SUBSCRIBEGIVE NOW

Romans: Chapters 1-4

Romans

 

Author’s comment. These verse-by-verse notes are taken from Andrew Womack’s commentary (sometimes edited), John Wesley’s commentary (unedited), The Passion Translation notes, the English Standard Version notes, and personal thoughts. Translations are taken from biblegateway.com.

 

These notes may provide useful background information/insight for the reader in his or her personal devotions or in Bible study/sermon preparation.

 

TPT Overview: 1) Letter opening - 1: 1-17; 2) The Gospel Solution – 3:21-5:21; 3) The Gospel Freedom – 6:1-8:39; 4) The Gospel and Israel – 9:1-11:36; 5) The Gospel and New Life _ 12:1- 15:13; 6) Closing – 15:14-16:27.

 

 

Chapter 1.

Verse 1.

 

“Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God.”

 

Paul 1) identifies himself by name; 2) describes his relationship to Jesus the Messiah; 3) states that He is called by God; 4) states that he is an apostle; and 5) states that his life is devoted to the Gospel of God – that which God has wrought for us through Jesus.

 

Out of the six Greek words for “servant” used in the NT, Paul used the strongest one. “DOULOS” comes from the root word “DEO” which means “to bind.” Paul is a slave of Jesus Christ–a slave by free choice yet purchased and owned by (1 Corinthians 6:19-20) Christ. Note: Jesus has purchased the souls of all men. Jesus legally owns all men, but no man is experientially owned by Jesus except by free will – freely becoming a slave.

The idea of being a love-slave comes from Old Testament. Exodus 21:2-6 and Deuteronomy 15:12-17. When Israelites bought Hebrew slaves, they had to set them free in the seventh year. However, if a slave knew that he was loved by his master and, in turn, loved his master and wanted to stay with him, the slave could become a slave forever. He could only become a slave by choice.

Paul was a slave before he became an apostleship.

 

TPT. The Greek word “doulos” signified more than a servant; it is one who has chosen to serve a master out of love, bound with cords so strong that the cords can only be severed by death.”

 

“The Anointed One” is the best English translation of the Greek word “Christou.” Christ is not Jesus’ last name; it is a title for the Hebrew Messiah.

 

“Separated” could be translated “permanently separated.” The Aramaic word for “separated” is the root word for Pharisee – a self-righteously appointed separated one. For Paul, God separated him as belonging uniquely God’s and God made him righteous.

 

Wesley. Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ - To this introduction the conclusion answers, (Ro 15:15). Called to be an apostle - And made an apostle by that calling. While God calls, he makes what he calls. As the Judaizing teachers disputed his claim to the apostolical office, it is with great propriety that he asserts it in the very entrance of an epistle wherein their principles are entirely overthrown. And various other proper and important thoughts are suggested in this short introduction; particularly the prophecies concerning the gospel, the descent of Jesus from David, the great doctrines of his Godhead and resurrection, the sending the gospel to the gentiles, the privileges of Christians, and the obedience and holiness to which they were obliged in virtue of their profession. Separated - By God, not only from the bulk of other men, from other Jews, from other disciples, but even from other Christian teachers, to be a peculiar instrument of God in spreading the gospel.

 

Verse 2.

 

“Which He promised before through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures.”

 

“God promised long ago through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures to give this Good News to his people.” ERV. OR “God promised this ·Good News [Gospel] ·long ago [beforehand; previously] through his prophets, as it is written in the Holy Scriptures.” EXB

 

Through the O.T. prophets, God promised to reveal (He hinted at) something greater than the O.T. salvation system, namely, “the gospel of God.”

 

The Lord preached the Gospel (Galatians 3:8 ) to Abraham. Moses gave the Gospel’s conditions in Deuteronomy 30:11-14. Paul quoted  Romans 10:6-8; i.e., the only condition to receive God’s grace. Jesus said that the Law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms contained prophecies concerning Him (Luke 24:44). The Gospel was woven throughout the Old Testament scriptures. The job of the Old Testament Law was to “shut us up” or constrain us toward the Gospel (Galatians 3:23).

 

In this sense, there’s no conflict between Old Testament Law and New Testament grace. The Old Testament ministry of Law was temporary (Galatians 3:19) until the sacrifice of Jesus provided Grace. The conflict between Law and grace comes when people try to mix them. As the parables about the new/old wine and the new patch on the old garment, the two covenants are incompatible. The Old Testament Law pointed people toward the Gospel. If the Law points out people’s need and brings them to their knees through hopelessness to achieve self-salvation, the Gospel provides salvation and relationship; there is no conflict. Conflict arises only when people refuse to use faith in God’s grace as the only means of salvation/justification and insist that some degree of adherence to Law is required.

 

Wesley. Which he promised before - Of old time, frequently, solemnly. And the promise and accomplishment confirm each other. (De 18:18, Isa 9:6,7,53:1,61:1, Jer 23:5).

 

ESV. Jesus fulfilled the O.T. prophecy that a descendant of David would rule forever, and hence he is the Messiah (2 Sam. 7: 12-16; Ps. 89; 132; Is. 11:1-5; Jer. 23: 5-6; Ez. 34: 23-24. The eternal Son of God assumed humanity to become the Messianic King.

 

Verse 3.

 

“Concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh.”

“Concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was made of the seed of David according to the flesh.” KJ21 OR “The Good News is about God’s Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. As a human, he was born from the family of David, but through the Holy Spirit he was shown to be God’s powerful Son when he was raised from death.” ERV OR “The Good News is about God’s Son. ·As a man [or with reference to his earthly life; L according to the flesh], he was born ·from the family [a descendant; L of the seed] of David [2 Sam. 7:11–14]. EXB OR “The Gospel is centered in God’s Son, a descendant of David by human genealogy and patently marked out as the Son of God by the power of that Spirit of holiness which raised him to life again from the dead. He is our Lord, Jesus Christ, from whom we received grace and our commission in his name to forward obedience to the faith in all nations. And of this great number you at Rome are also called to belong to him.” OR “The sacred writings contain preliminary reports by the prophets on God’s Son. His descent from David roots him in history; his unique identity as Son of God was shown by the Spirit when Jesus was raised from the dead, setting him apart as the Messiah, our Master. Through him we received both the generous gift of his life and the urgent task of passing it on to others who receive it by entering obedient trust in Jesus. You are who you are through this gift and call of Jesus Christ! And I greet you now with all the generosity of God our Father and our Master Jesus, the Messiah.” MSG

 

TPT. Jesus is the “Seed of the woman” (Gen. 3:15); the “Seed of Abraham” (Gal. 3:16); and the Seed of David (Ro. 3:1). See also Acts 13: 16-41.

 

Jesus, according to human genealogy, descended from King David. However, in His Spirit, He was Lord at His birth. Lu. 2:11.

 

Wesley. Who was of the seed of David according to the flesh - That is, regarding his human nature. Both the natures of our Savior are here mentioned; but the human is mentioned first, because the divine was not manifested in its full evidence till after his resurrection.

 

Verse 4.

 

“And who through the Spirit of holiness was appointed the Son of God in power (or declared with power to be the Son of God) by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord.”

 

Wesley. But powerfully declared to be the Son of God, according to the Spirit of Holiness - That is, according to his divine nature. By the resurrection from the dead - For this is both the fountain and the object of our faith; and the preaching of the apostles was the consequence of Christ's resurrection.

 

TPT. Or “marked or appointed as God’s Son immersed in power. The Greek word for “set apart” comes from horizo, meaning the horizon. It means to “mark out the boundaries,” “to decree,” or “to define.” The horizon we move toward is Jesus.

 

ESV. Jesus was declared by God the Father to be the Son of God in power when He was raised from the dead (Mt. 28:6) and installed at God’s right hand as the messianic King. As the eternal Son of God, he has reigned forever with the Father and the Holy Spirit. But this verse refers to the God-Man reigning in messianic power (Son of God was a Jewish title for Messiah), and this reign began when Jesus was raised from the dead through the Holy Spirit – the spirit of holiness. Christ’s power is always connected to the holiness of the Holy Spirit as he works in the new covenant age.

 

Just as Romans 1:3 pointed out that Jesus’ human attributes made Him the son of David, so the miraculous resurrection of Jesus from the dead proves that He is the Son of God.

Jesus’ resurrection from the dead is proof of all of Jesus’ claims.

 

Verse 5.

 

“Through Him we have received grace and apostleship for obedience to the faith among all nations for His name.”

 

Paul received Grace from God; he received the gift of apostleship from God – all for the purpose of bringing non-believers to faith and obedience to Jesus.

 

“It is through Him that we have received grace and [our] apostleship to promote obedience to the faith and make disciples for His name’s sake among all the Gentiles.” AMP OR “Through him we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the Gentiles.” CSB. OR “Through Him grace cascaded into us, empowering us with the gift of apostleship, so that we can win people from every nation into the obedience that comes from faith, to bring honor to his name.” TPT

 

Wesley. By whom we have received - I and the other apostles. Grace and apostleship - The favor to be an apostle, and qualifications for it. For obedience to the faith in all nations - That is, that all nations may embrace the faith of Christ. For his name - For his sake; out of regard to him.

 

Paul received grace and apostleship–to bring people to obedience to the faith.

According to Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon, “‘charis’ contains the idea of ‘kindness bestowing upon another something he doesn’t deserve’...the N.T. writers use ‘charis’ as that kindness by which God bestows favors even upon us the ill-deserving.” Another form of the Greek word CHARIS is “CHARISMA.” CHARISMA is translated “free gift.” Vine’s Expository Dictionary defines CHARISMA as “a gift of grace, a gift involving grace (charis) from God as Donor.” In other words, CHARISMA is a manifestation of God’s grace. The following are gifts of God’s grace: righteousness (Romans 5:16-17), spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 12:28-31, Romans 12:6-8), eternal life (Romans 6:23), the five ministry gifts (Ephesians 4:11), celibacy (1 Corinthians 7:7), healings (1 Corinthians 12:9, 28, and 30), and miraculous intervention (2 Corinthians 1:11).

