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Theological and pastoral giants such as Martin Luther, John Calvin, Robert Haldane, Charles Hodge, D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, James Montgomery Boice, and many others consider Paul’s letter to the Romans to be the most influential document ever written. John MacArthur even claimed that “most, if not all the great revivals and reformations in the history of the church have been directly related to the Book of Romans.”
About 500 years ago, Martin Luther, a pious and earnest Catholic priest had no peace of soul and he wanted to please God and to be accepted by Him. But the harder he worked to grow closer to God, the more he found himself moving away from Him. In fact, he found himself developing secret anger against God for making a standard of righteousness so impossible to attain.
In desperation Luther turned to a study of Paul’s letter to the Romans and there, as early as the 17th verse of chapter 1, he found the solution: “For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.” This was the passage the led to his salvation.
Later in life he wrote many things about the doctrine of justification by faith, which he had learned from Romans 1:17. He would call it “the chief article from which all our other doctrines have flowed.” He called it “the master and prince, the lord, the ruler and the judge over all kinds of doctrines.” He said, “If the article of justification is lost, all Christian doctrine is lost at the same time.” He argued, “It alone begets, nourishes, builds, preserves, and defends the church of God, and without it the church of God cannot exist for one hour.” (James M. Boice).
Now let us look at the book that transformed so many lives, focusing only on 3:21-26, which is the Heart of the Gospel.
Yesterday, we covered several chapters of the book of Romans. We covered the theme of this letter in 1:16-17. Immediately after the theme, Paul proceeds to explain why the whole world needs the righteousness of God. And the reason is because of the wrath of God. All the world, whether Jews or Gentiles are under sin and so everyone is under God’s wrath. Paul proved this by Spirit-inspired arguments and support from Scriptures.
As I told you yesterday, after Paul gave us the theme of the book of Romans (1:16-17), he did no jump immediately to the heart of the gospel which is still in chapter 3:21-26. Paul first explained why the world needs the righteousness that comes from God. His reason is because the wrath of God is upon the world without any exception because all are under sin.
It is important for Paul to present first the bad news of man’s condemnation for him to be prepared to receive the good news of man’s justification by faith. Unless we realize our deplorable and desperate condition first, we are not going to appreciate the gospel.
From John MacArthur, Ashamed of the Gospel (131-133):
The gospel is not all good news. In fact, it is not good news at all for those who turn away from Christ. Note that the starting point for Paul’s gospel is God’s wrath against sin: “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men” (v.18). Paul then spends more than two full chapters systematically proving that all humanity is sinful and under the wrath of God.
God’s wrath is almost entirely missing from modern presentations of the gospel. It is not fashionable to speak of God’s wrath against sin or to tell people they should fear God. The typical presentation today starts exactly opposite where Paul started. He wrote of “the wrath of God. . . against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men.” But modern evangelism begins with, “God loves you and wants to make you happy.. .”
The gospel is not complete without both sides… There must be biblical balance of negative and positive, or we’re not ministering according to the will of God. And the strategy currently in fashion is to try to style the gospel so that it is entirely positive. That can’t be the biblical message. It certainly is not the gospel that is the power of God unto salvation.
Now let’s turn to Romans 3:21-26 and get into…
The Heart of the Gospel
This section begins with the words, “but now.” This indicates that we are now dealing with a new section. The words, “but now,” not only mark the turning point in the letter but they provide us with a contrast to all that Paul has been saying before. These words indicate that there has been a change in time or in history. Before, something bad had existed. Now that has changed. Before, God dealt with the world in one way, but now, He is dealing with the world in a different way.
In Romans 3:21-26, we come to the most important passage regarding our salvation.
There are seven things I want us to see about the heart of the gospel.
The gospel is about the “righteousness of God.”
