situation?
We are not born morally neutral. We are born sinners which explains why we sin. Our actual sin is the result of our sinful nature.
Sin is an attempt to assassinate God’s glory. We are born as truth-suppressors. We are not born sin-sick but sin-dead.
Therefore we need a Savior who can deal decisively with our deadness. Our need is not for a heavenly life coach. We do not need to be made better. We are dead and need to be brought to life.
We are under an indictment by a holy God who refuses to ignore sin. Because of his justice, God is bound by his own perfect character to punish sinners.
2. God’s Solution
Romans 3:21-22 – “But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it—the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe.”
Romans 3:23-25 – “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.”
All of this was to show God’s righteousness. The Father sending the Son, far from diminishing his righteousness, vindicates his righteousness (Vv. 25b-26).
The gospel is not an invitation to “give your heart to Jesus.” The gospel is the good news that Jesus, by his death and resurrection, gives you a new heart.
Romans 8:1 – “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
On the cross Jesus met the demands of God’s holiness. This is the way in which God is both just and justifier.
Jesus became all that he hated (sin) and drank the full cup of the Father’s wrath that we might receive what we did not deserve (grace).
3. Our Salvation
The salvation that was purchased for us through the substitutionary death of Jesus is appropriated by sinners through the means of repentance and faith. And it is only by the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit that sinner will turn in faith to Jesus.
“May our churches be a safe haven for sinners but a death trap for sin.”
The salvation we have in Jesus is not an expression of "unconditional love." This is a common error of sentimentality and it ultimately an insult to the cross. Jesus died to meet the holy and just conditions of God's gracious love.