ROMANS - Chapter 3 - HOLINESS and RIGHTEOUSNESS Print E-mail

ROMANS – Chapter 3 – Holiness and Righteousness

Tuesday Morning Bible Study

January 9, 2018, the year of our Lord

Pastor Carolyn Sissom


On Sunday evenings, we have just finished a book, My Time in Heaven, by Richard Sigmund (1941-2010).   He gives us a panoramic view of Heaven; even the Word of God in Heaven manifest on earth.  I have been pressing in most of my life for Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.  Jesus taught us to pray that we are to live, move, and have our being on earth as it is in Heaven.  Matthew uses the term, Kingdom of Heaven, to describe the Kingdom of God.  Kingdom of Heaven tells us where it is and Kingdom of God tells us who runs it.   We know there is a thin veil between Heaven and earth.  There are those recorded in the Holy Bible and many in subsequent years who have been blessed to be given visions of Heaven.


“Heaven and earth are more “connected” than most people know---and in ways that are beyond our comprehension.  The very nature of heaven is a complete involvement in the plans of God for eternity. Everything has an eternal purpose.” (M.T.I.H.)


 You have heard me say that I am  walking in eternity in heavenly things.  We can enter in to that realm while we are still living in this flesh body.  We can also have visitations from heaven by Jesus Christ as well as His angels who are sent to minister to the heirs of Salvation. 


I am persuaded the LORD is calling forth a people on the earth at this time who will receive a visitation of a greater glory of Heaven on earth. 


“Heaven and earth are joined at times with the spiritual atmosphere and praise and worship are flowing together in perfect harmony.  When this happens, we are “caught up” into the atmosphere of heaven itself.  No sin, sickness, or disease can dwell there.  We are dwelling near the Throne of God.” (M.T.I.H.)


You have heard me pray that our worship join with the great cloud of witnesses in Heaven as they worship the LORD and they join with us.  That is not a vain prayer.  I believe that all of our worship is to join with the worship of Heaven.  When I often say, “There is a song in the house,” that means I am hearing a song in the Spirit and the angels are bidding us to sing with them.  I am pulling on you to hear the worship of Heaven.


“To access this life-giving flow, we must be in total abandonment to God in adoration, worship and praise.  Only then are we able to be in complete union in this aspect of God’s provision for the eternal human spirit.  With the help of the Holy Spirit, we are invited to dwell there.” (M.T.I.H.)


The Gospel of Matthew teaches us how to pursue the nature of God’s Kingdom.

Mat. 5:19 – 20:  Whosoever shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven; but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.  For I say to you, that except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.


We must live godly, holy lives in the fear and admonition of God.  When we do, we  enter into the fullness of Christ.


Eph. 4:12-13:  So that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.


This is my “calling.”  Each one of us has different gifts and callings in the Body of Christ.  I bring into our church many streams of the Gospel using a diversity of ministers.  I want our congregation to be blessed with all of the streams of the Holy Spirit.  Yet, I stay true to my gifts and callings.  There are many ministers who will only allow or respect ministry in their stream.   One day all of the streams will flow together.  May Eastgate be in that heavenly stream.


Before beginning this study, I have been vacillating between teaching Romans, the Gospel of Matthew or the Kingdom of Heaven.  Perhaps all shall flow as one stream.


The church must be called back to righteousness and holiness.  I am not speaking of a self-righteous, legalistic, religious spirit.  I am speaking of the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus.  We are in Christ Jesus, who of God has made unto us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption.


“Holiness and righteousness do not reign separately, but as a unit of glory unknown in current circles.  To those who are the Bride of Christ, their enthronement is welcome.  The Father has always intended that those of the last days embrace this duo with a passion.  Their work will bring perfection and yield a countenance as defining as Daniel’s and his companions when compared to the world’s fare.” (C. R. Oliver, the Regal Pair).


In the simplicity of Christ Jesus, His Holiness and Righteousness connects with the Spirit of Holiness to give power to His Saints.


Rom. 1:4: and declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.


