Romans 03:19 – 4:25 Justification With Law

Continue going over Romans for a foundation to the theology of the Bible.

If you can understand and get a grasp on this you will be light years ahead

2 Peter 3:15 and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation—as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you,
2 Peter 3:16 as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures.

Not impossible, but very profitable if we stick to it and allow the Bible to interpret the Bible

God is righteousness
Gentiles are unrighteousness
Jews are unrighteousness even though they have the law (which Paul makes clear many times, and will continue to do so today)
Everyone is unrighteousness

Paul finishes this up in the next 2 verse

Romans 3:19 Now 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.

This is saying that the whole world is under law to God.[Especially when we consider vs 23]and 6:2

Romans 5:12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned—

Romans 3:20 Therefore [summation] by the deeds [ergon: works] of the law no flesh [no one] will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

Paul is wrapping up what he has been harping on the Jews and subsequently anyone that wants to boast because they keep the law and think that it makes them righteous. In fact it defines them as sinners as we saw in the previous verse and Paul expounds a little more here.

Definition of Law – knowledge of sin; of right and wrong; the law defines sin; Romans 4:15 because the law brings about wrath; for where there is no law there is no transgression.

If Not By Law, How Are We Justified

If we cannot be made righteous by keeping the law, then how are we justified?

How are we declared righteousness or made righteousness?

Paul now explains this for the rest of the chapter.

Romans 3:21 But now [transition] the righteousness of God [in us — by justification] apart from the law is revealed [since it does not come by the law], being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets,

Book end to Romans 1:17 with our unrighteousness in between by contrast

the function of the law is separate from the function of justification by faith.

The function of the laws and commandments of God:

At least two functions of the law of God. Reflect the mind and character of God that we are to be reflecting as well as we keep the Law. Christ showed this perfectly

  • is to show men how to live
  • to show them what sin is.

Law shows [convicts] us our sinfulness and convicts of our deserving death.

No law can forgive sin. No law can give eternal life. That is not the function of law. The operation of justification is separate from commandments-keeping. Forgiveness and justification of one’s past sins can only come through the life, death and resurrection of Christ.

Romans 3:22 even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference;

Not just any belief like “I believe in Christ” ie I believe that He came, but I believe in everything He stood for; His way of life that He set as an example for me to follow

There is no difference whether Jew or Gentile; black or white; male or female; IF you believe in the right way, ANYONE can be made righteous through this faith in Jesus Christ

Define: Righteousness = “being and doing right,”

Definitions: Faith and Belief

Noun. pistis

Verb. The word “believe” is pisteuo and it means to have faith (pistis) in.

The New Testament Greek word translated

“faith” is pistis, the same word also rendered


Like it means today. It basically means “firm persuasion”

and “conviction based upon hearing.” —to have complete trust in— (God)

“You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons [fallen angels] believe—and tremble!” (James:2:19).

Romans 3:22 …. For there is no difference; [Why?] Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
Romans 3:24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,

Grace: Charis: favor [towards another; us][can you do me a favor, not based on what I have done] a giving love [redundant]; gracious;

Ephesians 2:5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),

Ephesians 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,

He does us favors without us deserving it, but because Christ came and gave himself for us that

Definition: redemption is a deliverance from death by means of payment; buying back

Colossians 1:14 in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.

1 Corinthians 6:20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.

1 Peter 1:18 knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers,
1 Peter 1:19 but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.

Romans 3:25 whom [speaking of Jesus Christ] God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance [patient self-control; restraint and tolerance.] God had passed over the sins that were previously committed,

Propitiation describes Jesus Christ’s sacrifice as the atonement for our sins against God — that heals a breach between two parties

Passed over – let the sins of earlier times go without punishment

At the time of the exodus, The blood of the lamb allowed the wrath of God to Passover His people

Romans 3:26 [to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

He was tolerant of our sins beforehand and didn’t execute payment for sin on us because of the plan that He was working out with, by and through His Son…this plan of justification.

Romans 3:27 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith.

This is the point that Paul is trying to get across to the Jews.

The law of faith in Jesus Christ :26 We can’t boast because we didn’t do it, but it was given to us as a gift

Romans 3:28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds [ergon: works] of the law.

Luther adds “faith alone”

James 2:21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar?
James 2:22 Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect?
James 2:23 And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS ACCOUNTED TO HIM FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS.” And he was called the friend of God.
James 2:24 You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.

A Living faith is validated by works; acts of obedience to God’s law

How do you find favor with God? How do you grow in favor?

