What should be our response to this astounding, heart-delighting, glorious doctrine of free justification through the blood and righteousness of Christ?  Or, to phrase the question in such a way as to stay in line with what Paul is about to argue, What will men say in view of this doctrine?  When they hear that salvation is entirely of God’s free grace, and that sinners are entirely justified before God, brought out of the dominion of sin and under the reign of grace, and given a righteousness that can never be defiled, what will be the response?  Of course, the response of the believer will be to glorify and praise with all his heart the God Who has shown such unspeakable grace to the ungodly.  But what about others who are listening to Paul with a critical ear, and considering in their minds what must be the logical outcome of this doctrine of free grace?

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The apostle knew full well, doubtless by experience even more so than by intuition, precisely how men would respond.  No doubt he had engaged in many a vigorous discourse, with his Jewish brethren in particular, over these very matters.  If salvation is entirely apart from our keeping the law, but is God’s free gift of grace to those who believe on Christ, what will men do when they embrace that doctrine?  The natural inclination of all men, who believe by nature that they must do something by themselves to earn God’s favor, is to affirm that this doctrine will result in licentiousness.  If I may be saved, my sins cleansed and righteousness imputed to me, no matter how great my sins, and without any consideration of personal reformation and good works, then I may as well pursue sin with a clear conscience; so says the man who dislikes the idea of salvation being entirely of grace, with not a single ounce of the credit going to him.

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