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Romans Chapter​​ 3

Rick Moffett​​ 



Chapter 2 Review

At the end of chapter two, Paul chastised the Jews for relying upon the Law, boasting in the Law,​​ and knowing God’s will, yet transgressing the Law, and therefore, dishonoring God. Paul points out that while they (Jews)​​ may​​ think​​ they​​ are keeping the​​ Law, they are not. Furthermore, Paul​​ says that a Jew is not just one who keeps the Law outwardly, but one whose heart has been changed by the Holy Spirit.​​ 



V1​​ Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the benefit of circumcision?


Summary -​​ Despite​​ what he said to the Jews in chapter two,​​ Paul​​ asks what are​​ the benefits of being born a Jew and of circumcision.


Comments –​​ The first question​​ Paul asks​​ is in reply to what he said in​​ 2:17- 24. The second question​​ he asks​​ replies to​​ 2:25-29.


Paul likes to ask questions that he anticipates his readers would ask.​​ And sometimes he asks questions just so he can emphasize a point with his answer.


No additional Notes




V2-4​​ Great in every respect. First of all, that they were entrusted with the oracles of God.​​ 3​​ What then? If some did not believe, their unbelief will not nullify the faithfulness of God, will it?​​ 4​​ May it never be! Rather, let God be found true, though every man​​ be found​​ a liar, as it is written, "THAT YOU MAY BE JUSTIFIED IN YOUR WORDS, AND PREVAIL WHEN YOU ARE JUDGED."


Summary –​​ Paul immediately gives a general response affirming the value of being born a Jew. The benefit of being a Jew was that they were trusted with the oracles of God. The word “oracles” could refer to the entire Old Testament, but here is likely referring to God’s promises to the Jews. This truth anticipates another question –​​ what if the Jews did not believe?​​ Would that nullify the faithfulness of God? Of course not! God is faithful and​​ His words are true. It is man’s failure to obey that is the “weak link in the chain”.​​ 


...​​ WHEN YOU ARE JUDGED.”​​ (probably referring to the Jews, but true of all mankind), God’s judgments will be found to be fair and righteous. ​​ 

V4​​ – a quote from​​ Psa 51:4.


Comments –​​ God’s faithfulness to​​ His word is not dependent on man’s faithfulness! Aren’t you glad? Someday all mankind will see that God is fair in​​ His judgments of man’s sin.


Additional Notes




V5- 6 But if our unrighteousness demonstrates the righteousness of God, what shall we say? The God who inflicts wrath is not unrighteous, is He? (I am speaking in human terms.)​​ 6​​ May it never be! For otherwise, how will God judge the world?


Summary -​​ Paul continues to ask the anticipated questions. Does the unrighteousness of the Jews cause God’s righteousness to be more prominent? Is God unrighteous for inflicting​​ His wrath on the unrighteous? (He quickly points out that this idea is merely a human thought.) Of course not! If​​ that were​​ so, then how could God judge the world?


Comments –​​ God’s ways are certainly not man’s ways. We do not see things as God sees.​​ (Isa. 55:8-9)​​ We are not called to understand God, just to trust him. It really​​ is​​ that simple!​​ 


No additional Notes




V7- 8 But if through my lie the truth of God abounded to His glory, why am I also still being judged as a sinner?​​ 8​​ And why not​​ say​​ (as we are slanderously reported and as some claim that we say), "Let us do evil that good may come"? Their condemnation is just.


Summary -​​ If my untruthfulness enhances the truthfulness of God resulting in his glory, then why am I being condemned as a sinner? Why not just do more evil so that God’s goodness may be shown? These questions were but slander towards Paul. Those who say these things distort God’s word and are justly condemned!


Comments –​​ ​​ A similar line of faulty thinking occurs a few chapters later​​ (Rom. 6:1- “... Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase?”).​​ 


No additional Notes



V9​​ What then? Are we better than they? Not at all; for we have already charged that both Jews and Greeks are all under sin


Summary -​​ Yet another question – Are we (Jews) better than they (Gentiles)? No way! As already demonstrated by what Paul has been saying, both Jews and Greeks (Gentiles) are guilty of sin.


Comments – sin ​​ –​​ used as a noun here. It is important to understand this. In​​ the book of​​ Romans, sin is more often used as a noun, rather than an act of sin. As a noun, sin refers to an indwelling power that is the source of sinful acts.​​ For a better understanding of “sin” used as a noun, read -​​ Controlling Power of Sin​​ on this website.​​ 


Additional Notes





Summary -​​ Paul now begins to prove his point by quoting from the Old Testament (Psalms and Isaiah), which the Jews knew​​ very​​ well. In​​ v18, he concludes his convicting accusations by making the statement,​​ “there is no fear of God before their eyes”.​​ 


Comments –​​ Fearing God is the beginning of knowledge​​ (Prov. 1:7)​​ and wisdom​​ (Prov. 9:10).​​ NOT​​ fearing God is at the root of man’s sin problem. Throughout these verses, Paul continually points out truths that apply to all men, both Jews​​ and Gentiles. – “NONE RIGHTEOUS”; “NONE WHO UNDERSTANDS”; “NONE WHO SEEKS…”; “ALL HAVE TURNED…”; “NONE WHO DOES GOOD”.


Most of the statements in​​ v10-18​​ are from the​​ Psa 5:9, 10:7, 14:1-3, 36:1, 53:1-3;​​ and​​ Isaiah 59.​​ 


No additional Notes




V19​​ Now we know that whatever the Law says, it speaks to those who are under the Law,​​  So that every mouth may be closed and all the world may become accountable to God;


Summary -​​ No person, Jew or Gentile, will be able to stand before God and make any excuse for their guilt, for all have sinned!


Comments –​​ Why? Because God is impartial and just in all​​ His ways. All mankind will give an account and​​ be​​ found guilty. However, those who have been born again and are now “in Christ” have been forgiven and are justified (declared innocent)!


Additional Notes



V20 because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law​​ comes​​ the knowledge of sin.


