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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged
Romans 3

 

 

Other Authors
Verse 1

What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision?

What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision? 'If the final judgment will turn solely on the state of the heart, and this may be as good in the Gentile without as in the Jew within the sacred enclosure of God's covenant, what better are we Jews for all our advantages?' Answer:


Verse 2

Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God.

Much every way: chiefly, because , [ prooton (Greek #4412) men (Greek #3303) gar (Greek #1063) - see Donaldson, 618 - hoti (Greek #3754)] - rather, 'First, that.' Our version here (following Beza) departs from this the proper meaning of the word, rendering it "chiefly," no doubt, because no 'second' and 'third' advantages of the Jew follow. But there was no need. It suited the apostle's argument to dwell on this particular advantage of the Jew, and the rest could easily be imagined.

That unto them were committed (or, 'they were entrusted with') the oracles of God , [ ta (Greek #3588) logia (Greek #3051) tou (Greek #3588) Theou (Greek #2316)]. This remarkable expression which the Septuagint use in Numbers 24:4; Numbers 24:16; Psalms 12:6; Psalms 18:30), denoting 'divine communications' in general [theosfata], is transferred to the sacred Scriptures, to express their oracular, divinely authoritative character. In this sense Stephen, in his address before the Sanhedrim, calls them "the lively (or 'living') oracles" [ logia (Greek #3051) zoonta (Greek #2198)] (Acts 7:38).


Verse 3

For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect?

For what if some did not believe - or 'proved unfaithful.' It is the unbelief of the great body of the nation which the apostle points at; but as it sufficed for his argument to put the supposition thus gently, he uses this word "some" to soften prejudice.

Shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect? - `invalidate,' or 'nullify, the faithfulness of God?'


Verse 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.

God forbid , [ mee (Greek #3361) genoito (Greek #1096)] - 'Let it not be:' q.d., 'Away with such a thought:' an expression not unknown to later Greek, and in the Septuagint used in Genesis 44:17; Joshua 22:29 [= chaaliylaah (Hebrew #2486)], a favourite expression of our apostle, when he would not only repudiate a supposed consequence of his doctrine, but express his abhorrence of it.

Yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written (Psalms 51:4), That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged. The apostle here follows the Septuagint in place the Hebrew and our own version of the Psalm - "when thou judgest." But the general sentiment is the same in both-that we are to vindicate the righteousness of God at whatever expense to ourselves.

Second Objection:


Verse 5

But if our unrighteousness commend the righteousness of God, what shall we say? Is God unrighteous who taketh vengeance? (I speak as a man)

But if our unrighteousness commend , [ sunisteesin (Greek #4921)] - 'establisheth,' or 'maketh manifest' (as in Romans 5:8),

The righteousness of God, what shall we say? Is God unrighteous who taketh vengeance? [ ho (Greek #3588) epiferoon (Greek #2018) teen (Greek #3588) orgeen (Greek #3709)] - 'who inflicteth,' or 'is to inflict wrath;'

i.e., who is the destined Judge.

I speak as a man: q.d., 'At this rate the more faithless we are, so much the more illustrious will the fidelity of God appear; and in that case, for Him to take vengeance on us for our unfaithfulness would be (to speak as men profanely do) unrighteousness in God.' Answer:


Verse 6

God forbid: for then how shall God judge the world?

God forbid: for then how shall God judge the world? - q.d., 'Far from us be such a thought; for that would strike down all future judgment.'


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? For if the truth of God hath more abounded through my lie - i:e., If His faithfulness is rendered all the more conspicuous by my want of it.


Verse 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.

And [why should we] not [rather say], (as we be slanderously reported, and as some affirm that we say,)

Let us do evil, that good may come? whose damnation (or 'condemnation') is just - a further illustration of the same sentiment: q.d., 'Such reasoning amounts to this-which, indeed, we who preach salvation by free grace are slanderously accused of teaching-that the more evil we do, the more glory will redound to God: a damnable principle.' Thus the apostle, instead of refuting this principle, thinks it enough to hold it up to execration, as one that shocks the moral sense.

That the Jew is under like Condemnation with the Gentile, Proved from his own Scriptures (Romans 3:9-19)


Verse 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;

What then? are we better [than they?] - `Have we the pre-eminence?' 'Do we excel?' [ proechometha (Greek #4284), proecellimus-the middle used like the active].

No, in no wise , [ ou (Greek #3756) pantoos (Greek #3843) = oudamoos (Greek #3760), for pantoos (Greek #3843) ou (Greek #3756)] (1 Corinthians 16:12, Wiser, 61). They had, indeed, that vast advantage over the pagan, that they had the oracles of God to teach them better; but since this was not effectual, it only aggravated their guilt.