Rom. 1:17: For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, the just shall live by faith.


The Law of Faith:

Romans 3:27:  Where is boasting then?  It is excluded.  By what law? Of works? Nay: but by the law of Faith.”


The law of faith of which Paul speaks excludes all human pride.  Salvation is by grace alone.  If it could be earned,  there would be a reward.  It is clearly a gift which has to be accepted by the Hand of God by faith alone.  This is the great doctrine of the Book of Romans:  Faith is a means, a tool.  The gift of righteousness comes in a person.  It is a gift wrapped in Jesus.  The only qualification is that it must be received by faith. 


Romans 3 - 4:25:  These chapters reveal the doctrine of God’s gift of faith-righteousness.  Paul’s analysis of mankind in Chapters 1 and 2 has revealed signs of desperate failure.  The verdict of the Day of Judgment is a foregone conclusion.  Is there no hope?  David in Ps. 143 knew the only possibility of redemption was to throw himself—unrighteous as he was upon God’s purposes of salvation.  Before pleading with God not to enter into judgment with him he had appealed: “in your faithfulness and righteousness answer me.” (143:1)


In our study of My Time in Heaven, Jesus also took Brother Richard to Hell.  He wrote Hell is the exact opposite of everything that heaven is.  The gates were as big as the gates in heaven; but these were made of a black material.  There were hideous, grotesque beings as tall as the angels who guarded the gates of heaven…There were flames of punishment…he heard people crying out…There was no one there who was not old enough to know what sin was.  There were no babies…There were demons al around, screaming, screaming, screaming at the very presence of Jesus.  There were people begging and pleading with Jesus to get them out of there, but He would not hear them because their judgment was fixed.

Heb. 9:27: It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.

In bringing forth the revelation of Justification by Faith, Paul is plowing new ground that has never been plowed before.  Justified is a legal term used by Paul.  Webster defines it as to vindicate, to excuse, to adjust – “jus” refers to righteousness, justice, law.


As humans we tend to forgive by excusing, tolerating or justifying.  But when God justifies, He also forgives our sin. Paul clearly makes his case that it is not our hold on Christ that saves us---It is Christ Himself.  It is not even faith in Christ that saves us---though that is the instrument.  It is Christ’s blood and merits. 


Living by Faith:  Hab. 2:4: Behold his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him, but the just shall live by his faith.”


Purified by Faith:  Acts 15:1: ‘And He made no difference between us and them (Gentiles), but purified their hearts by faith.”


Sanctified by Faith: Acts 26:18: “To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they receive forgiveness of sins and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith, that is in me.”


Standing in Faith: Romans 11: 19-20: “You may say, ' the branches were broken off, that I might be grafted in'.  Well because of unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by faith.  Be not high minded but fear.”


Walking in Faith: 11 Cor. 5: 6 & 7:  “For we walk by Faith and not by sight.”


Justified by Faith: Galatians 3: 24 & 25: “The law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.  But after that faith has come, we are no longer under the schoolmaster.”


Access by Faith: Ephesians 3: 11 & 12:  “According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord: In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him”


At the time of Jesus, the Jews were the most spiritually educated people on earth regarding Holiness and Righteousness.  Jesus looked over the most well educated and theologically correct subsection of the established religion in his day.  He told them unless their righteousness exceeded the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, they would not enter the Kingdom of Heaven. (Mt. 5:20).


By revelation, Paul begins to address the righteousness of the Jews under the Law:


Rom. 2: 28-29:  He is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh.  He is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.


Paul just preached in chapter 2 that circumcision will not save the Jew.  That was a hard blow to their religious beliefs.    Now he puts the Jew on the same level as the pagan and Gentile.  Then what advantage has the Jew?   Paul answers it.   God has committed His Word to them.  They know God and the plan of the ages.


Rom. 3:1-4:  What advantage then has the Jew? Or what profit is there of circumcision?  Much in every way.  Chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of the law.  But what if some did not believe?  Shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect?  God forbid: yea let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written.  ‘That you might be justified in your sayings, and might overcome when you are judged.”


