Romans 3

Righteousness Apart From The Law

Romans 3 completes the accusation that both the Jews and the Gentiles are guilty before God. Now the prosecution can rest and the defense can begin. Paul switches gears by explaining that the righteousness that the law was powerless to give us, God did by sending Jesus. He maintains that this righteousness comes by faith to all who believe in Christ Jesus apart from the law.

The Jews Advantage—Romans 3:1-2

Written by Juli Camarin on . Posted in Romans 3

"What advantage, then, is there in being a Jew, or what value is there in circumcision? Much in every way! First of all, they have been entrusted with the very words of God" (Romans 3:1-2)

I am sure at this point in Paul's letter to the Romans, the Jews were feeling pretty beaten up. Paul spent the last few verses revealing to them that they had misunderstood God covenant with them. They were operating under the assumption that because they were the natural descendants of Abraham, they were heirs to the promise.

However, Paul reveals to us at the end of Romans 2 and also in Galatians 3, that the promise was not many descendants but One descendant. "The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. The Scripture does not say "and to seeds," meaning many people, but "and to your seed," meaning one person, who is Christ. " ( Galatians 3:16 ) So we can conclude that no one has ever become a heir of God's promise by natural birth as the Jews assumed. Before Christ, Old Testament saints were justified by faith in God's promised Messiah. After Jesus, we are justified through Faith in Christ. Heirs of the promise are those who are of the spiritual seed of Abraham, and are justified by faith. ( Romans 4:16 )

So the natural question arises...what advantage is there in being a Jew? Paul just proved to them that they were guilty before God, just like the Gentiles. Then revealed to them that being born into this nationality did not make them heirs of the promises. It was only through faith in the Jesus Christ, which gave them circumcision of the heart through the Spirit, not of the flesh. Everything that the Jews held onto as being a people separated apart for God had been utterly shattered with Paul's letter, so one needs the answer for, the benefit, profit and gain in being a Jew.

Fortunate for us, Paul gives us the answer in verse 2. Being a Jew profits "Much in every way! First of all, they have been entrusted with the very words of God." ( Romans 3:2 ). God had trusted them with His spoken and written word. Not only did he give them intuitive knowledge of himself like the rest of creation, He gave them the oracles of God. They were literally given the intension and utterances of our Heavenly Father. This profited them much in every way!

God places a huge importance on His Word. Psalm 138:2 says, "for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name." (KVJ) on the other hand, Philippians 2 says "That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. " ( Philippians 2:10-11 ) The Bible says that at the name of Jesus, everything will come into submission to Him, and then that God magnifies his Word above His name. Therefore, since the Jews were entrusted with the Words of God, they retained a favorable position with God right from the very beginning.

Today, we also are blessed through the Jewish race because we also the Word of God. We have access to these words that bring life and health to our bodies and nourishment to our bones ( Proverbs 3:8 ) So today we can rejoice in God's graciousness with mankind because of Christ. And rejoice that He provided us with everything pertaining to life and godliness through His Word.

The Faithfulness of God—Romans 3:3-4

Written by Juli Camarin on . Posted in Romans 3

"What if some did not have faith? Will their lack of faith nullify God's faithfulness? Not at all! Let God be true, and every man a liar. As it is written:  "So that you may be proved right when you speak and prevail when you judge" (Romans 3:3-4)

The integrity of God's Word is something we as Christians need to address and settle in our hearts once and for all. Paul dealt with opposition to this also. In this passage he headed off the question that would naturally arise concerning the revelation of the Law, the Jews and of Faith...What if some did not believe what God had said, will that nullify the promise of God?

The Jews had a covenant with God. Another word for covenant is contract. There is always two sides to a covenant and both parties must adhere to their obligations for the contract to remain effectual. God had promised the Jews a lot of things and the only thing required of them was their faith. God made this covenant with Abraham and ratified it with the seal of circumcision. Circumcision was a token of the faith Abraham had before he was circumcised.

Paul had just proven that the Jews had forsaken their end of a covenant because they traded in their faith for works. The Jews weren't living by faith in awaiting for the Seed of Abraham, the promised Messiah. Instead they started relying on adherence to the Law. So Paul's question is legitimate, would their lack of faith nullify God's faithfulness? Does the Jews unbelief make God's Word ineffectual?

