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Romans Chapter Three


Romans 3

Having established the great truth that God required real moral goodness, he considers the position of the Jews. Could they not plead special divine favour? Was there no advantage in Judaism? Surely there was, especially in that they possessed the oracles of God. The ways of God were full of blessing in themselves, although that did not change the immutable truths of His nature. And if many among them had been unbelieving, this did not alter the faithfulness of God; and the fact that the unbelief of many did but the more demonstrate the faithfulness of God, who remained the same whatever they might be, took nothing from the claims of righteousness. Unbelievers should be punished according to what they were; it would but magnify the unfailing faithfulness of God, which never failed, however unavailing it might be for the mass of the nation. Otherwise He could judge no one, not even the world (which the Jew was willing to see judged); for the condition of the world also enhanced and put in evidence the faithfulness of God towards His people. If then the Jew had advantages, was he therefore better? In no wise: all were shut up under sin, whether Jew or Gentile, as God had already declared. [1]

The apostle now cites the Old Testament to prove this with regard to the Jews, who did not deny it with regard to the Gentiles which he had already also shewn. The law, says he, belongs to you. You boast that it refers to you exclusively. Be it so: hear then what it says of the people, of yourselves. It speaks to you, as you acknowledge. There is not then one righteous man among you on whom God can look down from heaven. He quotes Psalm 14:2, 3; Isaiah 59:7, 8, to set forth the judgment pronounced on them by those oracles of which they boasted. Thus every mouth was shut, and all the world guilty before God. Therefore it is that no flesh can be justified before God by the law; for if the world in the midst of darkness wallowed in sin, by means of the law sin was known.

But now, without law, apart from all law, a righteousness that is of God has been manifested, the law and the prophets bearing witness to it.

Hence then we find not only the condition of the Gentiles and of the Jews set forth, together with the great immutable principles of good and evil, whatever might be the dealings of God, but the effect of the law itself, and that which was introduced by Christianity as regarded righteousness, altogether outside the law, although the law and the prophets bore witness to it. In a word, the eternal truth as to sin and as to the responsibility of man, the effect of the law, the connection of the Old Testament with Christianity, the true character of the latter in that which relates to righteousness (namely, that it is a thing entirely new and independent), the righteousness of God Himself-the whole question between man and God, with regard to sin and righteousness, is settled, as to its foundation, in these few words. The manner of its accomplishment is now to be treated of. [2] It is the righteousness of God by faith in Jesus Christ. Man has not accomplished it, man has not procured it. It is of God, it is His righteousness; by believing in Jesus Christ participation in it is obtained. Had it been a human righteousness, it would have been by the law which is the rule of that righteousness-a law given to the Jews only. But being the righteousness of God Himself, it had reference to all; its range embraced not the one more than the other. It was the righteousness of God "unto all." A Jew was not more in relation with the righteousness of God than a Gentile. It was in fact universal in its aspect and in its applicability. A righteousness of God for man, because no man had any for God, it was applied to all those who believe in Jesus. Wherever there was faith, there it was applied. The believer possessed it. It was towards all, and upon all those who believed in Jesus. For there was no difference: all had sinned, and outside the glory of God, [3] deprived of that glory, were justified freely by His grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. Whether a Jew or a Gentile, it was a sinful man: the righteousness was the righteousness of God; the goodness of God was that which bestowed it, redemption in Christ Jesus the divine means of having part in it. [4] Before the accomplishment of this redemption, God, in view of it, had in patience borne with the faithful, and His righteousness in forgiving them was now clearly manifested. But, further, the righteousness itself was manifested: we come to Christ as a propitiatory that God has set forth before men, and we find on it the blood which gives us free access to God in righteousness,-God whose glory is satisfied in the work that Christ Jesus has accomplished, His blood upon the mercy-seat bearing witness thereof. It is no longer "forbearance"-righteousness is manifested, so that God is seen to be righteous and just in justifying him who is of faith in Jesus. Where then is boasting? For the Jews boasted much in reference to the Gentiles-self-righteousness always boasts: it is not a law of works that can shut it out. Man justifying himself by his works would have something to boast in. It is this law of faith, this divine principle on which we are placed, which shuts it out: for it is by the work of another, without works of law, that we through grace have part in divine righteousness, having none of our own.

