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THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS - Chapter 3 - Verse 21

Verse 21. But now. The apostle, having shown the entire failure of all attempts to be justified by the law, whether among Jews or Gentiles, proceeds to state fully the plan of justification by Jesus Christ in the gospel. To do this was the main design of the epistle, Ro 1:17. He makes, therefore, in the close of this chapter, an explicit statement of the nature of the doctrine; and in the following parts of the epistle he fully-proves it, and illustrates its effects.

The righteousness of God. God's plan of justifying men. See Barnes "Ro 1:17".

 

Without the law. In a way different from personal obedience to the law. 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; but it means simply what the apostle had been endeavouring 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.

Being witnessed. Being borne witness to. It was not a new doctrine; it was found in the Old Testament. The apostle makes this observation with special reference to the Jews. He does not declare any new thing, but that which was fully declared in their own sacred writings.

By the law. This expression here evidently denotes, as it did commonly among the Jews, the five books of Moses. And the apostle means to say that this doctrine was found in those books; not that it was in the ten commandments, or in the law, strictly so called. It is not a part of law to declare justification except by strict and perfect obedience. That it was found in those books the apostle shows by the case of Abraham, Ro 4. See also his reasoning on Le 18:5, and De 30:12-14, in Ro 10:5-11; comp. Ex 34:6,7.

And the prophets. Generally, the remainder of the Old Testament. The phrase "the law and the prophets" comprehended the whole of the Old Testament, Mt 5:17; 11:13; 22:40; Ac 13:15; 28:23.

That this doctrine was contained in the prophets, the apostle showed by the passage quoted from Hab 2:4, in Hab 1:17, "The just shall live by faith." The same thing he showed in \\Ro 10:11\, from \\Isa 28:16; 49:23\; and Ro 4:6-8, from Ps 22. The same thing is fully taught in Isa 53:11; Da 9:24. Indeed, the general tenor of the Old Testament— the appointment of sacrifices, etc.—taught that man was a sinner, and that he could not be justified by obedience to the moral law.

{z} "by the Law and the Prophets" Ac 26:22

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