Romans 3:20-24 20 Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin. 21 But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22 This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
Romans 3:27-28 27 Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. On what principle? On that of observing the law? No, but on that of faith. 28 For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law.
Romans 3 is a theological gold mine. In just a few verses, Paul sums up the atoning sacrifice of Jesus. He sets them straight on the difference between their efforts and the grace of God. I do not find it all strange that Paul had to instruct the people that it wasn’t all about them. He had to tell them that they couldn’t earn God by following all the right rules. The truth is, everyone by nature is a mess. Everyone’s life is a trainwreck… without the saving grace of Jesus. This is the truth of the gospel. You’ve got nothing to brag about except Jesus.
It’s kind of like a basketball game. There are performers who are quiet, there are performers who talk trash, and there are non-performers who talk trash. You know, its the guy on the court who is talking all the smack and yet has contributed absolutely nothing to the score of the game. “You’re going down!” “In your face!” And you want to say, “dude, you haven’t made a single shot.” Now this guy might be fortunate enough to be on the winning team, but he has nothing to do with that outcome.
We are kind of like smack talk dude. “Oh yeah, I’m going to heaven baby! I’m all that!” Really? You’re gonna talk that trash? That’s what Paul is saying to the Romans in verse 27. Do we really think that we have something to do with God’s grace? Do we think we have something to do with a freebie into heaven thanks to the main man on the court, Jesus Christ? Maybe it’s time to realize that we should be talking about how good he is, how many 3-pointers he has made. Well, you know what I mean.