[5] -the God of the Jews only? No, He is also the God of the Gentiles. And how? In grace: in that it is one God who justifies the Jews (who seek after righteousness) on the principle of faith, and-since justification is on the principle of faith-the believing Gentiles also by faith. Men are justified by faith; the believing Gentile then is justified. With regard to the Jew, it is the principle which is established (for they were seeking the righteousness). With regard to the Gentile, since faith existed in the case supposed, he was justified, for justification was on that principle.

Is it then that faith overturned the authority of law? By no means. It established completely the authority of law; but it made man participate in divine righteousness, while acknowledging his just and total condemnation by the law when under it-a condemnation which made another righteousness necessary, since according to the law man had none-had none of his own. The law demanded righteousness, but it shewed sin was there. If righteousness which it demanded had not been necessary, when it failed to produce it in man, there was no need of another. Now faith affirmed this need and the validity of man's condemnation under law, by making the believer participate in this other righteousness, which is that of God. That which the law demanded it did not give; and even, because it demanded it, man failed to produce it. To have given it would have effaced the obligation. God acts in grace, when the obligation of the law is fully maintained in condemnation. He gives righteousness, because it must be had. He does not efface the obligation of the law, according to which man is totally condemned; [6] but, while recognising and affirming the justice of that condemnation, He glorifies Himself in grace by granting a divine righteousness to man, when he had no human righteousness to present before God in connection with the obligations imposed on him by the law. Nothing ever put divine sanction on the law like the death of Christ, who bore its curse, but did not leave us under it. Faith does not then annul law; it fully establishes its authority. It shews man righteously condemned under it, and maintains the authority of the law in that condemnation, for it holds all who are under it to be under the curse. [7] The reader will remark that what is distinctly set forth to the end of this third chapter is the blood of Christ as applying itself to the sins of the old man, hence making forgiving a righteous thing, and the believer clear from sins, because cleared by Christ's blood. This met all the guilt of the old man.

We now enter on another aspect of that which justifies, but still proves sins; not yet, however, putting us in a new place-that of resurrection, in connection with, and consequent on, this.


[1] Note here a very important principle, that there are positive advantages of position, where there is no intrinsic change. Compare chapter 11:17, and 1 Corinthians 10.

[2] Chapter 3:21 reverts in fact to chapter 1:17; what comes between is the demonstration of the ground of chapter 1:18, which made the righteousness of verse 17 imperatively necessary.

[3] Remark here how, God being revealed, sin is measured by the glory of God. We are so used to read this that we overlook its force. How strange to say, "and come short of the glory of God!" Man might say, Why, of course we have; but, morally speaking, this has been revealed, and if one cannot stand before it, according to it, we cannot subsist before God at all. Of course it is not of His essential glory-all creatures are short of that, of course-but of that which was fitting for, according to, could stand in, His presence. If we cannot stand there, fitly "walk in the light as God is in the light," we cannot be with God at all. There is no veil now.

[4] To shew how complete is this instruction of Paul's, I give here a summary of its elements. In itself it is the righteousness of God, without law, the law and the prophets bearing witness to it: as to its application, the righteousness of God by faith in Christ Jesus unto all, and upon all them that believe. Christ is proposed as the propitiatory by faith in His blood, to shew forth this righteousness by the remission of past sins (of the Abrahams, etc.) according to the forbearance of God; but to shew it forth in the present time, in order that He may be just, and justify those who believe in Jesus.

[5] See here again how God is brought out in Himself. Compare Matthew 15:19-28.

