Paul’s Letter to the Romans Part 21

This entry is part 21 of 35 in the series Paul's Letter to the Romans

Continued from Part 20

“For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a
trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on
every side, And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy
children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone
upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation”
(Luke 19:43-44). They did not know how to be at peace with God
nor man. And here is the reason: there is no fear of God before
their eyes. They had no reverence for God, and therefore no regard
for their fellow man.

Part 21

“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 3:19).
Here the entire Old Testament is referred to as the law, for Paul
had been quoting from various parts of the Old Testament. What he
had quoted were, therefore, words directed to the Jews; they were
guilty of the crimes mentioned in the quotations. “That every mouth
may be stopped”. That all might so feel their guilt as to be unable to
answer back or make any defense. The Jews could not deny what
their own inspired prophets had said. “And all the world may be
brought under the judgment of God”. The Jew readily granted that
the Gentile was under the judgment of God, and now Paul proves
from the Jewish scriptures that the Jew was likewise under the
judgment of God. This was difficult for the Jew to admit. He was
placed on the same playing field as the Gentile.
“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” (v. 20).
Had they kept the law perfectly, they would have been justified by
the law, but Paul had proved by their own scriptures that they had
not kept the law. He had shown them to be guilty of many and
grievous sins, “for through the law cometh the knowledge of sin”.
That which might have been the means of their justification had, on
account of their sins, become the means of their conviction. This
conviction, this feeling of sinfulness, did not come to them through
some direct operation of the Holy Spirit, but through the plain
statements of inspired men. Paul showed that the Gentile, while
relying upon natural law as his human wisdom interpreted it, had
plunged into all sorts of sin. He had not even lived up to the law of
nature. Paul also showed that the Jew, instead of living up to the
demands of the law of Moses so as to be justified by it, had so transgressed the law as to be condemned by it. All, both Jews and
gentiles, were condemned sinners, and were lost, unless some
plan could be presented that would make righteous men out of
sinners. The law would justify a man, if he kept it perfectly, but it
could not justify one after he had transgressed the law.
“But now the righteousness of God without the law is
manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets” (v. 21).
In Paul’s language, the term “the law” refers to the law of Moses.
The American standard version has “apart from the law”, but there
is no “the” in this phrase in the Greek. This righteousness was
“apart from law”, any law, whether the law of Moses or the law
under which gentiles lived. The “now” is emphatic, in the present
case or in the present dispensation.

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