The Greek word for “obedience” means “attentive hearkening and (by implication) compliance or submission.” Faith and obedience are linked together (Acts 6:7, Romans 16:26, James 2:14-22, and 1 Peter 1:21). The origin and historical development of the words “believe” and “obey” are closely related. What you believe is what you do.

 

Verse 6.

 

“Among whom you also are the called of Jesus Christ.”

 

We are “the called of Jesus Christ” - called to be saints. God’s grace invites every person to become a saint through salvation (Titus 2:11).  Not everyone obeys this call. If a person rejects God’s call, God rejects that person (Luke 12:9, 1 John 2:23). Matthew 22:14: “For many are called, but few are chosen.”

 

Wesley. Among whom - The nations brought to the obedience of faith. Are ye also - But St. Paul gives them no preeminence above others.

 

Verse 7.

“To all who are in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

ESV. All believers stand before God as His “holy ones.” Grace is God’s unmerited favor. Peace is “shalom” – a person’s life with God and with people is in ordered harmony.

Wesley. To all that are in Rome - Most of these were heathens by birth, (Ro 1:13), though with Jews mixed among them. They were scattered up and down in that large city, and not yet reduced into the form of a church. Only some had begun to meet in the house of Aquila and Priscilla. Beloved of God - And from his free love, not from any merit of yours, called by his word and his Spirit to believe in him, and now through faith holy as he is holy. Grace - The peculiar favor of God. And peace - All manner of blessings, temporal, spiritual, and eternal. This is both a Christian salutation and an apostolic benediction. From God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ - This is the usual way wherein the apostles speak, "God the Father," "God our Father." Nor do they often, in speaking of him, use the word Lord, as it implies the proper name of God, Jehovah. In the Old Testament, indeed, the holy men generally said, "The Lord our God;" for they were then, as it were, servants; whereas now they are sons: and sons so well know their father, that they need not frequently mention his proper name. It is one and the same peace, and one and the same grace, which is from God and from Jesus Christ. Our trust and prayer fix on God, as he is the Father of Christ; and on Christ, as he presents us to the Father.

In Jesus, we are saints. We are the objects of His love. He saved us because of His infinite love for us (John 3:16). An experiential understanding of God’s love is the key to being filled with the fullness of God (Ephesians 3:19).

Verse 8.

“First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world.”

Even our thanks go to the Father through Jesus Christ. Jesus is the only way to approach the Father. (John 14:6).

Paul often gave thanks this way. See I Cor. 1: 1-9; Phil. 1: 1-8; I Thes. 1:2.

The stories of these believers’ faith in Jesus had spread throughout the world.

TPT. It was Paul’s constant habit to thank God for any grace he found within any believer.

ESV. The gospel is no longer confined to the Jews but has also spread to the Gentiles in the Greco-Roman world.

Wesley. I thank - In the very entrance of this one epistle are the traces of all spiritual affections; but of thankfulness above all, with the expression of which almost all St. Paul's epistles begin. He here particularly thanks God, that what otherwise himself should have done, was done at Rome already. My God - This very word expresses faith, hope, love, and consequently all true religion. Through Jesus Christ - The gifts of God all pass-through Christ to us; and all our petitions and thanksgivings pass through Christ to God. That your faith is spoken of - In this kind of congratulations St. Paul describes either the whole of Christianity, as(Col 1:3), &c.; or some part of it, as (1Co 1:5). Accordingly, here he mentions the faith of the Romans, suitably to his design, (Ro 1:12,17). Through the whole world - This joyful news spreading everywhere, that there were Christians also in the imperial city. And the goodness and wisdom of God established faith in the chief cities; in Jerusalem and Rome particularly; that from thence it might be diffused to all nations.

Verse 9.

“For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of His Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers.”

“For God is my witness, Whom I serve with my [whole] spirit [rendering priestly and spiritual service] in [preaching] the Gospel and [telling] the good news of His Son, how incessantly I always mention you when at my prayers.” AMP

Wesley. God, whom I serve - As an apostle. In my spirit - Not only with my body, but with my inmost soul. In the gospel - By preaching it.

Paul prayed for the Roman Christians without ceasing. Very few Christians pray for anything or anyone without ceasing, but that was Paul’s claim. And he said God was his witness that what he was saying was true.

Paul served God in his spirit. It’s the spirit part of us that is born again and full of God. The only acceptable way of serving God is to walk in the Spirit.

TPT. The wonderful revelation of the gospel is a theme in Romans. It is God’s gospel (1:1), the gospel of His Son (1:9), and “my gospel” (2:16, 16:25).

Verse 10.

Making request if, by some means, now at last I may find a way in the will of God to come to you.”

Paul made it to Rome after he was arrested in Jerusalem (Acts 21:30-36). He remained in prison in Judea for two years (Acts 24:27). Then he was transported by ship to Rome where he remained in prison for two more years (Acts 28:30).

TPT. Or “as God prospers me along the path of his will.”

Wesley. Always - In all my solemn addresses to God. If by any means now at length - This accumulation of particles declares the strength of his desire.

Verse 11.

“For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift, so that you may be established…”

AMP: “For I long to see you so that I may share with you some spiritual gift, to strengthen and establish you.”

CEB: “I really want to see you to pass along some spiritual gift to you so that you can be strengthened.”

Womack. We see that spiritual gifts can be imparted or passed from one believer to another. That’s why the presbytery lays hands on a believer during ordination, as Paul reminded Timothy (1 Timothy 4:14). Second, spiritual gifts establish or strengthen the believer. As Paul said in 1 Corinthians 14:3-4, spiritual gifts operate in the church to produce edification, exhortation, and comfort believers.

Wesley. That I may impart to you - Face to face, by laying on of hands, prayer, preaching the gospel, private conversation. Some spiritual gift - With such gifts the Corinthians, who had enjoyed the presence of St. Paul, abounded, (1Co 1:7,12:1,14:1). So did the Galatians likewise, (Ga 3:5); and, indeed, all those churches which had had the presence of any of the apostles had peculiar advantages in this kind, from the laying on of their hands,(Ac 19:6,8:17), &c., (2 Ti 1:6). But the Romans were greatly inferior to them in this respect; for which reason the apostle, in the twelfth chapter also, says little, if anything, of their spiritual gifts. He therefore desires to impart some, that they might be established; for by these was the testimony of Christ confirmed among them. That St. Peter had no more been at Rome than St. Paul, at the time when this epistle was written, appears from the general tenor thereof, and from this place in particular: for, otherwise, what St. Paul wishes to impart to the Romans would have been imparted already by St. Peter.

TPT. “Impart to you” could be “share with you.” See also Romans 15:29.

ESV. Paul desires to strengthen and encourage the Roman believers. Their faith inspires and strengthens Paul as well.

 

Verse 12.

“That is, that I may be encouraged together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me.”

Those who share our faith are a comfort to us.

Wesley.  That is, I long to be comforted by the mutual faith both of you and me - He not only associates the Romans with, but even prefers them before, himself.

Verse 13.

“Now I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that I often planned to come to you (but was hindered until now), that I might have some fruit among you also, just as among the other Gentiles.”

AMP. “I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, that many times I have planned to come to you, (and have been prevented so far) so that I may have some fruit [of my labors] among you, even as I have among the rest of the Gentiles.”

Phillips. “Then I should like you to know, my brothers, that I have long intended to come to you (but something has always prevented me), for I should like to see some results among you, as I have among other Gentiles. I feel myself under a sort of universal obligation, I owe something to all men, from cultured Greek to ignorant savage. That is why I want, as far as my ability will carry me, to preach the Gospel to you who live in Rome as well.”

Womack. Paul had long desired to visit Rome, but he had been hindered. In Romans 15:21-22, Paul revealed the hindrance – that other people, more near, had not heard the Gospel. In other words, he was hindered from taking the Gospel to Rome because he was busy taking the gospel to others living nearer to him than Rome who needed Jesus. However, by Romans 15:23, Paul had preached the Gospel to every region in those parts (probably the Corinth area), and he was now ready to come to Rome.

Wesley. Brethren - A frequent, holy, simple, sweet, and yet grand, appellation. The apostles but rarely address persons by their names; 'O ye Corinthians," "O Timotheus." St. Paul generally uses this appellation, " Brethren;" sometimes in exhortation, " My beloved," or " My beloved brethren;" St. James, "Brethren," "My brethren," My beloved brethren;" St. Peter and Jude always, " Beloved;" St. John frequently, " Beloved;" once, " Brethren;" oftener than once, My little children." Though I have been hindered hitherto - Either by

  • business, see (Ro 15:22); or
  • persecution, (1Thes 2:2); or
  • the Spirit, (Ac 16:7).

That I might have some fruit - Of my ministerial labors. Even as I have already had from the many churches I have planted and watered among the other gentiles.

TPT. “Fruit” implies both converts and bringing the believers into maturity.

ESV. Paul’s ministry is like bringing ripened crops as a gift to God. Paul neither “planted” or “watered” the Roman Church (I Cor. 3:6), but its increased maturity and obedience would be a harvest, nonetheless.

Verse 14.

“I am a debtor both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to wise and to unwise.”

AMP. I have a duty to perform and a debt to pay both to Greeks and to barbarians [the cultured and the uncultured], both to the wise and to the foolish.

TPT. Love obligates me to preach to everyone, to those who are among the elite and those who are among the outcasts, to those who are wise and educated as well as to those who are foolish and unlearned.