[6] The law is the perfect rule of right and wrong for every child of Adam in itself, though only given to the Jews. But it was not arbitrary. It took up all the relationships in which men stood, gave a perfect rule as to them, and the sanction of God's authority to them, with a penal sanction. But now we have something much higher, not what man ought to be, but God Himself glorified.

[7] Hence those who put Christians under law do not maintain its authority; for they hold them exempt from its curse, though they break it.

── John DarbySynopsis of Romans


Romans 3

Chapter Contents

Objections answered. (1-8) All mankind are sinners. (9-18) Both Jews and Gentiles cannot be justified by their own deeds. (19,20) It is owing to the free grace of God, through faith in the righteousness of Christ, yet the law is not done away. (21-31)

Commentary on Romans 3:1-8

(Read Romans 3:1-8)

The law could not save in or from sins, yet it gave the Jews advantages for obtaining salvation. Their stated ordinances, education in the knowledge of the true God and his service, and many favours shown to the children of Abraham, all were means of grace, and doubtless were made useful to the conversion of many. But especially the Scriptures were committed to them. Enjoyment of God's word and ordinances, is the chief happiness of a people. But God's promises are made only to believers; therefore the unbelief of some, or of many professors, cannot make this faithfulness of no effect. He will fulfil his promises to his people, and bring his threatened vengeance upon unbelievers. God's judging the world, should for ever silence all doubtings and reflections upon his justice. The wickedness and obstinate unbelief of the Jews, proved man's need of the righteousness of God by faith, and also his justice in punishing for sin. Let us do evil, that good may come, is oftener in the heart than in the mouth of sinners; for few thus justify themselves in their wicked ways. The believer knows that duty belongs to him, and events to God; and that he must not commit any sin, or speak one falsehood, upon the hope, or even assurance, that God may thereby glorify himself. If any speak and act thus, their condemnation is just.

Commentary on Romans 3:9-18

(Read Romans 3:9-18)

Here again is shown that all mankind are under the guilt of sin, as a burden; and under the government and dominion of sin, as enslaved to it, to work wickedness. This is made plain by several passages of Scripture from the Old Testament, which describe the corrupt and depraved state of all men, till grace restrain or change them. Great as our advantages are, these texts describe multitudes who call themselves Christians. Their principles and conduct prove that there is no fear of God before their eyes. And where no fear of God is, no good is to be looked for.

Commentary on Romans 3:19,20

(Read Romans 3:19,20)

It is in vain to seek for justification by the works of the law. All must plead guilty. Guilty before God, is a dreadful word; but no man can be justified by a law which condemns him for breaking it. The corruption in our nature, will for ever stop any justification by our own works.

Commentary on Romans 3:21-26

(Read Romans 3:21-26)

Must guilty man remain under wrath? Is the wound for ever incurable? No; blessed be God, there is another way laid open for us. This is the righteousness of God; righteousness of his ordaining, and providing, and accepting. It is by that faith which has Jesus Christ for its object; an anointed Saviour, so Jesus Christ signifies. Justifying faith respects Christ as a Saviour, in all his three anointed offices, as Prophet, Priest, and King; trusting in him, accepting him, and cleaving to him: in all these, Jews and Gentiles are alike welcome to God through Christ. There is no difference, his righteousness is upon all that believe; not only offered to them, but put upon them as a crown, as a robe. It is free grace, mere mercy; there is nothing in us to deserve such favours. It comes freely unto us, but Christ bought it, and paid the price. And faith has special regard to the blood of Christ, as that which made the atonement. God, in all this, declares his righteousness. It is plain that he hates sin, when nothing less than the blood of Christ would satisfy for it. And it would not agree with his justice to demand the debt, when the Surety has paid it, and he has accepted that payment in full satisfaction.

