As believers, it is important to regularly get back to the basics and understand the gospel’s foundational truth. This is what allows us to grow as we exercise our faith. Through the New Testament book of Romans, Paul presents the basics of Christianity. Among the many things Paul shares, we discover in Romans 3:9-26 the gospel’s bad and good news.
Paul begins by sharing the bad news beginning in Romans 3:9: “we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin.” All humanity is under sin and therefore condemned. Paul declares that the problem is that humanity is corrupt from head to foot. Sin is the truest and greatest leveler of humanity (Rom 3:10-18). We are on equal footing before God. We are guilty. The sentence has been given. But, the sentence has not been commenced (Rom 3:19-20). This leads us to the good news of the gospel.
Paul writes that “now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it” (Rom 3:21). The righteousness of God is revealed in His anger against sin (Rom 1:18) as well as in His grace for sinners (Rom 3:21-22). All of humanity has a problem our sin keeps us from a right relationship with God. Our Lord, however, has provided a way to deal with sin justly and offer salvation to all who will respond in faith.
In Romans 3:21-26, Paul explains that God has provided salvation to all who receive Christ as Lord and Savior. Yes, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom 3:23). In the past, all have sinned; in the present, all are sinning, all are falling short. This is indeed bad news. The good news is that God has shown His love for us through the finished work of Christ on the cross. Jesus died for our sins and was resurrected for our salvation. God has proven Himself to be “just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (Rom 3:26). God’s love is seen in Him sending His only Son, Jesus Christ, to pay the price, to be the covering for all of our sin.
God’s anger toward sin is removed from us as we believe in Christ for our salvation. Since Jesus bore our sin on the cross, He took our guilt and punishment for us, when we place our trust in Jesus, we are found not guilty. Because of the price paid for our freedom, when we enter into a saving relationship with Jesus by faith, we are free indeed.
There are two factors in salvation: the basis and the instrument. The basis is the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross. It is Christ alone and not by any work of any person. The instrument is faith. Jesus did the work, and we are called to believe. Francis Schaeffer explains:
“Our faith has no saving value. Our religious works, our moral good works, have no saving value because they’re not perfect. Our suffering has no saving value. We would have to suffer infinitely because we have sinned against an infinite God. The only thing in God’s entire moral universe with the power to save is the finished work of Jesus Christ. Our faith merely accepts the gift. And God justifies (acquits) all those who believe in Jesus for their salvation.”
This is truly good news and an amazing offer.
The gospel’s bad news is that we have all sinned, and this carries with it a death sentence. The good news is that Jesus has already paid this sentence on the Cross, and all who receive Him as Lord and Savior are made right with God. No doubt, there is an unholy togetherness all of us share, but so too is the offer of salvation in Christ. We ought to all jump at the opportunity to be saved. Jesus has died for our sins and resurrected for our salvation. This is good news, and all we have to do is believe in Christ to receive salvation, eternal life, and the divine benefits that our Lord provides to those who place their faith in Jesus. Soli Deo Gloria (Glory to God Alone)!