Romans 3

The sum of all sin is coming short of the glory of God for which we were created therefore all the world stands guilty before God, unable by any works to gain acceptance with God. Justification before God is resolved thereby purely into the free grace of God through Jesus Christ to all who will receive it as a free gift.

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

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

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

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.

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)

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

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?

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.

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;

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

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

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

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

14 Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness:

15 Their feet are swift to shed blood:

16 Destruction and misery are in their ways:

17 And the way of peace have they not known:

18 There is no fear of God before their eyes.

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.

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.

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

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:

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

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

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;

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

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

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

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

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

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

Romans 3:1-8 – God Faithful Though Men Be Faithless

   The Jewish people had a great treasure entrusted to them for the benefit of the whole world. This position as stewards for mankind conferred upon them very special privileges, but also exposed them to searching discipline, if they should prove faithless. Some of these advantages are enumerated in Romans 9:4-5. But our failures cannot cancel God’s faithfulness to His covenant promises, II Timothy 2:13. We may always reckon confidently upon His steadfastness to His engagements, whether to the individual or to the nation. It is wonderful, Romans 3:5, how human sin has been a foil to God’s glory, eliciting qualities in His love which otherwise had been unknown; but this cannot excuse our sinfulness.
   If this excuse were admitted, God would clearly have been unjust in punishing sin as He has done; and if that line of argument were maintained, it would be right to do evil, if good were always the outcome. Such an admission would open the door to all kinds of abomination, and the mere suggestion of such a conclusion to this argument ought to silence the objector and cover him with shame. —Through the Bible Day by Day

Romans 3:9-20 – All Justly under Judgment

   A number of quotations are advanced, establishing the hopeless evil of man’s condition. These apply, in the first place, to God’s peculiar people, the Jews; but if true of them, how terrible must be the condition of the great heathen world! Every mouth will be stopped and all the world brought in guilty before God, Romans 3:19. Various organs of the body are enumerated, and in each ease some terrible affirmation is made of inbred depravity. What need for salvation! What can atone for such sin, or cleanse such hearts, save the redeeming grace of God?
   Law here is obviously employed in the wide sense of conscience as well as Scripture. It is God’s ideal held up before our faces, to show us from what we have fallen. The looking-glass is intended, not to wash the face, but to show how much it needs washing. You may commend your soap, and no one will use it; but if you reveal the discoloring filth, people will be only too glad to avail themselves of the cleansing power which otherwise they would neglect and despise. The way to fill the inquiry room is to hold up the divine standard before men’s consciences. —Through the Bible Day by Day

Romans 3:21-31 – All Freely Justified by Grace

   From the universal need the Apostle turns to the all-sufficient remedy. The Law and the Prophets hinted dimly at justification by faith, but did not unveil it. God’s way of justification is to impute righteousness to the believer. He places us in that position in law, before proceeding by the Holy Spirit to bring us into the condition of holiness. The perfect day is imputed to the dawn, the perfect flower to the seed, the finished picture to the crude sketch. As soon as we trust in Jesus we are viewed as standing in Him and justified before the Law; but before us lies the great work of assimilation to His perfect likeness by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
   It is sin to come short, Romans 3:23; and who among us has fulfilled his possibilities of godlikeness? Romans 3:24; Genesis 1:26-27. Though justification costs us nothing but the sacrifice of our pride, it has cost Christ His own blood, Romans 3:25. The propitiatory, or mercy seat, was the golden lid of the Ark which the high priest sprinkled with blood. See Hebrews 9:5. Faith has no room in her household for vaunting and boasting, Romans 3:27. The Law is best honored when the Lawgiver, dwelling within us, fulfills it through us. —Through the Bible Day by Day

Romans 3:26—That He might be just, and the Justifier.

   This verse is often quoted as though the word yet must be inserted to bring out its meaning. “Just, and yet the Justifier.” The marvel of a just God justifying sinful men is thus strongly accentuated. Of course, this is a true thought and marvellous. But it is not the precise idea of the apostle, when he says that the just God is the Justifier of those that have faith in Jesus. He means that the very justice of God has come on our side, and that his love may have its unhindered way, not only consistently with his justice, but because of it.
   This is the heart of the Gospel. Jesus has stood as our representative. He has borne our sin, in its curse and penalty; has met the claims of a broken law, and satisfied the demands of infinite righteousness. To have done this in our name and on our behalf not only makes us free from any penalty which might otherwise have accrued, but gives as a claim—the claim of the righteous—on all those blessings which the righteous government of God has to bestow.
   Directly we become one with Jesus by a living faith, we stand possessed of all that He has done and is. In Him we have already suffered all that the holy law of God could demand as the just penalty of our sins. In Him we have laid in the grave, paying the uttermost farthing that could be exacted. In Him we have been liberated from the prison-house, and have passed into the presence and welcome of God. We may claim, therefore, that the law of God should make for us, as once it made against us. We are saved not only by the grace, but by the justice of God. He is faithful to his Son and just to the law, when He forgives us our sins. —Our Daily Homily