Thursday, August 13, 2009

Q & A with Brother Mike Gowens, Primitive Baptist Church

Online -

Q: I have been studying Romans 3:22 for a number of weeks, off and on, trying to settle on an answer. I have not had any insight as of yet. My brother is a universalist and this is his crutch verse that all will be saved. The part of the verse is the two “all's” worded "...unto all and upon all them that believe:...". Your thoughts please.

A: The "But now" in the previous verse (v. 21) signals a contrast to those who attempt to be made righteous by keeping the law. It suggests that since Christ came and died, God has "manifested" (this is a key word) his way of making sinners righteous.

If you connect this verse with Rom 1:17, you will note that Paul understands the Gospel of Christ to be the means by which God "reveals" or "manifests" his way of making sinners righteous, i.e. through the redemptive work of the Lord Jesus Christ. God's "revelation" was restricted to the Jewish people under the Old Covenant, "BUT NOW" it is opened up "UNTO ALL

The former distinctions between Jew/Gentile are now obsolete. Since God has a people among the Gentiles as well as among the Jews, He has been pleased to make the revelation of redemption known to them as well. In this, the initial promise to Abraham that "In thee shall ALL THE NATIONS [note: not just his own natural descendants] be blessed" is fulfilled (cf. Rom. 4:2ff; Gal. 3).

In other words, the Abrahamic Covenant was intended to be international in scope. When one distinguishes between the FACT of redemption and the REVELATION or manifestation of redemption, as between the objective reality and the subjective awareness, it becomes clear why Paul finds it necessary to emphasize that the former class distinctions between people no longer, i.e.
since Christ, exist. All believers in Jesus Christ, not just Abraham's physical descendants, regardless of ethnicity, socioeconomic status, or gender, may rejoice in the good news that God has made His people righteous by the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ. So, the passage is not talking about the objective fact of eternal salvation, but the subjective manifestation of that fact in the gospel – a gospel that is available to “all”

God’s children, regardless of their ethnicity. It's not an easy passage, but it is important to grasp the central theme. I hope my ramblings help a little. God bless.