Verse four gives us an emphatic and resounding no! The unbelief of the Jewish nation made the Word and promise of God ineffectual in their own lives, because they choose not to believe it. However, God still sent Jesus as the Savior of the world, fulfilling His promise. For anyone who faith in Him, the gospel has the power to save them. So even though they were faithless and broke contract with God, He was still faithful in sending Jesus.

One thing we must settle in our hearts from the beginning is that no matter what circumstances surround us, what opinions people have or what we feel, we must decided that God is true and everything else contrary to His Word is a lie. Paul is saying that God's promises are always true even if men don't believe them. Just because circumstances have a way of lying to us, we have to resolve to adhere to what God has said about it in His word first and foremost. We have to believe God especially when everything around us tells us something different. Why? Because our lack of faith does not nullify God's promises. So our faith allows them to work in our lives.

Today, choose faith. Know that God is faithful to what he has already spoken. Decide in your heart to believe Him no matter what. Resolve to allow his faithfulness to work in your life and you will reap the benefits of His goodness and promised word.

Is God Just or Unjust?—Romans 3:5-6

Written by Juli Camarin on . Posted in Romans 3

"But if our unrighteousness brings out God's righteousness more clearly, what shall we say? That God is unjust in bringing his wrath on us? (I am using a human argument.) Certainly not! If that were so, how could God judge the world?" (Romans 3:5-6)

The book of Romans is so masterfully written by the apostle Paul. He addresses every objection and concern that would be raise with someone hearing the true gospel. In the previous verses, Paul explained that even though the Jews were not faithful to God, God was still faithful the them.

When we look at how unfaithful we are, it magnifies the mercy of God in an exponential way. So the natural question arises...'if our unrighteousness brings out God's righteousness more clearly, what shall we say? That God is unjust in bringing his wrath on us?" Or in other words, if our sin promotes and amplifies God's holiness and grace, why am I being judged?

Although Paul is addressing this argument, he clearly defines it as a human argument. The very thought that our sin could benefit God and help to promote His character is a very carnal and self-seeking. Paul wants to make that point understood from the beginning. Therefore he gives a disclaimer, that it in no way was this wisdom of God, this logic was clearly man made.

Paul's answer to this question is a strong, God forbid! The implications that God would be unjust or unfair to judge the world is utterly ridiculous. Our sin does bring out His mercy more clearly, however God can judge the world because He alone is righteous, holy and sinless. It is an established fact that He will come back the second time to judge, so the argument that God is unfair by judging the world has to be thrown out on that basis.

Apparently, Paul preached the message of grace so strongly that when people heard it, questions arose and truth had to be explained. God's message of grace is so great that it is natural to ask these types of questions. If you don't, then you probably haven't heard the full gospel as Paul preached it. Today, thank the Lord for His abundance of mercy and grace pour out upon you.

Slanderous Reports—Romans 3:7-8

Written by Juli Camarin on . Posted in Romans 3

"Someone might argue, "If my falsehood enhances God's truthfulness and so increases his glory, why am I still condemned as a sinner?" Why not say-as we are being slanderously reported as saying and as some claim that we say-"Let us do evil that good may result"? Their condemnation is deserved" (Romans 3:7-8)

Paul's message of grace was hard to swallow for the Jew of this time and even for many Christians today. His revelation on grace and faith was unrivaled among his peers. He constantly had to defend the gospel of grace to nay-sayers and critics. This passage of scripture is no exception.

On the one hand, Paul is saying that the argument that our sin glorifies God's mercy, is completely carnal and self-seeking. Basically seeking permission to engage in their desires while imputing God's character as an unfair judge. Paul maintains that God alone can judge and is completely reasonable and just in doing so. Therefore, argument against being condemned as a sinner is full of holes. While, it is true that our sin does illuminate how gracious God is to us, it still doesn't excuse the sin. God never wanted us to know or experience sin, so we know that our sin is never a good thing.

On the other hand, Paul had to defend himself against critics who slandered him constantly. Paul's revelation of grace was so dependant on what God had done, that it cause many people to accuse him of encouraging people to sin. His response... 'Their condemnation is deserved." Meaning that these accusations were completely false and utterly unfounded.

