Romans Three

by Dr. Henry M. Morris

(taken from the Defender's Study Bible)

Romans 3:1 What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision?

Romans 3:2 Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God.

oracles. This is a striking synonym for the Holy Scriptures, a term used only four times in the New Testament (see also Acts 7:38; Hebrews 5:12; 1 Peter 4:11), stressing the fact that they actually constituted the very utterances of God. These were given to and through the Jews and are preserved for us now in the Old Testament.

Romans 3:3 For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect?

shall their unbelief. The fact that many people reject the Scriptures, even alleging that the Bible has been disproved by modern science and reason, means nothing whatever except that it displays their own self-inflicted deception. God's Word has been forever settled in heaven and will endure forever (Psalm 119:89, 160), even after this present earth has passed away (Matthew 24:35). God's revealed Word is absolute truth, and will judge all its detractors in the last day (see on Revelation 20:12; 22:18-19).

Romans 3:4 God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.

it is written. This phrase is quoted and applied from Psalm 51:4.

Romans 3:5 But if our unrighteousness commend the righteousness of God, what shall we say? Is God unrighteous who taketh vengeance? (I speak as a man)

Romans 3:6 God forbid: for then how shall God judge the world?

Romans 3:7 For if the truth of God hath more abounded through my lie unto his glory; why yet am I also judged as a sinner?

Romans 3:8 And not rather, (as we be slanderously reported, and as some affirm that we say,) Let us do evil, that good may come? whose damnation is just.

good may come. Paul was being unjustly slandered. He was accused of teaching that salvation by grace encouraged sinfulness. Any such teaching that would distort God's Word for the sake of expediency, even for the ostensibly good purpose of winning converts, would be anathema to Paul. This is a sober warning of judgment against compromising the Scriptures.

Romans 3:9 What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin;

all under sin. The important passage from Romans 3:9-23 should make it clear to everyone that there is no one who is righteous enough before a holy God to earn his own salvation. If anyone wishes ever to be saved and receive eternal life, he must first of all recognize himself as a guilty sinner before God—in fact, dead spiritually, in trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1). Some modern pastors, counselors and evangelists seem inclined to bypass this essential in trying to enlist converts, and this is a dangerous, soul-destroying error.

Romans 3:10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:

it is written. Romans 3:10-12 is partly quoted, partly adapted, from Psalm 14:1-3, and Psalm 53:1-3, which are practically identical.

Romans 3:11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.

none that seeketh. This seems superficially contradictory to such Scriptures as Romans 2:7 and Hebrews 11:6, which speak of the vital importance of seeking God. The resolution of this paradox, as so often is the case, is in the inscrutable nature of the divine sovereignty. “The Son of man is come to seek and to save that which is lost” (Luke 19:10), and “the Father seeketh (the true worshippers) to worship Him” (John 4:23). Thus God is seeking men, before they seek Him, and “in every nation he that feareth Him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with Him” (Acts 10:35). The Holy Spirit is omnipresent in the world, convicting men and constraining them. Somehow, some men are moved by Him to begin to seek God for themselves, and God “is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6). Cornelius was evidently one such man, so God then led Peter to go to Cornelius to instruct Him concerning Christ (Acts 10).

Romans 3:12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

Romans 3:13 Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips:

open sepulchre. Paul draws on several Old Testament metaphors in Romans 3:13-18 to describe the implicit or explicit wickedness of men in their natural state. Psalm 5:9 likens the human tongue to “an open sepulchre” and Psalm 140:3 to “adders' poison.”

Romans 3:14 Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness:

cursing and bitterness. See Psalm 10:7.

Romans 3:15 Their feet are swift to shed blood:

shed blood. Isaiah 59:7-8 is referred to in Romans 3:15-17.

Romans 3:16 Destruction and misery are in their ways:

Romans 3:17 And the way of peace have they not known:

Romans 3:18 There is no fear of God before their eyes.

no fear of God. This quote is from Psalm 36:1.

Romans 3:19 Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.

Romans 3:20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

Romans 3:21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;

Romans 3:22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:

Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

Romans 3:24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:

Romans 3:25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;

propitiation. The term “propitiation” (Greek hilasterion) originally referred to a pagan sacrifice to appease some angry god. In its Christian use, however, it represents a perfect sacrifice which would satisfy both the justice of a holy God who must punish sin and the love of a gracious God who would redeem sinners. The shed blood of Jesus Christ provides both.

Romans 3:26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.

just, and the justifier. The mystery of how God can be both “just” (or “righteous”) and “justifier” (or “ascriber of righteousness” to the unrighteous) can be solved only in Christ. It is “His righteousness,” not ours, by which we are “justified” (that is, “declared righteous”) by God, through receiving Christ by faith.

Romans 3:27 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.

Romans 3:28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.

Romans 3:29 Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also:

Romans 3:30 Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith.

Romans 3:31 Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.