Summary -​​ No one will be​​ declared innocent​​ by their “works of the Law”, i.e., keeping the Law. For through the Law,​​ man​​ only​​ becomes aware of his sin.​​ 


Comments –​​ The Jews were given the Law, but try as they did, they could not live up to its​​ demands. The Law only brought the realization that they were sinners with no hope, and thus brought only​​ condemnation.​​ Man is justified and declared righteous by his faith in Christ’s death, burial,​​ and resurrection,​​ and that alone.​​ 



What shall we say then? Is the Law sin? May it never be! On the contrary, I would not have come to know sin except through the Law; for I would not have known about coveting if the Law had not said, "YOU SHALL NOT COVET."​​ Romans 7.7​​ 

7But if the ministry of death, in letters engraved on stones, came with glory, so that the sons of Israel could not look intently at the face of Moses because of the glory of his face, fading​​ as​​ it was,​​ 8how will the ministry of the Spirit fail to be even more with glory?​​ 9For if the ministry of condemnation has glory, much more does the ministry of righteousness abound in glory.​​ 2 Corinthians 3.7-9​​ 

For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one​​ point,​​ he has become guilty of all.​​ James 2.10​​ 


Additional Notes



V21 But now apart from the Law​​ the​​ righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets,​​ 


Summary –​​ Paul​​ continues to declare that righteousness cannot come by keeping the Law, but​​ true righteousness​​ comes by​​ God’s grace.​​ The entire Old Testament​​ points​​ to​​ and testifies to​​ this truth.​​ 


Comments –​​ Attempts to​​ keep the Law can at best, only provide self-righteousness, which may give the appearance of righteousness, but is not from God. Through the finished work of Christ, God provides man with true righteousness. We simply receive this righteousness by faith, rather than any effort on our part. Amen.


Note -​​ Grace and Law are complete opposites. You cannot mix a little law with a little grace. The moment you add any law to grace, grace ceases to be grace. The Law is an​​ achieving system. Its focus is on what man does. Grace is a​​ receiving system. Its focus is on what God has done (and is doing).​​ 


Additional Notes



V22​​ even​​ the​​ righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; For there is no distinction;​​ 


Summary -​​ God’s righteousness comes by grace through faith in Jesus for all men, with no exceptions!​​ 


Comments –​​ Again, Paul mentions the “righteousness of God”.​​ 


Two things to note​​ –​​ 1)​​ the righteousness​​ is from God, not man.​​ 2)​​ this righteousness is not by works (keeping the Law) but through faith.


and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from​​ the​​ Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which​​ comes​​ from God on the basis of faith,​​ Philippians 3.9​​ 


Note -​​ From​​ v22​​ to the end of​​ v26​​ is one long sentence in the Greek text.


Additional Notes



V23 For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,​​ 


Summary -​​ Paul continues to stress that all men are sinners and thus, continually fall short of manifesting God’s glory.​​ 


Comments –​​ All have sinned because we are born with a sinful​​ nature, thus we have no choice but to sin. However, when we receive Christ by faith, our sinful​​ nature is crucified with Christ​​ (Rom. 6:6; Gal.2:20). We become partakers of God’s divine nature​​ (2 Peter 1:4);​​ and our identity is no longer that of a sinner, but rather a saint. The new man in Christ can still choose to commit acts of sin, but​​ it​​ is no longer​​ his nature​​ to​​ do so.​​ That is why you (as a Christian) will have inner conflict​​ (lack of peace)​​ when you sin!


Additional Notes



V24​​ “being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus;”​​ 


Summary -​​ In his grace, God sent us the gift of Jesus Christ to pay our sin debt so​​ He could declare us justified (innocent).


Comments –​​ Salvation is a gift!​​ 


For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.​​ Romans 6.23​​ 


Additional Notes



V25​​ whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith.​​ This was​​ to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed;


Summary -​​ God purposed that the blood of Jesus Christ (His death) would be put on display for man to see to demonstrate​​ His righteousness. Why was this necessary? Because in​​ His mercy and longsuffering, God had previously passed over man’s sins. If God did not receive satisfaction (propitiation) for the unpaid sin debt, he would not be righteous (true to his word). Man receives this payment for his sin by faith.


Comments –​​ I​​ often hear skeptics say in response to some tragic event, “How could a good God allow such terrible things​​ to​​ happen to mankind?” Perhaps the better question is, “How could a holy and righteous God allow sin to go unpunished for so long?” The answer,​​ of course, is that God is longsuffering, patient, merciful,​​ and full of grace!​​ 


Additional Notes



V26​​  For the demonstration,​​ I say,​​ of His righteousness at the present time, So that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.​​ 


Summary -​​ Paul​​ explains​​ God’s demonstration of​​ His righteousness (Christ’s death) at this time.​​ God is “just” (righteous) for​​ He has kept his word,​​ and​​ He is also the one who​​ justifies​​ the person who has faith in Christ’s finished work of redemption!


Comments –​​ “at the present time”​​ – Here is a perfect example of God’s sovereignty. God knew before the foundation of the world that he would sacrifice​​ His own son and that it would occur at just the right time.


Otherwise, He would have needed to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now once at the consummation of the ages He has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.​​ Hebrews 9.26​​ 

20​​ For​​ He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you​​ 21​​ who through Him are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.​​ 1 Peter 1.20-21​​ 


Additional Notes



V27​​ Where then is boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? Of works? No, But by a law of faith.​​ 


Summary –​​ Now Paul asks a rhetorical question and then​​ answers it. He​​ says​​ that man cannot boast about his justification. Why? Because as he just said, it is a gift​​ (v24). You cannot work for it. You must receive it by faith.​​ 


Comments –​​ Paul is contrasting​​ a​​ “law of faith”​​ with a​​ “law of works”. Law in this verse is used to denote a principle, such as the law of gravity. A​​ “law of works”​​ refers to any type of achieving system, i.e., something man does for himself to attempt to earn favor with God. Example – attempting to keep the Mosaic Law.​​ 


Conversely, a​​ “law of faith”​​ is a receiving system, i.e., man trusting in and receiving what God has done for him. Both​​ “law of works”​​ and​​ “law of faith”​​ are two different (and directly opposite) principles for living.​​ Thus, no man can boast about anything he does to deserve salvation, for nothing he does can possibly earn it. As previously stated, justification is by God’s grace through faith in the redemptive work of Jesus Christ, i.e., his death, burial,​​ and resurrection.



8​​ For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves,​​ it is​​ the gift of God;​​ 9​​ not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.​​ Ephesians 2.8-9

No additional Notes




V28 For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law.​​ 


Summary -​​ Again, Paul is emphasizing that man is justified by faith and not by self-effort of any kind, especially by law living (likely referring to the Mosaic Law in this verse).​​ 


Comments –​​ Based on the next few verses, Paul is likely​​ driving home the point that any person can be justified as long as he has faith in Christ’s work on the cross. He is also making the point (again) that keeping the Law is of no value for one’s justification.​​ 

No additional Notes




V29​​ Or is God​​ the God​​ of Jews only? Is He not​​ the God​​ of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also,​​ 


Summary -​​ If justification is by keeping the Law then the Gentiles would be excluded, because God gave the Mosaic Law to the Jew only, thus God would be the God of only the Jews.​​ 


Comments –​​ Surely this did not sit well with the Jews. Nonetheless, Paul continues to make his point so there is no doubt as to what he means.​​ 


No additional Notes




V30​​ since indeed God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith is one.​​ 


Summary -​​ God, who justifies the Jews (circumcised) and the Gentiles (uncircumcised) by faith, is the same God.