Paul expressed his sense of spiritual obligation to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with everyone. That’s why he traveled to the ends of the known world and constantly laid his life on the line for gospel of Christ. Those who seek to be used of God must recognize that sharing Christ with a dying world is not optional.

In Paul’s day, the term “barbarian” was not offensive - it distinguished those who spoke the Greek language from those who did not or, later, to identify anyone who was not of the Hellenic race.

Wesley.  To the Greeks and the barbarians - He includes the Romans under the Greeks; so that this division comprises all nations. Both to the wise, and the unwise - For there were unwise even among the Greeks, and wise even among the barbarians. I am a debtor to all - I am bound by my divine mission to preach the gospel to them.

ESV. Paul was under obligation imposed by Jesus Christ, who ordained Paul as apostle to the Gentiles.

Verse 15.

“So, as much as is in me, I am ready to preach the gospel to you who are in Rome also.”

AMP. “So, for my part, I am ready and eager to preach the gospel also to you who are in Rome.”

TPT. Or “to my very uttermost I am eager.” Or “good news” or “message of goodness (well-being). The gospel is good news for the lost, but it is also good news for the believer. Our striving to please God is over; now we rest in the full and complete salvation Jesus has freely given to us.

Verse 16.

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.”

AMP. “I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation [from His wrath and punishment] to everyone who believes [in Christ as Savior], to the Jew first and also to the Greek.”

ESV. “Jew first” indicates the priority of Jews in salvation history. See also Chapters 9-11.

Wesley. For I am not ashamed of the gospel - To the world, indeed, it is folly and weakness, (1Co 1:18); therefore, in the judgment of the world, he ought to be ashamed of it; especially at Rome, the head and theatre of the world. But Paul is not ashamed, knowing it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth - The great and gloriously powerful means of saving all who accept salvation in God's own way. As St. Paul comprises the sum of the gospel in this epistle, so he does the sum of the epistle in this and the following verse. Both to the Jew, and to the gentile - There is a noble frankness, as well as a comprehensive sense, in these words, by which he, on the one hand, shows the Jews their absolute need of the gospel; and, on the other, tells the politest and greatest nation in the world both that their salvation depended on receiving it, and that the first offers of it were in every place to be made to the despised Jews.

“Gospel” means “good message” or “good news.” It’s “the nearly-too-good-to-be-true news.” When Jesus took our sin and paid the debt we owed and then gave us His eternal life, that is nearly too good to be true. So, “gospel” is the salvation Jesus provided for us.

This word tells us how we appropriate the benefits of our salvation. Those benefits come by faith in God’s grace. Galatians 1:6 and Acts 20:24 use the words “grace” and “gospel” interchangeably. Any teaching that doesn’t emphasize grace as the way to  receive what Jesus provided isn’t the Gospel. As Paul phrased it in Galatians 1:7, trying to receive from God by our own effort is a perversion of the Gospel.

The Jews were the first to receive the Gospel, before the Gentiles–not being ahead of them in importance.

The Gospel is God’s power that releases the specifics of salvation in our lives. Salvation is more than just being born again. It’s every benefit that the believer is entitled to through Jesus. Therefore, if we are not experiencing the abundance that Jesus provided for us–in any area of our lives–then we are having a problem understanding and/or believing the Gospel.

Womack. If a person needs healing, it’s in the Gospel. If deliverance is needed, it’s in the Gospel. Prosperity, answered prayer, joy, peace, love–they are all found through understanding and believing the Gospel.

Verse 17.

“For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.”

AMP. “For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed, both springing from faith and leading to faith [disclosed in a way that awakens more faith]. As it is written and forever remains written, “The just and upright shall live by faith.”

Comment: The just shall live by faith is the same as “the righteous shall live by his faith.” “For in it.” What is “it?” Answer: The Gospel. Faith also is a gift, so the Mercy and Love of God is the supply at every point. We need be concerned about how to increase our faith. What is righteousness? A mixture of God’s intense love, His holiness, His Mercy, His Compassion, His justice? This holy nature demands that sin be punished, and Jesus was punished to meet the demands of His nature.

TPT. This gospel unveils a continual revelation of God’s righteousness – a perfect righteousness given to us when we believe. And it moves us from receiving life through faith to the power of living by faith. This is what the Scripture means when it says: ‘we are right with God through life-giving faith.’”

Womack. The righteousness of God must be revealed before we can see it. The Holy Spirit is the one who reveals God’s righteousness (1 Corinthians 2:9-16). He does that through helping us understand the Gospel of grace.

The expression “from faith to faith” describes the means whereby righteousness is given and retained. God’s righteousness cannot be earned; it can only be acquired through faith. That righteousness is received by faith is not a new concept, Paul quoted Habakkuk 2:4, “The just shall live by his faith” (also quoted in Galatians 3:11 and Hebrews 10:38).

The just shall live by faith, continually – the faith of Jesus the Messiah who lives in us.

ESV. ESV commentator says that the phrase “the righteousness of God” has been intensely debated. It means “God’s righteousness which is given to us.” God’s people are given a legal reality of right standing with God because He has given them His very righteousness. The life of faith is all encompassing; it is by faith that one receives the gift of salvation (eternal life) and it is by faith that we live each day (Hab. 2:4; Gal. 3:11: He. 10:38.

Wesley. The righteousness of God - This expression sometimes means God's eternal, essential righteousness, which includes both justice and mercy, and is eminently shown in condemning sin, and yet justifying the sinner. Sometimes it means that righteousness by which a man, through the gift of God, is made and is righteous; and that, both by receiving Christ through faith, and by a conformity to the essential righteousness of God. St. Paul, when treating of justification, means hereby the righteousness of faith; therefore, called the righteousness of God, because God found out and prepared, reveals and gives, approves and crowns it. In this verse the expression means, the whole benefit of God through Christ for the salvation of a sinner. Is revealed - Mention is made here, and (Ro 1:18), of a twofold revelation, - of wrath and of righteousness: the former, little known to nature, is revealed by the law; the latter, wholly unknown to nature, by the gospel. That goes before and prepares the way; this follows. Each, the apostle says, is revealed at the present time, in opposition to the times of ignorance. From faith to faith - By a gradual series of still clearer and clearer promises. As it is written - St. Paul had just laid down three propositions:

  1. Righteousness is by faith,
  2. Salvation is by righteousness,
  3. Both to the Jews and to the gentiles, (Ro 1:16,17).

Now all these are confirmed by that single sentence, The just shall live by faith - Which was primarily spoken of those who preserved their lives, when the Chaldeans besieged Jerusalem, by believing the declarations of God, and acting according to them. Here it means, He shall obtain the favor of God, and continue therein by believing. (Hab 2:4)

Verse 18.

“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness.”

AMP. “For [God does not overlook sin and] the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who in their wickedness suppress and stifle the truth.”

Womack. Paul writes Romans 1:18-20 to explain why the Gospel is the power of God unto salvation (Romans 1:16). Then, just as now, most people feel the way to get others to God is to condemn them and scare them out of hell. Such people doubt that the good news of God’s love can repentance. Paul pointed out that every person has an instinctive knowledge of God’s wrath against their sin. We don’t need to convince them of God’s wrath or of their guilt; God has already given them that knowledge. What people need to know is the good news that God placed His wrath for their sins upon Jesus so they are completely forgiven. This good news will draw people to God more than the bad news will drive people to God.

 

In Romans 1:18-20, Paul declared that God has revealed Himself to all mankind. Old Testament scriptures proclaimed that God revealed Himself to everyone through nature (Psalms 19:1-3). There is an intuitive revelation of God within every person. There are five words used in these three verses to describe how God has revealed Himself to mankind. Any one of these five words used alone would be powerful to prove Paul’s point. However, the combination of all five used together makes Paul’s claim certain. “All” in Romans 1:18 shows the extent to which God has revealed Himself. God places His witness in the heart of every person that His wrath. Is against all ungodliness and unrighteousness and that that ungodliness and unrighteousness is in them. In Romans 1:19, the Greek word translated “manifest” means “shining” or “apparent.” The Greek word translated “showed” means “to render apparent.” Clearly, this instinctive or intuitive knowledge is not so subtle that it can be overlooked. God gives every individual the right to choose, and there is no doubt that every person has, at one time, clearly seen and understood (Romans 1:20) the basic truths of God’s existence. In Romans 1:20, Paul said this inner witness causes the individual to clearly see the invisible things of God and even understand the Godhead. The Greek word that is translated “clearly seen” means “to behold fully” or do “distinctly apprehend.” Every person who has ever lived has had a clear revelation of God. The use of the word “understood” emphatically states that God gave man not only knowledge but also the understanding to use that knowledge. Therefore, no one will be able to stand before God on the Day of Judgment and say, “God is not fair.” He has given all people who have ever lived, regardless of how remote or isolated they may have been, the opportunity to know Him. They are without excuse. Someone might say, “If all this is true, then why can’t we observe more of this intuitive knowledge of God in the lives of those who have not heard the Gospel?” Paul gave the answer to this in Romans 1:21-23.

TPT. “For God in heaven unveils His holy anger breaking forth against every form of sin, both toward ungodliness that lives in hearts and evil actions….” Holy anger is wrath. Wrath is his action in punishing evil, a holy disapproval of all that is seen as wicked in the eyes of His holiness. In this first chapter, both righteousness and wrath are revealed. Righteousness is revealed in the gospel, but wrath is revealed as an activity God takes to uphold his glory.

Comments. Men suppress the truth. What truth? That God is, that He is holy, that they are unholy, that their unholiness will be punished eternally through the pouring out of His wrath, and that His mercy and love makes a way to salvation. Every man knows.

