21 Days of Once Saved Always Saved Salvation Assurance – Day #19 Romans 3:23-24 – Once Saved.org
 

21 Days of Once Saved Always Saved Salvation Assurance – Day #19 Romans 3:23-24

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This is day 19 of a video series called 21 Days of Once Saved Always Saved Salvation Assurance. It’s January 2022 and, in honor of the new year, my church in Marietta GA has asked us to dedicate 21 days to the Lord to draw closer to Him.  Over these 21 days, I’m going through 1 passage of Scripture a day that proclaims our salvation assurance in Christ and shows how salvation can never be lost or forfeited but is held securely in place for us by our heavenly Father so we can have confidence that we are eternally saved.

Today’s passage is Romans 3:23-24:

“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:” (Romans 3:23-24 KJV)

This is another of those iconic passages in the New Testament that most every Christian has heard many times but very few really understand, other than the first part about how all of us have sinned. In this passage, God’s Word declares that every sinner, which includes every person because all have sinned, is justified or declared righteous, not by anything that they do, but by God’s grace or unmerited favor. Nothing we do ourselves can make us just or righteous in God’s sight. Instead, we are declared just, righteous and are saved for all eternity freely by His grace through the redemption or ransom paid by Christ, which includes his blood sacrifice on the cross, death and resurrection. This passage shows that God’s work of salvation is all caused by Him and maintained forever by Him. Our responsibility is to believe. If salvation is not by something we do but something God does out of His mercy, we’re going to show as we go through this, that that means we can’t mess it up. That means, Once Saved, Always Saved. 

Let’s break this passage down and include a few verses before it and a few verses after it to give it some context. We’ll start right before this verse beginning in Romans 3:20-22:

“Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in His sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; 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:” (Romans 3:20-22 KJV)

The word, “therefore,” connects this passage with the front end of chapter 3, where Paul said that there are none righteous before God, no not one. The Jews thought that they were in a special class over the Gentiles, that they were automatically saved by God because they were descended from Abraham and had the Mosaic Law and the prophets. But Paul said what was a very shocking statement to them at that time: That “by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in His sight.” Every Jew thought, “All we have to do is obey the Mosaic Law and we’ll be fine. We’ll be saved.”

But Paul said that no one, absolutely no one will be declared just in God’s sight and saved by obeying laws. Instead, we see the purpose of the law and why God gave it: The law was given by God, not to save us, but to give us the knowledge of sin. Rather than save us, the law condemns us, for through the law, we clearly see our sinfulness. God did this so that we would recognize our need to be saved, our need for a Savior, Jesus.

This phrase “the law” is an interesting phrase in the King James version. It appears twice in this first sentence and most people will immediately think of the Law of Moses, which is the first 5 books of the Bible. But that’s not what this phrase means in this verse. The two words, “the law,” is only one word in the original Greek, the word “law.” So, the verse literally reads:

“Therefore by the deeds of LAW there shall no flesh be justified in His sight: for by LAW is the knowledge of sin.” (Romans 3:20 KJV)

There is no word “the” in the Greek. It’s not “THE law,” as in the law of Moses. It’s not referring specifically to the law of Moses. It’s just “law,” as in ANY law. Paul was not singling out the law of Moses. Paul was saying that by the deeds of trying to obey ANY law, no flesh will be justified in His sight. 

Why do I bring this up? Because there are those, particularly in the Lordship Salvation movement, who say to keep your salvation, you must obey all the commands of Christ, or you could lose your salvation. A commandment that you have to obey is a LAW, for they are saying if you don’t obey it, then there’s a penalty. But what does this verse say?

“by the deeds of LAW there shall no flesh be justified in His sight: for by LAW is the knowledge of sin.” (Romans 3:20 KJV)

We are not saved by obeying Christ’s commandments and we don’t keep ourselves saved by obeying Christ’s commandments. Our obedience has NOTHING to do with our salvation. Our obedience has EVERYTHING to do with our discipleship, which follows salvation, where we seek to become like Christ. So, our obedience is important, but that’s discipleship, not salvation, which is by faith alone. We are not declared just by obeying laws, whether that be trying to obey the Ten Commandments, or the commandments of Christ, or ANY law that you create for yourself in your own mind. 

