-Peter rightly said in his epistle that some of the things that Paul writes are on the surface difficult to learn and comprehend (2 Peter 3:15-16). Paul is a master theologian inspired by the Holy Spirit to write deep Scripture, as Peter points out in the above verses. He is given authority to write biblical content by the Lord who saved him and brings us to new levels of understanding God’s Holy Word through exposing the mysteries of the gospel (Romans 16:25-26).
-Here in chapter 3 this theological explanation is developed in the justice of God through His faithfulness. He further debunks the notion that man can earn salvation outwardly by external and cultural means. He develops the idea that we are totally dependent and reliant on the faithfulness of God for redemption with an eye on conformity to His will, plan, and direction for our lives. He addresses the common argument of cheap grace in verse 8 as he weaves a beautiful tapestry of God’s truth verses the lies and deceptions of man. He quotes Psalms 51:4, which is David’s remorseful Psalm of repentance, to verify and justify God’s Word and His sovereignty in understanding salvation matters in his argument that Jews are no better off when it comes to the payment for the release of sin. All are under sin and require a Redeemer Savior.
-Paul further cites the Old Testament from Psalm 14:1-3; 53:1-3; 5:9; 140:3; 10:7, Proverbs 1:16, and Isaiah 59:7-8. He ends his lengthy cross reference for illumination with Psalm 36:1 that postulates the essential reason for their debauchery, “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” The summation is clear, “by works of the Law no human being will be justified in His (The LORD’s) sight, since through the knowledge of the Law comes knowledge of sin (Romans 3:20).”
-The “But now” contrast is an important and hopeful turn in the course of human dignity and restoration as Paul gives us the plan of God for salvation through Jesus Christ in taking on His righteousness as believers in His work on the cross apart from the Law. Christ is our propitiation (the act of atoning for sin or wrongdoing, especially appeasing Deity) by His blood received through faith giving us His righteousness. God in His forbearance passes over our former sins divinely through faith in Jesus (Romans 3:25). Christ is the Just and the Justifier of anyone who believes (Romans 3:26)!
-This then excludes boasting. Salvation is a work of the Lord, not man, which means that He deserves full credit and glory for the operation of it. In other words, Paul is making it clear that we, on our part, can never work our way into God’s good graces by our own merit. This does not nullify the Law, but upholds it as the teacher of what is holy verses what is corruption in God’s sight (Galatians 3:22-26). The law of faith is that which saves from the penalty of the law. *Application* These intricate concepts are essential for us to understand if we are to be secure in our salvific faith in Christ Jesus. Just as people struggled with their identity 2,000 years ago in Christ, we also have a tendency to do the same thing today. Belief in what He has done is the only thing that can save a soul from Hell. Only He has the ability to cleanse us from the sins which we have committed against Him and our fellow man. This frees us from the bondage of works based religion, which is the deception of the world. Amen!
Verse to Memorize- Romans 3:23