I doubt if Paul knew he was writing the New Testament.  It is John who brought forth the revelation that Jesus is the Word of God and in Him the Word became flesh (John 1: 1, 2, 14, 17 & 18). 


God has to keep his Word because He is the truth.  God is true in His nature.  Even if every man in the world is a liar (which he is).  God will remain consistent with Himself.  What chaos there would be if God’s nature changed!!!  Paul appeals to Psalm 51:4.  Against you, you only, have I sinned, and done this evil in your sight; that you might be justified when you speak and be clear when you judge.”


God had sent Nathan to David to charge the King with murder and pronounce him worthy of death.  David went to God about it.  The moment he felt the Lord’s Holy gaze upon his soul, he realized he was guilty as charged.


Rom. 3:5- 8:   “If our unrighteousness commends the righteousness of God, what shall we say?  Is God unrighteous who takes vengeance? (I speak as a man).  God forbid: for then how shall God judge the world?  For if the truth of God has more abounded through my lie unto his glory; why yet am I also judged as a sinner?  But not rather, (as we be slanderously reported, and as some affirm that we say,) Let us do evil that good may come” whose damnation is just.” 


Paul doesn’t deny that sin makes God’s glory stand out, but he denies the conclusion the Jew’s drew from it that their unfaithfulness enhanced God’s Glory.  Paul carries this kind of thinking to its absurd conclusion.  God does not need the awful contrast of man’s evil to establish His Holiness.  His Holiness requires Him to punish sin.  If He ever backed off from punishing sin, you and I would have no place to go for salvation.  It is true, of course, that God has the power to turn evil to a good purpose, but that doesn’t make the evil good.


At the core of the Pharisee’s heart was a missing ingredient, holiness.  Therefore, none of their deeds were accounted for righteousness.  Righteousness is a matter of extreme importance to God. 


Paul is addressing a teaching of that day that was pretty sick.  There are many today who believe in this easy believism.   Paul has been accused of preaching this kind of reasoning.  Paul taught if men wanted to honor God with sin, the way to do it was confess as did David, and then let God display his mercy through Christ.


Jewish protests were silenced. Today as Christians, we must be prepared to silence those who protest the Christian faith with the same logic used by Paul.


3:9-12: “What then? Are we better than they? No, in no wise; for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles that they are all under sin.  As it is written.  There is none righteous, no not one:  There is none that understands.  There is none that seeks after God.  They are all gone out of the way; they are together become unprofitable; there is none that does good, no, not one.”


There are many Christians today who through their actions, speaking and lifestyle have become unprofitable to the Kingdom of God.  Nor will they live in the realm of the Kingdom of Heaven on earth.  I know some of those.  They go around making trouble, causing trouble and being trouble.


Mat. 25:30:  Cast the unprofitable servant into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.


In chapter One, Paul had already proved the world’s guilt (Romans 1: 18-32).  Here are the 40 sins and 20-fold apostasy of the pagans and Gentiles.  He has indicted the self-righteous Jew.  They have been impenitent, refused to obey the word, failed to walk in the light, and failed to live up to the law; but they professed Godliness.  They are without excuse.  They are guilty as charged by the testimony of three witnesses:

1.      Creation

2.      Conscience

3.      Law


If anyone thinks he has any standing before God, he is deceived.  All human righteousness is as filthy rags.  In Verse 10, Paul says, “As it is written”.  In this letter to the Romans, Paul quotes from the Old Testament 19 times.


Man’s depravity is so great he cannot respond to God’s wooing without a supernatural shove by the Holy Spirit.   John 6:44:  No man can come to me except the father who has sent me draw him, and I will raise him up at the last day.”


Those who come to Him through Christ come not as a result of man seeking God, but God seeking man.  Even after a man receives the Lord it is hard to live for Him.


Rom. 3: 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, and 18:  “Their throat is an open sepulcher; and their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips; whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness.  Their feet are swift to shed blood; Destruction and misery are in their ways.  And the way of peace have they not known.  There is no fear of God before their eyes.”


