Continuing on from chapter 2, in chapter 3 Paul begins with asking a series of questions.
Romans 3:1 "What advantage then hath the Jew? Or what profit is there of circumcision?"
Now we know that being born a Jew doesn't make you one of God's people in light of Romans Chapter 2:28-29. And we also know that circumcision profits nobody, and being so does not make you part of God's people either according to Romans 2:28-29 as well.
So what advantages does being a Jew have, Paul gives the answers in the following verse.
Romans 3:2 "Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God."
Paul here is saying that the Jews had a greater exposure of God's word, it was delivered to them via the prophets through visions and revelations, and they really experienced what God said he would do in his prophecies!
Romans 3:3-4 "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."
Paul asks a series of questions here about what if some of them did not believe, shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect? The fact that some reject the Truth does not make it any less the Truth. Without faith it is impossible to please God.
God will fulfil all the promises He made to the nation of Israel, even if individual Jews are not able to receive them because of their unbelief.
If some did not believe, it doesn't nullify God's faithfulness, it doesn't impact the faith of God at all, Paul answers his questions by saying absolutely not, he says let God be true, but every man a liar.
As it is written:
Psalm 116:11 "I said in my haste, all men are liars."
Psalm 51:4 "Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest."
We see above that men are liars, but it is impossible for God to lie, since He is the Truth. Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
Every man and woman shall stand before this absolute Truth and be judged. We will be justified by Jesus Christ when we Christians stand before Him.
Those who rejected Jesus as their personal Saviour will be without excuse!
Romans 3:5-8 "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."
What we're reading here in verse 5-8 is that Paul is anticipating and then answers the objection that his teaching actually impeached the very holiness and purity of God's character.
Verse 5 says we have no righteousness except that what was purchased for us by the Lord Jesus Christ.
Because we are unrighteous, do we presume to judge God for taking vengeance on our unrighteousness?
Those who do not accept Jesus Christ as their Saviour will not take on His righteousness; and they are they, whom are without excuse and deserve God's vengeance.
Verse 6 says for then how shall God judge the world? Well, if God condoned sin, He would have no justifiable, righteous basis for judgement would He?
Verse 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?
We might try to justify our sin before God, telling God that our lie makes His truth even greater, but He will not go for that poor, weak excuse.
Verse 8, Paul is saying that some liars are going around saying that He says to do evil so that God's good will be greater. Paul just simply says they are lying, they not only lie, but their condemnation is just.
Heartbreakingly, the apostle's gospel message of salvation by grace through faith alone had been perverted by his opponents who argued it provided not only a license to sin, but outright encouragement to do so.
In no way does the true gospel encourage us to do sin, and that is what you will hear from the opponents who reject the simplicity of the gospel.
No One is Righteous
Romans 3:9 "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;"
The "We" Paul is referring to would be fellow Christians in Rome; Christians do not have an inherently superior nature to all the unsaved people which Paul has shown to be standing under God's condemnation.
Both Jew and Gentile are ALL under sin, meaning completely enslaved and ruled over by sin, ALL unbelievers are appointed to Wrath.
Romans 3:10 "as it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:"
The verse should always be part of a soul winners arsenal, short quick and cuts deep, it says what is says, there is none righteous, no, not one!
The Jews could not and did not keep the law and the heathen did not even have a law to keep. All have sinned, but praise and all glory be to the almighty living God, He provided us a Saviour named Jesus. His righteousness is what we must have.
Our righteousnesses is but filthy rags.
Isaiah 64:6 "But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away."
Romans 3:11 "there is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God."
This verse clearly implies that the world's false religious systems are clearly a result of fallen man's attempts to escape the true God, not to seek Him.
Man's natural tendency is to seek his own interest, to appease his own pride and self-worth, but his only hope is for God to seek him. It is only as a result of God's work in the heart that anyone seeks Him.
This describes our generation perfectly. It seems there is no one seeking after God; or at least very few. If we seek God we will find Him.
Romans 3:12 "They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one."
Another self-explanatory verse, we have all gone out the way and certainly we have all at one point in our lives that we have been unprofitable, not one of us does good, no not one!