Wesley. There is no other way of obtaining life and salvation. Having laid down his proposition, the apostle now enters upon the proof of it. His first argument is, the law condemns all men, as being under sin. None therefore is justified by the works of the law. This is treated of (Ro 3:20). And hence he infers, therefore justification is by faith. The wrath of God is revealed - Not only by frequent and signal interpositions of divine providence, but likewise in the sacred oracles, and by us, his messengers. From heaven - This speaks the majesty of Him whose wrath is revealed, his all - seeing eye, and the extent of his wrath: whatever is under heaven is under the effects of his wrath, believers in Christ excepted. Against all ungodliness and unrighteousness - These two are treated of, (Ro 1:23). Of men - He is speaking here of the gentiles, and chiefly the wisest of them. Who detain the truth - For it struggles against their wickedness. In unrighteousness - The word here includes ungodliness also.

Verse 19.

“Because what may be known of God is manifest (evident) in them, for God has shown it to them.”

AMP. “For that which is known about God is evident to them and made plain in their inner consciousness, because God [Himself] has shown it to them.”

CSB. “Since what can be known about God is evident among them, because God has shown it to them.”

Phillips. “Now the holy anger of God is disclosed from Heaven against the godlessness and evil of those men who render truth dumb and inoperative by their wickedness. It is not that they do not know the truth about God; indeed, he has made it quite plain to them.”

Womack. There is an intuitive and complete knowledge of God’s existence and man’s transgression against Him within every person who has ever lived. We are without excuse (Romans 1:20).

Wesley. For what is to be known of God - Those great principles which are indispensably necessary to be known. Is manifest in them; for God hath showed it to them - By the light which enlightens every man that cometh into the world.

TPT. “In reality, the truth of God is known instinctively, for God has embedded this knowledge inside every human heart.” Or “the knowability of God is manifest in them.”

ESV. God’s power and divine nature are clearly revealed in the world He has made.

Verse 20.

“For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse.”

Brewer/AMP. “For since the world’s creation His invisible attributes (His eternal power and eternal self-existence, His holiness, His fiery love, His mercy, His Kindness, His patience, His eternal justice and hatred of sin), have been clearly, intuitively and certainly seen by all men who live and who have lived, being understood through His workmanship (all His creation), so that they who fail to believe in Him and trust in Him for salvation are without excuse and without defense.”

Womack. How can we see invisible things? God created us to see by faith. God has revealed Himself in every person’s heart (Romans 1:18-20). Therefore, there is no excuse for those who didn’t respond positively to Jesus - to their inner witness of truth.

The Easton’s Bible Dictionary defines “Godhead” as “the essential being or the nature of God.” Paul states that God has given every person an intuitive revelation of His divine nature. What a responsibility when truth deniers stand before God and answer for their perversions.

Wesley. For those things of him which are invisible, are seen — By the eye of the mind. Being understood — They are seen by them, and them only, who use their understanding.

TPT. “His invisible qualities” could be translated “His holy attributes.” “He has made his wonderful attributes easily perceived” can be translated “He has made His wonderful attributes lie plainly before their eyes.” The literal Greek is “being intellectually apprehended by reflection.” What the eye sees becomes revelation to the conscience. See Ps. 19: 1-4.

ESV. “No one can complain that God has left insufficient evidence of his existence and character…”

Verse 21.

“Because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.”

AMP. “Because when they knew and recognized Him as God their creator, they did not honor and glorify Him as God or give Him thanks for His worthiness. But instead, they became futile and godless in their thinking [with vain imaginings, foolish reasoning, and stupid speculations] and their senseless minds were darkened.”

Romans 1:18-20 reveals that everyone has an intuitive knowledge of God’s wrath. Beginning in Romans 1:21, Paul describes progressive steps people take away from God and His God-breathed revelation. That people depart from His self-revelation doesn’t negate its continuing existence within them.

The first step that people take away from any revelation that God has given them is they fail to glorify Him as God. The word “glorified” means “to esteem as being glorious.” “Esteem” means “to place a high value on; to respect; to prize” and “to judge to be to consider.”

Moses esteemed the reproach of Christ to be of higher value than earthly riches, political power, and the favor of men. Jesus counted as worthless His sufferings on and from the cross. He esteemed instead those who would be freed through His offering (Hebrews 12:2).

Psalms 69:30: we “magnify” God through our thanksgiving. The word translated “glorified” in Romans 1:21 is translated “magnify” in Romans 11:13. Jesus recognized that healed leper who returned to give Him thanks had glorified Him (Luke 17:16-18). In Romans 4:19-21, Abraham “was strong in faith, giving glory to God”. He esteemed God’s promise more than he valued anything else.

In Mark 6:41, Jesus “looked up” and blessed the five loaves of bread and two fish before dividing them among the multitude (before the multiplication). The Greek word translated “looked up” is translated “receive sight” (or some form of this) fifteen times. Jesus saw with His spiritual eyes into the supernatural realm of God’s supply instead of the scarcity of the natural circumstances. He glorified God (for His worthiness) and His ability despite the natural. Does this principle come into play during times of suffering from sickness, seeming financial hardship, or family problems? Yes.

The spies who searched out Canaan in Numbers 13 are classic examples of people who glorified the problem more than the Problem Solver. This took all thankfulness away, and their imaginations became vain. They had more to be thankful about than any of their ancestors, yet they forgot all that God had done for them and complained, glorifying the negative. The result was that they died in the wilderness and never saw the Promised Land.

In Hebrews 12:2, Jesus set joy before Him and despised the shame of the cross. The Greek word that was translated “despising” means to “disesteem.” Jesus glorified the good and disesteemed the bad. That’s how He endured the cross. In Hebrews 12:3, we are to consider Jesus and what He endured lest we be weary and faint in our minds. The battle is fought in our minds.

The second step away from God’s revelation is unthankfulness. Thankfulness involves memory, humility, and reflection. Psalms 69:30 says that thanksgiving magnifies God. It takes time and effort to remember and be thankful. 2 Timothy 3:1-2 says that one of the signs of last days apostasy is that people will be unthankful. Psalms 103:2 says to “forget not all his benefits.” The reason we were commanded not to forget is because it is our tendency to forget. We will forget if we don’t try to remember. Thankfulness helps us remember.

The next “step-away” in Romans 1:21 is imagination. If we don’t glorify God and aren’t thankful, our imagination begins to picture what we focus on. We picture and remember the negative. That’s a vain imagination.

The fourth step away from God and/or any revelation we get from Him is that our foolish hearts become darkened. Ephesians 4:18 speaks of the blindness of the heart and of the understanding being darkened. The foolish, darkened heart being spoken of here is the heart of a person whose understanding (imagination) is vain, or negative, and that makes them hardhearted.

Covering these four “step-aways” in another way, as Paul explained in Romans 1:18-20, God has revealed Himself to all people who have ever lived. However, each person must receive the revelation. Everyone has freedom of choice. In Romans 1:21-23, Paul described different characteristics of those who reject God’s revelation. The first step in rejecting God is not to glorify Him as the supreme, all-knowing, unquestionable God. This was what happened with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. They questioned God’s intent behind His command (Genesis 3:1-6). They ceased to magnify and honor God like they once did. Submission to God as supreme is always humbling, and therefore “self” rebels. Second, they were not thankful. This is always a sign that self is exalting itself above God. A selfless person can be content with very little. A self-centered person cannot be satisfied. Thankfulness is a sign of humility, and cultivating a life of thankfulness will help keep “self” in its proper place. The third steps away is that the person’s mind imagines foolish, wicked, and idolatrous thoughts. This leads to a dark, hardened heart.

Wesley. Because, knowing God — For the wiser heathens did know that there was one supreme God; yet from low and base considerations they conformed to the idolatry of the vulgar. They did not glorify him as God, neither were thankful — They neither thanked him for his benefits, nor glorified him for his divine perfection. But became vain — Like the idols they worshipped. In their reasonings — Various, uncertain, foolish. What a terrible instance have we of this in the writings of Lucretius! What vain reasonings, and how dark a heart, amidst so pompous professions of wisdom!

ESV. The root sin is the failure to value God above all things so that He is not honored and praised as He should be. Human beings are foolish, not in the sense of intellectual insufficiency, but in their rejection of God’s lordship in their lives. They knew of God’s existence and attributes.

Verse 22.

“Professing to be wise, they became fools.”

Some of the elite claim that they don’t believe in God (Psalms 14:1 and 53:1) or don’t fear Him (Proverbs 1:7 and 8:13).

AMP. Claiming to be wise, they became fools [professing to be smart, they made simpletons of themselves).

TPT. The Aramaic version of NT reads: “they became insane.”

ESV. Brilliant people who don’t honor God miss the purpose of life and are therefore fools. See Pro. 1:7, 22; 10:1; 12:15; 14:7;17:25; 20:3.

Verse 23.

“And changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.”

Womack. Anyone who believes that our Creator God is like an animal is a fool. Mankind the crown of creation. Why would God be any less than us?

Wesley. And changed — With the utmost folly. Here are three degrees of ungodliness and of punishment: the first is described, Romans 1:21-24; the second, Romans 1:25-27; the third, in Romans 1:28, and following verses. The punishment in each case is expressed by God gave them up. If a man will not worship God as God, he is so left to himself that he throws away his very manhood. Reptiles — Or creeping things; as beetles, and various kinds of serpents.

ESV. Idolatry is the fundamental sin. In addition to the images housed in great Temples, Roman families commonly help representations of individual “house gods” in their homes. Pagan religions worshipped idols in the form of beasts, or in the mixed beast/human such as the gods of Egypt.

Verse 24.

“Therefore, God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves.”

AMP. “Therefore, God gave them up to the lusts of their [own] hearts to sexual impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves [abandoning them to the degrading power of sin].”