Paul continues to quote the Old Testament.  The vileness of the old human nature manifests itself in a person’s words and actions.    The whole being of man has shared in evil (throat, tongue, lips mouth, feet, ways and eyes.


Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.  People can be poisoned, exploited and destroyed with lies.  Man will say anything to gain his own selfish ends.   


Ps. 36:1:  the transgression of the wicked; says within my heart, there is no fear of God before his eyes.


If the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom, then the lack of it has to be the fountain of evil and the source of wickedness.  Satan inspires men to gamble that there is no judgment in this life or after this life. 


3:19: “Now we know that whatsoever the law says, it says to them who are under the law; that every mouth may be stopped, and the entire world may become guilty before God.”


Paul is building up to the grand conclusion that the whole world is guilty before God, that God may show mercy to all who will receive Jesus Christ.   Mercy is the parent of all God’s deeds.


3:20: Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight; for the law is the knowledge of sin.


Paul clinches his case.  The law is a straight edge only.  When people are placed along side, it reveals how crooked they are.  Man cannot wash his face with the law.  To know God’s standards is to realize one’s own hopeless inadequacy.  Once a person is convinced of his corruption and aware that he has no righteousness of his own, he will look to the Lord to save him.


3: 21-23:  But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets.  Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe; for there is no difference.  For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.


Can sinners be regarded as though they had never once sinned?  The answer to that question brings us to the great hinge of Romans.  Paul’s letter now turns from man’s failure to God’s wondrous provision for him.  Two words announce the shift, but now.  Since man needs righteousness to go to Heaven, God must provide it as a free gift.


All righteousness flows back to God---for it is said of Him, The Lord our Righteousness (Jer. 33:16).  The Lord lives…in righteousness (Jer. 4:2).


Bro. Richard Sigmund describes the Throne of God as it was shown to him:  “The Throne was made out of some heavenly material.  It was crystal clear, yet it consisted of what appeared to be gold, ivory, silver, precious gems and jewels---all sparkling.  It gave off what looked like light rays, which came out of the material it was made of.  Great waves of glory swept through it---liquid fire going through the building material.  The building itself gave off rays of glory.


God was covered with a cloud of glory that radiated from Him; an all-consuming, enfolding fire that was the glory of God Himself.  He dwelt in a fire of glory.


Heb. 12:29:  For our God is a consuming fire.


Lev. 11:44: For I am the LORD your God.  You shall therefore consecrate yourselves, and you shall be holy; for I am holy.


The Old Testament contains a prophet’s witness to the gift of Righteousness and Holiness.   The law has declared man a hopeless sinner; the prophets reveal the coming sin-bearer, the Lord Jesus Christ.  The gifts of righteousness come in a person.  It is a gift wrapped in Jesus.  The only qualification is that it must be received by faith.  Faith in Christ does not make us worthy of the gift.  Faith is the means of receiving it, the appropriating device.


When it comes to man’s righteousness, there is no difference between the worst and best people.  All are invited to trust in Christ and receive God’s righteousness as a free gift.


3:24:  Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.”


The law says sinners must die.  God cannot compromise himself.  How can men die a spiritual death and still live with God as righteous people?  That is the genius of God’s plan.  It is accomplished by receiving the death of the Lord.  We become a living union of the Cross.  Jew and Gentile meet at the cross on a common level.


After sin (disobedience) comes guilt.  After guilt, self-hatred.  Sin provides Satan with his ground of accusation before God while our sense of guilt gives him his ground to accuse our hearts.  Satan is the accuser of the brethren; let us not accuse our brethren; but pray for them when we see them sinning.


The Blood is our atonement.  We need forgiveness lest we come under judgment; and we are forgiven because God sees the Blood.  The Blood is used over 100 times in connection with Atonement.  On the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16), the Blood was taken from the sin offering and brought into the Most Holy Place,  there sprinkled before the Lord seven times.  The high priest was a type of the Lord Jesus in his redemptive work. 


