Well then, are we [Jews] better off than they? Not at all; for we have already charged that both Jews and Greeks (Gentiles) are under the control of sin and subject to its power. As it is written and forever remains written,
“There is none righteous [none that meets God’s standard], not even one.
“There is none who understands,
There is none who seeks for God.
“All have turned aside, together they have become useless;
There is none who does good, no, not one.”
“Their throat is an open grave;
They [habitually] deceive with their tongues.”
“The venom of asps is beneath their lips.”
“Their mouth is full of cursing and bitterness.”
“Their feet are swift to shed blood,
Destruction and misery are in their paths,
And they have not known the path of peace.”
“There is no fear of God [and His awesome power] before their eyes.”
Now we know that whatever the Law [of Moses] says, it speaks to those who are under the Law, so that [the excuses of] every mouth may be silenced [from protesting] and that all the world may be held accountable to God [and subject to His judgment]. For no [a]person will be justified [freed of guilt and declared righteous] in His sight by [trying to do] the works of the Law. For through the Law we become conscious of sin [and the recognition of sin directs us toward repentance, but provides no remedy for sin].
Justification by Faith
But now the righteousness of God has been clearly revealed [independently and completely] apart from the Law, though it is [actually] confirmed by the Law and the [words and writings of the] Prophets. This righteousness of God comes through faith in Jesus Christ for all those [Jew or Gentile] who believe [and trust in Him and acknowledge Him as God’s Son]. There is no distinction, since all have sinned and continually fall short of the glory of God, and are being justified [declared free of the guilt of sin, made acceptable to God, and granted eternal life] as a gift by His [precious, undeserved] [b]grace, through the redemption [the payment for our sin] which is [provided] in Christ Jesus, whom God displayed publicly [before the eyes of the world] as a [life-giving] [c]sacrifice of atonement and reconciliation (propitiation) by His blood [to be received] through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness [which demands punishment for sin], because in His forbearance [His deliberate restraint] He passed over the sins previously committed [before Jesus’ crucifixion]. It was to demonstrate His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the One who justifies those who have faith in Jesus [and rely confidently on Him as Savior].
Then what becomes of [our] boasting? It is excluded [entirely ruled out, banished]. On what principle? On [the principle of good] works? No, but on the principle of faith. For we maintain that an individual is justified by faith distinctly apart from works of the Law [the observance of which has nothing to do with justification, that is, being declared free of the guilt of sin and made acceptable to God]. Or is God the God of Jews only? Is He not also the God of Gentiles [who were not given the Law]? Yes, of Gentiles also, since indeed it is one [and the same] God who will justify the circumcised by faith [which began with Abraham] and the uncircumcised through [their newly acquired] faith.
Do we then nullify the Law by this faith [making the Law of no effect, overthrowing it]? Certainly not! On the contrary, we confirm and establish and uphold the Law [since it convicts us all of sin, pointing to the need for salvation].
- Romans 3:20 Lit flesh.
- Romans 3:24 I.e. His favor and mercy, extended to man who can do nothing to be worthy of it. It is God’s amazing gift.
- Romans 3:25 By laying his hands on the head of the sacrifice the person offering the sacrifice identified himself with it and through its death it became an atonement or covering for his sin. Because the unblemished sacrifice “covered” his sin it placed the person offering the sacrifice in a right relationship with God. Later under the new covenant the perfection and sacrifice of Christ would cover (atone for) the imperfection and sin of those who identified with Him and accepted Him as Savior.