Womack. Romans 1:18-20 shows that God reveals Himself against all our sin. But if we refuse His witness as Romans 1:21 speaks of, He will give us up to do what we want. That is a terrible thing. And this verse describes those who commit sexual sins as being given up to them.

The phrase “give up” means “to surrender.” So, when God gives up a person to sin, He surrenders them to their lust. The Lord allows them to go in the direction that they want to do. He doesn’t force anyone to follow Him.

Sexual sin dishonors our bodies.

Fritz Rienecker’s “Linguistic Key to the Greek New Testament” says that “uncleanness” refers to “sexual aberration,” which is any sexual act that is abnormal.

This phrase “God gave them up” is used twice in this passage (here and in Romans 1:26), and “God gave them over” is used once (Romans 1:28). The foundation of these phrases is that there is a God-given, intuitive knowledge inside each of us that would prevent them from committing depraved acts. However, God will not force that restraint upon us against our will. If people persist in their rebellion, He will give them up to their own hearts’ lust. Therefore, those who commit the terrible acts spoken of here (idolatry, homosexuality, etc.) and say they have no conviction about it are either lying (Romans 1:18-20) or have been given a reprobate mind.

Wesley. Wherefore — One punishment of sin is from the very nature of it, as Romans 1:27; another, as here, is from vindictive justice. Uncleanness — Ungodliness and uncleanness are frequently joined, 1 Thessalonians 4:5 as are the knowledge of God and purity. God gave them up — By withdrawing his restraining grace.

Verse 25.

“Who exchanged the truth of God for a lie and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.”

Comment. “The lie” is an idol. They did not worship – esteem – God; rather, they esteemed some idol which is a lie. An idol does not deliver from sin, does not give eternal happiness, and is not something that is ultimately good for you.

Wesley. Who changed the truth — The true worship of God. Into a lie — False, abominable idolatries. And worshipped — Inwardly. And served — Outwardly.

Verse 26.

“For this reason, God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature.”

Romans 1:24 speaks of God giving them up to “uncleanness.” This verse and Romans 1:27 speak of homosexual acts. So, at least in this instance, “uncleanness” (see Mark 5:2-13) refers to homosexual acts.

Romans 1:26-27 is speaking of lesbian and homosexual acts.

ESV. Consumed or inflamed is a strong, inward, almost uncontrollable desire.

Wesley. Therefore, God gave them up to vile affections — To which the heathen Romans were then abandoned to the last degree; and none more than the emperors themselves.

 

 

Verse 27.

Likewise, also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.

This is the emotional and physical consequences of homosexual acts. Natural consequences of sin are not necessarily God’s direct punishment on the individuals who commit these acts. Those who participate in homosexuality, which is expressly forbidden by God, are bringing punishment on themselves.

Wesley. Receiving the just recompense of their error — Their idolatry being punished with that unnatural lust, which was as horrible a dishonor to the body, as their idolatry was to God.

Verse 28.

“And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting.”

This is the third time in five verses where God give the ungodly over to something. (Romans 1:24 and 26) spoke of the Lord giving people up to vile sins. Here, God gives the people up to a reprobate mind - a mind that no longer has the intuitive conviction that Romans 1:18-20 speaks of.

A reprobate mind is a mind that has no restraints. There is no conviction. The conscience has been seared as with a hot iron (1 Timothy 4:2). Those who are reprobate know they are wrong and don’t care. Anyone who still cares, regardless of what they have done, isn’t reprobate.

John 6:44 says, “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him.” Without the drawing power of the Holy Spirit, none of us have any desire for God. Those who are reprobate are people who don’t like God and the knowledge He is trying to impart to them, so He just leaves them alone to live as they please without any conscience.

2 Thessalonians 2:10-12 describes God giving a strong delusion to people who don’t love the truth. This is done to blind them to truth so they will be damned. See Isaiah 6:9-10.

The reason they did not retain God in their knowledge is because the knowledge of God would have convicted them and restrained them from committing such acts.

The Greek word translated “reprobate” means undiscerning, not distinguishing, and void of judgment. It may be understood as “an abominable mind, a mind to be abhorred by God and man” (“The Hebrew-Greek Keyword Study Bible” by Dr. Spiros Zodhiates). This is describing the state of a person who has “passed the point of no return” with God. As the context explains, God has revealed Himself to every person who has ever walked the earth. But there comes a point when God’s Spirit will not strive with man any longer (Genesis 6:3). When that happens, individuals are hopelessly damned because people cannot come to the Father except the Spirit draws them. Therefore, reprobate people are people whom God has abandoned, and there is no hope of salvation for them.

Paul applied this term to Christians who had renounced their faith in Christ (2 Corinthians 13:5-7, 2 Timothy 3:8, and Titus 1:16. Some people may fear that they are reprobate because of some sin or blasphemy that they have uttered. However, as these verses describe, reprobate people are past feeling remorse or conviction. If people are repentant over some terrible action, then that itself is proof that the Spirit of God is still drawing them, and they are not reprobate. Reprobate people wouldn’t care.

Wesley. God gave them up to an undiscerning mind — Treated of, Romans 1:32. To do things not expedient — Even the vilest abominations, treated of verses Romans 1:29-31.

Verse 29.

“Being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers.”

AMP. Until they were filled (permeated and saturated) with every kind of unrighteousness, iniquity, grasping and covetous greed, and malice. [They were] full of envy and jealousy, murder, strife, deceit and treachery, ill will and cruel ways. [They were] secret backbiters and gossipers,

Covetousness is the same as idolatry (Colossians 3:5). Envy near to murder (James 3:16). Fornication is all illicit sexual behavior, including homosexuality.

We may think quarreling is okay, but Paul lists it with murder and sexual sins.

The word for “whisperers” means “a slanderer or maligner.” A “backbiter” slanders the character of another when that person is absent. Pride is an abomination to God. A “covenant breaker” is an untrustworthy person who can’t be trusted to keep his or her word.

The truth is that there are no little sins or acceptable sins. All unrighteousness is sin (1 John 5:17) and should be rejected.

Wesley. Filled with all injustice — This stands in the first place; unmercifulness, in the last. Fornication — Includes here every species of uncleanness. Maliciousness — The Greek word properly implies a temper which delights in hurting another, even without any advantage to itself.

Verse 30.

“Backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents.”

Verse 31.

“Undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful.”

Womack. The Greek word translated “without understanding” means “unintelligent.” When the Lord withdraws from a reprobate person, intelligence leaves. Without the influence of the Lord, we are all unintelligent (Proverbs 1:7, 9:10; and Colossians 2:3). The fool says there is no God (Psalms 14:1 and 53:1).

“Without natural affection” means “hard-hearted towards kindred” (Strong’s Concordance).

The Greek word translated “implacable” means “without libation (which usually accompanied a treaty), i.e. (by implication) truceless” (Strong’s Concordance). A libation was a sacrificial liquid offering. This is speaking of a person who never makes peace or a truce. They are hardhearted.

“Without natural affection” means “hard-hearted towards kindred” (Strong’s Concordance). This describes someone who is unloving and without the natural tenderness that a mother would express toward a child.

Wesley. Covenant-breakers — It is well known, the Romans, as a nation, from the very beginning of their commonwealth, never made any scruple of vacating altogether the most solemn engagement, if they did not like it, though made by their supreme magistrate, in the name of the whole people. They only gave up the general who had made it, and then supposed themselves to be at full liberty.

Without natural affection — The custom of exposing their own new - born children to perish by cold, hunger, or wild beasts, which so generally prevailed in the heathen world, particularly among the Greeks and Romans, was an amazing instance of this; as is also that of killing their aged and helpless parents, now common among the American heathens.

 

 

Verse 32.

“Who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.”

AMP. Though they are fully aware of God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve to die, they not only do them themselves but approve and applaud others who practice them.

Wesley. Not only do the same but have pleasure in those that practice them — This is the highest degree of wickedness. A man may be hurried by his passions to do the thing he hates; but he that has pleasure in those that do evil, loves wickedness for wickedness' sake. And hereby he encourages them in sin and heaps the guilt of others upon his own head.

Reprobate people love those who live ungodly lives as they do. But righteous people hate evil (Proverbs 8:13).

When God turns individuals over to a reprobate mind, they do not lose their knowledge of what’s right and wrong; they just lose God’s conviction about it. They still know they are wrong, but they don’t care.

Chapter 2.

Verse 1.

“Therefore, you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things.”

AMP. Therefore, you have no excuse or justification, every one of you who [hypocritically] judges and condemns others; for in passing judgment on another person, you condemn yourself, because you who judge [from a position of arrogance or self-righteousness] are habitually practicing the very same things [which you denounce].

Overview: In chapter one, Paul proved that the Gentiles were guilty before God and had no excuse for their vile actions (Romans 1:20). That’s exactly what the Jews believed. The Jews maintained that unless the Gentiles converted to Judaism and observed the Law of Moses (especially circumcision), they couldn’t be saved. However, Paul had then turned his argument against the Jews, showing that they were as guilty, or more guilty, than the Gentiles. He ended chapter two with statements about the Gentiles’ faith being superior to the Jews’ circumcision and concluded that a true Jew is born of faith, not of the flesh (Romans 2:28-29). Thus, the second chapter proves the Jews, or religious persons, are as guilty before God as the heathen. Then, in chapter three, Paul proclaimed that everyone–Jew and Gentile–were in “the same boat.” Both groups were sinners and both groups could be saved in only one way: through faith in the atoning blood of Jesus Christ.

We may not transgress in the same way, but we are all guilty of lawlessness (James 2:10) and are disqualified from being the judge. Also, when people condemn one another, they show they have a knowledge of right and wrong. They can’t claim ignorance for their offenses. Romans 2:2.

The Greek word rendered “judgest” three times in this verse and once in Romans 2:3 means a harsh, condemning type of judgment that Mat. 7:1 warns against.

