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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Romans 3:31

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

Adam Clarke Commentary

Do we then make void the law through faith? -

  1. By law here we may understand the whole of the Mosaic law, in its rites and ceremonies; of which Jesus Christ was the subject and the end. All that law had respect to him; and the doctrine of faith in Christ Jesus, which the Christian religion proclaimed, established the very claims and demands of that law, by showing that all was accomplished in the passion and death of Christ, for, without shedding of blood, the law would allow of no remission; and Jesus was that Lamb of God which was slain from the foundation of the world, in whose blood we have redemption, even the remission of sins.
  • We may understand, also, the moral law, that which relates to the regulation of the manners or conduct of men. This law also was established by the doctrine of salvation by faith; because this faith works by love, and love is the principle of obedience: and whosoever receives salvation through faith in Christ, receives power to live in holy obedience to every moral precept; for such are God's workmanship, created anew in Christ Jesus, unto good works; in which they find it their duty and their interest incessantly to live.
  • In the notes on the preceding chapter, I have, in general, followed the plan of Dr. Taylor, and especially in regard to its dialogue form, but I have often differed much from that very learned and judicious man, in the application of many words and doctrines. He cannot allow that the death of Christ should be considered as a price paid down for the salvation of men and, I confess, I cannot understand the apostle in any other way. Nor can I see the weight of many of his observations, nor the force of his conclusions, on any other ground than this, that the passion and death of Christ were an atonement made to Divine justice in the behalf of man; and that it is through the merit of that great sacrifice that God forgives sin. Nor can I see any reason why such great stress should be laid on faith, but as that lays hold on and takes up the sacrifice of Christ as a ransom price for the redemption of the soul from the thraldom and misery of sin and Satan.
  • This chapter contains a fine and striking synopsis of the whole Christian system. The wretched state of man is awfully exhibited, from the 10th to the 18th verse; and the plan of salvation, in the 24th, 25th, and 26th verses. A pious writer calls these the Catechism of Christian Righteousness. The following points in this catechism are worthy of high consideration - viz. How is God glorified in us, and we in him? - By his Grace. What does his grace work in us? - True holiness. Upon what motive? - Because it is pleasing to him. By whom does he give us salvation? - By Jesus Christ. How has Christ obtained this for us? - By redeeming us. What price did he give? - His Blood. What does his blood effect? - It reconciles us to God. How is it applied? - By Faith. Who has given this victim of reconciliation? - God the Father. Why did he choose these means? - To confound the false righteousness of the Gentiles; to abolish the Figurative righteousness of the Jews; and to establish his own. What does this grace of God perform? - It pardons sin and purifies the heart. For whom is this designed? - For all mankind, both Jews and Gentiles. To whom are these blessings actually communicated? - To all who repent, turn from their sin, and believe on the Lord Jesus. Why did not God make known this grand method of salvation sooner?
  • To make it the more valued:
  • To show his fidelity in the performance of his promises: and,
  • To make known the virtue and efficacy of the blood of Christ, which sanctifies the present, extends its influence to the past, and continues the availing sacrifice and way of salvation to all future ages.
  • On considering this glorious scheme of salvation, there is great danger, lest, while we stand amazed at what was done For us, we neglect what must be done In us. Guilt in the conscience and sin in the heart ruin the man. Pardon in the conscience and Christ in the heart save the soul. Christ has done much to save us, and the way of salvation is made plain; but, unless he justify our conscience from dead works, and purify our hearts from all sin, his passion and death will profit us nothing. While we boast in Christ Jesus, let us see that our rejoicing, καυχησις, our boasting, be this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have our conversation in the world, 2 Corinthians 1:12.
  • We must beware of Antinomianism; that is, of supposing that, because Christ has been obedient unto death, there is no necessity for our obedience to his righteous commandments. If this were so, the grace of Christ would tend to the destruction of the law, and not to its establishment. He only is saved from his sins who has the law of God written in his heart; and he alone has the law written in his heart who lives an innocent, holy, and useful life. Wherever Christ lives he works: and his work of righteousness will appear to his servants, and its effect will be quietness and assurance for ever. The life of God in the soul of man is the principle which saves and preserves eternally.

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    Bibliography
    Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Romans 3:31". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/romans-3.html. 1832.

    Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

    Do we then make void the law - Do we render it vain and useless; do we destroy its moral obligation; and do we prevent obedience to it, by the doctrine of justification by faith? This was an objection which would naturally be made; and which has thousands of times been since made, that the doctrine of justification by faith tends to licentiousness. The word “law” here, I understand as referring to the moral law, and not merely to the Old Testament. This is evident from Romans 3:20-21, where the apostle shows that no man could be justified by deeds of law, by conformity with the moral law. See the note.

    God forbid - By no means. Note, Romans 3:4. This is an explicit denial of any such tendency.

    Yea, we establish the law - That is, by the doctrine of justification by faith; by this scheme of treating people as righteous, the moral law is confirmed, its obligation is enforced, obedience to it is secured. This is done in the following manner:

    (1) God showed respect to it, in being unwilling to pardon sinners without an atonement. He showed that it could not be violated with impunity; that he was resolved to fulfil its threatenings.

    (2) Jesus Christ came to magnify it, and to make it honorable. He showed respect to it in his life; and he died to show that God was determined to inflict its penalty.

    (3) the plan of justification by faith leads to an observance of the Law. The sinner sees the evil of transgression. He sees the respect which God has shown to the Law. He gives his heart to God, and yields himself to obey his Law. All the sentiments that arise from the conviction of sin; that flow from gratitude for mercies; that spring from love to God; all his views of the sacredness of the Law, prompt him to yield obedience to it. The fact that Christ endured such sufferings to show the evil of violating the Law, is one of the strongest motives prompting to obedience. We do not easily and readily repeat what overwhelms our best friends in calamity; and we are brought to hate what inflicted such woes on the Saviour‘s soul. The sentiment recorded by Watts is as true as it is beautiful:

    “‘Twas for my sins my dearest Lord.

    Hung on the cursed tree.

    And groan‘d away his dying life,

    For thee, my soul, for thee.

    “O how I hate those lusts of mine.

    That crucified my Lord;

    Those sins that pierc‘d and nail‘d his flesh.

    Fast to the fatal wood.

    “Yes, my Redeemer, they shall die,

    My heart hath so decreed;

    Nor will I spare the guilty things.

    That made my Saviour bleed.”

    This is an advantage in moral influence which no cold, abstract law always has over the human mind. And one of the chief glories of the plan of salvation is, that while it justifies the sinner, it brings a new set of influences from heaven, more tender and mighty than can be drawn from any other source, to produce obedience to the Law of God.

    (This is indeed a beautiful and just view of the moral influence of the gospel, and especially of the doctrine of justification by faith alone. It may be questioned, however, whether the apostle in this place refers chiefly, or even at all, to the sanctifying tendency of his doctrine. This he does very fully in the 6th Rom.; and therefore, if another and consistent sense can be found, we need not resort to the supposition that he now anticipates what he intended, in a subsequent part of his epistle, more fully to discuss. In what other way, then, does the apostle‘s doctrine establish the Law? How does he vindicate himself from the charge of making it void? In the preceding chapter he had pointed out the true ground of pardon in the “righteousness of God.” He had explained that none could be justified but they who had by faith received it. “Do we then,” he asks in conclusion,” make void the Law by maintaining thus, that no sinner can be accepted who does not receive a righteousness commensurate with all its demands?.” “Yea, we establish the law,” is the obvious answer. Jesus has died to satisfy its claims, and lives to honor its precepts. Thus, he hath brought in “righteousness,” which, being imputed to them that believe, forms such a ground of pardon and acceptance, as the Law cannot challenge.

    Calvin, in his commentary on the passage, though he does not exclude the idea of sanctification, yet gives prominence to the view now stated. “When,” says he, “we come to Christ, the exact righteousness of the Law is first found in him, which also becomes ours by imputation; in the next place sanctification is acquired,” etc.)


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    Bibliography
    Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Romans 3:31". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/romans-3.html. 1870.

    Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

    Do we then make the law of none effect through faith? God forbid: nay, we establish the law.

    This is another case of Paul's using the term "law" without the article, as a glance at the English Revised Version (1885) margin will reveal; nevertheless, the law of Moses would seem to be the principal one in view, though, as explained below, the principle is not limited to that law alone. Faith cannot void any law. The statement, like many in the word of God, is true either in or out of its context.

    FAITH CANNOT VOID LAW

    (1) It cannot void the law of Moses. The ultimate scheme of redemption as set forth in Christianity is the very system foretold in the law and the prophets (Romans 1:2), witnessed by the law and the prophets (Romans 3:21); and, therefore. it should not be thought for a moment that the gospel and the faith therein enjoined could have the effect of voiding that great Old Testament system. Rather, that system was fulfilled by Christ and the new institution. The types and prefigurations of the old system were all fulfilled and brought to perfect fruition in the new; and what Paul said of faith establishing law applies with dramatic force to the law of Moses. Furthermore, the very justification of every believer stems from Christ's perfect fulfillment of and obedience to that law. He broke not a jot or tittle of it. The righteousness of God in Christ, which is the only true ground of justification, is precisely the righteousness of Christ in fulfilling every iota of that law. That law was not voided by faith, but established by the "faith of the Son of God."

    (2) Physical law is not voided by faith. In apostolic times, of course, there were miraculous events that suspended physical law, as in the case of Christ's walking on the water; but such things were for the purpose of confirming his word, and must be viewed as the exceptions that prove the rule that faith cannot set aside physical law. The presumed faith of the young man who went to sleep hearing Paul preach did not suspend the law of gravity. They took him up for dead (Acts 20:9).

    (3) Faith cannot void the moral law of God. One of the first heresies was to the effect that it did release people from moral obligations. The Nicolaitans taught that faith voided the moral law; and Jezebel taught that it was all right for believers to commit fornication (Revelation 2:6,20). Such teaching was false, of course; for faith imposes even stricter standards of morality than those taught under the law of Moses. Thus, Christ said,

    Ye have heard it was said to them of old time (in the law of Moses), Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: but I say unto you, that every one who is angry with his brother shall be in danger of the judgment; and whosoever shall say to his brother Raca, shall be in danger of the council; and whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of the hell of fire (Matthew 5:21,22).

    (4) Faith cannot void political law. Paul's teaching in Romans 13:1:7, and Peter's in 1 Peter 2:13-17 dogmatically affirm the duty of Christians to obey law.

    (5) Faith cannot void the law of faith, mentioned by Paul in Romans 3:27. See under that verse for full definition of the law of faith. It requires absolutely,, with no exceptions, that people shall be born again (John 3:5), that they shall believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, repent of their transgression, be baptized into Christ, receive the Holy Spirit of promise, and abide "in Christ" on pain of being "cast forth" unless they do. Does faith void the law of faith? Indeed no! God forbid, as Paul put it in this verse.