Jesus was the one who did the work.  None but He could even draw near to enter in.


The Passover Lamb is the type in the Old Testament of our redemption.  God said, “When I see the blood, I will pass over you.”  Jesus’ blood is for God to see.


Redemption is a single act as far as God is concerned but it takes places in three stages:


1.      The moment we are saved we are delivered from the guilt of sin.

2.      The second stage is the deliverance from the power of sin.

3.      Finally, the Christian is delivered from the presence of sin.


3: 25, 26:  “When God has set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God. To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness, that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believes in Jesus.”


At the mercy seat the sprinkling of many people with the blood of one animal portrayed the cleansing of many with the death of one Man.  The blood sacrifice of the Old Testament marvelously pictured Jesus’ work.   The actual gift of righteousness is the Lord Himself.


God is just in forbearing with a sinner in ancient times because He knew the Cross was coming.  He is just in our time because he is faithful to Jesus’ Blood.  He forgives all who come to Him in Jesus’ name.  In every way His justice stands unblemished.


3:27-28:  Where is boasting then?  It is excluded.  By what law? Of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.  Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.


It is very humbling to think we can’t do anything to qualify ourselves for salvation.  Man hates to think he can’t help himself.  Pride is a basic human sin.  Humanity likes flaunting Christian acts for show.  We must be careful of testimonies that flaunt the act rather than the source of the victory.


Brother Richard describes a beautiful building in Heaven. “ In this building were what seemed like hundreds of millions of scrolls on golden shelves.  All were solid gold of some heavenly kind, with a gold type of material used as a form of paper.  Very reverently, an angel unrolled a scroll.  He read from it, saying, ‘I give God all the glory for my healing.  When I surrendered by life to Christ, I was instantly set free from a life of drugs and sin.  Now, I am the wife of a pastor here in Milwaukee.  Jesus had made it all possible.’  All of the testimonies that have ever been given are stored there.  Not one is ever lost.  Ever.  The angels of God stand in absolute wonderment while a testimony is read.  They will never know the saving grace of God.  They were created to serve God.  They were created to be His ministering spirits to the heirs of salvation---all born again believers.”


3:29-30:  “Is he God of the Jews only?  Is he not also God of the Gentiles?  Yes, of the Gentiles also.  Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith and uncircumcision through faith.”


In those days people thought in terms of national gods--  One for the Jews and one for the Gentiles.  I believe the nations of the world still have that problem.  There is only one God and only one way to salvation regardless of what nation. 


3:31: “Do we then make void the law through faith?  God forbid; yea, we establish the law.”


The Law of Faith confirms the law.  Jesus fulfilled the law for us.  We can’t produce righteousness of ourselves.  We accept His righteousness and as we become like him, we will see His righteousness revealed in us.


Law and Faith are not enemies.  People who substitute law for grace dishonor the Lord.  Jesus exalted the law more gloriously because He was without sin.


Chapter 4 continues as Abraham was accepted as righteous because of His Faith.  He believed God and it was counted unto him for righteousness.  That is the whole point of the Faith heroes in the Book of Hebrews.


We come to you Father God, of whom we are your family, and our loved ones are your family.  I pray that out of your glorious riches, you will strengthen us with power through your spirit in our inner being, so that Christ may dwell in our hearts through faith.  We pray that we may be rooted and established in love, that we may have the power, together with others to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know the love that surpasses knowledge---that we may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.  May we continually spread the knowledge of the fragrance of Christ.


Preached by:  Pastor Carolyn Sissom

In 1988; 2010 and 2018.

Scripture from KJV.  Bibliography, C.S. Lovett’s Lights on Romans;  F.F. Bruce Bible Commentary, Romans by Leslie C. Allen; Matthew Henry’s Commentary; My Time In Heaven by Richard Sigmund;  The Regal Pair by: Dr. C. R. Oliver.  Comments and conclusions are my own and not meant to reflect the views of those from whom I have gleaned.

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