Comments –​​ God's plan is​​ to unite both the Jew and the Gentile into one body, the body of Christ​​ (Eph. 2:11-16).​​ 


No additional Notes




V31​​ Do we then nullify the Law through faith? May it never be! On the contrary, we establish the Law.​​ 


Summary –​​ Paul asks the question​​ of what​​ the Jews were likely thinking. Does faith do away with the Mosaic Law? No way says,​​ Paul! It is quite the opposite; it establishes the Law.


Comments –​​ Likely the Jews were having a hard time grasping what Paul had been saying. They believed, like so many Christians today, to accept justification by grace through faith meant that the Mosaic Law was done away with or made of no effect. But Paul says no, it was just the opposite. The Law demanded death for man’s sin. If man had been pardoned without the proper payment (death), the Law would have been of no effect. But, when Jesus went to the cross and died, the payment was satisfied and the Law was upheld.​​ 


Hence, the truth that man is justified by faith does not mean the Law is unimportant or that it did not have a place in God’s redemptive plan.​​ The Law, although very important, was but a step in God’s plan to bring divine life to mankind through Jesus Christ. The Law revealed man’s sinfulness and demonstrated that man could not perfectly adhere to God’s holy standard, thus the need for the Old Covenant sacrifices, which were a foreshadowing​​ of the​​ final sacrifice​​ - Jesus Christ. His sacrifice satisfied (the propitiation) God’s demand for both the payment for the sin debt of mankind and​​ His wrath against sin. Had Jesus not gone to the cross, the Law would not have been upheld, thus making God unjust! Thankfully, Jesus willingly went to the cross so that we might share in​​ His abundant life.​​ Faith that justifies is faith in the finished work of Christ (His death, burial,​​ and resurrection).​​ Amen!


Additional Notes




Additional Notes for​​ selected​​ verses:



V2-4~​​ Great in every respect. First of all, that they were entrusted with the oracles of God.​​ 3​​ What then? If some did not believe, their unbelief will not nullify the faithfulness of God, will it?​​ 4​​ May it never be! Rather, let God be found true, though every man​​ be found​​ a liar, as it is written, "THAT YOU MAY BE JUSTIFIED IN YOUR WORDS, AND PREVAIL WHEN YOU ARE JUDGED."


“First of all,” –​​ 


“First” –​​ can refer to time, place, order,​​ or importance.​​ 


“May it never be” –​​ Paul uses this phrase frequently. cf. –​​ Rom. 3:6, 31; 6:2, 15; 7:7, 13; 11:1, 11.





V9~​​ What then? Are we better than they? Not at all; for we have already charged that both Jews and Greeks are all under sin ;


“under sin” –​​ 


“sin” –​​ hamartia (Gr), noun​​ –​​ 


sin​​ is, lit., "a missing of the mark," but this etymological meaning is largely lost sight of in the NT. It is the most comprehensive term for moral obliquity. It is used of "sin" as​​ (a)​​ a principle or source of action, or an inward element producing acts, e.g.,​​ Rom 3:9; 5:12-13; 5:20; 6:1-2; 7:7 (abstract for concrete) Rom 7:8 (twice) Rom 7:9-13​​ "sin, that it might be shown to be sin," i.e., "sin became death to me, that it might be exposed in its heinous character:" in the clause, "sin might become exceeding sinful," i.e., through the​​ holiness of the Law, the true nature of sin was designed to be manifested to the conscience;

(b)​​ a governing principle or power, e.g., Rom. 6:6; "(the body) of sin," here "sin" is spoken of as an organized power, acting through the members of the body, though the seat of "sin" is in the will (the body is the organic instrument); in the next clause, and in other passages, as follows, this governing principle is personified,​​ e.g.​​ Rom 5:21; 6:12,14,17;​​ 6 times​​ in​​ Rom. 7:11-25; Rom. 8:2;​​ 1 Cor 15:56;​​ Heb. 3:13; Heb. 11:25; Heb. 12:4; Jas. 1:15 (2nd part);​​ Vine's Expository Dictionary​​ 



Note –All men (except Jesus) are born sinners and thus, slaves to sin​​ (Rom. 6:6). We are not sinners because we commit acts of sin, we sin because we are all born sinners “in Adam”. Before we are spiritually​​ reborn, sin is our nature.​​ R. Moffett



The Preacher's Commentary makes an excellent point emphasizing that…

There is a major difference between “sin” and “sins,” so we must be careful not to confuse “doing things that are not right” with the fact that we are dominated by a fundamentally evil dynamic. The difference is not unlike that which exists between the symptoms of a disease and the disease itself. When this is understood it becomes obvious that the human predicament is not so much that we have done things wrongly, but that we are “in the Christless state under the command, under the authority, under the control of sin and helpless to escape from it.” Accordingly, any solution to the human problem that fails to deal with the root cause of “sin” is no more a solution than cold compresses on a fevered brow are a cure for the infection causing the fever.​​ (Briscoe, D. S., & Ogilvie, L. J. The Preacher's Commentary Series, NT. 2003; Thomas Nelson)​​ 





V19~​​ Now we know that whatever the Law says, it speaks to those who are under the Law,​​  So that every mouth may be closed and all the world may become accountable to God;


V19 – “whatever the Law says” –​​ here “the Law” likely refers to the entire Old Testament and more specifically, the scriptures just mentioned in​​ v10-18, which are all from the Psalms and Isaiah.


“those who are under the Law”​​ – more accurately translated,​​ “in the law”. ​​​​ Thus, probably not speaking just to the Jews (who were under the Law), but to the Gentiles also. Further evidence for this is Paul’s reference to​​ “every mouth”​​ and​​ “all the world”. See​​ Romans 1:20; 2:12-15.





V20~ because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law​​ comes​​ the knowledge of sin.