    Copyright Statement
    James Burton Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.

    Bibliography
    Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Romans 3:31". "Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/romans-3.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

    John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

    Do we then make void the law through faith?.... Which question is answered by way of detestatation,

    God forbid! and by asserting the contrary,

    yea, we establish the law. The law is not made void, neither by the grace nor doctrine of faith: not by the grace of faith; for that faith is not right which is not attended with works of righteousness; and those works are not right which do not flow from filth. Such a connection there is between faith and works; and so much do the one depend upon the other. Moreover, none but believers are capable of performing good works aright, and they do them, and they ought to do them: besides, faith, as a grace, looks to Christ, as the end of the law for righteousness, and therefore do not make it void. Nor is it made void by the doctrine of faith, and by the particular doctrine of a sinner's justification by faith in Christ's righteousness, which is here more especially intended; for though it is made void by it, as to any use of it for justification by the deeds thereof; yet its use in other respects is not set aside, such as to inform us of the mind and will of God, to discover and convince of sin, to show believers their deformity and imperfection, to render Christ and his righteousness more valuable, and to be a rule of walk and conversation to them; and it still remains a cursing and condemning law to Christless sinners, though justified ones are delivered from it as such: yea, the law is so far from being made void, that it is established by this doctrine; for by it the perpetuity of it is asserted, the spirituality of it is acknowledged, the perfect righteousness of it is secured: according to this doctrine all its demands are answered; whatever it requires it has, such as holiness of nature, perfect obedience to its precepts, and its full penalty borne: it is placed in the best hands, where it will ever remain; and a regard to it is enforced under the best influence, by the best of motives, and from the best of principles. It is indeed abolished as a covenant of works, and in this sense is made void to believers; and it is done away as to the form of administration of it by Moses; and it is destroyed as a yoke of bondage; and the people of God are free from the malediction of it, and condemnation by it, and so from its terror; yet it remains unalterable and unchangeable in the hands of Christ; the matter of it is always the same, and ever obligatory on believers, who, though they are freed from the curse of it, are not exempted from obedience to it: wherefore the law is not made void, so as to be destroyed and abolished in every sense, or to be rendered idle, inactive, useless, and insignificant; but, on the contrary, is made to stand, is placed on a sure basis and firm foundation, as the words used signify.


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    A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855

    Bibliography
    Gill, John. "Commentary on Romans 3:31". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/romans-3.html. 1999.

    Geneva Study Bible

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

    (13) The taking away of an objection: yet the law is not therefore taken away, but is rather established, as it will be declared in its proper place.

    (h) Vain, void, to no purpose, and of no power.

    (i) We make the law effectual and strong.


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    These files are public domain.
    Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

    Bibliography
    Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Romans 3:31". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/romans-3.html. 1599-1645.

    Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

    Objection:

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

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

    Note,

    (1). It is a fundamental requisite of all true religion that it tend to humble the sinner and exalt God; and every system which breeds self-righteousness, or cherishes boasting, bears falsehood on its face (Romans 3:27, Romans 3:28).

    (2). The fitness of the Gospel to be a universal religion, beneath which the guilty of every name and degree are invited and warranted to take shelter and repose, is a glorious evidence of its truth (Romans 3:29, Romans 3:30).

    (3). The glory of God‘s law, in its eternal and immutable obligations, is then only fully apprehended by the sinner, and then only is it enthroned in the depths of his soul, when, believing that “He was made sin for him who knew no sin,” he sees himself “made the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21). Thus do we not make void the law through faith: yea, we establish the law.

    (4). This chapter, and particularly the latter part of it, “is the proper seat of the Pauline doctrine of Justification, and the grand proof-passage of the Protestant doctrine of the Imputation of Christ‘s righteousness and of Justification not on account of, but through faith alone” [Philippi]. To make good this doctrine, and reseat it in the faith and affection of the Church, was worth all the bloody struggles that it cost our fathers, and it will be the wisdom and safety, the life and vigor of the churches, to “stand fast in this liberty wherewith Christ hath made them free, and not be again entangled” - in the very least degree - “with the yoke of bondage” (Galatians 5:1).


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    This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.

    Bibliography
    Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Romans 3:31". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/romans-3.html. 1871-8.

    Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

    Nay, we establish the law (αλλα νομον ιστανομενalla nomon histanomen). Present indicative active of late verb ιστανωhistanō from ιστημιhistēmi This Paul hinted at in Romans 3:21. How he will show in chapter 4 how Abraham himself is an example of faith and in his life illustrates the very point just made. Besides, apart from Christ and the help of the Holy Spirit no one can keep God‘s law. The Mosaic law is only workable by faith in Christ.


    Copyright Statement
    The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)

    Bibliography
    Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Romans 3:31". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/romans-3.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

    Vincent's Word Studies

    Make void ( καταργοῦμεν )

    Rev., make of none effect. See on Romans 3:3.


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    Bibliography
    Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Romans 3:31". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/vnt/romans-3.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

    Wesley's Explanatory Notes

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

    We establish the law — Both the authority, purity, and the end of it; by defending that which the law attests; by pointing out Christ, the end of it; and by showing how it may be fulfilled in its purity.


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    These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.

    Bibliography
    Wesley, John. "Commentary on Romans 3:31". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/romans-3.html. 1765.

    Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

    31.Do we then make, etc. When the law is opposed to faith, the flesh immediately suspects that there is some contrariety, as though the one were adverse to the other: and this false notion prevails, especially among those who are imbued with wrong ideas as to the law, and leaving the promises, seek nothing else through it but the righteousness of works. And on this account, not only Paul, but our Lord himself, was evil spoken of by the Jews, as though in all his preaching he aimed at the abrogation of the law. Hence it was that he made this protest, —

    “I came not to undo, but to fulfill the law.” (Matthew 5:17.)

    And this suspicion regards the moral as well as the ceremonial law; for as the gospel has put an end to the Mosaic ceremonies, it is supposed to have a tendency to destroy the whole dispensation of Moses. And further, as it sweeps away all the righteousness of works, it is believed to be opposed to all those testimonies of the law, by which the Lord has declared, that he has thereby prescribed the way of righteousness and salvation. I therefore take this defense of Paul, not only as to ceremonies, nor as to the commandments which are called moral, but with regard to the whole law universally. (128)

    For the moral law is in reality confirmed and established through faith in Christ, inasmuch as it was given for this end — to lead man to Christ by showing him his iniquity; and without this it cannot be fulfilled, and in vain will it require what ought to be done; nor can it do anything but irritate lust more and more, and thus finally increase man’s condemnation; but where there is a coming to Christ, there is first found in him the perfect righteousness of the law, which becomes ours by imputation, and then there is sanctification, by which our hearts are prepared to keep the law; it is indeed imperfectly done, but there is an aiming at the work. Similar is the case withceremonies, which indeed cease and vanish away when Christ comes, but they are in reality confirmed by him; for when they are viewed in themselves they are vain and shadowy images, and then only do they attain anything real and solid, when their end is regarded. In this then consists their chief confirmation, when they have obtained their accomplishment in Christ. Let us then also bear in mind, so to dispense the gospel that by our mode of teaching the law may be confirmed; but let it be sustained by no other strength than that of faith in Christ.


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    Bibliography
    Calvin, John. "Commentary on Romans 3:31". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/romans-3.html. 1840-57.

    Vv. 31. "Do we then make void the law through faith? That be far from us! Much rather we establish the law."

    This verse has been misunderstood by most commentators. Some (Aug., Luth., Mel., Calv., Philip., Rck.) apply it to the sanctification which springs from faith, and by which the gospel finally realizes the fulfilment of the law. This is the thesis which will be developed in chaps. 6-8. We do not deny that the apostle might defer the full development of a maxim thrown out beforehand, and, as it were, by the way; comp. the sayings, Romans 3:3; Romans 3:20 b. But yet he must have been logically led to such sentences by their necessary connection with the context. Now this is not the case here. What is there at this point to lead the apostle to concern himself with the sanctifying power of faith? Let us remark, further, that Romans 3:31 is connected by then with what precedes, and can only express an inference from the passage, Romans 3:27-30. Finally, how are we to explain the then at the beginning of chap. 4? How does the mode of Abraham"s justification follow from the idea that faith leads to the fulfilment of the law? Hofmann offers substantially the same explanation, only giving to the word law the meaning of moral law in general (instead of the Mosaic law). But the difficulties remain absolutely the same.

    Meyer and some others regard Romans 3:31 as the beginning, and, in a manner, the theme of the following chapter. The term law, on this view, refers to the passage of Genesis which the apostle is about to quote, Romans 4:3 : "The harmony of justification by faith with the law is about to be explained by what the law says of Abraham"s justification." But it is difficult to believe that Paul, without the slightest indication, would call an isolated passage of the Pentateuch the law. Then, if the relation between Romans 3:31 and Romans 4:1 were as Meyer thinks, it should be expressed logically by for, not by then. Holsten, if we understand him rightly, tries to get rid of these difficulties by applying the term law in our verse to the law of faith (Romans 3:27), in which he sees an absolute rule of righteousness holding good for all men, and consequently for Abraham. One could not imagine a more forced interpretation. Our explanation is already indicated; it follows naturally from the interpretation which we have given of the preceding verses. Paul"s gospel was accused of making void the law by setting aside legal works as a means of justification; and he has just proved to his adversaries that it is his teaching, on the contrary, which harmonizes with the true meaning of the law, while the opposite teaching overturns it, by keeping up the vainglory of man, which the law was meant to destroy, and by violating Monotheism on which it is based. Is it surprising that he concludes such a demonstration with the triumphant affirmation: "Do we then overturn the law, as we are accused of doing? On the contrary, we establish it." The true reading is probably ἱστάνομεν; the most ancient form, which has been replaced by the later form ἱστῶμεν. The verb signifies, not to preserve, maintain, but to cause to stand, to establish. This is what Paul does with regard to the law; he establishes it as it were anew by the righteousness of faith; which, instead of overturning it, as it was accused of doing, faithfully maintains its spirit in the new dispensation, the fact which he had just proved.

    This verse forms a true period to the whole passage, Romans 3:21-30. The law had been called to give witness on the subject of the doctrine of universal condemnation; it had borne witness, Romans 3:7-19. It has just been cited again, and now in favor of the new righteousness; its testimony has not been less favorable, Romans 3:27-31.