But now the righteousness of God
I mentioned yesterday that the “righteousness of God” refers to God’s absolute moral perfection. This means that the everyone who wants to be in a relationship with Him must also be morally perfect. Every thought, word, and deed from the moment of birth to the moment of death must be found in perfect conformity with the nature and will of God. The only person who has perfectly lived according to this standard is Jesus Christ. Christ’s righteousness perfectly matches God’s perfect law and holy character. Christ’s righteousness is the only righteousness that God approves. This is the righteousness that man needs so that he can stand before God and be delivered from His wrath and condemnation. God bestows Christ’s righteousness on man, putting it into his account, when he trusts in Christ.
This righteousness has now been manifested.
But now the righteousness of God has been manifested
The Jews thought that justification would take place only in the eschatological future and in the day of final judgment. They thought that life here on earth was simply a preparation for this. This was considered as something hidden in God. Against this, Paul preached the revelation of this righteousness of God no longer in terms of waiting and uncertainty. This righteousness from God is available now and sinners can receive it now. How? We come to the next truth.
This righteousness is “apart from the law.”
But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law,
When Paul writes that this righteousness is “apart from the law” what he means is that this righteousness is not gained by observing the law. This is the point at which Christianity is distinguished categorically from every other human religions. All religions except for Christianity suppose that there is something human beings can do for God to convince him to save them. They teach a human way to be saved and to enter eternal life. Only Christianity humbles man by insisting that there is nothing at all we can do to work our salvation.
This righteousness has been promised in the OT.
although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it
The Law and the Prophets is one of the ways the Jews refer to the OT Scriptures (Mt 5:17, Lk 16:31). The Jews divided the Scriptures into two parts—the Law including the five books of Moses, and the Prophets including all the other books. Now Paul says that the OT Scriptures already spoke about and promised the righteousness of God.
- Gen 3:15—(”protoevangelium,” the first announcement of the gospel) God speaks of the coming of Jesus Christ who would be wounded by Satan. Although Satan would strike his heel, Christ would crush Satan’s head, destroying Satan and his works forever.
- The animal sacrifices in the OT prefigure Christ’s sacrifice as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.
- The ceremonial law of Israel points to Jesus Christ who fulfilled the meaning of the sacrifices.
- More than that, each item of the temple furnishings and each detail of the rites of Israel’s worship point to him.
- The prophetic books also bear witness to this righteousness of God. Isaiah prophesies about the God’s suffering servant who is Jesus Christ, who will suffer and take our sins.
Isaiah 53:4-6, Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. 5 But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
The OT talks of justification by faith.
- Gen 15:6 And he believed the LORD, and he counted it to him as righteousness.
- Hab 2:4 “the righteous shall live by his faith.”
This righteousness becomes ours through faith in Jesus Christ. (v.22a)
—the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe
“Faith” is the means, the instrument, the way, or the channel by which man receives the righteousness of God. It is not faith itself that saves. We are saved because of the “object” of our faith. It is faith in Jesus Christ. Remove Christ as the proper object and there is no salvation.
This way of righteousness is the same for everyone. (22b-23)
For there is no distinction: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
Why does this righteousness come to all only by faith (v.22)? Why can’t anyone claim exemption? Why can’t any saved person say, “I have been saved by another way—not just by faith but by my own good works. I was saved not by means of another person’s righteousness but by my own.”? Why can’t any human being claim that? Paul’s answer is this: “for (because) there is no distinction: for (because) all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
What Paul is saying is this. The reason why man must be saved by faith, trusting only in the righteousness of Christ and not by self-effort, trusting in one’s own righteousness—is because all men, whether Jew or Gentile, are both in the same condition. There is no distinction! No race is better than the other in terms of position or state before God. Jews cannot claim to be in a better condition, spiritually speaking, than the Gentiles. The reason is because- “all have sinned.”
We have seen this yesterday in Paul conclusion in Romans 3:9-18 that ”all are under sin. No one is righteous, not even one.” That is why both Jew and Gentile are under God’s wrath and condemnation. All have missed the mark. Instead of hitting the mark (or God’s standard) we fail to hit it. All have transgressed of the law. All are unrighteous and ungodly. All are morally corrupt. There is always this proneness in our hearts towards evil.
