“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: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” (Romans 3:21-26)
“A key phrase in the Bible regarding the Atonement is the phase ‘on behalf of.’ Jesus did not die for Himself, but for us. His suffering was vicarious. He was our substitute. He took our place in fulfilling the role of the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” Dr. R. C. Sproul
“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:” (Romans 3:21-22)
“The righteousness of God.” The Law and the Prophets bore witness to the imputed righteousness of God on behalf of sinners. The inherent nature of doing what God has declared is right and holy is possessed by and originates from God alone. How then does an inherently fallen and wicked sinner receive this righteousness from God?
“Through faith.” Through faith (διὰ πίστεως; dia pisteos) means on account of, or through the means of faith. The preposition “dia” refers to the instrumentality of faith. Sinners receive the righteousness of God by faith. Faith is a noun meaning trust in, dependence upon, commitment to and worship of an object. It is through the means of faith, and the grammar indicates faith alone, that the sinner receives the merit of the atonement God provides.
“In Jesus Christ.” However, what is the object of one’s faith? Is it faith in good works? Romans 3:9-20 says absolutely not. The object of true, saving faith is in none other than Jesus Christ. Much like the nouns God and faith which preceded it, the grammar indicates that this righteousness of God alone, through faith alone is to be in the person and work of Jesus Christ alone.
“For all who believe. For there is no distinction:” This imputed righteousness, based upon the person and work of Jesus Christ, is for all who are part of a particular class of individuals. Those who belong to this class are those who have trusted in, committed to, are dependent upon and worship and honor Jesus Christ alone as Savior and Lord.
This belief in the substitutionary work of Jesus Christ is a continuing belief or faith. It is a persevering belief or faith. Finally, within this context it specifically refers to the distinction between Jews and Gentiles. It is a belief or faith which carries no distinction regarding races, creeds, religious or cultural backgrounds, or gender.
Is your trust for deliverance from the penalty of sin, the power of sin and eventually the presence of sin in the person and work of Jesus Christ alone? If not, than you may have a faith but it is not saving faith. Saving faith is to be solely in Jesus Christ.
May God’s truth and grace reside here.
Soli deo Gloria!