Today, I pray that you realize that God's mercy is not permission to go and live a life of sin. Romans 2:4 says, that it is God's kindness leads to repentance. Repentance is simply to turn and go the other way. So instead of continuing on in the way of sin, I hope you recognize God's abundant mercy and grace poured out upon you through His son Jesus. And for that knowledge to propel you into living a life worthy of your calling.

The Jews and Gentiles Alike; Under Sin—Romans 3:9-18

Written by Juli Camarin on . Posted in Romans 3

"What shall we conclude then? Are we any better? Not at all! We have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under sin. As it is written: "There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one." "Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit."  "The poison of vipers is on their lips." "Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness." "Their feet are swift to shed blood; ruin and misery mark their ways, and the way of peace they do not know." "There is no fear of God before their eyes" (Romans 3:9-18)

Wow! This statement is the pinnacle of the entire case against humanity. Paul is the prosecuting attorney building his case against mankind. The first chapter of Romans showed the Gentiles guilt before God because of their innate knowledge of Him. The second chapter of Romans showed that the Jew were worst off then the Gentiles because they had the Word of God but did not keep it. And finally the beginning of chapter 3, concludes that everyone is guilty before God, citing back to Old Testament scripture supporting this claim.

This is not a new concept. They condition of mankind was hopeless before Christ. The Amplified Bible describes the state as 'under sin, held down by and subject to its power and control.' The grasp of sin so tight that we had no hope of defeating it. By looking at this collage of Old Testament scripture that Paul shared, it is evident that man was destitute to save himself. We needed a savior.

The truth expressed in this passage of scripture is crucial to understanding the Salvation message. Since we were never capable of reconciling ourselves to God by atoning for our own sin, God did it for us. He paid the price with His precious blood shed on the cross.

We have to recognize this in order to move pass the condition that we are in. Once we accept the terms that Paul has laid out over these many verses, we are free to move into the next section of scripture. Paul will move from being the prosecuting attorney to the defense attorney acquitting us on the bases of Christ.

Today, it is my prayer that you will join me on this journey of faith. I pray that God will enlighten your heart to the truth of His word. God Bless you!

The Purpose of the Law—Romans 3:19-20

Written by Juli Camarin on . Posted in Romans 3

Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin" (Romans 3:19-20)

For many years I had the wrong interpretation of the Law. I always assumed that people were justified by following the Law until the time of Christ, then people we were saved by grace. I thought the Law was given as the way to God in the Old Testament. However this is not the case, Paul clearly states that the Law is what strengthened sin in us and arouses the need for a Savior.

The entire Old Testament Law can be used to point us to Christ. Paul tells us, that the Law speaks to those who are under the power of it. The purpose of the Law was to show that no one could keep it and by knowing this, it stripped every excuse that could ever be made. Every mouth is silenced in comparison to the Law, because God doesn't grade on a curve. Human comparison allows the dismissal of the severity of actions, but in contrast to the law, Paul says there is no excuse.

Because there is no excuse to those who are under the Law, and through it the world is held accountable to God, we know that the Law cannot bring us the righteousness of God. The Amplified Bible puts it this way, "For no person will be justified (made righteous, acquitted, and judged acceptable) in His sight by observing the works prescribed by the Law." ( Romans 3:20 ). And James tells us, For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it." ( James 2:10 ). If the Law wasn't given to make us righteous before God, why was it given?

Paul's answer... because through the Law, we become conscious of sin. We become aware of it. We recognize it. The acquaintance with the Law or condemnation of the Law, is what works us towards repentance and faith. This consciousness breaks the deception of thinking that we can be good enough to be accepted by God. The Law took away every hope of salvation except faith in a savior. This was the purpose of the Law.

This is Paul's closing argument as the prosecuting attorney. Paul finishes his case against both the Jews and the Gentiles and the impossibility of their salvation apart from Christ. He has made such a powerful case that one would think the next step is passing down the sentence of condemnation, however, now that the groundwork for the need for Christ is firmly laid, Paul will start building His case for the grace of God. What a beautiful thing!

A Righteousness Apart From the Law—Romans 3:21

Written by Juli Camarin on . Posted in Romans 3

"But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify" (Romans 3:21)

I recently started meeting weekly with my cousin who just became born again. We discuss a lot of things, but one thing that came up, was how the Old Testament seems dramatically different then the New Testament. I told her that she must read the Old Testament in light of what Jesus did for us in the New Testament. To her, that made perfect sense in putting all the pieces together. However, this is not a New Testament principal. The Law, was always intended to be understood, in view of the promised Messiah.