Since the law is a reflection of the holy righteous character of God, how do WE exemplify it…naturally by keeping the law, doing what is right… righteous practicing righteousness, your commandments are righteous

Luke 24:46 Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day,

Luke 24:47 and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.

Acts 26:20 but declared first to those in Damascus and in Jerusalem, and throughout all the region of Judea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent, turn to God, and do works befitting repentance.

2 Corinthians 7:10 For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation,

Romans 3:29 Or is He the God of the Jews only? Is He not also the God of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also,
Romans 3:30 since there is one God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith.

The same thing

Philippians 3:9 and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith;

Romans 3:31 Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law.

Is the law done away with?

Establish = set up (an organization, system, or set of rules) on a firm or permanent basis; make stand

Paul Illustrates by Example

Romans 4:1 What then shall we say that Abraham our father has found according to the flesh?
Romans 4:2 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God.

Then he did it by himself, but that was not the case:


It was because of Abraham’s act of faith that righteousness was imputed to him.

Accounted = same word as impute throughout the rest of the chapter = inventoried, concluded, ascribed (attribute to a particular person)

Romans 4:4 Now to him who works, the wages are not counted [imputed] as grace but as debt.

What is wage of sin? Death is the debt here because the law does not and cannot pay for the penalty.

Romans 4:5 But to him who does not work [to be justified] but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness, [in much the same way that Abraham did]

you cannot make God accept you because of something you do.

Romans 4:6 just as David also describes the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes righteousness apart from works:

Now he uses David’s example to define imputing righteousness. Quotes Psalm 32:1-2



Imputing righteous is flip side of letting the sin abide in someone because of their past transgressions. Instead of ascribing sin to them, God forgives us our sins upon repentance (doing our part) and covers them up that we may be justified.

OT shows these are not new concepts, but what God’s intentions and plans have always been

Romans 4:9 Does this blessedness then come upon the circumcised only, or upon the uncircumcised also? [Paul answered this question already, but now he is going to answer it with an example that they all knew, but apparently never deduced] For we say that faith was accounted to Abraham for righteousness. [true] Romans 4:10 How then was it accounted? While he was circumcised, or uncircumcised? Not while circumcised, but while uncircumcised. [The accounting happened before circumcision in the same way that it can happen now for the Gentiles] Romans 4:11 And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while still uncircumcised, that he might be the father of all those who believe, though they are uncircumcised, that righteousness might be imputed to them also, [to Jew and Gentile and everyone alike] Romans 4:12 and the father of circumcision to those who not only are of the circumcision, but who also walk in the steps of the faith which our father Abraham had while still uncircumcised.
Romans 4:13 For the promise that he would be the heir of the world was not to Abraham or to his seed through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. [which only comes by Christ]

This is the only conclusion that you can come to when you put together the order of events.

Galatians 3:16 Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, “And to seeds,” as of many, but as of one, “AND TO YOUR SEED,” who is Christ.

Romans 4:14 For if those who are of the law are heirs, faith is made void and the promise made of no effect,

If the law was all it took then why did Christ even have to come? Another great argument here. They believed on Christ to what end then?

Romans 4:15 because the law brings about wrath; for where there is no law there is no transgression.

Another defining scripture

Not meant to imply there is no law so we can’t sin

This is why we marked all the scriptures about the law not being done away with

We can turn this around and say: where there is law there is transgression

In other words the law defines sin

1 Timothy 1:8 But we know that the law is good if one uses it lawfully,
1 Timothy 1:9 knowing this: that the law is not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers,
1 Timothy 1:10 for fornicators, for sodomites, for kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers, and if there is any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine,

It is so an individual that sins knows he is sinning

Romans 4:16 Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace [God’s loving giving nature toward us], so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all [for EVERYONE] Romans 4:17 (as it is written, “I HAVE MADE YOU A FATHER OF MANY NATIONS”) in the presence of Him whom he believed—God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did;
Romans 4:18 who, contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he became the father of many nations, according to what was spoken, “SO SHALL YOUR DESCENDANTS BE.”
Romans 4:19 And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah’s womb.
Romans 4:20 He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God,
Romans 4:21 and being fully convinced [this is faith] that what He had promised He was also able to perform.
Romans 4:22 And therefore[conclusion] “IT WAS ACCOUNTED TO HIM FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS.”
Romans 4:23 Now it was not written for his sake alone that it was imputed to him,
Romans 4:24 but also for us. It shall be imputed to us who believe in Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead,
Romans 4:25 who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification. [because of our need for justification]