Wesley. Therefore — The apostle now makes a transition from the gentiles to the Jews, till, at Romans 2:6, he comprises both. Thou art inexcusable — Seeing knowledge without practice only increases guilt. O man — Having before spoken of the gentile in the third person, he addresses the Jew in the second person. But he calls him by a common appellation, as not acknowledging him to be a Jew. See verses Romans 2:17,28.

Whosoever thou art that judgest — Censurest, condemnest. For in that thou judgest the other — The heathen. Thou condemnest thyself; for thou doest the same things — In effect; in many instances.

ESV. Paul focuses on the sins of the Jews in this chapter.

God does not condemn them because they judged others but because they practiced the sins they condemned in others. Those sins specified in 1: 29-31. All people are without excuse since all, without exception, have sinned against God.

Verse 2.

“But we know that the judgment of God is according to truth against those who practice such things.”

AMP. “[But] we know that the judgment (adverse verdict, sentence) of God falls justly and in accordance with truth upon those who practice such things.”

TPT. Or “It (judgment) is based on truth.”

“God’s judgment is always accurate. It is based on truth.

Wesley. For we know — Without thy teaching That the judgment of God - Not thine, who exceptest thyself from its sentence. Is according to truth — Is just, making no exception, Romans 2:5,6,11; and reaches the heart as well as the life, Romans 2:16.

Verse 3.

“And do you think this, O man, you who judge those practicing such things, and doing the same, that you will escape the judgment of God?”

AMP. “And do you think or imagine, O man, when you judge and condemn those who practice such things and yet do them yourself, that you will escape God’s judgment and elude His sentence and adverse verdict?”

Wesley. That thou shalt escape — Rather than the gentile.

Womack. The self-righteous may argue that they don’t commit sins that the non-church goers do, but they do. They may not worship idols, but they are covetous. Colossians 3:5 reveals such is idolatry. They may not have committed adultery, but they had lusted in their hearts. Jesus said that was equal to adultery (Matthew 5:28). They may not have murdered anyone, but they hated. Those both come from the same root sin (Matthew 5:21-22).

Verse 4.

“Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?”

AMP. “Or are you [so blind as to] trifle with and presume upon and despise and underestimate the wealth of His kindness and forbearance and long-suffering patience? Are you unmindful or ignorant [of the fact] that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repent (to change your mind and inner man to accept God’s will)?”

TPT. 4(d). Aramaic: “Do you not know that it is the fulfillment of God to bring you blessing.”

ESV. The Jews thought that their covenant relationship with God would save them from final judgment. They had often experienced His goodness, kindness, and forbearance. They felt they had no need to rely on Christ.

Womack. The Jews of Paul’s day and religious legalists of our day reject. They refuse to accept that the goodness of God is sufficient motivation for people to turn from sin. They insist that fear of punishment is a superior motivator. It is true that fear is a more familiar motivator to most people. Even a lost person or carnal Christian can identify with fear and respond to it. But as 1 John 4:18 states, “Fear hath torment.” Those who respond to God through fear will also be tormented with thoughts of doubt and condemnation as to whether they have done enough. Fear will move some toward God, but it is inferior to love. There is nothing that fear can do that love can’t do better and without the side effect of torment. Those motivated to seek God because of fear will cease to be motivated when things are going well. They become the ones who only pray when they are in trouble. Those who come to God because of His goodness will see God as the source of their success and continue to serve God in the good and the bad times. The world, and especially religion, has used negative reasons to motivate us. The Gospel uses the positive reason of God’s great love to draw us unto God. We need to renew our minds to line up with God’s thinking.

Wesley. Or despisest thou — Dost thou go farther still, - from hoping to escape his wrath, to the abuse of his love? The riches — The abundance. Of his goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering — Seeing thou both hast sinned, dost sin, and wilt sin. All these are afterwards comprised in the single word goodness. Leadeth thee - That is, is designed of God to lead or encourage thee to it.

Verse 5.

“But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God.”

AMP. “But by your callous stubbornness and impenitence of heart you are storing up wrath and indignation for yourself on the day of wrath and indignation, when God’s righteous judgment (just doom) will be revealed.”

ESV. A soft and repentant heart is needed to avert God’s wrath on the Day. Such repentance would express itself in trust in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of their sins.

Womack. James said, “For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment” (James 2:13). Those who show mercy will be shown mercy, but those who are unmerciful will reap the same when they stand before the judgment seat of God.

The same Greek word that was translated “treasurest up” is translated “lay up” twice in Matthew 6:19-20. Matthew 6:19-20  speaks of laying up treasures in heaven through our giving, but this verse is revealing that hypocrites lay-up wrath for themselves for the day of judgment.

Wesley. Treasurest up wrath — Although thou thinkest thou art treasuring up all good things. O what a treasure may a man lay-up either way, in this short day of life! To thyself - Not to him whom thou judgest.

In the day of wrath, and revelation, and righteous judgment of God — Just opposite to "the goodness and forbearance and longsuffering" of God. When God shall be revealed, then shall also be "revealed" the secrets of men's hearts, Romans 2:16. Forbearance and revelation respect God and are opposed to each other; longsuffering and righteous judgment respect the sinner; goodness and wrath are words of a more general import.

Verse 6.

“who “will render to each one according to his deeds.”

AMP. “For He will render to every man according to his works [justly, as his deeds deserve].”

TPT. See also Ps. 62:12, Pro. 24:12, Mt. 16: 27.

ESV. Judgment is according to works.

This doesn’t negate faith in a Savior. Putting faith in what Jesus did for us is a deed that will grant salvation. We will be granted eternal life based on one deed.

Romans 2: 6-16 is speaking of the God’s final judgment at the Day of Christ. The Lord will judge us and render a due reward according to every person’s work. From the context, Paul preached that Jews and Gentiles alike have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). Therefore, we cannot be saved by our actions (Romans 3:20). The only way to be saved is through faith in Jesus and what He did for us (Romans 3:24-28) at Calvary. These verses don’t contradict everything else that Paul said when he proclaimed that God’s acceptance is not based on performance. The action that will be rewarded with eternal life is the action of faith (John 3:16).

Faith alone saves, but saving faith is never alone. True faith has actions (James 2:17-20). The Greek word translated “do not obey” in Romans 2:8 means “to disbelieve (willfully and perversely).” Faith is the issue, even though actions are being spoken of. Therefore, those whose faith is causes them to patiently continue in well doing (Romans 2:7) will receive eternal life. Those whose rejection of God’s mercy causes them to disobey (disbelieve) the truth will receive indignation, wrath, tribulation, and anguish (Romans 2:8-9).

Verse 7.

“Eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality.”

AMP. “To those who by patient persistence in well-doing [springing from piety] seek [unseen but sure] glory and honor and [the eternal blessedness of] immortality, He will give eternal life.”

TPT. Doing what pleases God comes from faith. We must first believe in Jesus, the Anointed One. Then our life and works will bring honor to him. Jo. 67: 28-29, Heb. 11:6.

ESV comment on verse 7-11. Paul is speaking of real obedience that is rewarded on that day – such obedience being the result of the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit.

Wesley. To them that seek for glory — For pure love does not exclude faith, hope, desire, 1 Corinthians 15:58.

Romans 3:23: “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” Romans 6:23 says the wages of sin is death. Therefore, if the only thing evaluated at the judgment was our actions based on self-effort to achieve righteousness, we would all be damned. But this verse (and hundreds of others) shows that we will receive what Jesus deserves, not what we deserve and that His mercy in us will return to us. (Hebrews 11:6).

Verse 8.

“But to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth but obey unrighteousness—indignation and wrath.”

AMP. “But for those who are self-seeking and self-willed and disobedient to the Truth but responsive to wickedness, there will be indignation and wrath.”

TPT. God’s wrath is mentioned twelve times in Romans. 1:18: 2:5: 3:5: 4:15; 5:9; 9:22; 12:19: 13:4-5.

God’s Word is truth (John 17:17). But no one has ever kept all the precepts of God’s Word except Jesus (Hebrews 7:26). So, this cannot be interpreted in such a way that removes Jesus and salvation by grace through faith.

Those who refuse the great salvation offered freely through faith in Jesus will receive indignation and wrath.

Wesley. But to them that are contentious — Like thee, O Jew, who thus fightest against God. The character of a false Jew is disobedience, stubbornness, impatience.

Indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish — Alluding to Psalm 78:49: "He cast upon them," the Egyptians. "The fierceness of his anger, wrath, and indignation, and trouble;" and finely intimating, that the Jews would in the day of vengeance be more severely punished than even the Egyptians were when God made their plagues so wonderful.

Verse 9.

“Tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek.”

AMP. “[And] there will be tribulation and anguish and calamity and constraint for every soul of man who [habitually] does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek (Gentile).”

Wesley. Of the Jew first — Here we have the first express mention of the Jews in this chapter. And it is introduced with great propriety. There having been trained up in the true religion, and having had Christ and his apostles first sent to them, will place them in the foremost rank of the criminals that obey not the truth.

We deserve tribulation and wrath because we have sinned (Romans 3:23). But praise God for His Son, Jesus. Jesus took the wrath due me, gave me His nature, and gives me not what I deserve but what He deserves. We are cleansed from all our sin (Acts 13:39 and Revelation 1:5).

Verse 10.

“But glory, honor, and peace to everyone who works what is good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.”

AMP. “But glory and honor and [heart] peace shall be awarded to everyone who [habitually] does good, the Jew first and also the Greek (Gentile).”

The Scriptures reveal that “there is none righteous, no, not one” (Romans 3:10; see also Psalms 14:1-3, 53:1-3; and Romans 3:10-18). “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23), and the wage for our sin is death (Romans 6:23). Only through faith in the finished work of Christ can we be saved (Ephesians 2:8, Romans 5:2, and Titus 3:4-5).