At this point in Romans, Paul is making a major shift in thinking. His statement is radical for the Jew, and for many Christians today. The righteousness of God has been revealed independently and altogether apart from the Law. For the Jew who has followed rules, regulations and the Law their entire life, this would be a hard pill to swallow.

The Jews had always hoped to obtain righteousness with God through the Law, but Paul says that this right standing is altogether independent of the Law. This might seem like a new doctrine, but Paul claims that it is what the Law and the Prophets testified about all along.

Mercy and grace was present in the Old Testament, through sacrifices prescribe by the Law. Because of this, it would have been easy to interpret that forgiveness and grace came about by fulfilling as much of the Law as they could. Paul is saying that this wasn't the Law's intent, the intent was to show the pattern of the One to come. Colossians 2:17 says, that "These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ." So the righteousness of the Law was a type or representation of what was coming. And grace and righteousness came through Christ Jesus independent of the Law.

In the previous verses Paul utterly destroyed any hope of obtaining that right standing with God through adherence to the Law. Our only hope rested upon a Savior. Today we understand that the Law actually foretold of the righteousness given to us by Christ and hope that God promised to us by sending the Messiah. This righteousness was independent of the Law and it put us in right standing with God. Today, take a moment to thank God and Jesus for this righteousness that was made available for us apart from works of the Law.

By Faith We Are Justified Freely—Romans 3:22-24

Written by Juli Camarin on . Posted in Romans 3

"This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus" (Romans 3:22-24)

Growing up, one of the many verses that I memorized was Romans 3:23, "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God..." While this verse is true and something that the apostle Paul has been building a case for, in the previous chapters, the main focus of this passage of scripture are the verses that surround this statement.

Even though we were immersed in sin and could not obtain the righteous requirements of the Law, God revealed a righteousness completely separate and independent of the Law. This righteousness comes by faith in Jesus to all who believe. The righteousness that Paul is describing is the righteousness that God ascribes too. It is perfect and holy. Through faith in Jesus, we received this righteousness as a gift. Not a flawed human righteousness, but God's righteousness. Paul said in II Corinthians 5:21, "God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." Jesus literally became sin, the very thing he hated and despised, in order that we could become righteous, the very thing we were incapable of being through the Law. It is truly amazing!

So even though everyone sinned, both Jews and Gentiles and fell short of the virtue that God ascribes to, we are justified freely through the grace that was provided in Christ Jesus. Now it is important to recognize that everyone has sinned and everyone has been forgiven through Jesus. When Christ suffered upon the cross, he suffered and paid the price for the sins of the entire world. Past, present and future . I John 2:2 says, "He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world." meaning that while he completed the atoning work upon the cross he took care of every sin that will ever be committed, thus completely finishing his work and conquering death in the process. Romans 6:10 says, "The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God." Since he broke the power of sin, he cannot die again, he did it once for all.

Now, does this mean that everyone is saved if everyone's sin has been paid for. No. Although it is true that the gift of God grace has been purchased for all and offered to all, the righteousness that is required by God only comes through Faith in Jesus Christ. We must believe and put our faith into action to accept this free gift in order to be saved. Ephesians 2:8 says, "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God" so saving grace works through faith. God simply took away sin so that it wasn't an issue with Him in order to extend the gift of His grace to us. But God wants relationship, that is why He doesn't force this grace onto anyone. He allows us to choose. He chose us. He called us. He provided the way for us. But He doesn't force us to choose Him. He desires for us to choose Him, but the fact remains that we must put our faith in Jesus in order to obtain the righteous of God that the Law could not provide for us.

The important thing to take away is that by His grace, through our faith, we are freely justified. While I was memorizing verses as a kid, we also memorized definitions to big words like justification. Justification means, 'just as if I'd never sinned." and If I am justified or it is 'just as if I'd never sinned' then I am righteous before God through faith. Today, I praise God through Jesus Christ that he became sin so that we could become righteous holy, completely forgiven and justified. Today I pray that you take this amazing truth and live a life worthy of your calling because you have been bought with a high price and with the precious blood of the Lamb.