THE GOSPEL THE POWER OF GOD FOR THE SALVATION OF ALL WHO BELIEVE 1, 18
-- 11, 36 (continued)
Humanity without Christ 1, 18 -- 3, 20 (continued)
3, 1-8: Objections Answered. As in 2, 1, the answer is made to
an individual, an imaginary objector to his argument. 1 f. The first objection: the
requirement of circumcision was then of no advantage to the Jew, there was no advantage in being a Jews. Answer: their
great advantage was that they enjoyed the oracles of God. By this expression is meant the revealed Law, or
perhaps the Scriptures as a whole. 3 f. The second objection: some Jews have not
believed. Answer: the infidelity of man in no way weakens the absolute fidelity of God. The quotation from Ps.
50, 6 refers to the manifestation of God's justice in punishing sin, and His rising victorious thereby over the charges
of the insolent. 5 f. The third objection: then wickedness has the advantage of manifesting
God's justice. Before answering, Paul makes an apology for even expressing the thought. The answer: God is to
judge and condemn sinners. This He could not do if sinners rendered Him a service by their sins. 7
f. The fourth objection: what redounds to the glory of God does not merit punishment. The answer reduces
the objection to an absurdity: do evil that good may come from it. 9-11 will return more formally to these
3, 9-18: The Scriptures Attest
Universal Sin. The Jews indeed (3, 2) have had special advantages, but their failure to avail themselves
of their privileges has made them equally sinners with the Gentiles. This draws the conclusion of the thesis begun at
1, 18. Proof is found in the words of their Scriptures. The citation in 10-18 is found in the Vulgate
in Ps. 13, 1-3; but in the Hebrew it is derived from various other Pss. 10-12.
Ps. 13, 1-3; 13. Ps. 5, 11; Ps. 139, 4; 14. Ps. 9,
28; 15-17. Isa. 59, 7 f; 18. Ps. 35, 2.
3, 19-20: This Concerns the Jews. 19. Subject:
the Greek term means "liable." 20. By the works of the Law, etc.: in 2,
13 Paul has admitted some efficacy in the Law, but here he denies that it reached to the justification of a man. The
most the Law could do was to indicate a line of action; the inner disposition, or the strength to follow that line, could
not be supplied by the Law.
2. Salvation Through Faith
in Christ 3, 21 -- 4, 25
This is the main
thesis of the Epistle (cf. 1, 16 f). It is first developed didactically (3, 21-30), and then illustrated
from the Old Testament (4).
3, 21-26: Justice
Comes through Faith in Christ. 21. But now is to be taken in a temporal sense.
Justice of God: the holiness which comes not through the Law, but by another means arranged by God and foretold in
the Law and the Prophets, i.e., in the Old Testament Scriptures. 22. This
means is faith in Jesus Christ. The justice is available to all men, without distinction, who fulfill
the conditions of this faith. 23. The glory of God: the grace of God which
has its consummation in eternal glory. 24. Freely: justice is a free gift
of God, conditioned on faith, but in no way merited. By his grace: the quality imparted to the soul, transforming
it from the state of sin to that of holiness. Even the act of faith cannot be elicited without the aid of God's actual
grace. Redemption which is in Christ Jesus: this is a frequent thought in St. Paul: cf. 1 Cor. 6,
20; 7, 23; Gal. 3, 13. It is found in other New Testament writings: cf. 1 Pet. 1,
18; 2 Pet. 2, 1; Apoc. 5, 9. Man is bought back, or ransomed, by Christ from his slavery
to sin; being a slave, he was unable to secure his own liberation. 25. The price
paid by Christ was His death on a cross. Set forth: publicly exhibited; or, according to another interpretation,
foreordained. Propitiation: a victim who, by His blood, expiated the offense of man's sin. Cf. Heb. 9,
22 ff. Through faith: the disposition required for sharing in the benefits of this sacrifice. To
manifest his justice: the purpose of God in thus setting forth His Son. In this sacrifice God exacted adequate
atonement for the sin of the world, and thus His justice was made manifest. 26. Former
times witnessed God's patience in dealing with sinful man; now His justice stands out in the sacrifice of His Son. His
goodness and mercy are manifest in that He allows men who have faith in Jesus to share in His merit.