And in addition to that (and here is something that may be very difficult to understand and to accept), when Paul says, “all have sinned,” he may also be referring to our sin in Adam. This is the sin that Paul described in (Rom 5:12 Sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin…because all sinned.). Adam was made by God to be the head and representative of all his descendants by natural birth. As he was their natural head, therefore when he fell all of the human beings except Christ who will come from Adam fell with him.
Paul adds that “all fall short of the glory of God.”To fall short of God’s glory is to be deprived of direct communion with God and enjoyment of His presence that man originally enjoyed before he fell into sin. Because all men are sinful by nature and commit sins against God and his fellow man, this access to the divine presence and direct communion with God is not available unless God does something.
This righteousness consists of justification, redemption and propitiation. (24-26)
24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
Paul introduces to us three related words that we can consider the heart of the gospel. And if we are to appreciate more deeply our salvation in Christ, we need to understand these three words: justification, redemption and propitiation. They are very important doctrinal words that make us understand the meaning of the gospel. It is not possible to have anyone of these without the others.
24 and are justified by his grace as a gift,
The concept of “justification” is the leading doctrinal contribution of Romans. Martin Luther wrote, “When the article of justification has fallen, everything has fallen… This is the chief article from which all other doctrines have flowed… It alone begets, nourishes, builds, preserves, and defends the church of God; and without it the church of God cannot exist for one hour.”
What is justification?
Paul Washer, The Gospel’s Power and Message (147-149):
From the Scriptures we learn that God is righteous God. His works are perfect and all His ways are just. He is a God of faithfulness who will not pervert what is right. Being righteous, He cannot be morally neutral or apathetic. He loves righteousness and hates evil. His eyes are too pure to approve evil, and He cannot look upon wickedness with favor. He has established His throne for judgment, and He will judge the world in righteousness. He is a God who has indignation every day.
The Scripture’s testimony concerning the righteousness of God and the evil of man leads us to a great theological and moral problem: How can sinful man stand before the righteousness of God? How can a righteous God have fellowship with wicked men? The psalmist described the problem in this way: “Who may ascend into the hill of the LORD? Or who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted up his soul to an idol, nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive blessing form the LORD.” (Ps 24:3-5).
Right standing in the presence of God requires absolute moral perfection. Every thought, word, and deed from the moment of birth to the moment of death must be found in perfect conformity to the nature and will of God. The slightest flaw or smallest deviation from this standard results in an immediate disqualification. We only need to look to the sin and fall of Adam to learn that there is a great strictness and severity in God’s righteousness. For this reason, when the moralist asks, “what must I do to be saved?” we must place before him the demand of perfect obedience. If, by grace, he is confounded and brought to despair, then we point him to Christ.
The man who would seek to earn a right standing before God is the most pathetic and hopeless of all creatures. Since the fall of Adam, no man has ever fulfilled God’s righteous demands. Our hands are unclean and our hearts impure. We run to falsehood form the womb, and out of the abundance of the heart, we have spoken deceitful things. We have not strength or right to stand before Him. We utterly disqualify ourselves. If anything is ever to be done to mend this breach, God must do it. Justification is a gift given by His grace.
“Justify” language is taken from the world of a court of law and refers to a declaration of status, not to moral transformation. It means “to declare righteous.”
To better understand this concept, let;s look at two passages from the Bible, one from the NT and another from the OT.
First, Luke 7:29. The context of this passage is Jesus is speaking to the crowds and commending John the Baptist. Those who had been baptized by John recognized that God was working through John to accomplish God’s purposes and they agreed that God’s way was right.
(When all the people heard this, and the tax collectors too, they declared God just, having been baptized with the baptism of John)
The phrase “they declared God just” in Greek is literally, “they justified God.” Of course, the people and the tax collectors did not make God to be just—that would be impossible for anyone to do. Rather they declared God to be just…
The second passage I want us to look at is Proverbs 17:15. This verse will once more show us justify means to “declare somebody as righteous” and not “to make someone righteous.”