For we have before proved , [ proaitiasametha (Greek #4256)]. This word is rendered 'arraigned' by the Vulgate [praecausati sumus], Beza [criminati sumus], Calvin [constituimus], etc. But the preferable sense seems to be, 'brought home the charge,' or (as in our version) 'proved;' referring to the reasoning of Romans 1:1-32 and Romans 2:1-29. So Erasmus [ante causis redditis ostendimus], Luther [erwiesen], Bengel [couvicimus], etc. "both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin;"


Verse 10

As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:

As it is written ... The passages which here follow-from the Psalms, the Proverbs, and Isaiah-were indeed suggested by particular manifestations of human depravity occurring under his own eye; but as this only showed what man, when unrestrained, is in his present condition, they were quite pertinent to the apostle's purpose. The passages are given in substance rather than to the letter.

There is none righteous, no, not one:


Verse 11

There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.

There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.


Verse 12

They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one (Psalms 14:1-3; Psalms 53:1-3). From generals the apostle now comes to particulars, culling from different parts of Scripture passages which speak of depravity as it affects the different members of the body; as if to show more affectingly how, "from the sole of the foot even to the head, there is no soundness" in us.


Verse 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 (Psalms 5:9): q.d., 'What proceeds out of their heart, and finds vent in speech and action through the throat, is like the pestilential breath of an open grave;' With their tongues they have used deceit (Psalms 5:9) - q.d., 'That tongue which is man's glory (Psalms 16:9; Psalms 57:8) is prostituted to the purposes of deception;'

The poison of asps is under their lips (Psalms 140:3) - q.d., 'Those lips which should "drop as an honeycomb," and, "feed many," and "give thanks unto His name" (Song of Solomon 4:11; Proverbs 10:21; Hebrews 13:15), are employed to secrete deadly poison:'


Verse 14

Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness:

Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness (Psalms 10:7) - q.d., 'That mouth which should be "most sweet" (Song of Solomon 5:16), being "set on fire of hell" (James 3:6), is filled with burning wrath against those whom it should only bless:'


Verse 15

Their feet are swift to shed blood:

Their feet are swift to shed blood (Proverbs 1:16; Isaiah 59:7) - q.d., 'Those feet which should "run the way of God's commandments" (Psalms 119:32) are employed to conduct men to deeds of darkest crime:'


Verse 16

Destruction and misery are in their ways:

No JFB commentary on this verse.


Verse 17

And the way of peace have they not known:

And the way of peace have they not known (Isaiah 59:7-8). These two last clauses are a supplementary statement about men's ways, suggested by what had been said about the "feet," and they express the mischief and misery which men scatter in their path, instead of that peace which, as strangers to it themselves, they cannot diffuse.


Verse 18

There is no fear of God before their eyes.

There is no fear of God before their eyes (Psalms 36:1) - q.d., 'Did the eyes but "see Him who is invisible" (Hebrews 11:27), a reverential awe of Him with whom we have to do would chasten every joy and lift the soul out of its deepest depressions; but to all this the natural man is a stranger.' How graphic is this picture of human depravity finding its way through each several organ of the body into the life; and yet how small a part of the "desperate wickedness" that is within (Jeremiah 17:9) "proceedeth out of the heart of man!" (Mark 7:21-23; Psalms 19:12.)


Verse 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.

Now we know that what things soever the law (that is, the Scripture, regarded as a law of duty: cf. John 10:34) saith, it saith to them who are under the law (and of course, therefore, to the Jews);

That every mouth (that would open itself in self-justification) may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God , [ hupodikos (Greek #5267) geneetai (Greek #1096)] - 'come under the judgment of God,' or stand condemned at His bar.

The Grand Inference from All the Foregoing Reasonings now Stated (Romans 3:20)


Verse 20

Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the 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 by the deeds of the law - by compliance with its requirements,

There shall no flesh be justified - that is, 'be held and treated as righteous,' as is plain from the whole scope and strain of the argument,

In his sight - at His bar (Psalms 143:2):

For by the law is the knowledge of sin. (See the notes at Romans 4:15; Romans 7:7; 1 John 3:4.)

Remarks:

(1) The place here assigned to the Scriptures is worthy of special notice. In answer to the question, "What advantage hath the Jew? or, What profit is there of circumcision?" modern ritualists of every description would have pointed to the priesthood and the temple, with all its imposing ritual, as the glory of the ancient Economy. But in the apostle's esteem, "the Oracles of God" were the jewel of the ancient Church, from the knowledge of which springs all enlightened and acceptable worship of God.

