We go on to Romans 3:19-26
v19: Whatever the law says: Paul is talking about the revelation of G-d’s Word.
- Those who are under the law: Those who are committed to the law.
- Every mouth may be stopped: The law is not an instrument for redemption. It does not make us righteous. However, it does reveal to us what righteous is – what G-d’s expectations for us are. When we listen to what the law says it shuts us up as we know that we are not righteous, we fall short according to the standard of the law.
- All the world: Every human being – Jew or Gentile. Left to ourselves we are all heading toward the judgment of G-d. We are all guilty of sin.
v20: By the deeds (works) of the law no flesh will be justified: The law was never given as an instrument of justification (righteousness). No amount of good deeds will qualify us before G-d as righteous.
- No flesh: No human beings.
- By (through) the law is the knowledge of sin: This is the purpose of the law. Its primary purpose is to define righteousness, what the will of G-d is and what He expects/demands from us. G-d’s expectations of us are not negotiable. The law shows us that we cannot meet G-d’s expectations for our lives and that we are headed toward judgment and G-d’s displeasure. The law shows us that we need salvation. If we want to live in a way that pleases G-d, we need help.
Note: One of the most important things that G-d has ever done for us is that He has justified those who receive the gospel. And that justification is forever, because of the sufficiency and perfection of Messiah’s work. He was successful, and therefore we receive the eternal benefits.
v21: Now: In our present time, because of what Yeshua has done (His death, burial, and resurrection).
- Apart from the law: Our salvation has nothing to do with keeping the law. It is found separated (apart) from the law.
- The righteousness of G-d …is revealed: G-d’s plan for justification – taking sinners like us and making us righteous – can be clearly seen through the work that Yeshua did on the cross.
- The Law and the Prophets: This was a term that referred to the full scope of Scripture (in Paul’s day it was a reference to what we call the Old Testament). The Bible, from beginning to end, has testified that we cannot find salvation in doing the works of the law. The law reveals that we need salvation, but this salvation (redemption) is found apart from the law – it is found by accepting the perfect sacrifice for our sins –Messiah Yeshua.
v22: Faith in: Believing in
- To all and on all: This means that Yeshua’s righteousness is available and accessible for all of humanity. G-d’s desire is that this message of forgiveness and redemption (His plan for salvation) is proclaimed throughout the world (Matt 24:14, Matt 28:19-20).
- Believe: The way that we access this forgiveness, redemption and righteousness is through believing in, having faith in, Messiah Yeshua (1 John 1:9, Roms 10:9-10, Gen 15:6 – Abraham, before the law was even given, reached the status of ‘righteous’ through faith/belief. He did not reach that status through doing the law – which at that stage did not even exist for another 400 years). However, do not make the error in thinking that because the law is not the instrument of salvation it needs to be set aside or has no relevance for us today. It still has importance and relevance. It still has a purpose in this day and age (as we will see later on in Romans).
- There is no difference: The gospel (the good news about what Yeshua has done for us) is the ONLY plan for salvation for all of humanity – there is no distinction between Jew and Gentile. All have sinned. All need salvation. All can only find this salvation and righteousness through Messiah Yeshua. The only way to be declared righteous by G-d is through faith.
v23: All: Everyone, no distinction, it is for all humanity.
- Fall short: To be inadequate, to lack.
- Fall short of the glory of G-d: We lack G-d’s glory. There is a relationship between righteousness and glory. When we are behaving righteously, the glory of G-d is manifested through us.
v24: Justified: In Greek, ‘justified’ and ‘made righteous’ are the same word.
- Freely: This word literally means ‘gift’.
- Redemption: The word ‘blood’ should come to our minds when we speak about redemption. Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness for our sins (Heb 9:22). There is no redemption without blood.
v25: Propitiation: There is a difference between atonement and propitiation. Someone explained it like this: Atonement is a covering over of ones sins. If the “cover” had to be removed the sins would become evident again. Propitiation on the other hand is a complete removal of sins. If the “cover” had to be pulled back (which it never can be) no sins would be evident. They would be completely removed. This is what Yeshua has done for us (Ps 103:12)
- Through faith: We need to have faith in what Yeshua has done – dying on the cross and shedding His blood for us.
- Demonstrate: Manifest. Show. Reveal.
- His forbearance: His patience. G-d is slow to anger. He restrains Himself. For a season, for a moment, G-d has suspended His anger so that people are given time to repent (2 Peter 3:9) and so that the gospel message can go forth through the world. This will not be the case forever though. There is coming a point where G-d will deal with sin once and for all.
v26: Just: Yeshua is the One who is just. Not only is He just, but He is also able to justify those (make righteous those) who believe in Him and in His Word.