To see the full context of Romans 3:21-26 we need to go back to Romans 1:17 and 18. There Paul says:
For in it God’s righteousness is being revealed from faith to faith, as it is written, “The righteous will live by faith.” For God’s wrath i s being revealed from heaven against all the ungodliness and wickedness of those who in their wickedness suppress the truth.Romans 1:17-18
In verse 1:17 Paul says in ‘it’ – in what? In the Gospel, that which he has been talking about in the verse before (1:16). He refers to the righteous living by faith.
In verse 17 Paul says God’s righteousness is being revealed. But then in the next verse he says “for God’s wrath is being revealed”. As we saw in Bible Gem 140 Paul sets both of these ideas side by side. He then works his way through the idea of God’s wrath being poured out now, how it is poured out and why it is poured out. It’s poured out on everyone – the Jew first and also the Greek. He handles the whole notion very thoroughly and then in chapter 3:21 he returns to the notion he had in mind in 1:17 – i.e. the righteous of God being revealed. And the righteous living by faith. Paul hasn’t forgotten his point. It is uppermost in his mind and he returned to it when he had handled the issue of wrath being revealed. Remember this comment from a few days ago – “But for the good news to be the best it can be we have to know the bad news first. We have to know our true situation before it can be made better. That is why Paul has organised “his gospel” in this way.”
Paul will often do this, that is hang on to an idea for a long time and then return to it later on. Keep watching out for this in Paul’s writings. It will certainly help you in the process of following what he is doing. Paul’s thoughts are often convoluted and complex. You will need to be patient and thorough in your efforts to track with him.
Take some time to look into the words “righteousness”, “faithfulness”, “faith” and “believe”. You already have some help after looking at John’s gospel.
Continuing story tomorrow . . . I am sure you can work out I am giving you time to work on 3:21-26. Work it over thoroughly it is packed with all sorts of ideas.
Remember it is the gospel within a gospel. Are you memorizing it?
Your salvation wasn’t a joint effort. You didn’t contribute a penny because you were spiritually bankrupt.Bob Gass
‘…you were redeemed [bought out of slavery and set free]… with the precious blood of Christ… ‘1 Peter 1:18-19