(2) God's eternal purposes and man's free agency, as also the doctrine of salvation by grace and that of the unchanging obligations of God's Law, have in every age been subjected to the charge of inconsistency by those who will bow to no truth which their own reason cannot fathom. But amidst all the clouds and darkness which in this present state envelop the divine administration and many of the truths of the Bible, such broad and deep principles as are here laid down, and which shine in their own luster, will he found the sheet-anchor of our faith. "Let God he true, and every man a liar;" and as for such advocates of Salvation by grace as say, "Let us do evil, that good may come" - "their damnation is just."

(3) How broad and deep does the apostle in this section lay the foundations of his great doctrine of justification by free grace-in the disorder of man's whole nature, the consequent universality of human guilt, the condemnation of the whole world, by reason of the breach of divine law, and the impossibility of justification before God by obedience to that violated law! Only when these humiliating conclusions are accepted and felt, are we in a condition to appreciate and embrace the Grace of the Gospel, next to be opened up.

First: God's Justifying Righteousness is alike New and Old (Romans 3:21)


Verse 21

But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;

But now - [ nuni (Greek #3570) de (Greek #1161)]. We may view this either as a particle of transition to a new stage of the argument (as Fritzsche, Meyer, DeWette, and Alford take it) or as a particle of time, to mark the bright contrast between the dim perception of this truth under the Law and the full manifestation of it "now" under the Gospel (as Grotius, Bengel, Tholuck, Philippi, and Hodge understand it). But thee two ideas, though quite different, are both so very natural, that whichever of them came up first would almost certainly suggest the other.

The righteousness of God (see the note at Romans 1:17) without the law - that righteousness to which our obedience to the law contributes nothing whatever (Romans 3:28; Galatians 2:16),

Is manifested , [ pefanerootai (Greek #5319)] - 'hath been manifested,'

Being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets - being attested by the Old Testament Scriptures themselves. Thus this justifying righteousness is at once new, as only now fully disclosed, and old, as predicted and foreshadowed in the ancient Scriptures.

Second: This Righteousness Is Absolutely Gratuitous, and for All Believers (Romans 3:22-24)


Verse 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:

Even the righteousness of God [which is] by faith of Jesus Christ - that is, by faith in Him (the genitive of the object of faith),

Unto all and upon all them that believe , [ eis (Greek #1519) pisteuontas (Greek #4100) epi (Greek #1909) kai (Greek #2532) pantas (Greek #3956). The three last of thee words are missing in 'Aleph ('), though supplied by the corrector C, about the seventh century, and in B and C, in the Thebaic and some other of the versions; and they are omitted by one or two Greek fathers; but they are found in all the other Uncial manuscripts, in the Vulgate and both the Syriac versions, and in most Greek fathers; and as they were far more likely to be omitted from the genuine text, as superfluous, than to be foisted in where they had no place, there can hardly be any doubt of their genuineness. Lachmann and Tregelles exclude them; but nearly all good critics pronounce in favour of them]. It is far-fetched to understand 'unto all of the Jews' and 'upon all of the Gentiles'-as some of the fathers did, whom Bengel follows. Yet it is hardly satisfactory to regard the two statements as but an emphatic reiteration of the same thing-as Tholuck and others do. The shade of difference between them seems to be this, that the righteousness which is by faith of Jesus Christ is extended "unto all," and rests "upon all them that believe," whether Jews or Gentiles. Thus emphatically does the apostle proclaim the great truth, that all believers, without distinction or exception, are put in possession of this gratuitous justification, purely by faith in Christ Jesus.


Verse 23

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

For all have sinned - `For all sinned' [ heemarton (Greek #264). The aorist is here used, as the thing affirmed is regarded, in respect of the whole race, as already an accomplished fact].

And [do] come short of the glory of God - that is, 'of the praise' or 'approval' of God: as the same word [ doxa (Greek #1391)] is used in John 12:43, etc., and as the best interpreters take it here. Though men differ greatly in the nature and extent of their sinfulness, there is absolutely no difference between the best and the worst of men, in the fact, that "all have sinned," and so underlie the wrath of God.


Verse 24

Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:

Being justified freely , [ doorean (Greek #1432)] - without anything done on our part to deserve it (compare 2 Thessalonians 3:8, where the same word is rendered, "for nought")

By his grace - gratuitously, in the sole exercise of His spontaneous love.