The words “justify” and “righteous” (and their different forms) are found throughout​​ the book of Romans. See the notes below to get a better understanding of these two words.​​ 


Notes on “righteous” and “justify” -​​ 

All throughout the book of Romans Paul uses​​ righteousness​​ and​​ justification​​ interchangeably. They have similar meanings.​​ Justify​​ and​​ righteousness​​ come from the same Greek​​ root​​ word -​​ dike.

from <G1349> (dike);​​ equitable​​ (in character or act); by implication​​ innocent, holy​​ (absolute or relative): - just, meet, right (-eous).​​ Strong's​​ Talking Greek Hebrew Dictionary


The Greek words transliterated​​ dikaiōsis, dikaiōma,​​ dikaioo,​​ and​​ dikaiosynē​​ are all derived from the Greek word​​ dike​​ (transliteration).​​ These words are all translated justify or righteous (or a form of both) in different verses in the New Testament.​​ 

“Justify”​​ is often used in a legal sense. In a court of law, it represents the legally binding verdict of the judge.


Justify​​ -​​ The word is a forensic or legal term with the meaning “acquit”. It is the normal word to use when the accused is declared “Not guilty”. Leon Morris* 


The concept of justification can be seen as a legal decree or as a declaration that someone is righteous or just. But justification can also be viewed as an act that shows someone to be right or just. As with all Bible interpretation it is extremely important to derive the meaning of a word with reference to its overall context.​​ James Fowler*


The biblical meaning of both the Hebrew and Greek words used for “justify” is, “to pronounce, accept, and treat as just, i.e., as, on the one hand, not penally liable, and, on the other, entitled to all the privileges due to those who have kept the law. It is thus a forensic term, denoting a judicial act of administering the law--in this case, by declaring a verdict of acquittal, and so excluding all possibility of condemnation. Justification thus settles the legal status of the person justified”​​ J. I. Packer*, “Justification,” Evangelical Dictionary of Theology


Justification does not mean to make righteous, as the Catholic Church teaches, but rather, to declare righteous. It is a legal term as used by Paul, and it has two aspects: Positively, the sinner is declared or reckoned as righteous (Rom. 4:3, 5); negatively, his sins are totally forgiven (Rom. 4:7, 8). The basis for this legal transaction is the shed blood of Jesus Christ whose death satisfied God’s righteous justice (Rom. 3:24-26).​​ Steven J. Cole*,​​ Justification By Faith Alone


Righteousness -​​ (Gr.-dikaiosynē)​​ – the quality of being right or just. Right action is also frequent in Paul's writings, as in all five of its occurrences in Rom. 6; Eph. 6:14, etc. But for the most part he uses it of that​​ gracious gift of God to men whereby all who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ are brought into right relationship with God.​​ Vine's Expository Dictionary​​ 


Righteousness​​ is a gift of God to men whereby all who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ are brought into​​ right relationship​​ with God.​​ We are righteous​​ because of the​​ indwelling presence of Christ.​​ Thus,​​ Jesus is our righteousness.​​ 


8​​ Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ​​ 9​​ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith—​​ Philippians 3.8-9 (ESV)​​ 


Righteous or righteousness​​ can also refer to​​ one’s behavior.​​ The context of the scripture in which the word appears will often indicate whether the meaning is of one’s behavior or one’s state of being in a right relationship with God through Christ. However, it is impossible to behave righteously until a person has been spiritually born again, thus becoming righteous (in right relationship​​ with God through Christ). An unrighteous person cannot behave righteously! We behave righteously when we walk by the Holy Spirit. All man’s efforts to live/behave righteously apart from the Spirit are simply actions of his flesh. A fleshly mindset and the subsequent fleshly behavior will only produce death (Romans 8).​​ 

When used of God, righteousness​​ refers to​​ His faithfulness to​​ His word without partiality. God does not act according to an external standard. God always acts righteously or just because that is​​ His nature, thus​​ He can act no other way.​​ R. Moffett


*James Fowler​​ has a doctorate degree in Biblical Theology and served as the Pastor of the Neighborhood Church in Fallbrook, California for twenty-six years. He is the founder and director of​​ Christ In You Ministries, and also studied at the University of Edinburgh, New College under both Thomas F. Torrance & James B. Torrance.


*Leon Morris​​ was born in Lithgow, New South Wales, Morris was ordained to the Anglican ministry in 1938. He received his PhD at the University of Cambridge in England on the subject which became his first major book, The Apostolic Preaching of the Cross. He served as warden of Tyndale House, Cambridge (1960-64); principal of Ridley College in Melbourne (1964-1979), Australia (where they have named a library in his honour); and Visiting Professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.​​ Wikipedia


*J. I. Packer, born 22 July 1926 is a British-born Canadian Christian theologian in the low church Anglican and Reformed traditions. He currently serves as the Board of Governors' Professor of Theology at Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia. He is considered one of the most influential evangelicals in North America. He has been the theologian emeritus of the Anglican Church in North America, since its inception in 2009.​​ Wikipedia


*Steven J. Cole​​ has been the pastor of Flagstaff Christian Fellowship since May, 1992. From 1977-1992 he pastored Lake Gregory Community Church in Crestline, California. He graduated from Dallas Theological Seminary (Th.M., 1976 in Bible exposition) and California State University, Long Beach (B.A., philosophy, 1968.​​ 




V21-26 – ​​ Some theologians consider this section of the bible the most important in all of scripture.​​ Let’s look at these verses in more detail.​​ 



V21 But now apart from the Law​​ the​​ righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets,​​ 


Paul has spent much of the first three chapters in his letter to the church​​ in​​ Rome discussing the depraved state of all mankind, their subsequent condemnation,​​ and the wrath of God that is to come on the day of judgment.


In​​ v10-18​​ of this chapter, Paul expounded further on man’s hopeless condition – all are under sin​​ (v9); none are righteous​​ (v10); all are without understanding​​ (v11); none seek after God;​​ (v11); no one does good​​ (v12); all are deceivers​​ (v13); none fear God​​ (v18).​​ 


Paul’s first word here in​​ v21​​ is​​ “but”,​​ which is a term of contrast.