Romans 3:13 "Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips:"
Their throat is an open sepulchre, a sepulchre is a tomb or cave where a body is placed inside for the body to decay, and it is usually sealed at the entrance.
Now this analogy is talking about a sepulchre that is open, and you can imagine the stench of the decaying body coming out of that tomb; absolutely putrid, he likens the open sepulchre to the vile putrid things that come out of their mouths.
"With their tongues", we read about our tongues being a little member of our body but can be used as an instrument of evil especially when it comes from someone with an evil heart. James explains this really well, let's take a look:
James 3:6-8 "And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell. 7 For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind: 8 but the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.
In verse 8 we read a profound statement that no man can tame the tongue; when we receive Jesus as our Saviour, the very first member of our body that we should turn over to Jesus is our tongue.
The natural tongue is very evil, if not controlled by the Spirit.
Romans 3:14 "whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness:"
Let me ask you something, which generation do you think from all human history would probably be guiltier in cursing and bitterness than any other generation in all the worlds' history?
I would tell you it is this generation we are living in now, this current period, when I grew up it was so bad, but now my heart sorrows for this generation we are living in now.
Every movie, every song, every idiot box we see it, cursing and bitterness are on every hand. Cursing and bitterness against parents is perhaps #1 on the list.
Psalm 10:7 "His mouth is full of cursing and deceit and fraud: under his tongue is mischief and vanity."
The Psalmist is referring to wanting the worst for someone and publicly expressing that desire in scathing, scornful language.
Romans 3:15 "their feet are swift to shed blood:"
The wicked are swift on their feet to shed blood, some of the Jewish leaders wanted all followers of Jesus killed; they even thought they were doing God a favour.
Romans 3:16 "destruction and misery are in their ways:"
Man damages and destroys everything he touches, leaving a trail of pain and suffering in his wake. In fact, if we did things that were for the good of each other, we wouldn't have filthy rich people would we?
And let's be honest, these people didn't get like that because they were God fearing Christians. In order to get to the top and stay at the top you've got to be ruthless, think of how many people would've gotten hurt and ruined along the way to being the number one person in the world?
It's like a politician, when they're running for candidacy they're smooth talking right?
They tell you what you want to hear, and they'll even say the right things to different groups, even if the groups being spoken to have conflicts of interest…but when they get into power or that position of authority, they don't even care about what they said they would do, in fact most of them would do the opposite of what they promised to do!
Romans 3:17 "and the way of peace have they not known:"
Not the lack of an inner sense of peace, but man's tendency toward strife and conflict, whether between individuals or nations.
Romans 3:18 "there is no fear of God before their eyes."
Biblical fear of God is knowing that he is all powerful, all mighty, all seeing, all everywhere (can I say that, does that make sense?), and knows everything, and knowing this that there is also a penalty for transgressing His Holy character, His Laws; the wicked do not have this fear of God, the world has turned, they have all gone out the way.
Romans 3:19 "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."
God's Law, them 10 commandments you keep hearing about, that's right, and the other laws that hung off it, Moses Laws, and what does it say to them that are under the Law?
Who is under the Law? Every single human being on this Earth who has not been redeemed by the saving grace of the Father through faith, through belief on his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Just because the Jews had the Law didn't make them any more immutable to the convictions of the Law, they had the Law and didn't keep it, neither are the gentiles are without excuse, it was written on their hearts, you say what about the people that did not hear the Word, well I say, and the bible says it was written on their hearts.
The bible says in Hebrews Chapter 9 the following concerning what happens to man when he dies.
Hebrews 9:27-28 "And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: 28 so Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation."
We are appointed once to die, but after this Judgement, now does this say that when we die we have a second chance to be redeemed after we die here without the Lord?
Every mouth will be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God, meaning there will be no excuse for anyone who will be judged guilty by God.
Romans 3:20 "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."
Therefore, means for that reason or consequently by the deeds or works of the Law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight. If you try to come to God by your own works or deeds and say to him, but look at all my good works, I am righteous expecting to get into Heaven, expect to be very, very, very, very, very, very, very disappointed.
I mean how clearer do you need to read this?
