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3. God's Faithfulness

1What advantage then hath the Jew? or what is the profit of circumcision? 2Much every way: first of all, that they were intrusted with the oracles of God. 3For what if some were without faith? shall their want of faith make of none effect the faithfulness of God? 4God forbid: yea, let God be found true, but every man a liar; as it is written,

That thou mightest be justified in thy words,

And mightest prevail when thou comest into judgment.

5But if our righteousness commendeth the righteousness of God, what shall we say? Is God unrighteous who visiteth with wrath? (I speak after the manner of men.) 6God forbid: for then how shall God judge the world? 7But if the truth of God through my lie abounded unto his glory, why am I also still judged as a sinner? 8and why not (as we are slanderously reported, and as some affirm that we say), Let us do evil, that good may come? whose condemnation is just. 9What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we before laid to the charge both of Jews and Greeks, that they are all under sin; 10as it is written,

There is none righteous, no, not one;

11There is none that understandeth,

There is none that seeketh after God;

12They have all turned aside, they are together become unprofitable;

There is none that doeth good, no, not, so much as one:

13Their throat is an open sepulchre;

With their tongues they have used deceit:

The poison of asps is under their lips:

14Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness:

15Their feet are swift to shed blood;

16Destruction and misery are in their ways;

17And the way of peace have they not known:

18There is no fear of God before their eyes.

19Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it speaketh to them that are under the law; that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may be brought under the judgment of God: 20because by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified in his sight; for through the law cometh the knowledge of sin. 21But now apart from the law a righteousness of God hath been manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; 22even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ unto all them that believe; for there is no distinction; 23for all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God; 24being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: 25whom God set forth to be a propitiation, through faith, in his blood, to show his righteousness because of the passing over of the sins done aforetime, in the forbearance of God; 26for the showing, I say, of his righteousness at this present season: that he might himself be just, and the justifier of him that hath faith in Jesus. 27Where then is the glorying? It is excluded. By what manner of law? of works? Nay: but by a law of faith. 28We reckon therefore that a man is justified by faith apart from the works of the law. 29Or is God the God of Jews only? is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yea, of Gentiles also: 30if so be that God is one, and he shall justify the circumcision by faith, and the uncircumcision through faith. 31Do we then make the law of none effect through faith? God forbid: nay, we establish the law.

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Ro 3:27-31. Inferences from the Foregoing Doctrines and an Objection Answered.

Inference first: Boasting is excluded by this, and no other way of justification.

27, 28. Where is boasting then? … excluded. By what law?—on what principle or scheme?.

of works? Nay; but by the law of faith.

28. Therefore we conclude, &c.—It is the unavoidable tendency of dependence upon our own works, less or more, for acceptance with God, to beget a spirit of "boasting." But that God should encourage such a spirit in sinners, by any procedure of His, is incredible. This therefore stamps falsehood upon every form of "justification by works," whereas the doctrine that.

Our faith receives a righteousness

That makes the sinner just,

manifestly and entirely excludes "boasting"; and this is the best evidence of its truth.

Inference second: This and no other way of salvation is adapted alike to Jew and Gentile.

29. Is he the God of the Jews only? &c.—The way of salvation must be one equally suited to the whole family of fallen man: but the doctrine of justification by faith is the only one that lays the basis of a Universal Religion; this therefore is another mark of its truth.

30. it is one God who shall justify—"has unchangeably fixed that He shall justify."

the circumcision by—"of"

faith, and the uncircumcision through faith—probably this is but a varied statement of the same truth for greater emphasis (see Ro 3:22); though Bengel thinks that the justification of the Jews, as the born heirs of the promise, may be here purposely said to be "of faith," while that of the Gentiles, previously "strangers to the covenants of promise," may be said to be "through faith," as thus admitted into a new family.

Objection:

31. Do we then make void the law through faith?—"Does this doctrine of justification by faith, then, dissolve the obligation of the law? If so, it cannot be of God. But away with such a thought, for it does just the reverse."

God forbid: yea, we establish the law—It will be observed here, that, important as was this objection, and opening up as it did so noble a field for the illustration of the peculiar glory of the Gospel, the apostle does no more here than indignantly repel it, intending at a subsequent stage of his argument (Ro 6:1-23) to resume and discuss it at length.

Note, (1) It is a fundamental requisite of all true religion that it tend to humble the sinner and exalt God; and every system which breeds self-righteousness, or cherishes boasting, bears falsehood on its face (Ro 3:27, 28). (2) The fitness of the Gospel to be a universal religion, beneath which the guilty of every name and degree are invited and warranted to take shelter and repose, is a glorious evidence of its truth (Ro 3:29, 30). (3) The glory of God's law, in its eternal and immutable obligations, is then only fully apprehended by the sinner, and then only is it enthroned in the depths of his soul, when, believing that "He was made sin for him who knew no sin," he sees himself "made the righteousness of God in Him" (2Co 5:21). Thus do we not make void the law through faith: yea, we establish the law. (4) This chapter, and particularly the latter part of it, "is the proper seat of the Pauline doctrine of Justification, and the grand proof-passage of the Protestant doctrine of the Imputation of Christ's righteousness and of Justification not on account of, but through faith alone" [Philippi]. To make good this doctrine, and reseat it in the faith and affection of the Church, was worth all the bloody struggles that it cost our fathers, and it will be the wisdom and safety, the life and vigor of the churches, to "stand fast in this liberty wherewith Christ hath made them free, and not be again entangled"—in the very least degree—"with the yoke of bondage" (Ga 5:1).




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