    After demonstrating in a general way the harmony of his teaching with Old Testament revelation, the apostle had only one thing left to desire in the discussion: that was to succeed in finding in the Old Testament itself a saying or an illustrious example which, in the estimation of the Jews, would give the sanction of divine authority to his argument. There was such a saying, and he was fortunate enough to find it. It was written by the hand of the legislator himself, and related to what was in a manner the typical example of justification with the Jews. It therefore combined all the conditions fitted to settle the present question conclusively. Thus it is that Genesis 15:6 becomes the text of the admirable development contained in chap. 4. This piece is the counterpart of the scriptural demonstration which had closed the delineation of universal condemnation, Romans 3:9-20. It belongs, therefore, to the exposition of the thesis of Romans 3:21 : the righteousness of faith witnessed by the law and the prophets.


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    Bibliography
    Godet, Frédéric Louis. "Commentary on Romans 3:31". "Frédéric Louis Godet - Commentary on Selected Books". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsc/romans-3.html.

    Scofield's Reference Notes

    Do we then

    The sinner establishes the law in its right use and honour by confessing his guilt, and acknowledging that by it he is justly condemned. Christ, on the sinner's behalf, establishes the law by enduring its penalty, death. Cf. Matthew 5:17; Matthew 5:18.


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    Bibliography
    Scofield, C. I. "Scofield Reference Notes on Romans 3:31". "Scofield Reference Notes (1917 Edition)". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/srn/romans-3.html. 1917.

    John Trapp Complete Commentary

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

    Ver. 31. We establish the law] Which yet the Antinomians cry down, calling repentance a legal grace, humiliation a backdoor to heaven; grieving that they have grieved so much for their sins, &c., that they have prayed so often, and done other holy duties. Islebius Agricola (the first Antinomian that ever was) and his followers held these unsound opinions; That the law and works belong only to the court of Rome; that as soon as a man begins to think how to live godlily and modestly, he presently wandereth from the gospel; that a man was never truly mortified till he had put out all sense of conscience for sin; that if his conscience troubled him, that was his imperfection, he was not mortified enough; that St Peter understood not Christian liberty when he wrote those words, "Make your calling and election sure;" that good works were perniciosa ad salutatem, destructive to men’s souls; with a deal of such trash. All which, this Islebius afterwards condemned and recanted in a public auditory, and printed his revocation. Yet when Luther was dead, he relapsed into the same error, and hath to this day among us too many disciples. We have need, therefore, to take St Paul’s part, to establish the law, to settle it, now that it is falling (as the Greek word, ιστωμεν, signifies), to make it valid, ικανωμεν (as some copies have it), sufficient and effectual to those ends for which it was given, viz. to discover transgression and to restrain it, Galatians 3:19; to humble men for sin, Romans 3:19-20; to be a schoolmaster to Christ, and a rule of life, that, according to his royal law, James 2:8, we may live royally above the rank of men, in obedience; while by the gospel, we obtain grace in some measure to fulfil the law; having a counterpart of it in our hearts, and a disposition answerable to it in all things, Hebrews 8:8-10 cf. 2 Corinthians 3:2-3; as the lead answers to the mould, as tally answers tally, indenture indenture. That was a good saying of Luther’s, Walk in the heaven of the promise, but in the earth of the law; that in respect of believing, this of obeying. Another of his sayings was, That in the justification of a sinner, Christ and faith were alone tanquam sponsus cum sponsa in thalamo, as the bridegroom and bride in the bed; howbeit it is such a faith as works by love. A third golden saying of his was, He that can rightly distinguish between law and gospel, let him praise God for his skill, and know himself to be a good divine.


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    Trapp, John. "Commentary on Romans 3:31". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/romans-3.html. 1865-1868.

    Sermon Bible Commentary

    Romans 3:31; Romans 4

    A Crucial Case.

    I. It was by his faith Abraham was justified, not by his works of obedience. Paul's proof of this is very simple. He finds a remarkable proof-text ready to his hand in Genesis 15:16. On God's side there was simply a word announcing the promises of His grace; on the man's side simply a devout and childlike reliance upon that word. God asked no more; and the man had no more to give. His mere trust in God the Promiser was held to be adequate as a ground for that sinful man's acceptance into favour, friendship, and league with the eternal Jehovah.

    II. Abraham was justified by his faith, not as a circumcised man, but as an uncircumcised. It lies in the very idea of acceptance through faith, that wherever faith is present there God will accept the sinner apart from every other circumstance, such as nationality, or an external rite, or Church privilege, or the like. If faith saves a man, then faith must save every man who has it. Abraham was a justified man as soon as he was a believer, not as soon as he was circumcised. And the design of such an arrangement was to make him the true type and spiritual progenitor of all believers. The only people whom his experience fails to embrace are those Jews who are circumcised but not believing, who trust in their lineage and in their covenant badge and their keeping of the law, expecting to be saved for their meritorious observance of prescribed rules, but who in the free and gracious promises of Abraham's God put no trust at all.

    III. It turns out now that, instead of St. Paul being an apostate or disloyal Jew for admitting believing Gentiles to an equal place in the favour of Israel's God, it is his self-righteous countryman, who monopolises Divine grace, and will have no Gentile to be saved unless he has first become a circumcised observer of Moses' law, that is really false to the original idea of the Abrahamic covenant. All who have faith, whatever their race, are blessed with faithful Abraham; and he, says Paul, writing to a Gentile Church, is the father of us all.

    J. Oswald Dykes, The Gospel according to St. Paul, p. 99.


    References: Romans 3:31.—Spurgeon, Evening by Evening, p. 25. 3—Expositor, 1st series, vol. iii., p. 215. Romans 4:1-9.—Preacher's Monthly, vol. ii., p. 249. Romans 4:3.—J. G. Rogers, Christian World Pulpit, vol. v., p. 121. Romans 4:6-9.—Preacher's Monthly, vol. ii., p. 248. Romans 4:7.—Ibid., p. 248. Romans 4:9.—Ibid., p. 258. Romans 4:9-11.—Clergyman's Magazine, vol. vi., p. 10.


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    Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on Romans 3:31". "Sermon Bible Commentary". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/sbc/romans-3.html.

    Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

    Romans 3:31. Yea, we establish the law Meaning, through faith. He did not make void law through faith, but, on the contrary, established law through faith. Now this demonstrates that law, in this chapter, is to be understood neither of the ceremonial law; nor of law in the rigorous sense, with the penalty of death annexed for every transgression; for it is certain, the Apostle through faith established law in neither of these senses. Law therefore, in this chapter, must necessarily be understood in that general sense, in which it may be applied both to Jews and Gentiles; or, as it is simply, a rule of obedience, or the law of the Gospel. See on Romans 3:20. Faith, in the apostolic scheme, is the principle of obedience: Gospel faith works by love, and without works is dead, James 2:17. We are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works: they that believe in God, ought to be careful to maintain good works. The Christian lies under the strongest obligations to righteousness and obedience. This the Apostle urges very strenuously in chap. 6: where he shews at large how he establishes law, or obedience through faith. See "Christ the Mediator," p. 90, &c.

    Inferences.—The sad use which those persons have heretofore made of the divine favours, by whose hands they have been conveyed down to us (Romans 3:1.), ought by no means to lessen our gratitude towards God. If it were so great an advantage to the Jews, to have received the oracles of God wrapped up in so many obscure clouds, and as it were sealed up (Romans 3:2); how great is the mercy towards Christians, who have received the interpretation, and the effect of the promises contained in them! But at the same time, what awefu1 judgment may not they expect, who fail to make a good use of this extraordinary privilege!—Gratitude and fear ought scarce ever to be separated in reference to this subject; but while we thankfully own the inestimable goodness of God in having favoured us with his sacred oracles, it behoves us to endeavour to improve in the knowledge of them. And, thus instructed, let us be careful to form the most honourable notion of God, as the worthy and universal Judege, who will never fail to do right, without respect of persons.

    What a striking reflection does the Apostle suggest in Romans 3:6.!—GOD himself, were he unjust, could not be the Judege of the world; and yet man, who is comparatively nothing but injustice,—vain, erring man, undertakes boldly to judge of every thing. May these views of God and of ourselves produce in us an abhorrence of every evil thing, of every rash judgment, which must necessarily be displeasing to him: nor let us even allow ourselves to be brought under the influence of those fallacious and pernicious maxims, which would persuade us that, "The goodness of the intention sanctifies the badness of the action;" (see Romans 3:8.) or that the pretended benevolence of the end will justify irregularities in the means.

    God's judgment and decision is final; and the inspired Apostle's authority is an answer to a thousand subtilties, which might attempt to turn us from the strictest rules of that immutable rectitude, on which it always proceeds.

    Who can read the melancholy picture of human nature, Romans 3:10-19 copied by the hand of St. Paul, from the lines first drawn by other inspired writers, without deep humility and lamentation? To such a degree was it sunk, that there was none righteous, no, not one; none disposed to seek after God, or to cultivate his fear:—and from this bitter root, the apostacy of our nature, what detestable fruits may not be expected to proceed!—The throat like an open sepulchre, ready to consume and devour,—the deceitful tongue,—the envenomed lips,—the malicious heart,—the murderous hand! And who can wonder, that such rebels to their heavenly Father should sometimes prove ruffians to their brethren!

    Let those devoutly bless God, who have been preserved either from falling into such enormities, or from falling by them. It was his grace that restrained us from sinning against him in so aggravated a manner; it is his providence which his guarded us from those, whose feet are swift to shed blood, and whose paths are strewed with destruction and misery.

    Above all, we should remember the view in which these instances of corruption were brought; it was to evince this deplorable but undeniable truth, that Jews and Gentiles are all under sin, Romans 3:19. The purpose, therefore, of divine conviction being hereby answered on our hearts, let us humble ourselves before God, as those who stand guilty in his presence, and obnoxious to his judgment.

    How should our whole souls rejoice in that glorious display of divine mercy, attempered and harmonized with divine justice, in our redemption by Christ, to which the Apostle bears so noble a testimony! Romans 3:20-21. We are all become guilty before God; so that if he should mark iniquity, no flesh living could be justified before him: what so reasonable, what so indispensably necessary, therefore, as with all reverence to esteem, and with all joy to embrace the righteousness of God, as now attested by the law and the prophets, by Christ and his apostles; and which we have the divine word to assure us, shall be upon all believers, without any difference,—humbling ourselves in the presence of God, as those who have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; and seeking to be justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus!