3, 27-31: Justification Excludes Boasting. 27. Law:
here a system of justification. Of works: the Mosaic Law, which prescribed merely a course of conduct.
Law of faith: which imparted the aid necessary for the accomplishment of God's will. 28.
Justified by faith: i.e., "first justification," the introduction of sanctifying grace into the soul. This
cannot be merited. The faith which is the condition of this gift includes sorrow for sin and the disposition
to do whatever God requires. St. Paul does not intend to deprecate the works of the Christian life.
29. Since there is but one God, the means of attaining this holiness are the same for all men.
31. This verse forms a transition to the next passage.
1 What advantage then remains to the Jew, or what is the use of circumcision? 2 Much in every respect. First,
indeed, because the oracles of God were entrusted to them. 3 For what if some of them have not believed? Will
their unbelief make void the fidelity of God? By no means! 4* For God is true, and every man is a liar, as it
is written, "That thou mayest be justified in thy words, And mayest be victorious when thou art judged." 5 But if our
wickedness show forth the justice of God, what shall we say? Is God unjust who inflicts punishment? 6 (I speak
after a purely human manner.) By no means! Otherwise, how is God to judge the world? 7 But if through my
lie the truth of God has abounded unto his glory, why am I also still judged a sinner? 8 And why should we not, as some
calumniously accuse us of teaching, do evil that good may come from it? The condemnation of such is just.
The Scriptures Attest
Universal Sin 9 What then? Are we better off than they? Not at all. For we have argued
that Jews and Greeks are all under sin, 10* as it is written,
"There is not one just man; 11* there is none who understands;
There is none who seeks after God.
12* All have gone astray together;
they have become worthless.
There is none who does good, no, not even one.
13* Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have dealt deceitfully.
of asps is beneath their lips; 14* their mouth is full of cursing and bitterness.
15* Their feet are swift to shed blood; 16*
destruction and misery are in their ways.
17* And the path of peace they have not known.
18* There is no fear of God before their eyes."
This Concerns the Jews 19 Now we know that whatever the Law
says, it is speaking to those who are under the Law; in order that every mouth may be shut, and the whole world may be made
subject to God. 20* For by the works of the Law no human being shall be justified before him, for through law comes
the recognition of sin.
Justice Comes through Faith in Christ 21* But now the justice of God
has been made manifest independently of the Law, being attested by the Law and the Prophets; 22 the justice of God through
faith in Jesus Christ upon all who believe. For there is no distinction, 23 as all have sinned and have need of the
glory of God. 24 They are justified freely by his grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God
has set forth as a propitiation by his blood through faith, to manifest his justice, God in his patience remitting former
sins; 26 to manifest his justice at the present time, so that he himself is just, and makes just him who has faith in
Excludes Boasting 27 Where then is thy boasting? It is excluded. By what law? Of works?
No, but by the law of faith. 28 For we reckon that a man is justified by faith independently of the works of the Law.
29 Is God the God of the Jews only, and not of the Gentiles also? 30 For there is but one God who will justify the circumcised
by faith, and the uncircumcised through the same faith. 31 Do we therefore through faith destroy the Law? By no
means! Rather we establish the Law.
4: Pss. 115, 11; 50, 4.
Every man is a liar: in comparison with God who is Truth itself, every man is essentially unreliable, and may at
any time intentionally or unintentionally fall into error.
10-12: Pss. 13, 1-3; 52, 2-4.
13: Pss. 5, 11; 139, 4.
14: Ps. 9, 7.
15-17: Isa. 59, 7; Prov.
18: Ps. 35, 2.
20: It does not follow from St. Paul's statement that no man is justified by the works of the Law, that
good works are not necessary for salvation. The justification of which St. Paul here speaks is the infusion of sanctifying
grace which alone renders a person supernaturally pleasing in the sight of God. This cannot be obtained either by the
observance of the Law or by any other work of unregenerated man.
21: The justice of God through faith is not that holiness whereby God is just, but that grace
which He imparts to the soul to make it really, intrinsically pleasing and holy in His sight. The necessary condition
for obtaining the infusion of this divine gift is faith, not a bare speculative faith, but a practical faith which through
the love of God effects the observance of the commandments and the performance of other good works.