Commentary on Romans 3:27-31

(Read Romans 3:27-31)

God will have the great work of the justification and salvation of sinners carried on from first to last, so as to shut out boasting. Now, if we were saved by our own works, boasting would not be excluded. But the way of justification by faith for ever shuts out boasting. Yet believers are not left to be lawless; faith is a law, it is a working grace, wherever it is in truth. By faith, not in this matter an act of obedience, or a good work, but forming the relation between Christ and the sinner, which renders it proper that the believer should be pardoned and justified for the sake of the Saviour, and that the unbeliever who is not thus united or related to him, should remain under condemnation. The law is still of use to convince us of what is past, and to direct us for the future. Though we cannot be saved by it as a covenant, yet we own and submit to it, as a rule in the hand of the Mediator.

── Matthew HenryConcise Commentary on Romans


Romans 3

Verse 1

[1] What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision?

What then, may some say, is the advantage of the Jew, or of the circumcision - That is, those that are circumcised, above the gentiles?

Verse 2

[2] Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God.

Chiefly in that they were intrusted with the oracles of God — The scriptures, in which are so great and precious promises. Other prerogatives will follow, Romans 9:4-5. St. Paul here singles out this by which, after removing the objection, he will convict them so much the more.

Verse 3

[3] For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect?

Shall their unbelief disannul the faithfulness of God — Will he not still make good his promises to them that do believe?

Verse 4

[4] God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.

Psalms 2:4.

Verse 5

[5] But if our unrighteousness commend the righteousness of God, what shall we say? Is God unrighteous who taketh vengeance? (I speak as a man)

But, it may be farther objected, if our unrighteousness be subservient to God's glory, is it not unjust in him to punish us for it? I speak as a man - As human weakness would be apt to speak.

Verse 6

[6] God forbid: for then how shall God judge the world?

God forbid — By no means. If it were unjust in God to punish that unrighteousness which is subservient to his own glory, how should God judge the world - Since all the unrighteousness in the world will then commend the righteousness of God.

Verse 7

[7] For if the truth of God hath more abounded through my lie unto his glory; why yet am I also judged as a sinner?

But, may the objector reply, if the truth of God hath abounded - Has been more abundantly shown.

Through my lie — If my lie, that is, practice contrary to truth, conduces to the glory of God, by making his truth shine with superior advantage.

Why am I still judged as a sinner — Can this be said to be any sin at all? Ought I not to do what would otherwise be evil, that so much "good may come?" To this the apostle does not deign to give a direct answer, but cuts the objector short with a severe reproof.

Verse 8

[8] And not rather, (as we be slanderously reported, and as some affirm that we say,) Let us do evil, that good may come? whose damnation is just.

Whose condemnation is just — The condemnation of all who either speak or act in this manner. So the apostle absolutely denies the lawfulness of " doing evil," any evil, "that good may come."

Verse 9

[9] What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin;

What then — Here he resumes what he said, verse 1. Romans 3:1.

Under sin — Under the guilt and power of it: the Jews, by transgressing the written law; the gentiles, by transgressing the law of nature.

Verse 10

[10] As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:

As it is written — That all men are under sin appears from the vices which have raged in all ages. St. Paul therefore rightly cites David and Isaiah, though they spoke primarily of their own age, and expressed what manner of men God sees, when he "looks down from heaven;" not what he makes them by his grace.

There is none righteous — This is the general proposition. The particulars follow: their dispositions and designs, Romans 3:11,12; their discourse, Romans 3:13,14; their actions, Romans 3:16-18; Psalms 14:1, etc.

Verse 11

[11] There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.

There is none that understandeth — The things of God.

Verse 12

[12] They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

They have all turned aside — From the good way.

They are become unprofitable — Helpless impotent, unable to profit either themselves or others.

Verse 13

[13] Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips:

Their throat — Is noisome and dangerous as an open sepulchre. Observe the progress of evil discourse, proceeding out of the heart, through the throat, tongue, lips, till the whole mouth is filled therewith.