    To this mighty Deliverer let us continually look, as the great propitiation of lost man; exercising faith in his Blood, and rejoicing that those, which seemed to our feeble apprehensions the most jarring attributes of the Deity, are now reconciled and glorified;—that mercy and truth have met together, that righteousness and peace have kissed each other. And while we readily acknowledge that all boasting is excluded, let us, in the grateful overflowings of our souls, fall down before that throne whence pardon is dispensed; confessing that this act of grace is our only plea, and abasing ourselves before God for ever, in a sense of the demerit of our sins, and of the abundance of his mercy, Romans 3:25-27. It should at all times be noted that the more faith there is in a soul, the less pride is there. Where is boasting then?—It is excluded.—By what law?—the law of faith. Faith humbles man by making him sensible that without Christ he is nothing but falsehood, sin, and unworthiness; and that it is through the merits and grace of his Saviour, that he begins, continues, or completes any thing which is really good.

    Jews and Gentiles are bound to unite in thanksgivings to God, and in love to each other, as having been all involved in the same condemnation,—all partakers of the same compassion. But Christians are especially called upon to remember, that by this rich display of grace, the Almighty intended not to supersede, but to establish the law. See Romans 3:29-31. May we, therefore, make it our serious concern, that not only the actions of our lives, but the sentiments of our hearts, be directed and determined by that law; which is now peculiarly enforced by more powerful motives, than when it appeared from Sinai in all its unallayed terrors: let it be seen at all times, and in all our conduct, that the love of Christ effectually constrains us to glorify his name, and exalt the honours of our incarnate God,—that God, who never shews himself more plainly to be our God, than when he produces sincere love through faith in our hearts.

    REFLECTIONS.—1st, The Apostle proceeds to answer the objections raised against the doctrine that he had advanced, and to confirm the truth which he had asserted.

    1. He answers the objections raised against his positions.

    [1.] If the Jews are thus in the same condemnation as the Gentiles, what advantage have they, notwithstanding the peculiar favours shewn them of God, and the divinely instituted rites, particularly circumcision, which he appointed them? The Apostle answers, Much every way: chiefly because that unto them were committed the oracles of God. In the law and the prophets they had the most blessed means vouchsafed them to come to the knowledge of the truth, and especially of that Messiah who was the sum and substance of the oracles of God: and it was also their honour to be intrusted with the keeping of these sacred records. Their advantages therefore above the Gentiles were very great and singular. Note; Among our most invaluable blessings we should always reckon our Bibles; for in them we have eternal life revealed to us.

    [2.] If it be objected to this, that, though the Jews had the oracles of God, some did not believe; admit it. But what then? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect? Shall the promise-keeping God, because of the infidelity of some, fail of fulfilling his promises to Abraham and his faithful spiritual seed, who perseveringly trust upon him according to his word? God forbid! His word must be accomplished, and his promises are sure to every faithful soul. Yea, let God be true, let it be for ever acknowledged that he is so; but let every man, who dares dispute his veracity and truth, know that he must be found a liar. Men are inconstant, deceitful, and vain; no confidence, comparatively speaking, is to be placed in them; but God never can nor will deceive us: as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged; as David acknowledged, Psalms 51:4 for, notwithstanding his foul falls and great unfaithfulness, God would not alter the word which was gone out of his mouth concerning that Messiah who should spring from his loins. And he will for ever stand clear of all imputations which foolish men may cast upon him, and be found faithful, and true, though we presumptuously dare arraign his righteousness, or censure his conduct.

    [3.] But some perverse Jew may say, whose character I will personate, speaking as such a man, If our righteousness commend the righteousness of God, and he gain glory by our wickedness and unbelief, both glorifying his justice in our punishment, and his grace in calling the Gentile sinners in our stead, and justifying them through the obedience of his Son unto death, what shall we say? Is not God unrighteous, ( μη αδικος ο Θεος, ) who taketh vengeance for that unbelief and unrighteousness, which serves as a foil more eminently to display the lustre of his divine perfections, his truth, holiness, and grace? With abhorrence the Apostle rejects the insinuation. God forbid! for then how shall God judge the world? If he were not infinitely righteous in his nature, he would be unfit for this high office: and if he, by his overruling providence, brings good out of evil, and magnifies his grace more eminently where sin has most abounded, sin has not therefore the less evil or malignity, nor has the sinner aught to plead, since he designs nothing less than the divine glory.

    [4.] But the same carnal Jew, whom I have personated before, may farther urge, If the truth of God hath more abounded through my lie unto his glory; and my unbelief which gives the lie to his promises, and my wickedness which gives the lie to my profession, serve to magnify his veracity, why yet am I also judged as a sinner? and punished for transgressions which serve rather to magnify God than to dishonour him? and may we not rather abandon ourselves to evil, in order that good may come, and God's grace and truth receive greater glory in justifying those who believe on his Son? And such malicious and blasphemous reports are spread by our Jewish enemies, who confidently affirm that this is the doctrine which we as apostles preach, and as Christians believe. But we abhor the suggestion, and declare to such slanderers of us and the truth, and to all who dare thus abuse the holy doctrines of grace, that their damnation is just, and inevitable. Note; (1.) The best of ministers and of men have had the foulest aspersions cast on them, and been charged with holding the most horrid blasphemies. (2.) The injured characters of his ambassadors God will avenge. (3.) They who abuse the doctrines of grace, as arguments for licentiousness, will perish with most aggravated guilt.

    2. The Apostle returns, after confuting the Jewish objections, to the main question in debate, Whether Jews, as well as Gentiles, were not all under sin? Are we better than they? No, in no wise: for have before proved at large in the two former chapters, that both Jews and Gentiles are all under sin, condemned by the guilt, enslaved by the power, and liable to the eternal wrath which is the wages of sin. And to enforce this truth, the Apostle quotes the Scriptures, which the Jews admitted, as containing the fullest proof of his assertion. God declares, Psalms 14:1-3. That there is none righteous, according to the perfect demands of his holy law, no not one: so corrupted is our nature, that there is none that understandeth; the human mind by nature is darkened, and cannot discover or receive the things which be of the Spirit of God; there is none that seeketh after God, no one good disposition remaining in the natural heart, nor desire after communion with God; but evil, and only evil, and that continually. Hence the Psalmist asserts of all mankind, that they are all gone out of the way, following the bent of their native corruption; they are altogether become unprofitable, bringing forth no fruit to God's glory in that state of nature; there is none that doeth good, no not one. And the foul streams which flow from this polluted fountain are described in other places of the Scripture: their throat is an open sepulchre, voracious and insatiable in the pursuits of their lusts and covetousness; with their tongues they have used deceit, flattering, false, faithless; the poison of asps is under their lips, secretly, artfully, does their tongue drop the malignant venom, to blast the same or destroy the life of their neighbour; whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness, blaspheming God himself, and shooting out their bitter words of rancour and reviling against the people and the good ways of the Lord; their feet are swift to shed blood, every member of their body is a ready instrument of iniquity; destruction and misery are in their ways, and wherever they go they mark their path with mischief, spreading their wickedness as a plague, pestilential to others, and at last bringing perdition on themselves; and the way of peace have they not known, strangers to whatever would conduce to their own peace and happiness both here and hereafter; disturbing, as far they can, by their malignity and perverseness, the peace of mankind: there is no fear of God before their eyes; destitute of every gracious principle: and as this is the root of all their wickedness, so it is the summit of all their ungodliness,—they leave God far above out of their sight. And such being the spirit of God's description of every man by nature, declared by him who searcheth the heart, and knoweth what is in man, the universal guilt and desperate wickedness of the whole human race, both Jews and Gentiles, cannot but be most evident. While we read the dreadful charge, may we be led to a humbling acknowledgment of the truth, and from the deepest heartfelt conviction be laid in the dust, submitting wholly to the righteousness of God by faith!

    2nd, The Apostle proceeds to apply the truths which he had advanced and proved.

    1. All the world is become guilty before God, and no flesh can be justified in God's sight by the deeds of the law, because all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, have come short of righteousness, and therefore of heaven. According to the several dispensations under which they have lived, the law speaketh both to Jews and Gentiles, and condemns them as transgressors. The Gentiles have offended against those precepts of the moral law, which God, though more obscurely, has shewed them; and the Jews, against the clearer revelation, which in the Scriptures they have enjoyed; so that every mouth must be stopped, and guilt evident and confessed appear upon every living soul. For by the law is the knowledge of sin; so far from being able to justify any man, it is a glass which can of itself only shew him his deformity, the straight rule to mark his sad deviations from it. Note; (1.) Man in his fallen nature is become flesh, fallen and corrupted; and therefore it is impossible that, in his present ruined state, he should of himself be just before God. (2.) All flesh must plead guilty at God's bar, and no man can possibly be saved, till he has seen, felt, and owned that he has deserved most justly to be damned.

    2. To those who, from the conviction which the law brings to their consciences, are driven to despair of acceptance with God on account of any doings and duties of their own, the Gospel reveals the method of divine grace, appointed and provided for the sinner's justification before God. But now, since all hope is fled of obtaining favour with God on the footing of our own obedience, the righteousness of God without the law, which the moral law never discovered, is manifested by Jesus Christ, and by the preaching of the Gospel, being witnessed by all the types and figures of the ceremonial law, and by the prophets, Isaiah 45:24-25. Jeremiah 23:6. Daniel 9:24. So that even during the time that the Mosaical dispensation lasted, the Jews were taught to look for a better righteousness than that which they could obtain by the deeds of the law; even the righteousness of God which is now received by faith in our adored Redeemer Jesus Christ, and judicially made over, and reckoned to the account of every soul which, renouncing every other hope, lays hold on this set before him; and it is unto all and upon all them that believe, whether Jew or Gentile, for there is no difference; they alike need it, as having all sinned and come short of God's glory, and he freely bestows it on them without any regard to the degrees of their guilt. Nor is there the least first-moving cause in any of us to engage God to have respect to us. We lie in one promiscuous mass of corruption, till through grace we repent, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption which is in Jesus Christ, who by his obedience unto death paid down the invaluable price of our redemption, which does not at all affect the riches of the grace respecting us, but rather infinitely enhances it: we owe it to God's boundless mercy, that he provided, qualified, and accepted our glorious Surety, and freely gave him up for us all.—Whom God hath set forth, in the fulness of time sending him in the human nature, to be a propitiation, to be the one great propitiatory sacrifice, that, through faith in his blood, the chief of sinners might boldly approach a throne of grace. And hereby, (1.) The best of blessings is secured to us, even the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God. The sacrifices under the law were insufficient to take away sin; the faithful therefore under the Old Testament had recourse to this atoning Blood which in the fulness of time should be shed, and in the view thereof God bore with them, pardoned and accepted them. And we are infinitely indebted to this Blood which speaks before the throne, and to the forbearance of God with us in consequence thereof, that we have not through our repeated provocations been cut off long since, as we have deserved, and been cast into hell for our sins. (2.) Hereby the greatest honour redounds to God; for in this his method of dealing with sinners, he shews and demonstrates his own righteousness, both the glory of his justice in the punishment of sin, and the transcendent excellence and perfection of the Redeemer's infinite merit, by means of which, consistent with the divine glory, an honourable provision was made for the pardon of sin, and neither God's truth, justice, nor holiness impeached by the grace extended to the sinner: so that at this time, under the Gospel dispensation, he declares his righteousness, that he may be just, and withal the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. Never was God's displeasure against sin more awefully displayed than when he laid upon his Son the iniquities of us all. (3.) Hereby all boasting is excluded from the sons of men; none can say he is accepted before God on account of any works of righteousness done by him, or foreseen in him; all are excluded. By what law? of works? Nay, but by the law of faith; by that gracious evangelical dispensation, wherein the blood of God our Redeemer is proposed as the only meritorious cause of the sinner's acceptance. The conclusion then from the above premises is evident, that a man is and can be justified before God in no other way than by faith only, without the deeds of the law.

