Romans 3 - Grace And Redemption

INTRODUCTION: The Jews were blessed by God to have received his commands and prophecies to be recorded as scripture. Yet all Jews, as well as all Gentiles, are in the grasp of sin. But grace and redemption are made possible to all by faith in Christ Jesus. Paul used the law and the prophets to show the Jews that they cannot be justified before God by keeping the law. This chapter of Romans is in my own paraphrase, to some extent in an amplified style, prepared by examining several translations, and with some use of a Greek lexicon.

NOTE: Verses in the comments are from the 1769 King JamesBible.


A - THE ORACLES OF GOD WERE COMMITTED TO THE JEWS

Romans 3 "1 What advantage is there to being a Jew? or what does it profit to have circumcision? 2 Much in every way: chiefly, because the oracles, commands and prophecies, of God were committed and entrusted to them. 3 What if some did not believe? Shall their unbelief make faith in God to be without effect? 4 God forbid: indeed, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That you might be justified in the things you say, and might overcome when you are judged. 5 But if the unrighteousness of the Jews brings praise and commendation to the righteousness of God, what shall we say? Is God then unrighteous because he gives due punishment with his judgment? I speak as a man in saying such a thing. 6 God forbid: for then how shall God judge the world? 7 For if the truth of God hath flourished abundantly through my lie to increase his glory; why am I also still 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? Their damnation is just."

COMMENTS: Though Paul has described in the previous chapter, many ways in which the Jews had failed to display, and profit from, their blessings from God, all of those failures could not nullify what God had done through them. They had been given Gods commands for living in the manner that is pleasing to him. They recorded as scripture those important truths and prophecies that reveal the way of salvation for the soul, and verify how God will finally bring all events of history to the conclusion he has designed. Though many Jews did not trust and follow God's leading, they could not expect to be saved anyway just because they were Jews.

Even if every person was judged to be a liar by rejecting God's truth, God would still be true in both his mercy to salvation and in his judgment to condemnation, because truth is an unchangeable part of his nature. Deuteronomy 32 "4 He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he." Psalm 100 "5 For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations." 1 John 5 "10 He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son."

Paul wanted to show the erroneous logic people will tend to follow if they don't believe that God is fully justified in condemning everyone who persists in rejecting him. Speaking about such logic, he said some will say if the unrighteous behavior of the Jews brings praise and commendation to the righteousness of God, then God would be unrighteous to condemn them. Certainly this is not the case, because God then would not be able to judge anyone at all. On the contrary, Paul said all people are judged as sinners even though their sin may magnify the grace of God. Paul also said some were slanderously reporting that he advocated that people do evil because good would come from it, and he said their damnation was just. That strong language was necessary to show the malicious and defamatory nature of their words about him.


B - ALL JEWS AND GENTILES ARE SINFUL

Romans 3 "9 What then? are we Jews better than the Gentiles? No, not in any way: for we have before proved that both Jews and Gentiles are all under sin; 10 As it is written, There are none righteous, no, not one: 11 There are none that understand, there are none who seek after God. 12 They have all turned away, they have together become unprofitable; there is not one who does good, no, not one. 13 Their throat is an open grave; with their tongues they have been deceitful; a poison like that of a venomous snake is under their lips: 14 their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness: 15 Their feet are swift AS THEY GO to shed blood: 16 Destruction and misery are in their ways: 17 And they have not known the way of peace : 18 There is no fear or respect of God IN THE WAY THEY SEE THINGS."

COMMENTS: Though the Jews were separated by God for very special purposes, yet Paul had already declared that the Jews were not better than the Gentiles even though they were blessed by God. He then began with a combination of quotations from Psalms and Isaiah to show that his points aligned with the Jewish scriptures. The first passage was written by David before the temple of God was built by Solomon. Psalm 14 "1 [To the chief Musician, [A Psalm] of David.] The fool hath said in his heart, [There is] no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, [there is] none that doeth good. 2 The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, [and] seek God. 3 They are all gone aside, they are [all] together become filthy: [there is] none that doeth good, no, not one."

Paul used some passages from Isaiah which were written after the separated northern kingdom had fallen, and Judah was in serious spiritual decline before they finally went into captivity. Isaiah 59 "7 Their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed innocent blood: their thoughts [are] thoughts of iniquity; wasting and destruction [are] in their paths. 8 The way of peace they know not; and [there is] no judgment in their goings: they have made them crooked paths: whosoever goeth therein shall not know peace."