The poison of asps — Infectious, deadly backbiting, tale-bearing, evil-speaking, is under (for honey is on) their lips. An asp is a venomous kind of serpent. Psalms 5:9; Psalms 140:3.

Verse 14

[14] Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness:

Cursing — Against God.

Bitterness — Against their neighbour. Psalms 10:7.

Verse 15

[15] Their feet are swift to shed blood:

Isaiah 59:7,8

Verse 17

[17] And the way of peace have they not known:

Of peace — Which can only spring from righteousness.

Verse 18

[18] There is no fear of God before their eyes.

The fear of God is not before their eyes — Much less is the love of God in their heart. Psalms 36:1.

Verse 19

[19] Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.

Whatsoever the law — The Old Testament.

Saith, it saith to them that are under the law — That is, to those who own its authority; to the Jews, and not the gentiles. St. Paul quoted no scripture against them, but pleaded with them only from the light of nature.

Every mouth — Full of bitterness, Romans 3:14, and yet of boasting, Romans 3:27.

May become guilty — May be fully convicted, and apparently liable to most just condemnation. These things were written of old, and were quoted by St. Paul, not to make men criminal, but to prove them so.

Verse 20

[20] Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

No flesh shall be justified — None shall be forgiven and accepted of God.

By the works of the law — On this ground, that he hath kept the law. St. Paul means chiefly the moral part of it, Romans 3:9,19; Romans 2:21,26; etc. which alone is not abolished, Romans 3:31. And it is not without reason, that he so often mentions the works of the law, whether ceremonial or moral; for it was on these only the Jews relied, being wholly ignorant of those that spring from faith. For by the law is only the knowledge of sin - But no deliverance either from the guilt or power of it.

Verse 21

[21] But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;

But now the righteousness of God — That is, the manner of becoming righteous which God hath appointed.

Without the law — Without that previous obedience which the law requires; without reference to the law, or dependence on it.

Is manifested — In the gospel. Being attested by the Law itself, and by the Prophets - By all the promises in the Old Testament.

Verse 22

[22] Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:

To all — The Jews.

And upon all — The gentiles That believe: for there is no difference - Either as to the need of justification, or the manner of it.

Verse 23

[23] For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

For all have sinned — In Adam, and in their own persons; by a sinful nature, sinful tempers, and sinful actions.

And are fallen short of the glory of God — The supreme end of man; short of his image on earth, and the enjoyment of him in heaven.

Verse 24

[24] Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:

And are justified — Pardoned and accepted.

Freely — Without any merit of their own.

By his grace — Not their own righteousness or works.

Through the redemption — The price Christ has paid.

Freely by his grace — One of these expressions might have served to convey the apostle's meaning; but he doubles his assertion, in order to give us the fullest conviction of the truth, and to impress us with a sense of its peculiar importance. It is not possible to find words that should more absolutely exclude all consideration of our own works and obedience, or more emphatically ascribe the whole of our justification to free, unmerited goodness.

Verse 25

[25] Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;

Whom God hath set forth — Before angels and men.

A propitiation — To appease an offended God. But if, as some teach, God never was offended, there was no need of this propitiation. And, if so, Christ died in vain.

To declare his righteousness — To demonstrate not only his clemency, but his justice; even that vindictive justice whose essential character and principal office is, to punish sin.

By the remission of past sins — All the sins antecedent to their believing.

Verse 26

[26] To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.

For a demonstration of his righteousness — Both of his justice and mercy.

That he might be just — Showing his justice on his own Son. And yet the merciful justifier of every one that believeth in Jesus. That he might be just - Might evidence himself to be strictly and inviolably righteous in the administration of his government, even while he is the merciful justifier of the sinner that believeth in Jesus. The attribute of justice must be preserved inviolate; and inviolate it is preserved, if there was a real infliction of punishment on our Saviour. On this plan all the attributes harmonize; every attribute is glorified, and not one superseded no, nor so much as clouded.

Verse 27

[27] Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.

