Now, we realize that everything the law says is addressed to those who are under its authority. This is for two reasons: So that every excuse will be silenced, with no boasting of innocence. And so that the entire world will be held accountable to God’s standards. For by the merit of observing the law no one earns the status of being declared righteous before God, for it is the law that fully exposes and unmasks the reality of sin.
But now, independently of the law, the righteousness of God is tangible and brought to light through Jesus, the Anointed One. This is the righteousness that the Scriptures prophesied would come. It is God’s righteousness made visible through the faithfulness of Jesus Christ. And now all who believe in him receive that gift. For there is really no difference between us, for we all have sinned and are in need of the glory of God. Yet through his powerful declaration of acquittal, God freely gives away his righteousness. His gift of love and favor now cascades over us, all because Jesus, the Anointed One, has liberated us from the guilt, punishment, and power of sin!
Jesus’ God-given destiny was to be the sacrifice to take away sins, and now he is our mercy seat because of his death on the cross. We come to him for mercy, for God has made a provision for us to be forgiven by faith in the sacred blood of Jesus. This is the perfect demonstration of God’s justice, because until now, he had been so patient—holding back his justice out of his tolerance for us. So he covered over the sins of those who lived prior to Jesus’ sacrifice. And when the season of tolerance came to an end, there was only one possible way for God to give away his righteousness and still be true to both his justice and his mercy—to offer up his own Son. So now, because we stand on the faithfulness of Jesus, God declares us righteous in his eyes!
Where, then, is there room for boasting? Do our works bring God’s acceptance? Not at all! It was not our works of keeping the law but our faith in his finished work that makes us right with God. So our conclusion is this: God’s wonderful declaration that we are righteous in his eyes can only come when we put our faith in Christ, and not in keeping the law.
After all, is God the God of the Jews only, or is he equally the God for all of humanity? Of course, he’s the God of all people! Since there is only one God, he will treat us all the same—he eliminates our guilt and makes us right with him by faith no matter who we are. Does emphasizing our faith invalidate the law? Absolutely not. Instead, our faith establishes the role the law should rightfully have.