Proverbs 17:15 “He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous are both alike an abomination to the Lord.”
Here again we see the idea of legal declaration. Just like in Luke 7:29, here in Proverbs 17:15 the word “justifies” means “to declare to be righteous or not guilty,” just as “condemn” means “declare to be guilty.”
It would make no sense to say that to justify here means “to make someone to be good or righteous inside.” Certainly, it would not be an abomination to the Lord if “justify” meant “to make someone good or righteous inside.” In that case, to “justify the wicked” would be a very good thing in God’s sight. But if “justify” means “declare to be righteous,” then it is perfectly clear why “he who justifies the wicked” is an abomination to the LORD.”
And so this is what it means when God justifies the ungodly. It does not mean that the moment a man believes God he is made righteous. If that were the case, the believing one would be transformed into a perfectly righteous being that no longer sins or is even capable of sinning.
To justify means to “declare a sinner to be righteous.” It is to declare that a person is in a right standing with God. The man who God’s testimony regarding His Son is forgiven of all his sin and is declared right before the judgment throne of God.
There are two things that are involved in justification (I learned this from Wayne Grudem.):
- First, justification involves a subtraction, the imputation of our sin to Christ.
The word “impute” is an extremely important theological term. It means to reckon. When Christ suffered and died for our sins, our sins were imputed to Him, that is, God thought of them as belonging to Christ, and Christ paid the penalty for it.
2Co 5:21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
Isa 53:6,12 We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
When 2Co 5:21 says that “God made Christ to be sin” it does not mean that Jesus became a sinner or that his character actually became corrupt or unrighteous. On the cross, Christ did not become sinful; rather our sins were imputed to Him, and God considered Him to be guilty of our crimes and treated Him with the judgment we deserved. He did not become sin by partaking in our corruption but by bearing our guilt. (Paul Washer)
The result is our sin and guilt are subtracted. This means that God declares that all our sins past, present and future have been forgiven and will never be taken into account before the bar of God. The apostle quotes David as saying:
Romans 4:7-8 “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; 8 blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.”
We must not forget that even while He bore our sins, He remained the unblemished and spotless Lamb of God and His sacrifice was a fragrant aroma to His Father. But we must also not forget that although Christ being made sin on our behalf is imputed guilt, it was real guilt, bringing unspeakable anguish to His soul. He truly stood in our place, bore our sin, carried our guilt and experienced the full measure of the wrath of God that our sin deserved. (Ideas from Paul Washer).
- Secondly, justification involves an addition: the imputation of Christ’s perfect righteousness to us.
This is what we see in the second half of 2Co 5:21:
For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
This is the “addition” aspect of justification: the imputation of Christ’s perfect righteousness to us. This means that the righteousness of Christ is reckoned or credited to the account of the believer. What this means is that by Christ’s active obedience and perfect life on earth and as that life is imputed to us, we are judged by God or declared by God to be as righteous as the Lord Jesus Christ. During His earthly life and ministry, the Lord Jesus Christ walked in perfect obedience before God. Paul testifies that Christ “knew no sin.” The writer of Hebrews tells us that He was tempted in all things as we are and yet He was without sin. There was never one moment in the life of Jesus that He did not love the Lord His God with all His heart, soul, mind, and strength. There was not one moment in the His life that He failed to glorify God perfectly and completely, with every fiber of His being. For this reason, God the Father said of Him, “This is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased. ‘
The amazing thing about justification is that this perfect life Jesus lived is imputed to the believer—placed in his account. Having been imputed with the perfect righteousness of Christ, God now looks at the believer and treats Him righteous and declares, This is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.
This is far richer than mere forgiveness. We receive Christ’s perfect righteousness. There is the addition aspect.