    3. This privilege of free justification, through a Redeemer's blood, is common to the Gentile as well as the Jew. Is God then, in this new dispensation of his grace in the Gospel of his dear Son, the God of the Jews only? or peculiarly? Is he not of the Gentiles also? Yes, of the Gentiles also. It is a common salvation, and both are alike freely invited to partake of it;—Seeing it is one God which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and the uncircumcision through faith, both Jews and Gentiles standing exactly on the same footing, without respect of persons, or any difference in the way of their acceptance.

    4. He concludes with obviating an objection which some might raise, as if he hereby made void the moral law, the eternal rule of righteousness, as useless and insignificant; but he rejects with detestation the suggestion;—God forbid! Yea, so far from making it void, we establish the law. Its true use remains the same as ever, to convince of sin, and to be, not a covenant of life, but a law of obedience; and that faith which shews it manifested in the highest by the perfect obedience of Christ to the death of the cross, as it works by love, is the most powerful principle to engage our hearts to delight in the law of God after the inner man, and to run the way of his commandments, walking in the glorious liberty of the children of God, a liberty not to transgress, but to obey.


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    Bibliography
    Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Romans 3:31". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/romans-3.html. 1801-1803.

    Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament

    Observe here, The wise and holy caution which our apostle uses to take away the calumny and reproach cast upon him, by the adversaries of the doctrine of free justification by faith; as if this would render the law of God void and altogether useless: Do we then make void the law of God? As if he had said, "There may be those that will say so, but untruly; for we establish the law; because we acknowledge, that without exact obedience and conformity to the law, both in our natures and in our lives, as a rule of living, there can be no salvation."

    Learn hence, That the doctrine of justification by faith alone, doth not overthrow but establish the law.

    Here note, That it is the moral, not ceremonial law, which the apostle speaks of. The ceremonial law is utterly abolished by the gospel; but the moral law is not abolished, but established by the gospel; or, if abolished, it is only as a covenant, not as a rule. Christ has relaxed the law in point of danger, but not in point of duty; for the law is holy, and just, and good, and is not disannulled, but established by the gospel: Because by the gospel we obtain grace, in some measure, to fulfill the law, and yield a sincere obedience to it; which, for the sake of Christ's perfect and spotless obedience, shall find a gracious acceptance with God.

    Therefore, with the highest elevation of soul, let us bless God for Jesus Christ, and for the gospel revelation, which has so fully discovered, and clearly revealed to us the only way of justification by faith in the Son of God, who hath loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood. To whom be glory and dominion forever and ever Amen.


    Copyright Statement
    These files are public domain.
    Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

    Bibliography
    Burkitt, William. "Commentary on Romans 3:31". Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wbc/romans-3.html. 1700-1703.

    Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

    31.] But again the Jew may object, if this is the case, if Faith be the ground, and Faith the medium, of justification for all, circumcised or uncircumcised, surely the law is set aside and made void. That this is not so, the Apostle both here asserts, and is prepared to shew by working out the proposition of Romans 3:29, that the law itself belonged to a covenant whose original recipient was justified by faith, and whose main promise was, the reception and blessing of the Gentiles.

    νόμον, not ‘law,’ but the law, as every where in the Epistle. We may safely say that the Apostle never argues of law, abstract, in the sense of a system of precepts,—its attributes or its effects,—but always of THE LAW, concrete,—the law of God given by Moses, when speaking of the Jews, as here: the law of God, in as far as written in their consciences, when speaking of the Gentiles: and when including both, the law of God generally, His written as well as His unwritten will.

    Many Commentators have taken this verse (being misled in some cases by its place at the end of the chapter) as standing by itself, and have gone into the abstract grounds why faith does not make void the law (or moral obedience); which, however true, have no place here: the design being to shew that the law itself contained this very doctrine, and was founded in the promise to Abraham on a covenant embracing Jews and Gentiles,—and therefore was not degraded from its dignity by the doctrine, but rather established as a part of God’s dealings,—consistent with, explaining, and explained by, the Gospel.


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    Bibliography
    Alford, Henry. "Commentary on Romans 3:31". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hac/romans-3.html. 1863-1878.

    Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

    REFLECTIONS

    Reader! behold the awful state by nature, both of Jew and Gentile! See, what a portrait to humble our souls to the dust, the Lord the Spirit hath twice drawn, in his sacred pages; once by David, and here by Paul, of our utterly lost, and ruined estate, by nature and by practice; as we stand in ourselves before God. And this we are told, was the result of that enquiry, when the Lord looked down from heaven, to see if there were any that would see k after God. All were gone out of the way. All together become unprofitable. None good, no, not one. And how then could it be otherwise, than while beheld in our Adam-nature, and without being considered in Christ, all the world must become guilty before God?

    And, can it need any argument of persuasion, to prompt the heart convinced of this, to look to Jesus; yea, to flee to Him, from the wrath to come? Am I, are you, convinced of these most unquestionable truths, and do we pause, or remain stupid, and senseless, in the view of these vast concerns? Hath god set forth his dear son, as propitiation through faith in his blood; and do we hesitate in the acceptation of it? Is it declared from heaven, that by the deeds of the law, no flesh can be justified in god' s sight; and are we looking to that quarter, either in whole, or in part , for favor with the lord? Oh! Sir! if at that awful tribunal, when god cometh to judge the world in righteousness, and minister true judgment unto the people, we are found without the righteousness of Jesus, and his propitiation, to be our security; what paleness, what horror, will mark the countenance of every son and daughter of Adam? Precious lord Jesus! be thou my propitiation, my high Priest, my Altar, the lord my righteousness now: and sure I am thou wilt be my everlasting glory then. When law, and justice, in the multitude of breaches I have committed against both, would give in their verdict against me: Thou shalt answer for me, 0 lord my god! Oh! the preciousness of that voice now heard by the ear of faith, and then confirmed with the unalterable determination from the throne: deliver him from going down to the pit: I have found a ransom!


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    Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Romans 3:31". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pmc/romans-3.html. 1828.

    Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae

    DISCOURSE: 1835

    FAITH ESTABLISHES THE LAW

    Romans 3:31. Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.

    A GENERAL prejudice obtains against the way of salvation by faith: but it prevailed equally even in the apostolic age. Paul himself saw that his statement of the Gospel did not escape censure. He perceived that it was deemed injurious to the interests of morality; he therefore anticipated and answered this objection.

    To bring the subject fully before you, I will propose for your consideration three things—the objection made—the objection obviated—the objection retorted.

    I. The objection made—

    People suppose we make void the law through faith; but the truth, however clearly we may state it is, for the most part, misapprehended. In explaining salvation by faith we affirm two things concerning the law:

    1. That it has no power either to condemn or to justify a believer—

    [It cannot condemn him, because Christ has redeemed him from its curse [Note: Galatians 3:13.]. It cannot justify him, because he has transgressed it, and its demands of perfect obedience are unalterably the same. Faith in Christ delivers him from the penal sanctions of the law, but does not in any respect lower its demands.]

    2. That his obedience to it makes no part of his justifying righteousness—

    [Faith and works, as grounds of justification, are opposite to each other [Note: Romans 11:6.]. If our works had any share in our justification we should have a ground of boasting; which is utterly to be excluded [Note: Romans 3:27.]. The smallest reliance on our works makes void all hope by the Gospel [Note: Galatians 5:2; Galatians 5:4.]. All dependence therefore on the works of the law must be entirely renounced.]

    These affirmations evidently exclude morality from the office of justifying. They are therefore supposed to discountenance all practical religion; but this mistake originates in the ignorance of the objectors themselves.

    This will be seen, whilst we notice,

    II. The objection obviated—

    The believer, so far from making void the law, establishes it. The power of the law is twofold; to command obedience, and to condemn for disobedience. The believer establishes the law in each of these respects:

    1. In its commanding power:

    [He owns its absolute authority over him as God’s creature; all his hope is in the perfect obedience which Christ paid to it for him; he looks upon his obligations to obey it as increased, rather than vacated, by the death of Christ; he actually desires to obey it as much as if he were to be justified by his obedience to it.]

    2. In its condemning power:

    [He acknowledges himself justly condemned by it: he founds his hope in Christ as having borne its curse for him: his own conscience cannot be pacified but by that atonement which satisfied the demands of the law: bereft of a hope in the atonement, he would utterly despair: he flees to Christ continually “to bear the iniquity of his holiest actions.”]

    Thus he magnifies the law, while the objector himself, as I will now prove, makes it void.

    To see this more fully, consider,

    III. The objection retorted—

    The person who objects to salvation by faith alone, is in reality the one who makes void the law. Objections against the doctrine of faith are raised from a pretended regard for the law; but the person who blends faith and works effectually undermines the whole authority of the law. He undermines,

    1. Its commanding power—

    [He is striving to do something which may serve in part as a ground of his justification; but he can do nothing which is not imperfect; therefore he shews that he considers the law as less rigorous in its demands than it really is: consequently he robs it in a measure of its commanding power.]

    2. Its condemning power—

    [He never thoroughly feels himself a lost sinner; he does not freely acknowledge that he might he justly cursed even for his most holy actions; he even looks for justification on account of that which in itself deserves nothing but condemnation: and what is this but to lower its condemning power?]

    Thus the advocates for the law are, in fact, its greatest enemies; whereas the advocates for the Gospel are the truest friends to the law also—

    Infer—

    1. How absurd is it for persons to decide on religion without ever having studied its doctrines!

    [In human sciences men forbear to lay down their dogmas without some previous knowledge of the points on which they decide; but in theology, all, however ignorant, think themselves competent to judge. They indeed, who are taught of God, can judge; but unenlightened reason does not qualify us to determine. Let us beware of indulging prejudices against the truth. Let us seek to be “guided into all truth by the Holy Spirit.”]