Third: God Is Just in thus Justifying Believers (Romans 3:24-26)

Through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. A vastly important clause this, teaching us that though justification is quite gratuitous, it is not a mere fiat of the divine will, but based on a "Redemption" - that is, 'the payment of a Ransom,' in Christ's death. It is true that the word [ apolutroosis (Greek #629)], though properly meaning 'redemption on payment of a ransom,' is used also for redemption or deliverance of any sort, without reference to a ransom price. But here, and almost universally in the New Testament, it is used, beyond all reasonable doubt, of redemption in the strict sense of the term; since in almost every place it is expressly said to be "through the blood of Christ."


Verse 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;

Whom God hath set forth ('God set forth') [to be] a propitiation , [ hilasteerion (Greek #2435) = kaporet (Hebrew #3727)]. In the only other place where this word occurs in the New Testament (Hebrews 9:5) it refers to the 'propitiatory' or "mercy-seat" in the Holy of holies of the Jewish tabernacle; and the Septuagint use the word in this sense. Hence, several of the fathers, and after them Luther, Calvin, Olshausen, Philippi, etc., translate here, 'Whom God hath set forth for a propitiatory' or 'mercy-seat.' But probably the Septuagint missed the strict sense of the Hebrew word which they so render; and as Christ is nowhere else so represented, the true sense of the term appears to be given by our own translators (following the Vulgate and Beza) - 'a propitiation,' or 'propitiatory sacrifice.' (In this sense Fritzsche, Meyer, DeWette, Alford, and Hodge concur.)

Through faith in his blood , [ dia (Greek #1223) pisteoos (Greek #4102) en (Greek #1722) too (Greek #3588) autou (Greek #846) haimati (Greek #129)]. Some of the best interpreters, observing that 'faith upon' is the usual phrase in Greek, not "faith in" Christ, would place a comma after "faith," and understand the words as if written thus, 'to be a propitiation, in His blood, through faith.' But the same apostle writes, "Ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus" (Galatians 3:26); and again, "Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus (Ephesians 1:15) - where this identical phrase is used. Why, then, should he not have written here, 'faith in His blood?' (Fritzsche defends this sense at length; and Olshausen strenuously contends for it.) Besides, the order of the two clauses-if we make two of them-is just the reverse of what we should expect in that case; whereas if, with our version, and most others, we take them as one, all is natural.

To declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God.

This is rather an unhappy rendering of the original words [ eis (Greek #1519) endeixin (Greek #1732) tees (Greek #3588) dikaiosunees (Greek #1343) autou (Greek #846) dia (Greek #1223) teen (Greek #3588) paresin (Greek #3929) toon (Greek #3588) progegonotoon (Greek #4266) hamarteematoon (Greek #265) en (Greek #1722) tee (Greek #3588) anochee (Greek #463) tou (Greek #3588) Theou (Greek #2316).] Properly, the words mean, 'for the manifestation of his righteousness, on account of the passing by of the sins that went before, in the forbearance of God.' 'The sins' which are here referred to are not those of the believer before he embraces Christ, but those committed under the ancient economy, before Christ came to "put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself." Hence, the apostle, instead of using the common word which signifies "remission" [ afesis (Greek #859)], studiously uses a very different word, nowhere else employed, signifying 'pretermission' or 'passing by;' and hence also this 'passing by' is ascribed to "the forbearance of God," who is viewed as not so much remitting as bearing with them until an adequate atonement for them should be made. In thus not imputing them, God was righteous; but He was not seen to be so: there was no "man ifestation of His righteousness" in doing so under the ancient economy. But now that God can "set forth" Christ as a "propitiation through faith in His blood," the righteousness of His procedure, in passing by the sins of believers before, and in now forgiving them, is "manifested," declared, brought fully out to the view of the whole world.


Verse 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, [I say], at this time his righteousness - `For the showing forth of His righteousness at this present time' (meaning the present Gospel time),

That he might ('may') be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus - `of him which is of the faith of Jesus.' Glorious paradox! 'Just in punishing,' and 'merciful in pardoning,' men can understand; but 'just in justifying' the guilty startles them. But the propitiation through faith in Christ's blood resolves the paradox, and harmonizes the seemingly discordant element. For in that "God hath made Him to be sin for us who knew no sin," justice has full satisfaction; and in that "we are made the righteousness of God in Him," mercy has all her desire. [The word 'Ieesou (Greek #2424), at the close of this verse, is capriciously rejected in Tischendorf's text, though wanting only in FG, one cursive, and three copies of the Old Latin; while it is found in 'Aleph (') A B C K, several cursives, the two principal manuscripts of the Vulgate, the Peshito Syriac, and several Greek fathers. Lachmann and Tregelles retain it.]

Inferences from this Doctrine of Gratuitous Justification by Faith-An Objection Answer (Romans 3:27-31)

Inference First: Boasting is Excluded Only by this Way of Justification.


Verse 27

Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.

Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? - `On what principle?'

Of works? Nay; but by the law (or, on the principle) of faith.


Verse 28

Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.

Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. There is weighty evidence in favour of 'For' here, in place of "Therefore;" and most critics regard it as the true reading-though we think incorrectly. [ Oun (Greek #3767) is found in B C D***-a corrector of about the 9th or 10th centuries-K L, and many cursives, both Syriac versions, and most Greek fathers; but gar (Greek #1063) is found in 'Aleph (') A D E F G, and some cursives, some copies of the Old Latin, and the Vulgate. This is strong testimony; but internal evidence (by which we mean here the connection of the train of thought) seems to us to pronounce for the received reading. Tischendorf adheres to the Received Text: Griesbach, Lachmann, and Tregelles adopt gar (Greek #1063).] The following view of the train of thought will show why we deem the received reading, "Therefore," more suitable: '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-manifestly and entirely excludes "boasting;" and this is the best evidence of its truth.'

Our faith receives a righteousness That makes the sinner just-

Inference Second: This Way of Salvation, and No Other, Is Adapted alike to Jew and Gentile (Romans 3:29-30)


Verse 29

Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also:

Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also. 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.


Verse 30

Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith.

Seeing [it is] one God which shall - or, 'one is the God who shall'

Justify the circumcision by faith , [ ek (Greek #1537) pisteoos (Greek #4102).]

And uncircumcision through faith , [ dia (Greek #1223) tees (Greek #3588) pisteoos (Greek #4102).] The future - "shall justify" - is used here to denote the fixed purpose of God to act on this principle in all time. Origen, and after him Bengel, considered that it is the justification of the Jew which is here said to be 'of faith,' as being the born heirs of the promise; while that of the Gentiles, as being previously "strangers to the covenants of promise," is said to be only "through faith," as admitting them into a new family. But, besides that this is too far-fetched, it seems to be contradicted by Galatians 3:8, where the same phrase-`of faith'-which is here said to be used of the Jews, is applied to the justification of the Gentiles. With most critics, we regard it as but a varied statement of the same truth, but with a slight shade of difference in the sense; the first expression-`of faith'-denoting the ordained method of justification; the second, "through faith," the instrument or channel through which it comes to us. Similar examples of two nearly equivalent statements will be found in Romans 3:22, and in Galatians 3:22 (compare 23).

Objection (Romans 3:31)


Verse 31

Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.

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. The reader should carefully observe, that, important as was this objection, and opening up as it did so noble a field for the illustration of the special glory of the Gospel, the apostle does no more here than indignantly repel it, intending at a subsequent stage of his argument (Romans 6:1-23) to resume and discuss it at length.

Remarks:

(1) It cannot be too much insisted on, that according to the doctrine of this Epistle throughout, and particularly of the present chapter, one way of a sinner's justification is taught as well in the Old Testament as in the New-though more dimly, of course, in the twilight of Revelation, and only now in unclouded light.

(2) As there is no difference in the need, so is there none in the liberty to appropriate the provided Salvation. The best need to be saved by faith in Jesus Christ; and the worst only need that. On this common ground all saved sinners meet in the Church below, and will stand forever. (See the notes at Luke 7:36-50, p. 255.)

(3) The love of God and His grace the guilty, apart from the sacrifice of Christ, would yield no solid relief to the convinced and trembling sinner. It is on the stoning sacrifice of Christ as the one propitiatory and all-sufficient sacrifice, which God in unspeakable love bath set forth to the eye of the guilty, that his faith fastens for deliverance from wrath; and though he knows that he is "justified freely by God's grace," it is only because it is "through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus" that he is able to find peace and rest even in this.

(4) The strictly accurate view of believers under the Old Testament is not that of a company of pardoned men, but of men whose sins, put up with and passed by in the mean time, awaited a future expiation in the fullness of time; or, to express it otherwise, of men pardoned on the credit of an atonement which all the sacrifices of their own economy did not yield, and only rendered to Justice when, "in the end of the world, Christ appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself" (see the notes at Luke 9:31; and at Hebrews 9:15; Hebrews 11:39-40).

(5) 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.

(6) 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.

(7) The glory of God's law, in its eternal and immutable obligations, is then only fully apprehended by the sinner, and then only felt 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." Thus we do not make void the law through faith; yea, we establish the law.

(8) This chapter, and particularly the latter part of it, which Olshausen calls 'the Acropolis of the Christian Faith'-is (and here we use the words of Philippi) 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.' 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 vigour 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."

 


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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Romans 3:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/romans-3.html. 1871-8.

Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, September 18th, 2019
the Week of Proper 19 / Ordinary 24
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