Romans Chapter 3

The World is guilty before God and in need of Righteousness.
The Jews are under condemnation and in need of righteousness: (Romans 2:17-29)  
Paul turns his focus on Jews and their advantages of being a Jew? (Rom 3:1). Jews are known by three names. “Hebrew” is the racial name.  “Israel” is the national name. “Jew” is the religious name. They are descendants of Abraham and received the Law from God through Moses. They boast in their heritage and in their law.  They claimed that the law gives them complete knowledge of truth.  Since they know right from wrong, they are supposed to be a guide to those who are spiritually blind.  They are supposed to be instructors of the ignorant and teachers of children. They looked down on Gentiles. Jews were proud to preach morality but their lives did not back up their message. They dishonored God among the Gentiles by breaking the law. Here Paul quotes Isaiah 52:5.  God was not pleased with their lineage and displeased with their disobedience.  Jews were boasting about their circumcision and thought that it would save them. Circumcision is a sign of Israel’s covenant relationship with God (Genesis 17:9-14).  It has no value if they don't obey the law. They did not realize that rituals and ethnicity cannot save them. Paul concludes that outward rites are worthless apart from the inward reality of spiritual birth.

The Privileges of being a Jew: (Romans  3:1-9)
Jews are a chosen nation of God.  Circumcision is the sign of Israel’s covenant relationship with God. They were entrusted with the oracles of God (Romans 3:2).  The Old Testament is one of God's greatest gifts to Israel.  This oracle was concerning their Messiah, Jesus Christ (John 5:39).  It was divinely inspired by God.  But when Christ came they did not receive Him. Thus they are condemned by the oracle they have received from God. In spite of their unfaithfulness, God remains faithful to His Word.  God and his Word are entirely true. God is faithful and righteous.  Human arguments cannot save them from condemnation.  Are Jews better than Gentiles?  Of course not.  The whole world fails to live up to the moral standards of God, and are under sin and in need of salvation. The whole world needs to hear the good news that God is reconciling sinners to himself through the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Whole World is Under Condemnation: (Romans 3:10-20)  
Paul now concludes that the whole world is in need of God’s righteousness. The heathens, moral man and Jews are under the power of sin. That is the formal charge against the world.  The whole world is under sin and there is none righteous, no, not one. Man is sinful in conduct, in character and in attitude. His body, mind, heart and will are sinful. From the Old Testament Paul presents fourteen indictments against the world (Romans 3:10-18). There is none that understands God and no one is seeking God. The natural man is spiritually dead and incapable of spiritual understanding (1 Corinthians 2:14). Deep down people know that they are sinful and guilty of sin. They have no ability to overcome sin. Paul concludes that when the evidence against man is presented, they will have no excuses and defense.  Every mouth will be stopped at the judgment seat of God.  The whole world stands guilty before God (Romans 3:19).  Through the law comes only the knowledge of sin (Romans 3:20).  Because of pride, we are often reluctant to admit our sin to God and others.  The more we know the Scriptures, the clearer it becomes that we are sinners.  Ask God to give you the humility to admit your sins and believe in Christ. 

Chapter 3:21-31   

Righteousness is provided through Faith in Christ.
​Righteousness Provided: (Romans 3:21-22)
Having painted the dark and gloomy picture of man’s lost spiritual conditions; Paul gives us a reason to rejoice. This section begins with the phrase “But now”. This favorite expression of the apostle makes a transition in the study of Romans. There are two important words we notice in this section. They are righteous and justified. Bible scholars suggest that righteousness and justification are identical words in the Greek language. Justification is a legal declaration. To justify means to declare and treat someone as righteous. It is more than being pardoned or forgiven. This righteousness is a gift from God (Romans 1:17). In fact Lord Jesus Christ is our righteousness who met every demand of the law on our behalf (1 Corinthians 1:30).  This righteousness is apart from the law. It cannot be earned by keeping the law but is manifested at the cross (2 Corinthians5:21). This is the  righteousness witnessed by the law and the prophets. Every time a sacrifice was offered in the Old Testament, it was testifying of the righteousness of God. The prophets also witnessed this truth (Isaiah 53:3).  Christ has made it possible through his redemption to have a right standing before God for all who believe Him (3:22). 

Righteousness is through faith in Christ: (Romans 3:23-24)
Though righteousness is provided unto all men, it is received only by faith in Jesus Christ. For all have sinned and in need of righteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make God a liar and His truth is not in us (1 John 1:10). We all have sinned and come short of the glory of God (3:23). Glory simply means majesty and perfection of God. The glory of God is manifested in the person of Jesus Christ (John 1:14). We do not measure up to the sinless nature of Christ.  All believers will receive this glory when Christ returns. We are going to be like Him (1 John 3:1, 2).  The righteousness of God is demonstrated through the redemption that is  in Christ Jesus (Romans 3:24-26). Justification is by grace through faith in Christ. Redemption means to buy back by payment and set free. The price of our redemption is the blood of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1: 19). 

We do not merit justification but enjoy it. (3:25-31).
God is so gracious that he sent his Son to accomplish our salvation.  This eliminates all our boasting. We are justified because God has sent His Son to become our propitiation.  To propitiate means to appease an offended person. Jesus endured the wrath of God in our place when He died on the cross.  He satisfied the righteous demands of God as our substitute. It is also translated as “Mercy seat”. Mercy seat was the golden lid that covered the Ark of the Covenant which contained the tablets of the law (Exodus 25:16-22).  It is the place where God met Israel. It was the place where the sins of Israel were atoned. The penalty of sin was paid and the wrath of God was appeased. Jesus Christ is our mercy seat.  By His death our sins were atoned, our penalty was paid in full and the wrath of God was appeased.  Christ became our mercy seat to atone for our sins.  Prior to Calvary, sins were not permanently dealt with. They were only covered and not removed. Christ’s death was the atoning sacrifice for the past, present and future sins of the world. We are declared not guilty. This is what Paul means when he says that “God is both just and justifier”.  God is the "Just and the Justifier" of those who believe in Jesus Christ (Romans 3:26).  Christ took care of the sin problem on the cross (John 1:29; 1 John 2:2). On the cross our sin was punished, thus we are declared "not guilty".  But sinners have to believe it to be justified.  Man is justified by faith in Christ.  We cannot take any credit for our salvation. God is not the God of Jews only but also of Gentiles. Is the law useless? God forbid. Faith in Christ is the proper response to the law. For what the law could not do, Christ came to fulfill it. Since Christ fulfilled the law, faith in the finished work of Christ alone can justify sinners. How wonderful is God's wisdom in rescuing the guilty sinner without compromising His justice and holiness.  Hallelujah What a Savior!