    2. How excellent is the salvation revealed to us in the Gospel!

    [Salvation by faith is exactly suited to man’s necessities. It is also admirably calculated to advance the honour of God. Every man that is saved magnifies the law, and consequently the lawgiver. The commanding and condemning power of the law are equally glorified by the sinner’s dependence on the obedience and sufferings of Christ: but in those who are condemned, its sanctions only are honoured. Thus is the law more honoured in the salvation of one, than in the destruction of the whole human race. Let all then admire and embrace this glorious salvation.]


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    Simeon, Charles. "Commentary on Romans 3:31". Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/shh/romans-3.html. 1832.

    Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament

    Romans 3:31. οὖν] The Apostle infers for himself from his doctrine of justification ἐκ πίστεως.… χωρὶς ἔργων νόμου—just discussed—a possible objection and reproach: Do we then make away with the law (render it invalid) through faith?

    νόμον] emphatically put first, and here also to be understood neither of the moral law, nor of every law in general, nor of the entire O. T., but, as is proved by the antithesis between νόμον and πίστις and the reference as bearing on Romans 3:28, of the Mosaic law. Comp Acts 21:28, Galatians 4:21 f.

    διὰ τῆς πίστ.] i.e. thereby, that we assert faith as the condition of justification.

    νόμον ἱστῶμεν] Not: we let the law stand (Matthias), but: we make it stand, we produce the result that it, so far from being ready to fall, in reality stands upright ( βεβαιοῦμεν, Theodoret) in its authority, force, and obligation. Comp 1 Maccabees 14:29; 1 Maccabees 2:27; Sirach 44:20-22. This ἱστάνειν of the law, whereby there is secured to it stability and authority instead of the καταργεῖσθαι, takes place by means of (see ch. 4) the Pauline doctrine demonstrating and making good the fact that, and the mode in which, justification by the grace of God through faith is already taught in the law, so that Paul and his fellow teachers do not come into antagonism with the law, as if they desired to abolish and invalidate it by a new teaching, but, on the contrary, by their agreement with it, and by proving their doctrine from it, secure and confirm it in its position and essential character.(936)

    The νόμον ἱστῶμεν, however, is so little at variance with the abrogation of the law as an institute of works obligatory in order to the becoming righteous, which has taken place through Christianity (Romans 10:4; 2 Corinthians 3:7; Galatians 3; Romans 7:4; Galatians 2:19; Colossians 2:14), that, on the contrary, the law had to fall in this aspect, in order that, in another aspect, the same law, so far as it teaches faith as the condition of the δικαιοσύνη, might be by the gospel imperishably confirmed in its authority, and even, according to Matthew 5:17, fulfilled. For in respect of this assertion of the value of faith the law and the gospel appear one.

    If the νόμον ἱστῶμεν and its relation to the abrogation of the law be defined to mean that “from faith proceeds the new obedience, and the love develops itself, which is the πλήρωμα νόμου, Romans 13:10” (Philippi; comp Rückert, Krehl, Umbreit, Morison), as Augustine, Melancthon, who nevertheless mixes up with it very various elements, Luther, Calvin, Beza, Vatablus, Calovius, and others assumed (comp also Apol. C. A. p. 83, 223), the further detailed illustration of ch. 4 is quite as much opposed to this view, as it is to the interpretations which conceive the law as pedagogically leading to Christ (Grotius, Olshausen), or as fulfilled in respect of its object, which is justification by faith (Chrysostom, Oecumenius, Theophylact, and others(939)). In the case of the two latter views, faith appears as something added to the law, which is just what Paul combats in ch. 4. On the form ἱστῶμεν, from ἱστάω, see Matthiae, p. 482, Winer, p. 75 [E. T. 93]. Still the ἱστάνομεν, recommended by Griesbach and adopted by Lachmann and Tischendorf, has preponderant attestation (so also א *; but א** has ἱστῶμεν), which is here decisive (in opposition to Fritzsche), especially when we take into account the multitude of other forms in MSS. ( στάνομεν, ἵσταμεν, συνιστῶμεν, συνιστάνομεν et al(940)).


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    Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on Romans 3:31". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/romans-3.html. 1832.

    Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

    Romans 3:31. νόμον, the law) This declaration is similar to the declaration of our Lord, Matthew 5:17.— ἱστῶμεν, we establish) while we defend [uphold] that which the law witnesseth to, Romans 3:20-21, and while we show, how satisfaction is truly made to the law through Christ.


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    Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Romans 3:31". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/romans-3.html. 1897.

    Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

    Do we then make void the law through faith? A very material objection is here to be anticipated and answered, viz. that by establishing justification by faith alone the law is rendered useless, and the obligation thereto destroyed.

    God forbid: yea, we establish the law: having rejected this objection, by his usual note of abhorrency, he proceeds to show, that nothing more establishs the law, inasmuch as by faith we attain a perfect righteousness, we are interested in the most complete obedience of Christ to the moral law; and that hereby every type, promise, and prophecy is fulfilled; see Matthew 5:17 Luke 16:17: and we ourselves also being enabled thereunto by a gospel spirit, have a more exact conformity to the law, though we cannot reach to a fulfilling of it.


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    Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Romans 3:31". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/romans-3.html. 1685.

    Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

    Make void the law; the law of God, as a rule of action, and sacredly binding on all who know it. Does the fact that God saves sinners through faith in Christ, lessen the sanctity and authority of his law as an expression of his will, or the obligations of men to obey it? By no means.

    We establish the law; show its excellence, its unchanging obligations, and lead men more earnestly, successfully, and perseveringly to strive to obey it. The way of saving sinners through the incarnation, obedience, suffering, death, resurrection, and intercession of Christ, and by faith in him, shows that the law of God is holy, just, and good; that the violation of it is unspeakably wicked; and that it cannot be violated with impunity; while the motives for obeying it in order to honor God, to show gratitude to the Redeemer, and become in heart and life like Him who was a living personification of its excellence, are greatly increased: such love and obedience are secured as never were, and never will be, secured among men in any other way. In perfectly obeying the divine law, Christ was a pattern of human perfection, which all who believe in him supremely desire and habitually strive to copy; saying from the heart, each for himself, "Such love, and meekness so divine, I would transcribe and make them mine. Be thou my pattern, make me bear More of thy gracious image here; Then God the Judge shall own my name Among the followers of the Lamb."


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    Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on Romans 3:31". "Family Bible New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/romans-3.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

    Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges

    31. νόμον οὖν κ.τ.λ. An anticipatory caution, worked out in ch. 6. The Gospel does not abolish law by insisting on faith as man’s sole contribution; it represents law as fulfilled in Christ, and in man if he has faith in Christ; see above on νόμου πίστεως. Practically a summary of the treatment of law in Matthew 5 νόμος here is not limited to, though it includes, the Mosaic law.

    ἱστάνομεν. A later form of ἵστημι; cf. Thackeray, p. 247; Moulton, p. 55. Only here simpl.; cf. Acts 17:15 (καθ.); 1 Corinthians 13:2 (μεθ.). συνιστάνω, 2 Corinthians 3:1; 2 Corinthians 4:2; 2 Corinthians 5:12; 2 Corinthians 6:4; 2 Corinthians 10:12; Galatians 2:18.

    The difficulty of this passage lies in its condensation; the clue is found when we see in it a return to Romans 1:17, and amplification of that passage, with a view to fuller exposition in chh. 5 ff.; in fact it restates the subject of the Epistle. In interpreting, we must bear in mind, as we saw on Romans 1:17, that Christ Jesus is throughout the concrete righteousness of GOD.


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    "Commentary on Romans 3:31". "Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cgt/romans-3.html. 1896.

    William Godbey's Commentary on the New Testament

    31. “Then do we make void the law through faith? It could not be so, but we establish the law.” Here Paul answers the silly objections which I have often heard abused by Satan’s preachers; i. e., that we who preach the utter non-essentiality of all legal obedience in order to justification, are making void the law, i. e., setting it aside and treating it with contempt. This is simply the bogus pleading of spiritually ignorant people. If we had to be justified by the law we would all be sent to hell, for the simple fact that we are all law-breakers. Hunting in the Bible for justification through legal obedience is like the criminal ransacking the statute book to find his pardon. It is not there, but on the contrary he finds his condemnation boldly written on every page. Not we, but unfallen beings, such as Adam in Eden and the angels in heaven, can possibly be justified by the law. Transgressors can receive nothing but condign punishment. Well does Paul say that instead of nullifying we establish the law, boldly affirming the impossibility of its nullification under the hypothesis of our justification by faith alone without works, from the simple fact that our faith receives and appropriates Christ, who alone in all this world has kept and verified the law, not only by His active obedience to all of its mandates, but by His passive obedience, satisfying the violated law in the vicarious atonement which He made by His substitutionary death in our room and stead. When you seek justification by works, you are depending on your own obedience, which is“filthy rags in the sight of God” — a miserable and irretrievable breakdown. When we are justified by faith we lay hold of Christ, our glorious substitute, who has perfectly satisfied the law both actively and passively in every respect. Consequently we have victory over the world, the flesh, and the devil, in time and in eternity.


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    Godbey, William. "Commentary on Romans 3:31". "William Godbey's Commentary on the New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ges/romans-3.html.

    Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

    ‘Do we then make the law of none effect through faith? Let it not be. No, we establish the law.’

    He now deals with a final objection. Is he not making the law of none effect by making salvation obtainable through faith? And his reply is that, far from that being true, on the contrary he is establishing the Law. For on any other way of salvation the breaking of the law would be being treated as of secondary importance, such breaches having to be overlooked. It would have its teeth drawn. It would be unable to condemn. But salvation by faith gives the law its full status as condemning all who fall short of it. The axe then falls, but it falls on Christ. Furthermore the Law is then also given its true status as being a ‘schoolmaster to lead us to Christ’ (Galatians 3:24). In ancient days the Law turned men’s thoughts to the necessity of the sacrificial system though which they could obtain atonement for their failures. Now it is intended to turn their thoughts to Christ’s sacrifice on their behalf.


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    Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Romans 3:31". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/romans-3.html. 2013.

    Haldane's Exposition on the Epistle to the Romans

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

    From the doctrine of justification by faith alone, which the Apostle had been declaring, it might be supposed that the law of God was made void.

    This consequence might be drawn from the conclusion that a man is justified by faith without any respect to his obedience to law. This the Apostle denies, and, on the contrary, asserts that by his doctrine the law is established. The article is here wanting before law, indicating that the reference is not to the legal dispensation, or to the books of Moses, as in the last clause of verse 21, but to the general law of God, whether written or unwritten.