Where is the boasting then of the Jew against the gentile? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay - This would have left room for boasting.

But by the law of faith — Since this requires all, without distinction, to apply as guilty and helpless sinners, to the free mercy of God in Christ. The law of faith is that divine constitution which makes faith, not works, the condition of acceptance.

Verse 28

[28] Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.

We conclude then that a man is justified by faith — And even by this, not as it is a work, but as it receives Christ; and, consequently, has something essentially different from all our works whatsoever.

Verse 29

[29] Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also:

Surely of the gentiles also — As both nature and the scriptures show.

Verse 30

[30] Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith.

Seeing it is one God who — Shows mercy to both, and by the very same means.

Verse 31

[31] Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.

We establish the law — Both the authority, purity, and the end of it; by defending that which the law attests; by pointing out Christ, the end of it; and by showing how it may be fulfilled in its purity.

── John WesleyExplanatory Notes on Romans


Chapter 3. The Sin of All

The Principle of Observing the Law
The Principle of Faith

I. Sophistry of Refusing to Confess Sins

  1. Man's Unbelief
  2. Man's Unrighteousness
  3. Man's Absurdity

II. Conviction Under the Law

  1. No One Is Righteous
  2. Filthiness of Mouths and Tongues
  3. Become Conscious of Sin through the Law

III. Righteousness Apart from Law

  1. God's Grace
  2. Justified by Faith
  3. Uphold the Law
── Chih-Hsin ChangAn Outline of The New Testament
Chapter Three general Review
1) To understand the particulars of God's righteousness:  grace,
   redemption, propitiation, faith in Jesus, and justification
2) To see the difference between a law of works and the law of faith
As Paul continues to demonstrate the Jews' need of salvation, he 
proceeds to answer questions that he envisions protesting Jews might 
ask.  He explains the advantage of being a Jew, the faithfulness of God 
in spite of the Jews' unbelief, and the right of God to condemn the
unrighteousness of man even though it magnifies His Own righteousness
(1-8).  Though the Jews had the advantage of possessing the oracles of
God, Paul still concludes that the Jews as well as the Gentiles are in
sin and proves his conclusion by listing a series of Old Testament
scriptures that speaks to those under the Law (the Jews) as sinners
(9-19).  His conclusion:  a law (like the Law of Moses) could not save,
but only reveal the knowledge of sin; a point he will elaborate upon in 
chapter seven (20).
Paul now carefully begins to explain the "good news" of God's plan of 
salvation.  Apart from law, yet witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 
God's way of making man right through faith in Jesus Christ is now made 
clear, and made available to all who believe, whether Jew or Greek, for
all have sinned (21-23).
This justification of man is explained in terms of redemption, made 
possible through the blood of Christ, and offered to those who have 
faith in Christ.  It also demonstrates how God can be both "just" (who
takes seriously the sins of mankind) and "a justifier" (who is able to 
forgive sinners).  God is able to do this by offering Christ's blood as 
a propitiation to those who have faith (24-26).
This "justification" is a gift of God's grace to those who have faith, 
which prevents anyone from boasting as though they through the works of 
a law deserved it (27-30).  This does not void the need for law, but
rather meets the requirement of law (31).
OUTLINE (adapted from Jim McGuiggan)
      1. In many respects (1)
      2. Especially in having the "Oracles of God" (2)
      1. Unbelieving Jews will not make the faithfulness of God without
         effect (3-4)
      2. God is right to be angry, even if "unrighteousness"
         demonstrates His Own righteousness (5-6)
      3. Though sin might increase God's truth and give Him glory,
         people will still be judged for their sins (7-8)
      1. Despite advantages, Jews like Greeks are under sin (9)
      2. Biblical proof (10-18)
      3. Application and conclusion (19-20)
         a. The Law condemns all, especially to whom it was given (19)
         b. Law cannot justify, but only reveal the knowledge of sin
      1. Apart from law, but witnessed by the Law (21)
      2. A righteousness through faith in Jesus (22a)
      3. For all who believe, for all have sinned (22b-23)
      1. Justification by grace through redemption in Christ (24)
      2. Jesus' blood offered by God as a propitiation through faith
      3. This demonstrates God's righteousness toward the one who has
         faith in Jesus (25b-26)
      1. Boasting on man's part is excluded (27a)
      2. For justification is based on faith, not deeds of law (27b-28)
      3. God is God of Jews and Gentiles, for He justifies both by
         faith (29-30)
      4. This does not void the need for law, but rather meets the 
         requirements of law (31)
redemption - "a releasing, a payment for a ransom; refers to being
              released from the guilt of sin by the blood of Christ"
justified - "a legal term, indicating a verdict of 'not guilty'; in
             regards to sin, he who is justified is not held
             accountable for his sins"
propitiation - "used to refer to an offering designed to appease; God
               offers the blood of Christ to appease for man's sins"
sin - "a missing of the mark" (Ro 3:23) -- "a breaking of the law"
      (1 Jn 3:4)
1) List the main points of this chapter
   - The Jews' Need Of Salvation (1-20)
   - The Provision:  Justification By Faith (21-31)
2) What advantage was there in being a Jew? (2)
   - They possessed the revealed oracles of God
3) What comes through law? (20)
   - The knowledge of sin
4) What came apart from law? (21)
   - The righteousness of God (God's way of justifying sinful man)
5) Who has sinned? (23)
   - All have sinned
6) What is the gift of God's grace? (24)
   - Being justified through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus
7) How is God appeased for our sins? (25)
   - Through the blood of Jesus Christ
8) How does man receive justification from God? (28)
   - By faith
9) How does "justification by faith" relate to the principle of law?
   - It does not void the need for law, but rather supports the demand
     of law


