Online Bible Commentary
Justification by Faith
Romans 3:27 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith. 28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law. 29 Or is He the God of the Jews only? Is He not also the God of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also, 30 since there is one God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith. 31 Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law. (NKJV)
In the previous passage we looked at the act of Justification. Justification is the action of declaring someone righteous in the sight of God.
When we become a Christian, God’s righteousness is imputed upon us. We are declared righteous by God.
We become “justified freely by His grace” (Romans 3:24a). We receive justification by the Judge, Jesus Christ Himself, who will one day judge the world.
We cannot earn this justification. We are justified by faith through grace.
His judgment is to drop all charges against us. We are found innocent, His blood shed on the cross has covered all of our sins. They are cast “as far as the east is from the west” (Ps. 103:12).
He has forgiven and forgotten all of our sins, those of yesterday, today and tomorrow. He has forgiven and forgotten all of the sin in the world for all those who believe in Him.
Now, in this passage Paul continues to write of Justification. Since we are justified by faith through grace, Paul asks the rhetorical question “Where is boasting then?” (v. 27a).
The answer is “It is excluded.” (v, 27b). There is no place for boasting in the Christian life. We “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
Next, Paul asks “By what law? Of works?” are we justified (v. 27b). In other words, are we justified by a law or by works?
Paul’s answer is “No, but by the law of faith” (v. 27c). The law of faith justifies us, our faith in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.
We are not saved by good works. Good works come as a result of our salvation. They are not the reason for our salvation. We are rewarded for our good works in Heaven, but they do not get us to Heaven.
Paul writes: “Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law.” (v. 28). The conclusion is that we are justified by faith, and not by performing good works, “deeds of the law”.
Paul is not saying that obeying the law, the Old Testament broadly speaking, is wrong. The Bible tells us that we show our love for God through our obedience to Him. Jesus said “If you love Me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15).
What Paul is saying is that obedience, performing good deeds, will not justify us. No amount of pomp and circumstance will earn justification for ourselves or our loved ones. We are justified only by our faith through the grace of God.
Grace can be defined as undeserved and unmerited favor. We can not do anything to deserve or merit God’s grace. Grace is a gift from God.
In the beginning of this chapter Paul has addressed the fact that no person or groups of people by their heritage or standing in life have an advantage with God. The only advantage we have, or need, is to become a child of God, a Christian. As he began the chapter, he finishes the chapter with the question of advantage.
So, Paul asks the question “Or is He the God of the Jews only?” (v. 29a). The Jews were God’s chosen people. The law was given to the Jews, and Jesus was a Jew.
Therefore, God is the God of the Jews. But He is not “only” the God of the Jews.
Paul writes: “Is He not also the God of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also” (v. 29b). God is also the God of the Gentiles, the non-Jews, everybody else. He is God to all who become Christians, regardless of their heritage.
Next, Paul proclaims that “there is one God” (v. 30a). There is only One God, the God of the Bible, the God of the Trinity. The Christian doctrine of the Trinity holds that the One God has revealed Himself through three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
This One God “will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith” (v. 30b). God bestows justification both on “the circumcised”, the Jews, and “the uncircumcised”, the non-Jews.
Paul makes a point by using two different prepositions in verse 30b. Justification is “by” faith and “through” faith.
The Greek word translated here as “by” is the word “ek”, which means “out of”. The Greek word translated “through” is the word “dia”, which means within. Our faith, both outside and inside, justifies us in the eyes of God.
In conclusion, since obeying the law, the Old Testament Scriptures, and doing good works does not earn our justification, what use is it? “Do we then make void the law through faith?” (v. 31a). Does the law of faith void the law, the Old Testament?
Paul answers “Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law” (v. 31b). The Greek word translated “establish” is the word “histemi” which means to “hold up” or “continue”. The law of faith is a continuance and a supporter of the Old Testament..