    Make void law. — ’ Bring it to naught,’ as the same word in the original is rendered, 1 Corinthians 1:28; or ‘destroy,’ Corinthians 6:13, and 15:26; ‘done away,’ 2 Corinthians 3:7-14; ‘abolished,’ Ephesians 2:15; 2 Timothy 1:10. Professors Tholuck and Stuart, not perceiving how the doctrine of the Apostle establishes the authority of the law, understand law in this place as signifying the Old Testament. This entirely destroys the meaning and use of the passage.

    That the Old Testament teaches the same way of justification as that taught by the Apostles, is indeed a truth, an important truth, but not the truth here asserted. Mr. Stuart says, ‘How gratuitous justification can be said to confirm or establish the moral law (as this text has been often explained), it seems difficult to make out.’ There is not here the smallest difficulty. It is quite obvious in what way gratuitous justification by Christ establishes Law. Can there be any greater respect shown to the law, than that when God determines to save men from its curse, He makes His own Son sustain its curse in their stead, and fulfill for them all its demands? When a surety pays all that is due by a debtor, the debtor receives a gratuitous discharge: but has the debt, or the law that enforces the debt, been on that account made void? Here, as well as in so many other parts of his exposition of this Epistle, we discover the unhappy effect of this commentator’s misunderstanding the meaning of the expression at its commencement, the righteousness of God. That he should feel the difficulty he states above, is not surprising, for, according to the view he gives of justification, the law of God is completely made void.

    Dr. Macknight explains establishing law to be making it ‘necessary in many respects.’ ‘The Gospel,’ he says, in his view and illustration of ch. 1:16, 17, ‘teaches, that because all have sinned, and are incapable of perfect obedience, God hath appointed, for their salvation, a righteousness without law; that is, a righteousness which does not consist in perfect obedience to any law whatever, even the righteousness of faith, 22 that being the only righteousness attainable by sinners; and at the same time declares that God will accept and reward that kind of righteousness through Christ, as if it were a perfect righteousness.’ 23 Accordingly, in this interpretation of the 21st verse of chapter 3, he says: ‘But now, under the Gospel, a righteousness appointed by God, as the means of the justification of sinners, without perfect obedience to law of any kind, is made known.’ In this manner, mistaking, like Professors Tholuck and Stuart, although in a different way, the import of the expression, ‘the righteousness of God,’ he misunderstands the whole train of the Apostle’s reasoning, from the 17th verse of the first chapter to the end of the fifth chapter, as well as its object; in this discussion on justification, and by his explanation, altogether makes void the law. Instead of making it ‘necessary in many respects,’ Dr. Macknight, as well as Dr. Stuart and Mr. Tholuck, by representing it as satisfied with an imperfect obedience, which does not meet the demands of any law, either human or Divine, makes it void in every respect. Such is the entire consistency among themselves of the doctrines of Scripture, that whenever any one of them is misunderstood, it invariably leads to the misunderstanding of the rest.

    Many commentators, with more or less clearness, refer to the doctrine of sanctification, either in whole or in part, the Apostle’s denial that he makes void the law. According to them, it is not made void for this reason, because it convinces men of sin, and does not release from personal obedience to its precepts. That the doctrine of justification, by the imputation of Christs righteousness, does not release believers from obedience to the law, is a most important truth, which Paul fully establishes in the sixth chapter of this Epistle. On the contrary, it lays them under additional obligations to obey it, by furnishing additional motives to the love of God. But since their sanctification is always in this life imperfect, were there nothing else to meet the demands of the law, it would be made void — it would remain unfulfilled, both in its precept and penalty. In addition to this, the whole of the previous discussion regards the doctrine of justification, while not a word is said respecting sanctification. And it is evident that this verse is introduced to obviate an objection which might naturally present itself, namely, if man’s obedience, in order to his justification, be set aside, the law, which requires obedience, is made void.

    But Paul appeals to his doctrine, and, according to his usual manner, strongly rejects such an inference. In the preceding verses, from the 20th, he had been announcing that the righteousness of God, which is the complete fulfillment of the law, is placed to the account of him who believes for his justification, whereby God, in thus justifying the sinner solely on the ground of a perfect obedience, shows Himself to be just. Do we then, he says, make void the law? This doctrine not only maintains the authority of the law of God, but also exhibits the fulfillment of all its demands. The connecting particle shows that Paul rests his proof on what had gone before, to which he appeals, and not on the ground of sanctification, to which he had been making no reference, and which, if he had referred to it, would not have borne out his assertion. ‘Think not,’ said our blessed Lord, ‘that I am come to destroy the law and the Prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in nowise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.’ It is to this fulfillment — to the righteousness of God, which in the context the Apostle had been illustrating, and which Jesus Christ brought in — that he here appeals. Do we make law void when we conclude that a man is justified by faith without doing the works of law, since we show that through his faith he receives a perfect righteousness, by which, in all its demands and all its sanction, it is fulfilled? No; it is in this very way we establish it. In this glorious establishment of the law of God, Paul, in another place, exults, when he counts all things but loss for the excellency of Christ, and desires to be found in Him, not having his own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith. While he thus tramples on his own righteousness, by which the law never could be established, he confidently appeals to the righteousness of God, now made his by faith. This is precisely in accordance with his conclusion in the 28th verse, that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of law; and afterwards, at the termination of his mortal career, in the immediate prospect of death, he triumphs in the consideration that there is laid up for him a crown of righteous — a crown, the reward of that perfect obedience by which the law is magnified and made honorable.


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    Haldane, Robert. "Commentary on Romans 3:31". "Haldane's Exposition on the Epistle to the Romans and Hebrews". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hal/romans-3.html. 1835.

    Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

    31. Make void the law?—From the fact that the apostle next proceeds to ground the doctrine of faith in the Old Testament, Alford and others by main force make the word law here to mean, as it means not anywhere else, the Old Testament history. But Paul is here asserting, what he fully maintains in chap. 7, that the doctrine of faith neither abrogates nor dishonours the eternal law. On the contrary, it assumes the absoluteness of that law, which so discloses sin as to make the atonement necessary. It establishes that law as the perfect standard to which the scheme of redemption aspires to raise fallen man.

    The apostle has now with complete explicitness stated the Remedy for the Ruin. He will next find that remedy to have been propounded in the Old Testament.


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    Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Romans 3:31". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/romans-3.html. 1874-1909.

    Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

    Paul was not saying that the Law is valueless. The absence of the definite article "the" before the first occurrence of "Law" in this verse in the Greek text does not indicate that Paul was only thinking of law in general, as the context makes clear. Even though he believed in salvation by faith Paul saw the Law as having an important function. [Note: See Femi Adeyemi, "Paul"s "Positive" Statements about the Mosaic Law," Bibliotheca Sacra164:653 (January-March2007):49-58.] Probably he meant that its function is to convict people of their inability to gain acceptance with God by their own works ( Romans 3:19-20). Another view is that Paul meant the Old Testament (law) testifies to justification by faith. [Note: Godet, pp166-67; Henry Alford, The Greek Testament, 2:346; Cranfield, 1:224; et al.] A third view is that faith provides the complete fulfillment of God"s demands in His Law. [Note: Moo, pp254-55; et al.] The Law is not something God has given people to obey so they can obtain righteousness. Man"s inability to save himself required the provision of a Savior from God. The Law in a sense made Jesus Christ"s death necessary ( Romans 3:24-25).

    The point of Romans 3:27-31 is that justification must come to all people by faith alone. Paul clarified here that this fact excludes boasting ( Romans 3:27-28). It is also logical in view of the sovereignty of God ( Romans 3:29-30), and it does not vitiate the Mosaic Law ( Romans 3:31).


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    Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Romans 3:31". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/romans-3.html. 2012.

    Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

    Romans 3:31. Do we then make void the law through faith? This verse may be regarded either as the proposition of chap. 4, or as the conclusion of the preceding argument. It is both in fact, being a transition from the doctrine of justification by faith to the proof that Abraham was thus justified. The objection to making it begin the next chapter is the form of Romans 3:1 (which see). But we place it in a separate paragraph. The article is wanting with the word ‘law,’ but the reference to the Mosaic law is unmistakable.

    Let it never be. See Romans 3:4. The Apostle indignantly denies that faith abrogates the law, as might be objected.

    Nay; or, ‘but on the contrary,’ we establish the law, cause the law to stand. Not as a ground of justification, but as itself teaching justification by faith, the next chapter giving the historical proof. This is the main point here, although there are many other reasons which might be urged in support of the statement as a general one. The law was never intended as a means of justification; it could not therefore be abrogated as such a means. In its typical character it has fulfilled its purpose; as to its moral contents, as the expression of the holy will of God, as a rule of conduct, it was perfectly fulfilled by Christ and is constantly fulfilled in the holy life of a believer.


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    Bibliography
    Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on Romans 3:31". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/romans-3.html. 1879-90.

    The Expositor's Greek Testament

    Romans 3:31. νόμον οὖν καταργοῦμεν διὰ τῆς πίστεως; Do we then annul “law” through the faith we have been discussing? Perhaps if Law were written with a capital letter, it would suggest the true meaning. The Apostle speaks as from the consciousness of a Jewish objector: is all that we have ever called Law—the whole Jewish religion—that divinely established order, and everything of the same nature—made void by faith? God forbid, he answers: on the contrary, Law is set upon a secure footing; for the first time it gets its rights. To prove this was one of the main tasks lying upon the Apostle of the New Covenant. One species of proof is given in chap 4, where he shows that representative saints under the Old Dispensation, like Abraham, were justified by faith. That is the Divine order still, and it is securer than ever under the Gospel. Another kind of proof is given in chaps. 6–8, where the new life of the Christian is unfolded, and we are shown that “the just demands of the law” are fulfilled in believers, and in believers only. The claim which the Apostle makes here, and establishes in these two passages, is the same as that in our Lord’s words: I came not to destroy (the law or the prophets), but to fulfil.


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    Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Romans 3:31". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/romans-3.html. 1897-1910.

    George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

    Do we then destroy the law through faith? No: but we establish the law. See the words of Christ: (Matthew v. 17.) 1. Because the figures and types of the law of Moses, and the predictions of the prophets, are fulfilled. 2. Because Christians are now taught to fulfil the moral precepts, and the chief part of the law, with greater perfection, in the spirit of faith, charity, &c. (Witham)


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    Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Romans 3:31". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/romans-3.html. 1859.

    Mark Dunagan Commentary on the Bible

    Romans 3:31 Do we then make the law of none effect through faith? God forbid: nay, we establish the law.

    "Do we then make the law of none effect"-"Does that mean that we are using faith to rob the law of its force" (Knox)

    -"Does justification by law undermine law"? Paul responds, "not at all".

