Romans 3-5

"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 since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, they are justified by His grace as a gift, through the redemption which is Christ Jesus..."  Romans 3:21-24, RSV 

The principle contained in Romans 3 is one of the most important of all the Christian teachings: All have sinned and fall short, but are justified by God's gift of grace.

Mankind has never received such a gift as grace, for it is grace that gives us the right (justification) of salvation. This importance of this gift is made all the more clear when combined with Romans 6:23 (the wages of sin is death). Since all have sinned, and since the wages of that sin is death, we have a problem. 

That's where the "gift" comes in. In Romans 3:23 it is referred to as the gift of grace. In Romans 6:23 it is referred to as the free gift of God that is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Tomorrow, we will read of how God says that we are placed "into Christ" so that we can access these free gifts. 

One other thing for today: While grace is powerful, essential, and perfect, it is not as "unconditional" as some people teach. Now don't misunderstand, grace is unconditionally offered, it is just not unconditionally received. Before you become angry at this suggestion, please consider this: God created Hell. If grace were unconditionally received (in other words, forced on us) there would be no Hell - how could there be? But just because you have something to do for your part, don't be dismayed. Grace gives you the right to do that part. 

In effect, it gives you the right to get off of a type of "spiritual death row". For all have sinned and the wages of sin is still death, but the gift of God's grace gives us the justification of coming back to God and being saved. Grace, combined with Christ's shed blood and the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit, is the greatest gift ever given to men. 

The only question is...

will we open that gift?

 

"Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through Him we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand."  Romans 5:1-2, RSV