And now, God’s justice has been manifested apart from the Bible (though the Bible testifies to it): God’s justice through the faithfulness of Christ Jesus to all who trust. For there is no distinction: since all have sinned and lack God’s glory, all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption accomplished in Christ Jesus, whom God presented as a sacrifice of atonement, accomplished through Jesus’ faithfulness unto the shedding of his own blood. God’s justice was demonstrated through the forgiving of sins which had been previously committed, which, because of God’s forbearance, had gone unpunished. God’s justice was demonstrated in the present time, showing God to be just in acquitting on the basis of the faithfulness of Christ Jesus.
What happens to boasting under such circumstances? It is excluded. What excludes it? It is not excluded by actions which serve as boundary markers of a religious community. The only boundary for the people of God which remains is God’s own faithfulness.
We consider that people are justified through faithfulness, and not on the basis of boundary markers. Is God the God of Christians only, and not also of non-Christians? Yes, there is only one God who is God of Christians and non-Christians, and who will thus justify those within the church through faithfulness and those outside it through faithfulness.
So does this talk of faithfulness undermine the Bible? By no means! In fact, we are establishing the Bible.
I apologize for the long delay since my last post in this series. As a reminder, and for those who may be coming across it for the first time, I am trying to translate Romans as faithfully as I can while also paraphrasing it to address Christians. My aim is to allow the text to be heard by Christians today in much the same way that it would have sounded to Jews in the time when Paul wrote, a time before the term Christianity was being used (by Paul at least).