R.C. Sproul: Justification means more than just being regarded and treated by God as free from all wrongdoing; it also means that the justified person is regarded as having kept all God’s laws perfectly. To be justified does not only mean to be treated ‘just as if I’d never sinned’. Justification means even more. It is also ‘just as if I’d always perfectly kept God’s law’.
To the man who has seen the depravity of his heart and the shame of his deeds before a holy God, this truth is beyond amazing. It is astounding, staggering, breathtaking, spectacular, phenomenal, extraordinary, mind-blowing, jaw-dropping, nearly unbelievable and altogether wondrous. It calls for ringing of bells, tears of joy and shouts of glory. (Paul Washer, 150)
Paul clearly states in Romans 3:24 that we are justified “by His grace as a gift.” “Grace” means unmerited favor, or kindness shown to one who is utterly undeserving. It also means “without a cause.” It is the same word used by the Lord Jesus to show His disciples that the world’s hostility toward Him was utterly undeserved: “They hated Me without a cause” (Jn 15:25).
“Gift” emphasizes the fact that salvation is not something we work for. We are not saved because we have fulfilled God’s requirements like perfect obedience to his Laws. No. We have done nothing to deserve salvation.
Justification does not improve, nor does deteriorate in time because it is the perfect righteousness of Christ being placed into our account, so that even today, we can already have the assurance that we will go to heaven although we are not yet perfect. This however does not mean that we there is no longer any place for good works. Yes, there is. The justified believers will still do good works, but not in order to be saved, but because they are already saved.
In Romans 3:24, Paul adds that we are justified … through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,
“Redemption” comes from a Greek word which refers to a release that occurred through the payment of a price or a ransom. This word is often used in ancient literature with regard to the release of slaves or captives of war out of the marketplace by the payment of a price. In the NT, redemption refers to the liberation of men from the condemnation and slavery of sin through the blood sacrifice of Christ. (Rev 5:9 says, “for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God.”)
To whom was the ransom paid and from what have we been redeemed? God did not pay the ransom to the devil. Our sin offended God’s justice and kindled His wrath. We are “shut up” to judgment and condemnation without the least recourse to gain our freedom. The justice of God demanded satisfaction through the death of the culprit, for Scripture says, “the wages of sin is death” (Ro 6:23), and “the soul who sins shall die” (Eze 18:4). And so ransom must be paid to the offended God to satisfy His justice. “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us” (Eph 2:4), intervened and made payment for us by sending His only Son to die our death and pay our debt.” Peter writes in 1Pe 1:17-18, “knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ.
In Romans 3:25 Paul adds this wonderful statement:
25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood,
The Bible shows in so many places humans having fellowship with God. But as we have seen, God’s righteousness demands that those who want to have a relationship with Him should also be absolutely morally perfect as He is perfect. The only solution is that people need the righteousness to comes from God as a gift. But this poses a problem. How can God be just while at the same time restrain His judgment and offer forgiveness to those who ought to be condemned? How can God be just and yet grant pardon to wicked men? Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right? Can a just God be apathetic toward sin or brush it under the rug as though it never happened? Can a holy God bring wicked men into fellowship with Himself and still be holy?
To put this problem into a better perspective, listen to this illustration from Paul Washer on page 162 of TGP&M.
Suppose that a man returned home one evening to find his entire family murdered on the floor of his living room, and the assassin was still standing over them with blood on his hands. Suppose that the man captured the assailant and turned him over to the authorities will all the evidence against him. Suppose that on the day of the murderer’s sentencing, the judge made the following declaration: “I am a very loving judge, full of compassion and mercy. I therefore declare you ‘not guilty’ before the bar of justice and free from every penalty of the law.”
What would the victim’s response be to such a verdict? Would he agree that justice had been served? Not at all! He would be appalled at the judge’s justification of this wicked man and call for his immediate removal. He would write his congressional representative, put editorials in the newspapers, and tell everyone who would listen that there is a judge on the bench who is far more corrupt and abominable than the very criminals he sets free! We would probably all agree with his assessment; however, therein lies the problem. If we demand such justice from our earthly judges, should we expect less from the Judge of all the earth?
