Thursday, February 23, 2017

P2 - Solving The Divine Dilemma Of Salvation - Romans 3:20-31

Romans 3:20-21 "because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin.
21 But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction."


In the last post we considered what we were calling: "The Divine Dilemma Of Salvation". How is it that a Holy righteous God could rightly and just acquit sinners whom he desires to forgive? Answering this question is important in better understanding why Biblical salvation is so important. We closed out by noting four particular decisions needing to be made by God the Father, Son and Spirit to ensure the solution to this alleged dilemma:

1. God the Father had to willingly authorize salvation's plan.

2. God the Son had to willingly accomplish salvation for sinners with the Father's willingness to acceptance of His accomplishment.

3. God the Holy Spirit had to willingly apply the salvation accomplished to those responding in faith to His call. 

4. The Father had to willingly agree to accept faith in the accomplished work as necessary and sufficient to acquit the sinner

Paul's exposition of the Gospel in his letter to the Romans centers upon the doctrine of justification by faith. If we understand what all God did in making such a declaration of a believing sinner's innocence a reality, we will then grasp the glory of justification. Justification by faith is defined by the Baptist Faith and Message 2000:

"Justification is God's gracious and full acquittal upon principles of His righteousness of all sinners who repent and believe in Christ. Justification brings the believer unto a relationship of peace and favor with God."

With that review, let's explore how God solved the Divine Dilemma of salvation.

God the Father had to willingly authorize salvation. Romans 3:21-24

In Romans 3:21-24a we read about how willing God the Father was to show mercy to those sinners whom He was wanting to love. 2 Corinthians 5:18 plainly states the merciful heart of God: "Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation". Now at this point we can raise the question: "When did the Father decide to show mercy?" To answer this, theologian Louis Berkhof writes about what is called "a covenant of redemption", which he defines in his Systematic Theology, page 266, as follows:

"Scripture clearly points to the fact that the plan of redemption was included in the eternal decree or counsel of God, Eph 1:4 ff.; 3:11; 2 Thess. 2:13; 2 Tim. 1:9; Jas. 2:5; 1 Pet. 1:2, etc. Now we find that in the economy of redemption there is, in a sense, a division of labor: The Father is the originator, the Son the executor, and the Holy Spirit the applier."

Now even though Paul won't get to the eternal dimensions of salvation until later on in his letter to the Romans, this particular point is worth noting. So, God the Father had to be willingly authorize salvation's plan. Next time we will consider a second important point, namely, God the Son had to willingly accomplish salvation for sinners with the Father's willing to acceptance of His accomplishment.

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