Paul did not place the various passages which he referenced, in order based on the time when they were written. The last segment he used came again from a Psalm of David. Psalm 36 "1 [To the chief Musician, [A Psalm] of David the servant of the LORD.] The transgression of the wicked saith within my heart, [that there is] no fear of God before his eyes." Those who do whatever they please, see no reason to fear or respect God.


C - GRACE AND REDEMPTION ARE IN CHRIST JESUS

Romans 3 "19 Now we know that whatsoever the law says, it says to those who are under the law: that every mouth may be kept from objecting, and all the world thus becomes guilty before God. 20 Therefore by doing the deeds of the law no person shall be justified in God's 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 of those who 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, an offering for reconciliation to peace, through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission and forgiveness of sins that are past, through the forbearance, patience, and restraint of God; 26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of whoever believes in Jesus."

COMMENTS: Paul said the Jews believe the law in scripture was given to distinguish them from all other people, but none of them could possibly keep the whole law as he has shown from the scriptures he has referenced. Paul said earlier the non-Jews had not acknowledged God as he has revealed himself through creation without written law. Therefore all people throughout the world, Jew and Gentile, are guilty before God. The law provides the knowledge of sin, but attempting to keep the whole law to become justified before God is futility. Paul said the law and the prophets prove that righteousness comes only through faith in Christ Jesus.

That faith in Jesus is available to all who will believe, with no difference between Jew and Gentile, because all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. The justification of sinners is by free grace through the redemption, the rescue from sin, which is found only in Christ Jesus. God has set forth Christ to be the only acceptable offering for reconciliation to bring those who believe into peace with God. Faith in the blood of the perfect sacrifice of Jesus allows his righteousness to be applied to the believer for remission and forgiveness of sins that are past. God has shown his forbearance, patience, and restraint to declare the righteousness of Christ as the only acceptable way of justification before God.


D - JUSTIFICATION BY FAITH ESTABLISHES THE LAW

Romans 3 "27 Where is boasting then? Is it excluded by a law of sufficient works? No, 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, or is he not also the God of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also: 30 Seeing there is one God, who shall justify circumcised Jews by faith, and uncircumcised Gentiles through faith. 31 Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: indeed, we establish the law!"

COMMENTS: Paul said the gift of grace by faith eliminates any basis for boasting about personal achievement in good deeds. Therefore we should conclude that every person is justified by faith without the works of the law. there is only one God who can justify both Jew and Gentile, and he justifies through faith. Deuteronomy 6 "4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God [is] one LORD: 5 And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might." Jesus demonstrated that the law had not changed as he answered a man who had asked which is the most important commandment. Mark 12 "29 And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments [is], Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: 30 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this [is] the first commandment. 31 And the second [is] like, [namely] this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these."

Paul said the law of God is not at all made void by faith, but rather it is firmly established because the righteousness by faith is from God, just as the law is from God. Only the Son of God, Christ Jesus, could fulfill the law, but God still wants Christians to have good works that glorify God the Father. Matthew 5 "16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. 17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. 18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled."

In another of Paul's letters he explained how the law benefits those who believe. Galatians 3 "19 Wherefore then [serveth] the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; [and it was] ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator. 20 Now a mediator is not [a mediator] of one, but God is one. 21 [Is] the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law. 22 But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. 23 But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. 24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster [to bring us] unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. 26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus."

--- REFLECTIONS IN PRAYER ---

Lord, I thank you for what you have revealed to me through this portion of Paul's letter as he told the Jews of your very special blessing to them because they had been entrusted with the oracles of God. But that did not make them superior to the Gentiles in the matter of grace. The unbelief of some Jews kept them in condemnation of sin along with all other people who refuse your grace by faith in Christ. Lord, I thank you that Paul declared it to be utter foolishness to believe that those who continue in sin somehow are giving praise to you because your mercy and grace will abound all the more even though they have no desire for repentance. It was a joy to review the Old Testament passages that clearly show that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. There is none righteous in themselves, whether Jew or Gentile. The scripture describes man's inherent evil character in stark contrast to a righteous God!

Paul said the law provides the knowledge of sin, and when we consider those requirements truthfully in our heart, it must bring us to the reality that no person can perfectly keep the law of God, therefore all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Since keeping the law cannot possibly save our soul, we must seek peace with God by faith. Righteousness without the law is also declared in scripture within the law and the prophets, but it is veiled to those who seek righteousness by the law. the only way is to be justified freely by God's grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. How I thank you, Lord, that Christ Jesus is the acceptable offering for my sins so I am declared righteous by my faith in Christ and in his shed blood. Lord, I ask that you enable me by your Spirit to live in a way that demonstrates your law in my life to bring glory to your name. Amen, and amen!

Published 27 February 2016