Romans 3:25 continues to tell us that God “put forward” or “publicly displayed” (NASB) His Son as propitiation. “Put forward” means to set forth in order to expose to public view. On the cross of Calvary, God literally “placarded His Son. (A placard is a poster or sign or notice. To placard something is to place it in public view so it can be seen.) At the precise moment in history, God raised Jesus up on a tree to prove His righteousness to men and angels because throughout human history God has restrained His judgement of sinners and granted forgiveness to those who ought to be condemned. In the New Living Translation, we read,
Romans 3:25-26 (NLT) This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past,26 for he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for he himself is fair and just, and he declares sinners to be right in his sight when they believe in Jesus.
Some Lessons in Closing:
How should the gospel affect our lives?
1. The unbeliever:
Paul Washer: The death of Christ shows how much God hates sin. In light of this terrible truth, we should be careful to heed the warnings of the writer of Hebrews, “How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?” (Heb 2:3). Though we do not see our apathy and unbelief to be a great crime, God sees it differently. In His estimation, we have trampled His Son underfoot, regarded the blood He shed as unclean, and insulted the Spirit of grace who made these things known to us. For this reason he warns, “Vengeance is Mine” and “I will repay.” For this reason, we must hold the gospel and plead with all men to repent and turn to Christ before it is too late. For it is a “fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” (Heb 10:26-31)
2. The believer’s everyday life
The gospel is not just for unbelievers. It is also for the believers. We should prach the gospel to ourselves regularly. When we do, it will affect our lives in the following areas:
a. The gospel will affect my view of myself.
I am only a high school graduate. I am not known by my former classmates. I am a Ramos, but who are the Ramoses? I was above average. Now I feel I am getting forgetful. I am direction challenged. I can’t hear very clearly. I don’t remember very well. I easily forget names and even faces. And many times after our CCM meeting I would be envious of my peers who are very smart. I would read books and I would envy these writers. I feel nervous before coming here. I am rarely original in my insights when I teach or preach. I always stand on the shoulders of great men. You take your pictures with me because you hear me preach on radio, but in Davao, dinadaan daan lang ako. I am an ordinary pastor and many of you are a much better teacher and preacher than me. One we had a conflict in our church that led to the excommunication of our members. some of those whom we excommunicated said, “Yan si Jurem. Duwag naman iyan, eh.” You know what I said, “That’s true.” On my own, I am not brave. I am not intelligent. I am not good. I am nothing. I am dispensable. I am getting old. I am not gaining weight. When all of these criticisms and self-pity starts to overwhelm me, the Lord reminds me, “I am not my own. the Lord owns me. He has declared me, not just good, but righteous with the very righteousness of Christ. I am redeemed with the precious life of Christ. I am a Christian and that is all I am. And I need to keep on growing deeper in this truth because I know the more I convinced of this, the happier I will be.
And when I die, I won’t not be facing God as as a bible teacher or a school administrator or a radio programmer. It is just me a sinner saved by grace. It is me a Christian, regenerated by the Holy Spirit, justified by God, redeemed by Jesus Christ, chosen before the creation of the world, not because God saw I was going to be good, but nothing in me that deserves the love of God, but out of sheer grace and mercy. This is my identity. All I want is to be with Christ and to acquire possession of the inheritance that God has promised to those who are in Christ.
b. The gospel will affect my assurance of salvation.
When I am dying, I will die in peace. I may not be able to say with Paul, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race. I am ready to get my crown.” Lord, I failed. Many times I have disobeyed you. I have not always been faithful to you. But Lord, I only rely on Jesus and His redemption, HIs justification and His propitiation.
c. The gospel will affect my daily life.
Titus 3:3-8: For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. 4 But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. 8 The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works.
This will make me willing to forgive others, give me more confidence in my prayer life; make me more zealous in service His body, in evangelizing, etc.