The Righteousness Of God Revealed (Ro 3:21-31)
1. A major theme in the book of Romans is the righteousness of God...
   a. It is mentioned in connection with the gospel of Christ - Ro 1:
   b. It is the major subject of discussion in chapters 1-11
2. The phrase "righteousness of God" can be understood in two ways...
   a. God's own personal righteousness (i.e., His justice)
   b. God's system of making man righteous (i.e., forgiving man of sin)
   -- Both concepts are addressed in the book of Romans, but the latter
      in particular
3. In chapters 1-3, Paul describes man's need for righteousness...
   a. How the Gentiles are in need of salvation - Ro 1:18-2:16
   b. How the Jews are in need of salvation - Ro 2:17-3:20
   -- Concluding that all the world is guilty, even Israel who had the
      Law - Ro 3:19-20
[But now in our text (Ro 3:21-31), Paul explains how the righteousness
of God has been revealed.  It was revealed in part even...]
      1. "A righteousness that does not spring from perfect obedience to
         law " - B. W. Johnson
      2. "In a way different from personal obedience to the law."
         - Barnes
         a. "It does not mean that God abandoned his law; or that Jesus
            Christ did not regard the law, for he came to "magnify" it,
            (Isa 42:21) or that sinners after they are justified have no
            regard to the law;" - Barnes
         b. "But it means simply what the apostle had been endeavoring
            to show, that justification could not be accomplished by
            personal obedience to any law of Jew or Gentile, and that it
            must be accomplished in some other way." - Barnes
      -- I.e., a system of justification that does not depend upon one's
         perfect obedience
      1. How?  Through shadows and figures (e.g., animal sacrifices)
         - He 10:1-4
         a. The need for animal sacrifices showed that man's perfect
            obedience was inadequate
         b. Of course, animal sacrifices themselves were not adequate,
            but a shadow
      2. How?  Through prophetic utterances - Gen 15:6; Isa 53:4-6,
         10-12; Hab 2:4
         a. E.g., that Abraham's faith was reckoned for righteousness
         b. E.g., that suffering Servant would bear our iniquities
         c. E.g., that the just would live by faith
      -- God's ultimate system of justification (making one righteous)
         was attested to throughout the law and the prophets!
[But what was witnessed through figures and prophetic utterances has now
been fully revealed...]
      1. God's way of making men righteous requires faith in Jesus
         Christ - Ro 3:22
         a. We must believe in Him, or die in our sins - Jn 8:24
         b. We must believe in Him, if we desire eternal life - Jn 20:
      2. A way of salvation available to all who believe in Jesus - Ro
         a. There is no difference (between Jew and Gentile)
         b. For all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God
            (chapters 1-3)
      -- It is not just faith that saves, but faith in Jesus Christ, who
         died for our sins!
      1. Offered freely by His grace - Ro 3:24-25
         a. Through redemption in Jesus (His blood, the purchase price)