“by the deeds of LAW (ANY law) there shall no flesh be justified in His sight: for by LAW (ANY law) is the knowledge of sin.” (Romans 3:20 KJV)

Paul goes on to say:

“But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;” (Romans 3:20-22 KJV)

The words, “But now,” indicate a transition in time, something new. Specifically, the righteousness of God is manifested, or literally is continually being manifested or shown, without the law. In other words, this righteousness of God has nothing to do with the law. 

Again, we see the phrase, “the law,” two times in this verse. Here’s where it gets interesting: The first time, the original Greek does not have the work “the” in it, but the second time it does. The first time, the Greek says, “law,” not “the law,” just like before. So, the righteousness of God without law (any law) is manifested. This means trying to obey any kind of law is not the way to obtain the righteousness of God. Again, we are not saved by obeying any laws or commandments and we don’t keep our salvation by obeying any kind of laws or commandments. The whole idea that you have to obey Christ’s commandments to keep yourself saved is an utter lie. We are saved by God’s grace through faith alone, and God’s righteousness is made manifest without our obedience to any kind of law. Then, after salvation, as part of discipleship, becoming like Christ in our daily walk, we are to obey Christ. But that has nothing to do with salvation.

But there’s a second phrase, “being witnessed by the law and the prophets.” In this phrase, the words, “the law,” are different in the original Greek. Here, we actually do have a Greek word, “the.” That’s why I colored it on the screen in blue rather than red. Here, it does mean, “THE law,” as in the law of Moses. So, Paul’s point is this:

The righteousness of God apart from our obedience to ANY law or commandment is being made known, a righteousness that was pointed to by the law of Moses and the books of the prophets. Thus, we see that the purpose of the Old Testament books of the law and prophets served two purposes:

  1. To expose to us our sinfulness before God.
  2. To point us to the coming Savior, Jesus, through Whom God’s righteousness apart from ANY law is being made manifest.

So, what is this righteousness? Paul tells us in the next 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:” (Romans 3:22 KJV)

The very righteousness of God is given unto all and upon all them that believe in Jesus by faith. Lesson 12 of this series on salvation assurance was about imputed righteousness, how when we believe in Christ, God not only wipes away all of our sins but imputes to us, or gives to us, His own perfect righteousness, righteousness we did not earn or deserve, the very righteousness of God that is given by faith. If you are not familiar with imputed righteousness, please go back and listen to lesson 12.  

Here in verse 22, we see the same thing. It is literally saying that the very righteousness of God comes to us, or is credited to us, by faith in Christ alone and is given to every single person who believes in Him. The moment we place our faith in Christ, we are immediately declared forever righteous in God’s sight. Our righteousness before God does not come by us obeying commandments and trying to prove ourselves worthy before God. Righteousness comes by believing in Christ. That is the ONLY righteousness that counts for salvation, the righteousness that God gives us through faith in Christ.

This gift of righteousness through faith in Christ is given:

“unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:” (Romans 3:22 KJV)

The phase, “for there is no difference,” refers to Jews and Gentiles. The Jews thought that they alone were chosen and would be saved. But Paul said no. Salvation, God’s very righteousness, is “unto all and upon all them that believe.” That includes Gentiles. There is only one requirement for receiving salvation and God’s righteousness, and that is to believe in Jesus. And it’s open to all.

Then we get to our highlighted verse for this video, Romans 3:23-24:

“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:” (Romans 3:23-24 KJV)

Paul starts off by saying, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” Not only have all of us sinned, but we all come short or fall short of God’s glory. This phrase is in the present tense, which means that we continue to fall short or keep on falling short of God’s glory. In spite of this, Paul says we are “justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.”

This word, “justified,” means “to declare to be just, innocent and righteous.” It doesn’t just mean our sins are forgiven but we are declared to be righteous. It is a legal term that means, “declared righteous.” That’s not righteousness we earned by our obedience, for we just saw in the previous verse that it is God’s own righteousness that’s in view here. We are declared to be PERFECTLY righteous in His sight, for His righteousness is perfect righteousness. When we place our faith in Christ, that’s our new creation standing before God, one of perfect righteousness. That’s now our legal position before His throne.