Only born-again, forgiven people through the Blood of Christ go to heaven and only people who didn’t accept the forgiveness offered through Jesus go to hell.

When Jesus gives us the gift of salvation (when we receive what He did for us), our response is to live holy lives. Holiness is a fruit of salvation and not the root of it. Those who have been saved by grace through faith exhibit and work out actions in a changed life.

Wesley. But glory — Just opposite to "wrath," from the divine approbation. Honor — Opposite to "indignation," by the divine appointment; and peace now and forever, opposed to tribulation and anguish.

 

Verse 11.

“For there is no partiality with God.”

AMP. “For God shows no partiality [undue favor or unfairness; with Him one man is not different from another].”

Womack. God is not a respecter of persons ( Deuteronomy 10:17, 2 Chronicles 19:7, Job 34:19, Proverbs 24:23, Acts 10:34, Galatians 2:6, Ephesians 6:9, Colossians 3:25, and 1 Peter 1:17).

Wesley. For there is no respect of persons with God — He will reward everyone according to his works. But this is well consistent with his distributing advantages and opportunities of improvement, according to his own good pleasure.

Verse 12.

“For as many as have sinned without law will also perish without law, and as many as have sinned in the law will be judged by the law.”

As Paul explained in Romans 1:18-20, everyone has an intuitive knowledge of the holiness of God and that they are sinners. They are guilty before God, they know it, and they are without excuse ( Romans 1:20). Those who have been exposed to the Law of God are doubly guilty. They have not only the conviction of their consciences but also the revealed Word of God that shows them their sin and their need for a Savior Romans 3:19-20).

Wesley. For as many as have sinned — He speaks as of the time past, for all time will be past at the day of judgment. Without the law — Without having any written law.

Shall also perish without the law — Without regard had to any outward law; being condemned by the law written in their hearts. The word also shows the agreement of the manner of sinning, with the manner of suffering. Perish — He could not so properly say, shall be judged without the law.

ESV. All will be judged by the standard which they had. The gentiles will perish for their sin despite not having the law. The Jews will perish despite having the law because they failed to keep it.

 

 

 

Verse 13.

“For not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified.”

The Jews took because the Lord had chosen them as His people and given them His Law. But Paul revealed that if they didn't keep the Law, then the Law would condemn them ( 2 Corinthians 3:7-9 and James 2:10). Knowing what God's Word says is not enough. Faith without works is dead ( James 2:20). We need to do the Word ( James 1:22-25).

ESV. Doers of the law are righteous before God.

Wesley. For not the hearers of the law are, even now, just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified - Finally acquitted and rewarded a most sure and important truth, which respects the gentiles also, though principally the Jews. St. Paul speaks of the former, Romans 2:14, etc.; of the latter, Romans 2:17, etc. Here is therefore no parenthesis; for the sixteenth verse also depends on the fifteenth, not on the twelfth. Romans 2:16,15,12.

TPT. “No one keeps the law in every part; that is why Yeshua came to redeem and save us. Ro. 3:20.

Verse 14.

“For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves.”

Womack. This is speaking of the intuitive knowledge of God described in Romans 1.

Wesley. For when the gentiles — That is, any of them. St. Paul, having refuted the perverse judgment of the Jews concerning the heathens, proceeds to show the just judgment of God against them. He now speaks directly of the heathens, to convince the heathens. Yet the concession he makes to these serves more strongly to convince the Jews.

Do by nature — That is, without an outward rule; though this also, strictly speaking, is by preventing grace. The things contained in the law — The ten commandments being only the substance of the law of nature. These, not having the written law, are a law unto themselves - That is, what the law is to the Jews, they are, by the grace of God, to themselves; namely, a rule of life.

 

 

Verse 15.

“Who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them.”

Nonbelievers’ consciences bear witness to the law written in their hearts. So, people who haven’t heard the Law still have that law written in their hearts, which their consciences use to judge their actions and thoughts. But the conscience alone isn’t a trustworthy guide. It can be seared (1 Timothy 4:2) and weakened (1 Corinthians 8:7, 10, and 12). We must purge ourselves from dead works (Hebrews 9:14) and evil consciences (Hebrews 10:22).

We can’t ignore the conscience (1 Timothy 1:5, 19; and 1 John 3:20-21), but we can’t rely on it exclusively. God’s Word is the final authority in our lives.

Wesley. Who show — To themselves, to other men, and, in a sense, to God himself. The work of the law — The substance, though not the letter, of it. Written on their hearts — By the same hand which wrote the commandments on the tables of stone.

Their conscience — There is none of all its faculties which the soul has less in its power than this. Bearing witness — In a trial there are the plaintiff, the defendant, and the witnesses. Conscience and sin itself are witnesses against the heathens. Their thoughts sometimes excuse, sometimes condemn, them. Among themselves — Alternately, like plaintiff and defendant. Accusing or even defending them — The very manner of speaking shows that they have far more room to accuse than to defend.

Womack. The conscience (part of the soul) is the part of us that tells us what is right and wrong. Our thoughts accuse or excuse us. Even a Christian’s conscience can be defiled (1 Corinthians 8:7), evil (Hebrews 10:22), and weak (1 Corinthians 8:7 and 10), but the born-again spirit cannot be any of those things.

A good conscience is essential to faith. Without a good conscience, our faith shipwrecks (1 Timothy 1:19). A good conscience produces confidence (1 John 3:21 and Hebrews 10:35). An evil conscience condemns us (1 John 3:20). The word “conscience” is found thirty-one times in the New Testament (John 8:9; Acts 23:1, 24:16; Romans 2:15, 9:1, 13:5; 1 Corinthians 8:7, 10, 12, 10:25, 27-29; 2 Corinthians 1:12, 4:2; 1 Timothy 1:5, 19, 3:9,4:2; 2 Timothy 1:3; Titus 1:15; Hebrews 9:9, 14, 10:2, 22, 13:18; 1 Peter 2:19, 3:16, and 21).

Verse 16.

“In the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel.”

Womack. Paul received his revelation of the Gospel from God. He was sure that God gave it to him. See also Galatians 1:8-12.

Wesley. In the day — That is, who show this in the day. Everything will then be shown to be what it really is. In that day will appear the law written in their hearts as it often does in the present life.

When God shall judge the secrets of men — On secret circumstances depends the real quality of actions, frequently unknown to the actors themselves, Romans 2:29. Men generally form their judgments, even of themselves merely from what is apparent.

According to my gospel — According to the tenor of that gospel which is committed to my care. Hence it appears that the gospel also is a law.

Verse 17.

“Indeed, you are called a Jew, and rest on the law, and make your boast in God.”

God gave the Jews His Word, which gave them a superior knowledge Him. That made them more accountable than other people.

Wesley. But if thou art called a Jew — This highest point of Jewish glorying, after a farther description of it interposed, Romans 2:17-20, and refuted, Romans 2:21-24, is itself refuted, Romans 2:25, etc. The description consists of twice five articles; of which the former five, Romans 2:17,18, show what he boasts of in himself; the other five, Romans 2:19,20, what he glories in with respect to others. The first particular of the former five answers to the first of the latter; the second, to the second, and so on.

And restest in the law — Dependest on it, though it can only condemn thee. And gloriest in God — As thy God; and that, too, to the exclusion of others.

TPT. Or “you take comfort in the law.”

ESV. Paul details the benefits of being Jewish.

Verse 18.

“And know His will, and approve the things that are excellent, being instructed out of the law.”

Wesley. Blind, in darkness, ignorant, babes — These were the titles which the Jews generally gave the gentiles.

ESV. The advantages of being Jewish are real. God gave them His law and they can instruct the nations.

Verse 19.

“And are confident that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness.”

Paul speaks against the Jews' spiritual pride. He ought to know. At one time, he was the Pharisee of the Pharisees ( Philippians 3:4-5). The Lord blessed the Jewish nation like no other – so long as they remained in faith ( Romans 4:1-5).

Likewise, all New Covenant believers have been blessed with all spiritual blessings ( Ephesians 1:3), but it's not because of our holiness. God commended His love toward us while we were sinners ( Romans 5:8) – not for works of righteousness that we did ( Titus 3:5). We are loved because God is love ( 1 John 4:8), not because we are lovely. Therefore, we have no reason to boast ( Romans 3:27). We can only be thankful ( 1 Corinthians 4:7)

Verse 20.

“An instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, having the form of knowledge and truth in the law.”

Wesley. Having the form of knowledge and truth — That is, the most accurate knowledge of the truth.

Paul previously spoke to the Jews who had knowledge of God's Word and felt superior to those who didn't. They gloated in their knowledge. But here, Paul says they only had a form of knowledge. The word "form,” from the Greek means appearance or semblance. They had the "appearance" and "formulas," but they missed the heart of God's Word.

Some people can quote the Bible but don't know it. As Paul said in 1 Corinthians 8:1-2, "Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth. And if any man thinks that he knoweth anything, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know." True understanding of the Word of God teaches us how much we don't know. It leaves no room for spiritual pride.

Verse 21.

“You, therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself? You who preach that a man should not steal, do you steal?”

Wesley. Thou dost not teach thyself — He does not teach himself who does not practice what he teaches.

Dost, thou steal, commit adultery, commit sacrilege — Sin grievously against thy neighbor, thyself, God. St. Paul had shown the gentiles, first their sins against God, then against themselves, then against their neighbors. He now inverts the order: for sins against God are the most glaring in a heathen, but not in a Jew.