            - Ep 1:6,7; 1 Pe 1:18-19
         b. Jesus offered as a propitiation (a sacrifice to appease
            God's wrath) - 1 Jn 2:2; 4:10
      2. Demonstrating God's righteousness - Ro 3:25-26
         a. He is just (righteous)
            1) How could God be righteous when He had "passed over" sins
               previously committed (the blood of animals did not truly
               remove sin)?
            2) He knew that Christ would one day bear the sins of the
               world! - cf. He 9:15
         b. He is the justifier (the one who makes others righteous)
            1) His grace makes redemption possible!
            2) His propitiation (Jesus) makes forgiveness possible!
      -- Yet this justification is only for the one who has faith in
         Jesus! - Ro 3:26
      1. Excluded by the law of faith - Ro 3:27-30
         a. One cannot boast about the works they do - cf. Lk 17:10
         b. That faith is required implies that works cannot save
         c. The "law of faith" (principle of faith) revealed that
            Christ's sacrifice was necessary
      2. Establishing the principle of law - Ro 3:31
         a. Justification by faith does not render obedience obsolete
            - cf. He 5:9
         b. Whether it was the Law of Moses under the Old Covenant, or
            the Will of Christ under the New Covenant, God calls for
            obedience! - cf. Mt 28:20; Ti 2:11-12
         c. "It does not mean that God abandoned his law; or that Jesus
            Christ did not regard the law, for he came to "magnify" it,
            (Isa 42:21) or that sinners after they are justified have
            no regard to the law;" - Barnes
      -- God's way of making man righteous by an obedient faith
         eliminates boasting in one's works, while upholding God's call
         for holy living!
1. The mistake made by many Jews...
   a. Believing their obedience and animal sacrifices (i.e., the Law)
      was all they needed
   b. Failing to heed the Law and the Prophets, who bore witness
      regarding God's justification - cf. Ro 10:1-4
2. The mistake many people make today...
   a. Believing that faith only saves, and obedience is not necessary
   b. Failing to heed the gospel and the apostles, that the faith which
      saves is an obedient faith - cf. Ro 1:5; 6:17-18; 16:25-26
When one is careful to note "The Righteousness Of God Revealed", they
learn that God saves those whose faith in Jesus prompt them to obey His
Word. Their obedience does not earn or merit salvation, but receives the
grace of God who has given Jesus as the propitiation for their sins.
Has your faith in Jesus led you to obey His Word? - cf. Mk 16:15-16; Ac
2:38; Re 2:10


--《Executable Outlines


The Sin of All

The Principle of Observing the Law

The Principle of Faith


I.  Sophistry of Refusing to Confess Sins

1.    Man’s Unbelief

2.    Man’s Unrighteousness

3.    Man’s Absurdity

II.Conviction Under the Law

1.    No One Is Righteous

2.    Filthiness of Mouths and Tongues

3.    Become Conscious of Sin through the Law

III.       Righteousness Apart from Law

1.    God’s Grace

2.    Justified by Faith

3.    Uphold the Law

-- Chih-Hsin ChangAn Outline of The New Testament