And it gets even better, for it says, “BEING justified.” This word, “being,” is also in the present tense, which signifies a continuing action. So, the phrase literally means that God keeps on declaring us just or righteous in His sight FOREVER. There is no end to it. This is not a one-time declaration from God that you are righteous, which you could then mess up and lose. It literally says, for all eternity, He is continually declaring you righteous.

That means, Once Saved, Always Saved.

You can never mess that up.

You can never give it up or forfeit it.

How does this continual righteousness on our account come about? Paul says it is “freely by God’s grace,” or unmerited favor. In other words, nothing we have done earned it. We don’t deserve. It’s not something we got because of our obedience. It is free, given by God out of His mercy. God saved us and gave us His own perfect righteousness. That’s why I’ve said continually in these videos that we don’t have to prove our worthiness and righteousness before God by obeying commandments. Christ is the one who was obedient, not us. He was the one righteous, not us. Through faith alone, He makes us worthy. He makes us righteous. It is the righteousness of God that comes by faith alone, not by obeying commandments. All a commandment can do is convict you of sin and show that you have once again fallen short of God’s perfect standard. Instead, God’s Word says that God’s own perfect righteousness is given to us freely by His grace. 

By what means did He give it to us? Paul says, “through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” This word, “redemption,” in the Greek literally means, “ransom payment.” On our own, all of us were bound over to sin and death. We were held captive by sin. But Christ’s death on the cross was the random payment that bought us, or paid for us, to be set free. And once free, Christ’s resurrection was the means through which we were then given eternal life. Because He ransomed us back and now lives forever, we are free and will live forever.

Paul then continues with verses 25-26:

“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.” (Romans 3:25-26 KJV)

Paul starts off by saying,

“Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His blood,” (Romans 3:25-26 KJV)

This word, “propitiation,” means appeasing or expiating. It refers to God’s wrath toward us over our sin being appeased by means of the blood of Christ. Through Christ’s death on the cross, God’s holy and righteous character is vindicated, where He is proven to be a God of both perfect holiness and perfect love.  This word, “propitiation,” in the Greek is used only one other time in the New Testament, and that is in Hebrews 9:5 to refer to the Mercy Seat over the Ark of the Covenant, where sacrificial blood was sprinkled. God’s wrath toward us over our sin demands that payment be made for our sin. His holy wrath is appeased or propitiated by the blood of Christ and that appeasement is applied to us when we have faith in the blood of Christ. 

The blood of Christ is an important part of the Gospel. It’s not just believing in Jesus as the Son of God but believing that His blood was offered as payment to a perfectly holy God on your behalf on account of your sin. Christ’s blood is the ransom payment that was, so to speak, sprinkled on the Mercy Seat for you. It is through faith in Christ’s blood sacrifice that all of our sins (past, present and future) are wiped clean.

Which brings us to the next verse that has been hijacked by Lordship Salvationists and those who believe you can lose your salvation:

“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: ” (Romans 3:25-26 KJV)

Those who believe that you can lose your salvation have hijacked this verse by saying the phrase, “sins that are past,” means the moment you place your faith in Christ, only your past sins up to that point are forgiven, which means any present or future sins can still send you to hell. Therefore, you have to confess all your sins continually and walk in holiness or you will lose your salvation. This is such a butchering of God’s Word and is totally false.

In Romans 3:25, the key words are not, “sins that are past,” but the words, “forbearance of God.” “Forbearance” means, the action of refraining from exercising a legal right, especially enforcing the payment of a debt. 

