Romans 3

* Objections answered. (1-8) All mankind are sinners. (9-18)

Both Jews and Gentiles cannot be justified by their own deeds.

(19,20) It is owing to the free grace of God, through faith in

the righteousness of Christ, yet the law is not done away.


1-8 The law could not save in or from sins, yet it gave the

Jews advantages for obtaining salvation. Their stated

ordinances, education in the knowledge of the true God and his

service, and many favours shown to the children of Abraham, all

were means of grace, and doubtless were made useful to the

conversion of many. But especially the Scriptures were committed

to them. Enjoyment of God's word and ordinances, is the chief

happiness of a people. But God's promises are made only to

believers; therefore the unbelief of some, or of many

professors, cannot make this faithfulness of no effect. He will

fulfil his promises to his people, and bring his threatened

vengeance upon unbelievers. God's judging the world, should for

ever silence all doubtings and reflections upon his justice. The

wickedness and obstinate unbelief of the Jews, proved man's need

of the righteousness of God by faith, and also his justice in

punishing for sin. Let us do evil, that good may come, is

oftener in the heart than in the mouth of sinners; for few thus

justify themselves in their wicked ways. The believer knows that

duty belongs to him, and events to God; and that he must not

commit any sin, or speak one falsehood, upon the hope, or even

assurance, that God may thereby glorify himself. If any speak

and act thus, their condemnation is just.
9-18 Here again is shown that all mankind are under the guilt

of sin, as a burden; and under the government and dominion of

sin, as enslaved to it, to work wickedness. This is made plain

by several passages of Scripture from the Old Testament, which

describe the corrupt and depraved state of all men, till grace

restrain or change them. Great as our advantages are, these

texts describe multitudes who call themselves Christians. Their

principles and conduct prove that there is no fear of God before

their eyes. And where no fear of God is, no good is to be looked

19,20 It is in vain to seek for justification by the works of

the law. All must plead guilty. Guilty before God, is a dreadful

word; but no man can be justified by a law which condemns him

for breaking it. The corruption in our nature, will for ever

stop any justification by our own works.
21-26 Must guilty man remain under wrath? Is the wound for ever

incurable? No; blessed be God, there is another way laid open

for us. This is the righteousness of God; righteousness of his

ordaining, and providing, and accepting. It is by that faith

which has Jesus Christ for its object; an anointed Saviour, so

Jesus Christ signifies. Justifying faith respects Christ as a

Saviour, in all his three anointed offices, as Prophet, Priest,

and King; trusting in him, accepting him, and cleaving to him:

in all these, Jews and Gentiles are alike welcome to God through

Christ. There is no difference, his righteousness is upon all

that believe; not only offered to them, but put upon them as a

crown, as a robe. It is free grace, mere mercy; there is nothing

in us to deserve such favours. It comes freely unto us, but

Christ bought it, and paid the price. And faith has special

regard to the blood of Christ, as that which made the atonement.

God, in all this, declares his righteousness. It is plain that

he hates sin, when nothing less than the blood of Christ would

satisfy for it. And it would not agree with his justice to

demand the debt, when the Surety has paid it, and he has

accepted that payment in full satisfaction.
27-31 God will have the great work of the justification and

salvation of sinners carried on from first to last, so as to

shut out boasting. Now, if we were saved by our own works,

boasting would not be excluded. But the way of justification by

faith for ever shuts out boasting. Yet believers are not left to

be lawless; faith is a law, it is a working grace, wherever it

is in truth. By faith, not in this matter an act of obedience,

or a good work, but forming the relation between Christ and the

sinner, which renders it proper that the believer should be

pardoned and justified for the sake of the Saviour, and that the

unbeliever who is not thus united or related to him, should

remain under condemnation. The law is still of use to convince

us of what is past, and to direct us for the future. Though we

cannot be saved by it as a covenant, yet we own and submit to

it, as a rule in the hand of the Mediator.
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