    "Establish" -certainly not in the sense of making law binding, or "in force". "We uphold the law" (Mof)

    1. If the law of Moses is under primary consideration in this verse, then teaching justification by faith simply upholds what the law and the prophets had predicted. ()

    2. If the "law" under consideration is "the law all are under today": The person who seeks to be right with God on the basis of obedient trust/humble submission, is the individual that will be always be ready to conform to God"s commands, and quickly repent (demonstrating respect for law) when they violate them.

    3. By contrast, all that claim they can be right with God on the basis of perfect law-keeping, violate and show disrespect for the law of God, for such people refuse to see where they violate the law. (1 John 1:10)


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    Dunagan, Mark. "Commentary on Romans 3:31". "Mark Dunagan Commentaries on the Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dun/romans-3.html. 1999-2014.

    E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

    make void. Greek. katargeo, as Romans 3:3.

    Yea = Nay. Greek. alla.


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    Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Romans 3:31". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/romans-3.html. 1909-1922.

    Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

    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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    Bibliography
    Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Romans 3:31". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/romans-3.html. 1871-8.

    Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

    (31) Do we then make void the law.—In opposition to many commentators it seems right to take this as an isolated statement to be worked out afterwards (Romans 6:1 et seq.) more fully. It cannot, without straining, be connected directly with what follows. The Apostle deals with two objections to his theory of justification by faith: (1) that there ought to be a different rule for the Jew and for the Gentile; (2) that if not, the law is practically abolished. He meets this latter by a contradiction, saying that it is not abolished, but confirmed. This is, however, drawing upon the stock of conclusions in his own mind to which he had come by process of meditation; the detailed proof is reserved.


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    Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Romans 3:31". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/romans-3.html. 1905.

    Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

    Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.
    do we
    4:14; Psalms 119:126; Jeremiah 8:8,9; Matthew 5:17; 15:6; Galatians 2:21; 3:17-19
    God
    [Me genoito] literally, let it not be, and which might be rendered less objectionably, far from it, by no means.
    yea
    7:7-14,22,25; 8:4; 10:4; 13:8-10; Psalms 40:8; Isaiah 42:21; Jeremiah 31:33,34; Matthew 3:15; 5:20; 1 Corinthians 9:21; Galatians 2:19; 5:18-23; Hebrews 10:15,16; James 2:8-12

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    Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Romans 3:31". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/romans-3.html.

    Hodge's Commentary on Romans, Ephesians and First Corintians

    Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law. This verse states the third result of this method of salvation; instead of invalidating, it establishes the law. As Paul uses the word law in so many senses, it is doubtful which one of them is here principally intended. In every sense, however, the declaration is true. If the law means the Old Testament generally, then it is true; for the gospel method of justification contradicts no one of its statements, is inconsistent with no one of its doctrines, and invalidates no one of its promises, but is harmonious with all, and confirmatory of the whole. If it means the Mosaic institutions specially, these were shadows of which Christ is the substance. That law is abolished, not by being pronounced spurious or invalid, but by having met its accomplishment, and answered its design in the gospel. What it taught and promised, the gospel also teaches and promises, only in clearer and fuller measure. If it means the moral law, which no doubt was prominently intended, still it is not invalidated, but established. No moral obligation is weakened, no penal sanction disregarded. The precepts are enforced by new and stronger motives, and the penalty is answered in Him who bore our sins in his own body on the tree. "Ubi vero ad Christum ventum est," says Calvin, "primum in eo invenitur exacta Legis justitia, quae per imputationem etiam nostra fit. Deinde sanctificatio, qua formantur corda nostra ad Legis observationem, imperfectam quidem illam, sed ad scopum collimat." Instead of making Romans 3:31 the close of the third chapter, many commentators regard it as more properly the beginning of the fourth. The proposition that the gospel, instead of invalidating, establishes the law, they say is too important to be dismissed with a mere categorical assertion. This, however, is Paul's method. After showing that the law cannot save, that both justification and sanctification are by the gospel, he is wont to state in a sentence what is the true end of the law, or that the law and the gospel being both from God, but designed for different ends, are not in conflict. See above, Romans 3:20; Galatians 3:19, Galatians 3:20. If this verse, however, be made the beginning of the exhibition contained in the following chapter, then by law must be understood the Old Testament, and the confirmation of the law by the gospel consists in the fact that the latter teaches the same doctrine as the former. ‘Do we make void the law by teaching that justification is by faith? By no means: we establish the law; for the Old Testament itself teaches that Abraham and David were justified gratuitously by faith, and without works.' Although the sense is thus good, there does not appear to be any sufficient reason for departing from the common division of the chapters. The next chapter is not connected with this verse by γάρ, which the sense would demand if the connection was what Meyer, De Wette, and others would make it: ‘We establish the law when we teach faith, for Abraham was justified by faith.' The connecting particle is simply οὖν, then, and gives a very different sense. Besides it is a very subordinate object with the apostle to prove that the law and the gospel agree. His design is to teach the true method of justification. The cases of Abraham and David are referred to, to prove his doctrine on that point, and not merely the agreement between the old dispensation and the new.

    Doctrine

    1. The evangelical doctrine of justification by faith is the doctrine of the Old, no less than of the New Testament, Romans 3:21.

    2. Justification is pronouncing one to be just, and treating him accordingly, on the ground that the demands of the law have been satisfied concerning him, Romans 3:24-26.

    3. The ground of justification is not our own merit, nor faith, nor evangelical obedience; not the work of Christ in us, but his work for us, i.e. his obedience unto death, Romans 3:25.

    4. An act may be perfectly gratuitous as regards its object, and at the same time proceed on the ground of a complete satisfaction to the demands of the law. Thus justification is gratuitous, not because those demands are unsatisfied, but because it is granted to those who have no personal ground of recommendation, Romans 3:24, Romans 3:26.

    5. God is the ultimate end of all his own acts. To declare his glory is the highest and best end which he can propose for himself or his creatures, Romans 3:25.

    6. The atonement does not consist in a display to others of the divine justice. This is one of its designs and results; but it is such a display only by being a satisfaction to the justice of God. It is not a symbol or illustration, but a satisfaction, Romans 3:26.

    7. All true doctrine tends to humble men, and to exalt God; and all true religion is characterized by humility and reverence, Romans 3:27.

    8. God is a universal Father, and all men are brethren, Romans 3:29, Romans 3:30.

    9. The law of God is immutable. Its precepts are always binding, and its penalty must be inflicted either on the sinner or his substitute. When, however, it is said that the penalty of the law is inflicted on the Redeemer, as the sinner's substitute, or, in the language of Scripture, that "he was made a curse for us," it cannot be imagined that he suffered the same kind of evils (as remorse, etc.) which the sinner would have suffered. The law threatens no specific kind of evil as its penalty. The term death, in Scripture, designates any or all of the evils inflicted in punishment of sin. And the penalty, or curse of the law, (in the language of the Bible,) is any evil judicially inflicted in satisfaction of the demands of justice. To say, therefore, that Christ suffered to satisfy the law, to declare the righteousness of God, or that he might be just in justifying him that believes in Jesus, and to say that he bore the penalty of the law, are equivalent expressions, Romans 3:31.

    Remarks

    1. As the cardinal doctrine of the Bible is justification by faith, so the turning point in the soul's history, the saving act, is the reception of Jesus Christ as the propitiation for our sins, Romans 3:25.

    2. All modes of preaching must be erroneous, which do not lead sinners to feel that the great thing to be done, and done first, is to receive the Lord Jesus Christ, and to turn unto God through him. And all religious experience must be defective, which does not embrace distinctly a sense of the justice of our condemnation, and a conviction of the sufficiency of the work of Christ, and an exclusive reliance upon it as such, Romans 3:25.

    3. As God purposes his own glory as the end of all that he does, so ought we to have that glory as the constant and commanding object of pursuit, Romans 3:25.

    4. The doctrine of atonement produces in us its proper effect, when it leads us to see and feel that God is just; that he is infinitely gracious; that we are deprived of all ground of boasting; that the way of salvation, which is open for us, is open for all men; and that the motives to all duty, instead of being weakened, are enforced and multiplied, Romans 3:25-31.

    5. In the gospel all is harmonious: justice and mercy, as it regards God; freedom from the law, and the strongest obligations to obedience, as it regards men, Romans 3:25, Romans 3:31.


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    Bibliography
    Hodge, Charles. "Commentary on Romans 3:31". Hodge's Commentary on Romans, Ephesians and First Corintians. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hdg/romans-3.html.

    The Bible Study New Testament

    Does this mean? The Law = the whole Jewish religion. Does salvation by faith make the Law useless? The answer is no, not at all! The Law is upheld for the first time (Romans 8:4 and note). See what Jesus said in Matthew 5:17, and compare the note there. To be put right with God is to be pronounced innocent or guiltless. Since no man could obey the Law perfectly (see James 2:10 and note), no man could be put right with God through the works of the Law. As we reach out in faith to seize Christ, and make ourselves part of his sacrifice, his merit is RITUALLY CREDITED [imputed] to us and the Law cannot condemn us.

    Three uses of law. 1. A Fence. Law serves the purpose of restraining sin and promoting righteousness. Considered from this point of view, law presupposes sin and is necessary on account of sin. It serves the purpose of God's common grace in the world at large. This means that, from this point of view, law cannot be regarded as a means of grace in the technical sense of the word 2. A Teacher. In this capacity law serves the purpose of bringing man under conviction of sin, and of making him conscious of his inability to meet the demands of law. In that way law becomes his teacher to lead him UNTO Christ, and so becomes an assistant to God's gracious purpose of setting men free from sin. 3. A Role. This is the Song of Solomon -called third use of law. The law of Christ (1 Corinthians 9:21) is a rule of life for believers, reminding them of their duties and leading them in the way of life and salvation. The "obedience of faith" is not a thing of merit, but the living sacrifice of Romans 12:1-2; James 1:26-27; James 2:14-17; etc. This third use of law is denied by the Antinomians.


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    Bibliography
    Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on Romans 3:31". "The Bible Study New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ice/romans-3.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.

    : Do we then make the law of none effect through faith? God forbid: nay, we establish the law.

    Here is the final question. Does the fact that we are justified by faith mean the Law of Moses is useless (meaningless)? The answer to this question is no. The law is not useless to Christians. Though Moses' Law was not designed to justify Prayer of Manasseh , it did have a purpose. It was useful in that it made people aware of sin. It helped mankind see that humanity was lost and that man could not save himself. It helped men and women understand that a savior was needed. Paul's conclusion in this section is that he established law. In other words, he put the law in its proper place. He showed what the Old Testament law was designed to do.


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    Price, Brad "Commentary on Romans 3:31". "Living By Faith: Commentary on Romans". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bpc/romans-3.html.

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    Thursday, November 21st, 2019
    the Week of Proper 28 / Ordinary 33
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