International Sunday School Lesson
For Sunday July 17, 2016
Purpose: To affirm that we are made righteous and redeemed by faith
Bible Lesson: Romans 3:21-31
Background Scripture: Psalm 148; Romans 3:21-31
Key Verses: There’s no distinction. All have sinned and fall short of God’s glory, but all are treated as righteous freely by his grace because of a ransom that was paid by Christ Jesus. (Romans 3:22-24)
Romans 3:21-31 (CEB)
(21) But now God’s righteousness has been revealed apart from the Law, which is confirmed by the Law and the Prophets. (22) God’s righteousness comes through the faithfulness of Jesus Christ for all who have faith in him. There’s no distinction. (23) All have sinned and fall short of God’s glory, (24) but all are treated as righteous freely by his grace because of a ransom that was paid by Christ Jesus. (25) Through his faithfulness, God displayed Jesus as the place of sacrifice where mercy is found by means of his blood. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness in passing over sins that happened before, (26) during the time of God’s patient tolerance. He also did this to demonstrate that he is righteous in the present time, and to treat the one who has faith in Jesus as righteous. (27) What happens to our bragging? It’s thrown out. With which law? With what we have accomplished under the Law? (28) No, not at all, but through the law of faith. We consider that a person is treated as righteous by faith, apart from what is accomplished under the Law. (29) Or is God the God of Jews only? Isn’t God the God of Gentiles also? Yes, God is also the God of Gentiles. (30) Since God is one, then the one who makes the circumcised righteous by faith will also make the one who isn’t circumcised righteous through faith. (31) Do we then cancel the Law through this faith? Absolutely not! Instead, we confirm the Law
Some Thoughts by Burgess Walter
Last week we studied about the power of sin, this week we will look at the righteousness of God. Paul presents in this text, that Jesus Christ is the solution to our sinful nature. Paul further states that Jesus Christ is a revelation of God’s righteousness.
In order to understand what Paul is saying, we should read Leviticus 16:11-28. (11) Aaron will offer the bull for his purification offering to make reconciliation for himself and his household. He will slaughter the bull for his purification offering. (12) Then he will take an incense pan full of burning coals from the altar, from before the LORD, and two handfuls of finely ground perfumed incense and bring them inside the inner curtain. (13) He will put the incense on the fire before the LORD so that the cloud of incense conceals the cover that is on top of the covenant document, or else he will die. (14) He will take some of the bull’s blood and sprinkle it with his finger on the cover from the east side. He will then sprinkle some of the blood with his finger seven times in front of the cover. (15) Then he will slaughter the goat for the people’s purification offering, bring the blood inside the inner curtain, and do with it as he did with the bull’s blood: he will sprinkle it on the cover and in front of the cover. (16) In this way, he will make reconciliation for the inner holy area because of the pollution of the Israelites and because of their rebellious sins, as well as for all their other sins.
Aaron must do the same for the meeting tent, which is with them among their pollution. (17) No one can be in the meeting tent from the time Aaron enters to make reconciliation in the inner holy area until the time he comes out. He will make reconciliation for himself, for his household, and for the whole assembly of Israel.
(18) Aaron will then go to the altar that is before the LORD and make reconciliation for it: He will take some of the bull’s blood and some of the goat’s blood and put it on each of the altar’s horns. (19) He will sprinkle some of the blood on the altar with his finger seven times. In this way, he will purify it and make it holy again from the Israelites’ pollution.
(20) When Aaron has finished reconciling the inner holy area, the rest of the meeting tent, and the altar, he will bring forward the live goat. (21) Aaron will press both his hands on its head and confess over it all the Israelites’ offenses and all their rebellious sins, as well as all their other sins, putting all these on the goat’s head. Then he will send it away into the wilderness with someone designated for the job (22) The goat will carry on itself all their offenses to a desolate region, then the goat will be released into the wild.
(23) After this, Aaron will enter the meeting tent, take off the linen clothes he was wearing when he entered the inner holy area, and will leave them there. (24) He will bathe his body in water in a holy place and dress in his priestly clothing. Then he will go out and perform the entirely burned offerings for himself and for the people. In this way, he will make reconciliation for himself and for the people. (25) He will completely burn the fat of the purification offering on the altar. (26) The one who set the goat free for Azazel must wash their clothes and bathe their body in water; after that they can return to the camp. (27) The bull and the goat for the purification offerings, whose blood was brought in to make reconciliation in the inner holy area, will be taken outside the camp. Their hides, flesh, and dung will be burned with fire. (28) The person who burns them must wash their clothes and bathe their body in water; after that, they can return to the camp.)
This describes the service that is required to remove the sins of God’s people for a year. For Paul, Jesus Christ fulfills all of this at Calvary. Including showing how God’s righteousness is fulfilled in Christ, perfectly giving of himself as a, willing, obedient sacrificial lamb. God’s plan becomes complete and His righteousness is demonstrated, because He does exactly what He said He would do.
If you want to discuss doctrine you can look at verse 22, some translate this as “The righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ.” While the CEB translates this as, “God’s righteousness comes through the faithfulness of Jesus Christ.” Most older scholars would use in, while the newer thought is more universal in nature and makes it all about Christ faithfulness and not ours, because they are convinced there is nothing we can do to obtain salvation, it is God’s gift to humankind. I will point out that in the latter part of verse 26 in the CEB it says, “and to treat the one who has faith in Jesus as righteous.”
My hymn for this week is simply “Faith is the Victory.”