Observations on Romans 3 and 4

Last updated on October 10th, 2019


Romans 3:9 “What then? Are we any better off? No not at all; for we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under the power of sin,” In the next chapters of Romans, we see Paul continuing to assert that all will be held equally accountable to God, regardless if they are Jewish or not. As we can see in verse 9, Paul tells the Jews they are no better off, and are under the power of sin just as the Greeks. He emphasizes this point by quoting from Psalms 14:1 in verse 10 stating, “as it is written There is no one who is righteous, not even one;” As Paul will detail later in this chapter, all need the grace that can only be obtained through Jesus Christ.

The next verse I want to point your attention to is verse 20 which states, “For “no human being will be justified in his sight” by deeds prescribed by the law, for through the law comes the knowledge of sin.” As we can see from this verse, the knowledge of sin came through the law, but now no one can be justified by God through performing deeds prescribed by the law. And it was not merely just performing them, but performing them perfectly. As Paul states in verse 23-24, “since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God; they are now justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,”. The chapter continues in affirming that our sins our passed over and we’re justified in Christ Jesus.

In verse 28 it states, “For we hold that a person is justified by faith apart from works prescribed by the law”. So Paul reiterates again that we cannot be justified by works of the law, but only through faith. Paul makes clear however, that we are still required to exhibit obedience to God, which seems to go against faith merely being a strong feeling in something to be true as many often inaccurately assert. In verse 31 he states, “Do we then overthrow the law by this faith, by no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law.” As we can see here, while the foundation of our justification is through Jesus Christ now, obedience to God is still the expectation of our justification. We still don’t murder, we still don’t steal, and we follow all of God’s instructions to the Body of Christ in fulfilling His will.

As we move into Romans 4, it’s interesting how much Paul uses Scripture in his writings to the church at Rome to teach them. He could have just asserted his authority as an appointed Apostle of God and just say like some preachers today, “God told me to tell you this, and if you question it, you’re questioning God”. But Paul being as humble as he was used Scripture to show that what he was teaching aligned with what God stated in His Word. Case and point, Romans 4:3-6 Paul states, “3 For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” 4 Now to the one who works, his wage is not credited as a favor, but as what is due. 5 But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness, 6 just as David also speaks of the blessing on the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works: 7 “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds have been forgiven, And whose sins have been covered. 8 “Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will not take into account.”

As you can see, Paul is quoting from the Old Testament in Genesis 15:6 and Psalm 32:1-2 to affirm that faith is what credits righteousness and forgiveness of sins. It’s an example for all preachers that if they’re going to teach anything, it should heavily rely on Scripture, because even the great Apostle Paul in all his appointed wisdom in knowing exactly what God’s truth is, made it a point to align his teachings with Scripture. Romans 4 continues by detailing how Abraham is a father of all uncircumcised and circumcised, and that the promise of being made heir to the world was through righteousness of faith. Paul correlates this to his readers again at the end with our righteousness being credited to us through faith in Christ. “Therefore it was also credited to him as righteousness, 23 Now not for his sake only was it written that it was credited to him, 24 but for our sake also, to whom it will be credited, as those who believe in Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, 25 He who was delivered over because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification.”

As always, any thoughts, questions, or comments, feel free to leave a response that can help further develop understanding. Peace to all those who are in Christ.


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