For by the Law is knowledge of sin, this means that the Law is to show us that we are sinners, it is our school master our guide to show that we cannot measure up any way or fashion. Through the Law, we are made aware of our sins.
Romans 3:21 "But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;"
The righteousness of God without the law, he is forever righteous, by his grace has been revealed being spoken of by the law (which was used to show that we are sinners and that we needed a saviour) and the prophets in the Old Testament all testify to the coming of the Messiah.
Romans 3:22 "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:"
Interestingly, it is not because of our faith that saved us, but the Faith of Jesus Christ which is the whole reason why we can be saved. Our righteousness is but filthy rags.
Our righteousness that is acceptable to God is the righteousness of Jesus Christ that we put on when we accept Jesus as our saviour and Lord.
And it says to all, everyone in the world, and upon all them that believe: there is no difference, no difference for what?
Romans 3:23 "for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;"
For this, whether you are unsaved or saved, believer or non-believer there is no difference, no respecter of persons for ALL have sinned, and come short of the glory of God!
No one can live completely free of sin. By the way, great verse to employ if you are soul winning!!!
Romans 3:24 "being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:"
Being justified freely, meaning declared righteous freely by God's grace through the redemption, that is, through the work of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Romans 3:25 "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;"
This great sacrifice was not accomplished in secret, but God publicly displayed His Son on Calvary for all to see!
Verse 24 ended with a colon (:) meaning verse 25 is going to define or expound more on what he meant in verse 24. Whom?
The Lord Jesus Christ of course, had been set forth or to give an account of, Jesus being the propitiation or appeasement through faith in his blood.
Christ's violent death satisfied the offended holiness and wrath of God which was appointed against those for whom Christ died.
Forbearance means to hold back. Rather than destroying every person the moment he or she sins, God graciously holds back His judgment. God's justice demands that every sin and sinner be punished.
God would have been just when Adam and Eve sinned, to destroy them, and with them, the entire human race. But in His goodness and forbearance, He is withholding His judgment for a certain period of time.
Romans 3:26 "to declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus."
To declare what?
His righteousness, through the incarnation, sinless life, and substitutionary death of the Messiah, whom is Jesus.
By the wisdom of God's plan allowed Him to punish Jesus in the place of sinners and thereby justify those who are guilty without compromising His justice.
Romans 3:27 "Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? Nay: but by the law of faith."
Boasting is excluded, it plays no part in Salvation, our efforts play not part; do you get it?
God holds in contempt human wisdom, not only by not allowing it as a means to knowing Him, but also by choosing to save the lowly.
He does not call to salvation many whom the world would call wise, mighty and noble.
What was said to the Ephesians sums it all up perfectly:
Ephesians 2:8-9 "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 not of works, lest any man should boast."
God came to reveal his wisdom to the poor, the meek and the weak, those who were considered by the so called "elites" of the world nobody's who place their faith, their trust in the Lord Jesus Christ.
God clearly received all the credit and the glory for causing such lowly ones to know Him and the eternal truths of His heavenly kingdom.
No saved sinner can boast that he has achieved salvation by his own intellect or efforts.
Romans 3:28 "Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law."
Do I really need to explain this verse? It says what it says and you better believe it!
Romans 3:29-30 "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."
God is God of all, we are all part of God's family. There is one God and Father of us all.
Keeping the ordinances of the law will not do away with sin and will not save anyone. Without faith it is impossible to please God.
Hebrews 11 is the bible hall of faith, read through that chapter to get a grasp on what faith can do for you.
The circumcision are the Jews and the uncircumcision refers to the Gentile, and both can only be saved by faith in Jesus Christ.
Romans 3:31 "Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law."
Salvation by grace through faith does not make the law any less of importance, but emphasizes its true importance:
- By providing a payment for the penalty of death, which the law required for failing to keep it;
- By fulfilling the law's original purpose, which is to serve as a tutor to show mankind's utter inability to obey God's righteous demands and to drive people to Christ; and
- By giving believers the capacity to keep it.
The law is not done away with by Jesus, but fulfilled in Him. The law is good, the law is perfect. The law declares the need to be righteous.
Jesus makes it possible to be righteous in Him. The law showed us our great need for Jesus as our Saviour, THE MESSIAH!