Paul is not speaking about what happens to us individually but what God has done over time. Paul is saying that God, in His forbearance, up until the time of the cross, refrained from exercising His legal right to condemn and destroy mankind on account of sin. Instead, He waited. He exercised forbearance over sins that occurred in the historical past until the time of the cross. That’s why the very next verse says:

“To declare, I say, AT THIS TIME His righteousness:” (Romans 3:26 KJV)

“At this time” refers to the time of the cross. God deferred judgment over sins that were committed in the historical past so that AT THIS TIME (the time after the cross), He could declare His righteousness through Christ. So, this phrase “sins that are past” has nothing to do with God only forgiving our past sins.  It means God was demonstrating forbearance by delaying judgment over sins that occurred before the time of Christ. He could have destroyed mankind but didn’t. He exercised forbearance.

If you want a more detailed explanation of this, I have a video on my channel and website called, “Are only past sins forgiven?”

But I’ll end this topic with this, Colossians 2:13-14:

“And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath He (Christ) quickened (made alive) together with Him, having forgiven you ALL TRESPASSES; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to His cross;” (Colossians 2:13-14 KJV)

All means ALL. That’s the plain reading of the text. The moment we place our faith in Christ, ALL trespasses are nailed to His cross, paid for by His blood, and forgiven. That includes your past, present and future sins. That means you can never lose your salvation. Once Saved, Always Saved. And, as we’ve already seen in Romans, God declaring us just or righteous is a continuing, ongoing event that never ends. Paul says God is continually, into the future, declaring us righteous in His sight. That couldn’t happen if only our past sins were forgiven. No, all sins are forgiven (past, present and future) when we place our faith in Christ.

Paul then says:

“that He (God the Father) might be just, and the justifier of him (speaking of us) which believeth in Jesus.” (Romans 3:25-26 KJV)

Salvation is by faith in Christ alone. It is God the Father Who declares us just when we place our faith in Jesus. It is the Father Who justifies us, not ourselves. We don’t prove ourselves worthy through our own obedience. Instead, we are declared just or righteous by the Father when we believe in Jesus. 

Paul then concludes with this final statement:

“Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.” (Romans 3:27-28 KJV)

If we have to obey commandments to keep our salvation, then we have a right to boast. But what does this verse say? That we are justified by faith alone, not by any effort we put out to obey any law or commandment. And again, I put a box around the phrase, “the law,” because there is no word, “the,” in the Greek. It’s just one word, “law.” That means this verse is not referring specifically to the law of Moses but any law or commandment, including Christ’s commandments, that you think you have to obey to be justified before God so as to keep your salvation. This verse says we are justified by faith alone without the deeds of law, ANY law.

So, the message is clear: 

“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:” (Romans 3:23-24 KJV)

All of us have sinned and we are saved only by placing our faith, our trust, in Jesus. How about you? Can you say with 100% certainty right now that you are saved?

Being saved comes down to this:

Salvation = God’s Grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.

Nothing more. Nothing less. There are no other requirements to be saved than to believe in Jesus. The question is: do you believe this? Or are you like those who are not trusting in the finished work of Christ but are trying to prove yourself worthy through your own obedience. Well, you’re not worthy! You never will be. None of us are. It is Christ who is worthy. We stand in His obedience by faith, not our own. We stand in His righteousness by faith, not our own. He makes us worthy. He makes us righteous.

Once you believe in Him, you are born again, and you are forever a child of God. Our Father is a good Father Who will never abandon you but will preserve you in the faith and never let you go. 

If you are not certain about your salvation, time is getting very late. Don’t take the chance of missing out on God. Prophetically, the current “Age of Grace” where God is giving people time to turn to Him for forgiveness is almost over. When it ends, it will be too late. God’s judgment is coming. Those who are not saved will be separated from God for all eternity. Don’t take chances with God. Don’t play with Him. Take Him seriously.

If you are not 100% sure you are saved, don’t put it off any longer. 

Making Sure You Are Saved Is As Easy As ABC

Admit to God that you have sinned.

Believe that Jesus, God’s Son, died to pay for
your sins 100%, was buried and rose from the dead.

Call upon Jesus and ask Him to forgive you and save you.

If you make that decision to call upon Him, God gives you this assurance:

“For whosoever shall call upon the Name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:13 KJV)

If you are still not sure, I’ll include a link to a video I did called, “What is the Gospel (in 6 Words)?”

Thank you for watching.


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