Paul begins to contrast man’s hopelessness under the Law​​ (v19-20)​​ with justification by God’s grace through faith.​​ 


“apart from the Law” –​​ separate from any effort of man.​​ See​​ Romans 3:28; 4:6; 7:8-9.​​ 


Paul speaks of​​ the righteousness of​​ God. When used of God, righteousness refers to​​ His faithfulness to​​ His word without partiality. God always acts righteously because that is​​ His nature, thus​​ He can act no other way. The righteousness of God is first mentioned in​​ Romans 1:17​​ and then five more times in this third chapter of Romans​​ (Rom. 3:5, 21, 22, 25, 26).​​ 


“has been manifested” –​​ means to render apparent; appear; manifestly declare.​​ Strong's Talking Greek & Hebrew Dictionary​​ 


The Greek word translated​​ “manifest”​​ is​​ phaneroō​​ and is in the​​ perfect tense, indicative mood.​​ See the note below to better understand what this means.​​ 


Perfect Tense Indicative Mood

In its most frequent use the​​ Perfect Indicative​​ represents an action as standing at the time of speaking complete. The reference of the tense is thus double; it implies a past action and affirms an existing result.​​ HA.​​ 847;​​ G.​​ 1250, 3.​​ Syntax of the Moods and Tenses in New Testament Greek


The​​ perfect tense​​ indicates past completed action with a present and continuing result.​​ Matthew Henry Commentary


Example -​​ For instance, one might say “I have closed the door" which speaks of a past completed action. But the implication is that as a result, the door is still closed. Thus, the entire meaning is, “I have closed the door and it is closed at present.” You can see how a simple understanding of the perfect tense can often amplify the meaning which may not be readily apparent in the English translation, because the perfect tense has no exact equivalent in English.​​ preceptaustin.org


Paul is saying that the righteousness of God is clear for all to see, i.e., has been made fully evident and is still evident today. Paul said essentially the same thing in​​ Chapter 1 –​​ 


17​​ For in it​​ the​​ righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, "BUT THE RIGHTEOUS​​ man​​ SHALL LIVE BY FAITH."​​ 18​​ For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,​​ 19​​ because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them.​​ 20​​ For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.​​ Romans 1.17-20.​​ 


“witnessed” –​​ to testify, give evidence, give testimony, bear record, affirm that one has seen or heard or experienced something or provided information about a person or an event​​ with which the speaker has direct knowledge.​​ preceptaustin.org


Paul proclaims that the manifestation of God’s righteousness was​​ witnessed by the Law and the Prophets.​​ “The Law and the Prophets” are often used to refer to the entire Old Testament. So, this is not something new that Paul is teaching. Even though the Mosaic Law was an important theme in the Old Testament, it was merely a shadow of better things to come, and more importantly, a savior who was to come. God’s plan has always been to replace the Old Covenant of Law with the New Covenant of Grace!


For the Law, since it has​​ only​​ a shadow of the good things to come​​ and​​ not the very form of things, can never, by the same sacrifices which they offer continually year by year, make perfect those who draw near.​​ Hebrews 10.1​​ 





V22~​​ even​​ the​​ righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; For there is no distinction;​​ 


even the” –​​ not in original Greek.​​ v22​​ is not a new sentence. Better translation-​​ 


"a righteousness of (or “from”) God​​ through faith…"​​ 

23​​ Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed.​​ 24​​ So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith.​​ 25​​ But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian,​​ Galatians 3.23-25 (ESV)


“through” –​​ dia (Gr) –​​ most often translated as “by” or “through”; a primary preposition denoting the channel of an act;​​ Strong's Talking Greek & Hebrew Dictionary


In this verse, faith is the channel or means by which God declares a person righteous.​​ 

“faith” –​​ pistis (Gr)​​ –​​ to be persuaded; conviction of truth;​​ trust; to rely upon;​​ 


Note –​​ the words​​ “believe/belief/believer”​​ and​​ “faith”​​ all come from the same Greek root word,​​ pistis.​​ 


There are many books written in detail on the subject of faith. So, I will try to keep it as simple as possible, so that you can understand the message here in Romans. I think that oftentimes people put more emphasis on the act of faith than the subject of their faith. It is not one’s faith that justifies a person, it is the redemptive work of Christ (the object of one’s faith) that allows man to be declared righteous. Our faith, important as it is, is just the channel or instrument by which righteousness (justification) is “credited to our account”.​​ 


The writer of Hebrews describes faith as –​​ 


Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.​​ Hebrews 11.1 (KJV)​​ 


Note -​​ I’ve always had trouble getting a handle on this verse, so I looked at each word in the original Greek text and wrote my translation based on the Greek word meanings. Here it is –​​ 

“But we are convinced and confident in our beliefs, which results in a life lived in full expectation of that which God has promised, even though the proof of our beliefs cannot yet be seen.”​​ R. Moffett


Faith is​​ complete dependence on what Jesus has done and is doing. It is trusting in Christ’s work as the sole accomplishment for one’s salvation. In Christ alone!


Faith is not​​ merely a mental acceptance or belief​​ in the facts about Jesus’ existence. It is not a belief system or religion. And it is not the power of positive thinking. Often people put their faith in faith. I have heard it said many times that a person did not get their prayers answered because they did not have enough faith. In other words, their prayers were not answered in the way they wanted or expected them to be answered, therefore, the person didn’t have enough faith. Jesus said to​​ His disciples that if they only had the faith of a mustard seed they could move mountains​​ (Matt. 17:20). So, is “more faith” the way to have your prayers answered?​​ 


This brings up several questions​​ which I will not attempt to answer here. However, I will leave you with these additional questions –​​ 


1.​​ Is faith something we develop or is it something God gives us? ​​​​ 


For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.​​ Romans 12.3​​ 



2. Is it possible to have “more faith”​​ in​​ a particular proposition?​​ 


To clarify this question, let me give the following example – Do you have faith that Jesus died on a cross, was buried,​​ and was resurrected on the third day? If you have faith that this is true, can you have more faith that it is true?​​ 

I know what the bible seems to indicate, however, I encourage you to give it some thought before deciding.​​ 


Practical Word Study - Faith

When Paul quotes​​ Genesis 15:6, “Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness,” at first glance, you may think that “it” refers to Abram’s faith, so that God exchanged his faith for righteousness, in a sort of trade. But that would give some sort of merit to faith, which it does not have. In God’s “ledger” in heaven, on the debit side is all our sin. No amount of faith would balance that out on the credit side, because faith cannot pay for sin. Faith is not the basis of our justification; rather, it is the means. Faith is the hand which receives God’s provision in Christ. The basis for justification is that the just penalty for sin has been paid by an acceptable substitute. The justice of God must be met, and Jesus Christ paid that penalty.

Remember what Abram believed: He looked forward to the promised Savior who would be his descendant (“seed”) and believed God concerning that Savior. God, in a judicial accounting procedure, took Abram’s sin and credited it to the book of Jesus Christ, who would bear that sin on the cross. Then He took the righteousness of Jesus and credited it to Abram’s book, so that Abram received the very righteousness of God. Faith was merely the channel by which the transaction took place.

If you come to God with your sin and say, “God, I want to exchange my sin for the righteousness of Jesus Christ,” God will take care of the transaction and declare you righteous in Him. God made Christ, “who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him”​​ (2 Cor. 5:21). Faith means taking God at His word on the matter. It is the channel through which God’s promised blessings flow to us. You can be sure of heaven if you have let go of any supposed righteousness or goodness of your own and have laid hold of the death of Christ on the cross as the just payment for your sins.

