Summary: This is the 5th of 30 Studies on the Book of Romans
9 What then? Are we better than they? Not at all. For we have previously charged both Jews and Greeks that they are all under sin. 10 As it is written: “There is none righteous, no, not one; 11 There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God. 12 They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one.” 13 “Their throat is an open tomb; With their tongues, they have practiced deceit”; “The poison of asps is under their lips;” 14“Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness.” 15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood;
Jews not superior to Gentiles
Paul has just established that not only have Gentiles rejected God, but the Jews too have forsaken Him but that God still remains faithful to the Jews. He then asks his Jewish readers if they think that they are better than the Gentiles and answers the question in the negative. He then goes on to quote from Psalms 14:1-3 where he reiterates the fact that there is no one righteous and no one who even seeks God.
The human body misused
He then goes on to mention how man has used their throats, tongues, lips, and mouths to speak deceit, to hurt one another, and express bitterness, eventually using their feet to go places to shed blood – to take lives of one another.
16Destruction and misery are in their ways; 17And the way of peace they have not known.”
18“There is no fear of God before their eyes.” 19Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. 20Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
Jews silenced by the law
He continues to say that man has rebelled against God and added destruction and misery to his lifestyle, resulting in a lack of peace to theirs and others’ lives. He lists one more member of the body that we use to rebel against God – our eyes. He then reminds the Jews that the law was given to them (not to the gentiles). The law silences the Jews because the law proves that they are guilty before God owing to their inability to live according to God’s law.
The Law revealed man’s utter Sinfulness
He further reiterates that no one could be made righteous by keeping the law – in fact, the opposite is true – people realize how sinful they are through the law. He concludes this thought by saying in effect, “If there was no law, then there would have been no sin.”
21But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; 23for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, 26to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
The gift of the Righteousness of God is witnessed by the Law and the Prophets
He then begins to explain how God’s own perfect righteousness is revealed to man and that this has nothing to do with the keeping of the law. He refers to the law and the prophets standing by as it were and watching this amazing unfolding of God’s gift of righteousness to mankind. And the best part is that it’s available to us free of cost – all it takes is for one to have faith (belief and trust) in the work of Jesus on their behalf, to receive it.
The Righteousness of God available to both Jews and Gentiles
It’s available to all and on all people – Jews and Gentiles alike. For all have sinned and come short of God’s holy expectations of them and therefore not only were all people guilty before God, but all people are now able to receive this free gift of righteousness from God.
The Righteousness of God is available free of cost
One can be made justified (made righteous) freely (with no cost on their part) because God in his grace (unmerited favor) upon us sent Jesus to pay the price – death, on our behalf and thereby redeeming us form the penalty of sin. When Jesus died in our place, He was taking upon Himself the punishment that every single human being had to bear for our sins. That’s what is meant by “God set forth as a propitiation.” But this is appropriated only to those who have faith.