Verse 1 – What advantage then has the Jew, or what is the profit of circumcision?
Verse 2 – Much in every way! chiefly because to them were committed the oracles of God.
The Hebrews heard God speak the Ten Commandments directly to them through Moses. Then through a long series of prophets, God’s words came to them. No other people on earth had that privilege.
Verse 3 – For what if some did not believe? Will their unbelief make the faithfulness of God without effect?
Even if some of the Jewish people did not believe, God was still faithful to His covenant and will bring His promises to fulfillment.
Verse 4 – Certainly not! Indeed, let God be true but every man a liar. As it is written: “That You may be justified in Your words, and may overcome when You are judged.”
Let God be true – let God be esteemed true and faithful, whatever consequences may follow. The rest part of this verse is a little confusing because of the way it is written, but here is what David said in Psalm 51:4: Against You, You only have I sinned, and done this evil in Your sight – that You may be found just when You speak, and blameless when You judge. That should explain what Paul said.
Do people question God’s judgement? Yes, all the time. Have you ever told God, “This is not right?” We think what God has allowed to happen is wrong to us at times. But He is a just God and sees the end from the beginning.
Verse 5 – But if our unrighteousness demonstrates the righteousness of God, what shall we say? Is God unjust who inflicts wrath? (I speak as a man.)
Verse 6 – Certainly not! For then how will God judge the world?
Verse 7 – For if the truth of God has increased through my lie to His glory, why am I also still judged as a sinner?
Verse 8 – And why not say, “Let us do evil that good may come”? – as we are slanderously reported and as some affirm that we say. Their condemnation is just.
If God is shown to be in the right by man’s sin and error, then God is honored by our shortcomings. How then can God punish us when we have helped display His righteousness? But Paul answered that as a matter of principle. God’s judgment of sin is always righteous. People who think otherwise deserve condemnation, for their true focus is not on glorifying God but on giving free rein to their sinful desires.
All Are Guilty Before God
Verse 9 – What then? Are we better than they? Not at all. For we have previously charged both Jews and Greeks that they are all under sin.
Are we Jews better that he Gentiles? Paul had previously told the Jews that they had preference or advantages in some respect, but he now affirms that those advantages did not make a difference between them and the Gentile about justification.
Verse 10 – As it is written: “There is none righteous, no not one;
Verse 11 – There is none who understands; there is none who seeks after God.
Verse 12 – They have all gone out of the way; they have together become unprofitable; there is none who does good, no, not one.”
Paul is referring to Psalm 14:1-3, meaning no one is innocent. No one can earn righteousness because no one can be good enough.
Verse 13 – “Their throat is an open tomb; with their tongues they have practiced deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips”;
Verse 14 – “Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness.”
Verse 15 – “Their feet are swift to shed blood;
Verse 16 – Destruction and misery are in their ways;
Verse 17 – And the way of peace they have not known.”
Verse 18 – “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
Paul cited Bible passages that show the extent of corruption. As Jesus taught, “from within, out of people’s hearts come all sorts of evil.”
Verse 19 – Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped and all the world may become guilty before God.
Some may argue that these previous verses are not written to the Jews, but to pagan nations. However, everything in the Hebrew Bible is first addressed to the Jews for their instruction so they can learn about sin’s power. All people from every nation and ethnicity are sinners, and God will judge the whole world in God’s court. Everyone will be speechless.
Verse 20 – Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
No person can earn justification by being obedient to the law’s requirements. The law was never intended to be a means to Salvation. The primary purpose was to reveal man’s sin.
Verse 21 – But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets,
Verse 22 – even the righteousness of God which is through faith in Jesus Christ to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference;
Jesus came and magnified the Law, He did not abandon it. He showed its true meaning and purpose. Justification could not be obtained through personal obedience, so justification had to be obtained some other way.
Verse 23 – for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
There is not one person who walked on this earth void of sin, except One, Jesus. Everyone falls short, and we still do. However, there is a remedy which is being washed in Christ’s blood that was shed for our forgiveness.
Verse 24 – being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,
Justified means that Christians are declared righteous by God’s grace and mercy through belief in His Son. We didn’t deserve it nor did we pay the price for it, Jesus did on the cross.
Verse 25 – whom God set forth to be a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed,
Verse 26 – to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
Old Testament believers looked forward to the coming Messiah. Paul shows that all sin was forgiven by God at the cross. They believed in God, His written word, and His prophets, so they too are under the blood. Our part in all this is to repent, accept, and receive.
Verse 27 – Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith.
Verse 28 – Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law.
Paul states again that no one can brag or boast about their good deeds to earn justification. It can’t be earned. We could never be good enough. Justification comes through the work Jesus did and believing in Him.
Verse 29 – Or is He the God of the Jews only? Is He not also the God of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also,
Verse 30 – Since there is one God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith.
Paul said this because Jews were the circumcised and the Gentiles were the uncircumcised. By faith or through faith in God’s Son Jesus Christ.
Verse 31 – Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary , we establish the law.
Does faith wipe out everything Judaism stands for? Absolutely not! When we understand the way of salvation through faith, we understand the Jewish religion better. We know why Abraham was chosen, why the law was given, and why God worked patiently with Israel for centuries. Faith does not wipe out the Old Testament. In the next chapter Paul will explain all this.