To summarize:​​ Justification is God’s declaring the guilty sinner righteous based on the death of Christ, and this transaction is applied to the sinner when he believes in Christ.​​ 

Justification By Faith Alone, Steven J. Cole



“in Jesus Christ for all those who believe;” –​​ Jesus is the object of our faith.​​ 


“for there is no distinction;” –​​ no difference between the Jew and the Gentile, i.e., those who have the Law and those that do not.​​ 


12​​ For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same​​ Lord​​ is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him;​​ Romans 10.12​​ 





V23~ For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,​​ 


Paul now explains why there is no distinction.​​ 


“for all have sinned” –​​ both Jew and Gentile are born sinners “in Adam”.​​ 


“sinned”​​ is in the aorist tense, which indicates that the whole human race is in view here (except Jesus of course).​​ 


“fall short of the glory of God” –​​ 


“fall short” –​​ hustereo (Gr) –​​ here it means to fail in something; miss; expresses the general idea of a deficit. The present tense indicates that all mankind is in a continual state of falling short.​​ 


“the glory of God” –​​ God’s glory is the outward manifestation of​​ His character. God desires that man will share in​​ His glory, however, as long as man remains a sinner “in Adam”, that is impossible. One must be born again “in Christ” to glorify God.​​ 


2​​ By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.​​ Romans 5.2 (KJV)

18​​ But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.  ​​ ​​​​ 2 Corinthians 3.18​​ 

27​​ to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.​​ Colossians 1.27​​ 


The new man in Christ manifests God’s character as he walks by the Holy Spirit.​​ 





V24~​​ “being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus;”​​ 


“justified” –​​ dikaios (Gr) -​​ to​​ render​​ (i.e.​​ show​​ or​​ regard​​ as)​​ just​​ or​​ innocent: - free, justify (-ier), be righteous.​​ Strong’s


In the previous verse​​ (v23), Paul had just stated that all men have sinned and come short of the glory of God, but now he gives the good news. More often than not, good news is better received when a person understands the bad situation​​ in​​ which he finds himself.​​ 


“as a gift by His grace” –​​ 


Man’s justification is a gift from God’s grace. Grace is always a gift and never earned. God has declared that we are innocent of the penalty for which our sin deserves. Again, we are justified, not because of our good works, but because of​​ His grace.​​ 


“through redemption which is in Jesus Christ” –​​ 


“redemption” –​​ apolytrōsis (Gr)​​ –​​ 


“A releasing by ransom (apo,​​ lutrōsis​​ from​​ lutroō​​ and that from​​ lutron, ransom). God did not set men right out of hand with nothing done about men's sins. We have the words of Jesus that he came to give his life a ransom (lutron) for many (Mark 10:45; Matthew 20:28).​​ Lutron​​ is common in the papyri as the purchase-money in freeing slaves (Deissmann, Light from the Ancient East, pp. 327f.).”​​ Word Pictures in the New Testament


“To deliver by paying a price; to set free, deliver, release; to be freed by taking away sins.”​​ Practical Word Studies in The New Testament


6​​ “Say, therefore, to the sons of Israel, 'I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will deliver you from their bondage. I will also redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments.​​ Exodus 6.6​​ 

7​​ In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace​​ 8​​ which He lavished on us. In all wisdom and insight​​ Ephesians 1.7-8​​ 


“which is in Jesus Christ” –


God has sent us the gift of Jesus Christ to redeem mankind. Redeem means to buy out or to pay a ransom as in the purchase of a slave in order to set him free. Jesus has paid the ransom for the sin debt man owed.​​ 


We have been redeemed from the bondage of​​ 



17​​ But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed,​​ 18​​ and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.​​ Romans 6.17-18.​​ See also​​ Romans 6:20.​​ 

Law​​ -

But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter.​​ Romans 7.6​​ 

The law of sin and death​​ -

For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.​​ Romans 8.2​​ 

the domain of darkness​​ -

13​​ For​​ He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His Beloved​​ son,​​ 14​​ in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. Col 1.13-14



​​ Return



V25~​​ whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith.​​ This was​​ to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed;


“whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith.” –​​ 


“whom”​​ – refers to Christ Jesus.


“displayed publicly” –​​ protithemi (Gr)​​ -​​ to​​ place before, i.e. (for oneself) to​​ exhibit; (to oneself) to​​ propose​​ (determine): - purpose, set forth.​​ Strong's​​ 


Word Study - “displayed publicly”​​ from the Greek word​​ protithemi -​​ may mean either “to determine,” to “purpose” or “to set forth,” so as to be manifest. Either sense would convey a scriptural view here, but the context bears out the latter meaning. The verb is in the middle voice, which lays stress upon the personal interest which God had in doing what is said, as predetermined in His eternal purpose. The aorist tense indicates the definiteness of the act in the past.​​ Vine, W. Collected writings of W. E. Vine. Nashville: Thomas Nelson


As we will see, God had a purpose for the public display of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.


“as a propitiation” –​​ hilastērion (Gr) - ​​ There is much disagreement as to the meaning of this word in bible theology. It is beyond the scope of this writing to explore it all. I believe the following statement best expresses the meaning of propitiation as used in this verse and elsewhere in the New Testament –​​ 


“Propitiation​​ is the work of Christ on the Cross in which He met the demands of the righteousness of God against sin, satisfying the requirements of God's justice and canceling the guilt of man's sin!”​​ preceptaustin.org


Word Study - propitiate

To propitiate means​​ to "turn away wrath by offering a gift." Pagan religions are built on the concept of propitiation, whereby a devotee brings a chicken, a goat, a lamb, or a plate of food and offers it to his god. I saw that very thing happen in Haiti and also in India. By bringing the blood of a chicken, the followers of voodoo hope to appease the evil spirits and turn away their​​ wrath. On a completely different level, a husband does this after having a fight with his wife when he stops at the freeway off ramp and buys flowers on the way home. He hopes the offering of flowers will turn away wrath and restore a right relationship. In the Old Testament the High Priest would enter the Holy of Holies once a year—on the Day of Atonement—bringing with him the blood of a bull. When he sprinkled the blood on the Mercy Seat—the lid of the Ark of the Covenant—that blood was accepted by God as an "atonement" or a "covering" for the sin of the people.​​ Ray Pritchard*


