by Mike Ratliff
21 But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; 25 whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; 26 for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. Romans 3:21-26 (NASB)
The passage above (Romans 3:21-26) is loaded with doctrinal truth. I could write a paper just on Romans 3 and it would probably take me quite some time to get all the cross-references tied in and all the explanations set just right so those who read it would be edified. However, just reading these Holy Spirit inspired words, ῥήματα (rhēmata), should cause us to reflect on the incredible work of salvation God has done in us for none us deserve it (v23) nor did we do anything to attain it (v24) except believe by a faith that was a gift from God according to Ephesians 2:8-9:
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. Ephesians 2:8-9 (NASB)
Spurgeon fully understood this, which was one of the reasons his ministry was so powerful. It wasn’t him or his knowledge or abilities that did that, no, it was the working of the Holy Spirit through Him as he proclaimed Gods very rhēmata to those God brought to hear him. This is something that is missing on a large scale in so many churches in our time which means even if there are scores of people in those churches listening to what is being preached they are not being fed Gods rhēmata.
In the following devotional from Spurgeon’s Morning by Morning for September 25 we see the depth of Bible knowledge he had and also that he was passing that on to all who heard him preach and read his books and devotionals.
C. H. Spurgeon
“Just, and the justifier of him which believeth.”—Romans 3:26.
BEING justified by faith, we have peace with God. Conscience accuses no longer. Judgment now decides for the sinner instead of against him. Memory looks back upon past sins, with deep sorrow for the sin, but yet with no dread of any penalty to come; for Christ has paid the debt of His people to the last jot and tittle, and received the divine receipt; and unless God can be so unjust as to demand double payment for one debt, no soul for whom Jesus died as a substitute can ever be cast into hell. It seems to be one of the very principles of our enlightened nature to believe that God is just; we feel that it must be so, and this gives us our terror at first; but is it not marvellous that this very same belief that God is just, becomes afterwards the pillar of our confidence and peace! If God be just, I, a sinner, alone and without a substitute, must be punished; but Jesus stands in my stead and is punished for me; and now, if God be just, I, a sinner, standing in Christ, can never be punished. God must change His nature before one soul, for whom Jesus was a substitute, can ever by any possibility suffer the lash of the law. Therefore, Jesus having taken the place of the believer—having rendered a full equivalent to divine wrath for all that His people ought to have suffered as the result of sin, the believer can shout with glorious triumph, “Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect?” Not God, for He hath justified; not Christ, for He hath died, “yea rather hath risen again.” My hope lives not because I am not a sinner, but because I am a sinner for whom Christ died; my trust is not that I am holy, but that being unholy, He is my righteousness. My faith rests not upon what I am, or shall be, or feel, or know, but in what Christ is, in what He has done, and in what He is now doing for me. On the lion of justice the fair maid of hope rides like a queen.
Soli Deo Gloria!