Taken as a whole, the doctrine of propitiation as revealed in these New Testament references seems fully to sustain the orthodox concept that Christ in His death on the cross through the shedding of His blood and the sacrifice of His life constituted a satisfaction of divine justice which God accepts on behalf of the sinner making possible the manifestation of His love toward men and bestowal of righteousness through justification by faith. The necessity of such a propitiation is demonstrated by the sin of the race (Rom 3:9, 23; 5:12), the righteousness of God​​ Ps 119:137; 145:17; Rom 3:25-26) and the historic fact that Christ actually died for sinful man (Isa 53:5-6; Gal 1:4; 3:13​​ Eph 5:2; Heb 9:22,28; Rev 1:5; 1 Cor 5:13;​​ 1 Pet 1:18,19; 2:24).
John Walvoord*


The propitiation originates with God, not to appease Himself, but to justify Himself in His uniform kindness to men deserving harshness. Compare also as to reconciliation, as in Romans 5:1-11,​​ 2 Co 5:18.​​ Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary


Note that many theologians of the "liberal persuasion" strongly object to the truth that Jesus bore God's wrath against sin. In general, they tend to be uncomfortable with the truth of wrath, judgment, and hell, and so have fallaciously reasoned that "propitiation" is a translation that relegates theology to the mythology of the Greeks and slanders the character of God. This thinking has led these liberal theologians to translate​​ hilasterion​​ as "expiation", as for example in the Revised Standard Version ("whom God put forward as an expiation by his blood,"). Expiation means an action that cleanses from sin but includes no concept of appeasing God's wrath! To be sure the truth conveyed by "expiation" is certainly included in​​ hilasterion, but as you can discern, expiation is not an adequate or accurate rendering of the truth conveyed by this Greek word.​​ 


The difference between the doctrines of propitiation in Christianity and in Greek mythology is bound up in the character of God Himself. Being holy, perfect, and immutable, the living God is​​ never ruled by changing moods as were the so-called gods of Greco-Roman mythology. Consequently, God's wrath is a settled disposition against evil. The just demands of God's holiness for the punishment and exclusion of sin must be satisfied or propitiated.


Propitiation is the work of Christ on the Cross in which He met the demands of the righteousness of God against sin, satisfying the requirements of God's justice and canceling the guilt of man's sin!​​ preceptaustin.org

*Ray Pritchard​​ is president of Keep Believing Ministries that includes a national preaching ministry, outreach to China, and other goodwill efforts. Among his books are "Fire and Rain: The Wild-Hearted Faith of Elijah, He's God and We're Not, " and "In the Shadow of the Cross".


*John Walvoord​​ was a member of the Dallas Theological Seminary faculty for 50 years, from 1936 to 1986. He served as president of Dallas Seminary from 1952 to 1986, and as chancellor until 2001. John has authored more than 30 books on biblical theology.


Concerning propitiation –​​ 



1.​​ Used only four times in the New Testament (NASB version) –​​ 


whom God displayed publicly as a​​ propitiation​​ in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed;​​ Romans 3.25​​ 


Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make​​ propitiation​​ for the sins of the people.​​ Hebrews 2.17​​ 


​​ and He Himself is the​​ propitiation​​ for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for​​ those of​​ the whole world.​​ 1 John 2.2​​ 


In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son​​ to be​​ the​​ propitiation​​ for our sins.​​ 1 John 4.10​​ 



2.​​ Propitiation in scripture always refers to Jesus being the propitiation (satisfaction) for man’s sin debt.​​ 


3. Is always initiated by God.​​ 

Oftentimes the word “satisfy” or “satisfaction” is used as a synonym for propitiation. Christ’s death satisfied God’s legal requirement for the sin debt that man owed. Per God’s word, sin requires death. Because God is righteous and just, there had to be an acceptable sacrifice for the sin of all mankind.​​ 


“in His blood through faith.” –​​ 


The shedding of blood by Jesus is used to indicate​​ His death. It wasn’t that Christ​​ just​​ had to shed his blood to provide an acceptable sacrifice, but that​​ He had to literally die, for “the wages of sin is death”. Had Christ shed his blood and not died, the sacrifice would have been unacceptable. For an excellent explanation of this, read the article,​​ The Blood of Christ by Jim Fowler.​​ You can find this article at​​ http://www.christinyou.net. Below is an excerpt from this article.​​ 


The Blood -

To properly understand the New Testament references to Christ's shed blood and death, one has to understand that the shed blood of Jesus fulfills the "types" of sacrificial death pictured in the Old Testament. The "types" pointed to and pictorially pre-figured the sacrificial death of Jesus, particularly those of the Day of Atonement in Leviticus chapter sixteen. In the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ, we have the true and ultimate sacrifice of the Lamb of God for the removal of men's sins. But we must keep in mind that the Old Testament concept of "atonement" was but that of a "covering" for sin. John the Baptist proclaims in John 1:29, "Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world." In the new covenant we have that which is much better, not just the "covering" of sin, but the "taking away" of sin.

The material shedding of blood was an important part of what God wanted to fulfill in the death of His Son, Jesus Christ. But we must not allow the shed blood to become an inordinate focus. Had Jesus shed His blood and not died, such would not have been sufficient for redemption. The price would not have been paid. Redemption is not effected by "bleeding," but only by death. Bloodshed does not constitute death. "The wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23), and the price that had to be paid for the redemption of man was the taking of the death-penalty.

Jesus did not die by "bleeding." Bleeding was not the cause of His death; He did not bleed to death. In fact, He did not die by execution on a cross. He "laid down His life" (John 10:17, 18; I John 3:16), and "gave up His spirit" (John 19:30).

It is important to note that it is not necessarily the physical death that is the most important feature of Christ's death anyway. Jesus incurred all of the death consequences that occurred in Adam. Beyond the physical death we must see the spiritual death wherein Jesus cried, "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsake Me?" (Matthew 27:46). He became the "first-born from the dead" spiritually (Colossians 1:18; Revelation 1:5) in order to become the "first-born among many brethren" (Romans 8:29), likewise born spiritually from spiritual death. To understand this is essential to a full Biblical understanding of the death of Jesus Christ.​​ Excerpt from​​ The Blood of Christ by James Fowler


“through faith.” –​​ pistis (Gr)​​ – See notes on​​ v3:22.​​ 


It is our faith that applies Christ’s sacrifice to our own life.​​ 


“This was​​ to demonstrate His righteousness,” –​​ 


“demonstrate” –​​ endeixis (Gr) –


From preceptaustin.org website -​​ 

Demonstrate​​ (1732) (endeixis​​ from​​ endeíknumi​​ = show forth <>​​ en​​ = in, to +​​ deíknumi​​ = expose to eyes and give proof, make known by visual, auditory, or linguistic means) means a pointing out (particularly with the finger). It is something that points to or serves as an indicator of something else and hence is synonymous with a sign, an indication, evidence, verification. It describes the means by which one knows that something is a fact. It is something that compels acceptance of something mentally or emotionally and thus serves as a demonstration or a proof.


In secular Greek​​ endeixis​​ meant a pointing out and was used as a legal term, meaning a laying out of information against one who discharged public functions for which he was legally disqualified.


“His righteousness,” –​​ See notes on​​ v20 -21.​​ 


What was the demonstration of His righteousness? –​​ Obviously, it was Jesus Christ’s death on the cross.​​ 


Why was there the need to demonstrate God’s righteousness?​​ 


“because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed;”​​ 


Paul is preparing to explain the reason there had to be a demonstration of God’s righteousness.​​ 


“in the forbearance of God” –​​ anochē (Gr) -​​ from (anechomai);​​ self-restraint, i.e.​​ tolerance: - forbearance.​​ Strong's Talking Greek & Hebrew Dictionary​​ 


"a holding back" (akin to A, No. 1), denotes "forbearance," a delay of punishment,​​ Rom. 2:4; Rom. 3:25, in both places of God's "forbearance" with men; in the latter passage His "forbearance" is the ground, not of His forgiveness, but of His pretermission of sins, His withholding punishment. In​​ Rom. 2:4​​ it represents a suspense of wrath which must eventually be exercised unless the sinner accepts God's conditions; in​​ Rom. 3:25​​ it is connected with the passing over of sins in times past, previous to the atoning work of Christ.​​ Vine's Expository Dictionary


Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?​​ Romans 2.4 (KJV)


​​ The next day he *saw Jesus coming to him and *said, "Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!​​ John 1.29


and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for​​ those of​​ the whole world.​​ 1 John 2.2​​ 


“He passed over the sins previously committed;” –​​ 


“passed over” –​​ paresis (Gr)​​ –​​ primarily "a letting go, dismissal" (akin to​​ pariēmi, "to let alone, loosen"), denotes "a passing by" or "pretermission (of sin)," "a suspension of judgment," or "withholding of punishment,"​​ Rom. 3:25, RV, "passing over" (AV, "remission"), with reference to sins committed previously to the propitiatory sacrifice of Christ, the "passing by" not being a matter of Divine disregard but of forbearance.​​ Vine's​​ 


“the sins previously committed;” –​​ refers to all the sin of mankind prior to Christ’s death on the cross. Prior to the cross the sin of all mankind had not yet been forgiven, for only the blood of Jesus (his death) could provide for the forgiveness of sin.​​ 


Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.​​ Hebrews 9.22 (ESV)​​ 


In his mercy and grace, God delayed his judgment of the sin of mankind. He obviously knew, that at just the right time,​​ He would provide an acceptable sacrifice that would pay the sin debt for the whole world. But because God is righteous and just, the payment for sin had to be paid.​​ 


And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.”​​ Galatians 3.8 (ESV)


The dilemma (from man’s understanding) is, how can God not punish the sin of all mankind and still be faithful to his word that says sin demands the death penalty. ​​ 


39​​ “We are witnesses of all the things He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They also put Him to death by hanging Him on a cross.​​ 40​​ “God raised Him up on the third day and granted that He become visible,​​ 41​​ not to all the people, but to witnesses who were chosen beforehand by God,​​ that is,​​ to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead.​​ Acts 10.39-41​​ 


Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?​​ Romans 2.4​​ 





V26~ For the demonstration,​​ I say,​​ of His righteousness at the present time, So that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.​​ 


Paul is preparing to give the reason for the demonstration of God’s righteousness.​​ 


“the demonstration,​​ I say,​​ of His righteousness” –​​ See notes on​​ v25.​​ 


“at the present time,” –​​ in contrast with the “sins previously committed”​​ (v25).


“present” –​​ nyn (Gr)​​ – now, the immediate present, whether in contrast to the past or to the future.​​ Vine's Expository Dictionary


“time,” –​​ kairos (Gr) -​​ primarily "due measure, due proportion," when used of "time," signified "a fixed or definite period, a season," sometimes an opportune or seasonable "time,"​​ Vine's Expository Dictionary


For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.​​ Romans 5.6​​ 


“so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” –


“that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” –

God does not act capriciously. Man, who was born in Adam, spiritually dead to God, guilty of sin, guilty under the Old Covenant Law (the Jews), in bondage to Satan, deserving of eternal death (separation from God), has been justified by God​​ Himself through the sacrificial death of​​ His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. Dilemma solved!​​ 


Thus, God is “just” (righteous) and the one who​​ justifies​​ the one who has faith in the death, burial,​​ and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Amen!






V31~​​ Do we then nullify the Law through faith? May it never be! On the contrary, we establish the Law.​​ 


Paul is not against the Law (antinomianism), which his readers might likely conclude based on previous statements he has made.​​ 


“nullify”–​​ katargeō​​ (Gr) (KJV – “make void”) – to render entirely idle (useless), literal or figurative: - abolish, cease, cumber, deliver, destroy, do away, become (make) of no (none, without) effect, fail, loose, bring (come) to nought, put away (down), vanish away, make void.​​ Strong's​​ 


Paul asks the question (paraphrase) –​​ Does faith do away with the Law, i.e., cause it to be without effect?​​ 


He answers his own question –​​ 


“May it never be!”​​ - A strong phrase of disagreement indicating “Of course not!”​​ See notes on 6:2.​​ 

This is​​ one of Paul’s favorite phrases – used 10 times in the book of Romans (7 of them in chapters 3-7).​​ The KJV uses the phrase “God forbid” in place of “May it never be,” although the word “God” is not used in the original language. ​​ 


“On the contrary” –​​ alla (Gr) –​​ rather, but, on the contrary.


we establish​​ the​​ Law.” –


“establish” –​​ histēmi (Gr) –​​ to cause to stand.​​ Vine’s​​ Expository Dictionary


the​​ Law” –​​ (“the”​​ not in original Greek). The inclusion of the article “the” before “nomos” (Greek word meaning “law”) generally indicates the “Mosaic” Law, however, the context of this verse would indicate that the Mosaic Law is in view here, even in the absence of “the”.






1.​​ Strong's Talking Greek & Hebrew Dictionary

2.​​ Vine's Expository Dictionary​​ 

3.​​ Bible Background Commentary

4.​​ preceptaustin.org website

5.​​ Exposition of the Epistle to the Romans

6.​​ Practical Word Studies in the New Testament

7.​​ Expository Dictionary of Bible Words

8.​​ Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary



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