Thou that abhorrest idols — Which all the Jews did, from the time of the Babylonish captivity. Thou committest sacrilege — Doest what is worse, robbing Him "who is God over all" of the glory which is due to him. None of these charges were rashly advanced against the Jews of that age; for, as their own historian relates, some even of the priests lived by rapine, and others in gross uncleanness. And as for sacrilegiously robbing God and his altar, it had been complained of ever since Malachi; so that the instances are given with great propriety and judgment.

The Jews took pride in their keeping of the Law, but none could boast that they had kept the Law perfectly. “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Paul highlighted three areas where they boasted of their holiness when they sinned in those very things. They boasted that they didn’t steal, but Paul revealed that they did steal. Jesus also rebuked the Pharisees for stealing. This was not the typical type of theft, but what we would call “white-collar crime.” Paul said that they were adulterers, even though they prided themselves on not committing adultery. They were guilty of spiritual adultery if nothing else (James 4:4), and Jesus had revealed that adultery was also a sin of the heart, even if there was no action (Matthew 5:28). They also boasted that they kept themselves from idolatry, but Paul convicted them on this count also. He used the word “sacrilege”. This referred to them being temple robbers, thereby making direct reference to their covetousness, which is idolatry (Colossians 3:5). Therefore, even though they had a form of godliness, they were sinners just like the Gentiles, and their hypocrisy gave the Gentiles a reason to blaspheme God. This led Paul to proclaim that the Jews’ claim to some kind of special covenant with God was made void through their breaking of the Law. In the third chapter of Romans, he went on to draw the conclusion that everyone, Jew and Gentile, is in the same condition of sin and needs the same salvation through Christ.

Verse 22.

“You who say, “Do not commit adultery,” do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples?”

See above. Lust in our hearts is adultery ( Matthew 5:27-28). Covetousness is idolatry ( Colossians 3:5). The Jews were guilty.

ESV. Robbing temples was a common crime in the ancient world, because they contained valuable things that could be sold for quick money.

 

Verse 23.

“You who make your boast in the law, do you dishonor God through breaking the law?”

Womack. Legalists brag about their holiness. But they would admit that they have sinned too. Therein lies the problem when approaching God based on our goodness. A little sin doesn’t us more acceptable to God than those who have a lot of sin. If we keep the whole law and yet offend in one point, we become guilty of breaking all the law (James 2:10). We have all sinned and come short of God’s standard (Romans 3:23). Everyone needs a Savior. Some don’t need less saving than others. We are all in the same sinking boat (Galatians 3:22). So, those who boast of their relative holiness are deceived.

Verse 24.

“For “the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you,” as it is written.”

“Many unbelievers turn away from God because of the hypocrisy of religious people. See Isaiah 52:5, Ez. 36:20.

Verse 25.

“For circumcision is indeed profitable if you keep the law; but if you are a breaker of the law, your circumcision has become uncircumcision.”

If Jews, or anyone else, could keep the Law or even a set of laws, the Jewish covenant, sealed with the sign of circumcision, would made them righteous. But no one can keep the Law. Indeed, the Law was not given to provide a way to God. It was given to show us that we needed a savior. Because no one, including Jews, have never kept the Law, they are the same as uncircumcised in the sight of God.

ESV. The Jews were inclined to believe they would be spared at the Great Day due to their circumcision. Circumcision was required for all Jewish males for entrance into the covenant and was seen as a type of covenant protection. Paul states that those who violate the law are counted by God as uncircumcised, outside the covenant, and therefore destined for judgment. Circumcision would only be valuable for valuable if one could keep the law perfectly and no one could do that.

Wesley. Thy circumcision is become uncircumcision — is so already in effect. Thou wilt have no more benefit by it than if thou hadst never received it. The very same observation holds about baptism.

 

 

Verse 26.

“Therefore, if an uncircumcised man keeps the righteous requirements of the law, will not his uncircumcision be counted as circumcision?”

Paul did not say that the uncircumcised kept the Law. He mentioned them keeping the “righteousness” of the Law (this verse) and “fulfilling” the Law (Romans 2:27)–there is a difference. A person can fulfill the righteousness of the Law through faith in Jesus, but no one, Jew or Gentile, can keep the Law and achieve righteousness that way.

Wesley. If the uncircumcision — That is, a person uncircumcised. Keep the law — Walk agreeably to it. Shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision — In the sight of God?

Verse 27.

“And will not the physically uncircumcised, if he fulfills the law, judge you who, even with your written code and circumcision, are a transgressor of the law?”

Circumcision or uncircumcision don’t really matter ( Galatians 5:6). No one receives salvation without faith in a Savior. So, holiness or lack of holiness (rule keeping) doesn't make or break people when it comes to God. Only faith in our savior does.

Wesley. Yea, the uncircumcision that is by nature — Those who are, literally speaking, uncircumcised. Fulfilling the law — As to the substance of it.

Shall judge thee — Shall condemn thee in that day. Who by the letter and circumcision — Who having the bare, literal, external circumcision, transgresses the law.

Verse 28.

“For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh.”

Circumcision was an outward sign of what was supposed to be a greater inward reality. Paul used this term “sign” in referring to the circumcision of Abraham in Romans 4:11. First century Jews had ignored Heart Circumcision and had focused on the flesh (1 Samuel 16:7). It is the condition of the heart–not the flesh–that makes someone a child of God.

Wesley. For he is not a Jew — In the most important sense, that is, one of God's beloved people. Who is one in outward show only; neither is that the true, acceptable circumcision, which is apparent in the flesh.

ESV. True Jewishness and genuine circumcision are not ethnic or physical matters.

Verse 29.

“But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God.

Wesley. But he is a Jew — That is, one of God's people. Who is one inwardly — In the secret recesses of his soul. And the acceptable circumcision is that of the heart - Referring to Deuteronomy 30:6; the putting away all inward impurity. This is seated in the spirit, the inmost soul, renewed by the Spirit of God. And not in the letter — Not in the external ceremony. Whose praise is not from men, but from God — The only searcher of the heart.

ESV. True Jewishness and true circumcision are matters of the heart-the work of the Holy Spirit. Paul discusses the Letter/Spirit dichotomy three times (2 Cor. 3:6; Ro. 7:6). See remaining comments directly. There’re unclear to me.

A person can be a Jew by birth, but a child of Abraham must have the faith of Abraham (Galatians 3:7). There are promises to ethnic Jews, but the spiritual blessings promised to Abraham only come to those who are children of God by faith in Jesus as their Savior.

Paul says that those who are born again through faith in Jesus are heart circumcised (Colossians 2:11-12) and are true Jews. They aren’t Jews in nationality or religion, but they are the true people of God. Paul taught in Romans 9 that Gentiles who are united with Christ in the new birth are God’s people. See Galatians 3, where those who are saved through faith in Jesus are Abraham’s seed and heirs according to the promise (Galatians 3:16, 22, and 26-29). The church is therefore God’s chosen people on earth. God has forsaken the Jews. See Romans 9. There are prophecies that apply to the ethnic nation of Israel that will be fulfilled. However, the New Testament church, composed of Jews and Gentiles, is now God’s kingdom on earth.

Womack. Paul places the spirit in the heart of man. This has led some to believe that the heart and spirit are the same. However, 1 Peter 3:4 refers to the spirit of man as the hidden man of the heart, implying that the spirit comprises only a part of the heart. The heart of man is made up of two parts: The soul and the spirit. This is the reason the Scripture speaks of having two minds in our hearts (James 4:8) and why we must believe with all our hearts (Acts 8:37), not just a part.

The Greek word for “letter” means “a writing, i.e. a letter, note, epistle, book, etc.” Circumcision is spiritual rather than natural. True circumcision is a born-again nature and not a mark in the flesh.

 

Chapter 3.

Verse 1.

“What advantage then has the Jew, or what is the profit of circumcision?”

Paul had proved that the Jews were as guilty as the Gentiles. Then, “Why be a Jew?” Paul answered that question in Romans 3:2 Romans 9:4-5.

ESV. After arguing that the Spirit’s work in Gentiles renders them true Jews and the true circumcision, Paul asks whether there is advantage or value (for salvation) of being an ethnic Jew with circumcision.

Wesley. What then, may some say, is the advantage of the Jew, or of the circumcision - That is, those that are circumcised, above the gentiles?

Verse 2.

“Much in every way! Chiefly because to them were committed the oracles of God.”

God committed His Word to the Jews. They not only had the “intuitive God-knowledge” but also His Word – personally written to them. This served as added restraint from departing from God. They, however, missed the intent of God’s Law and were not taking advantage of the benefits God’s Word afforded them.

The Greek word for “oracles” means “an utterance (of God).” The Word of God that was committed to the Jews were “oracles.” In the Old Testament, “oracle” was used to designate the innermost part of the temple – where the Ark of the Covenant was kept (1 Kings 6:5, 16, 19-23, 31, 7:49, 8:6, 8; 2 Chronicles 3:16, 4:20, 5:7, 9; and Psalms 28:2). “Oracles” is used four times in the New Testament (Acts 7:38, this verse, Hebrews 5:12, and 1 Peter 4:11). It refers to God’s Word.

Wesley.  The scriptures, in which are so great and precious promises. Other prerogatives will follow, Romans 9:4-5. St. Paul here singles out this by which, after removing the objection, he will convict them so much the more.

ESV. The Jews have great advantages – mainly in possessing the oracles of God which are the O.T. scriptures and the promises to save Israel. Paul develops God’s faithfulness to the Jews in chapters 9-11. Not all Jews will be saved individually. See Dt. 4:8; 5: 22-27; Ps. 147:20.

TPT. These prophetic promises (messages, oracles, sayings) include the entire scope of revelation given to the Jews through the teachings of the Torah and the many prophecies of the coming Messiah, all finding their fulfillment in Jesus, the Anointed One.

Verse 3.

“For what if some did not believe? Will their unbelief make the faithfulness of God without effect?”

Paul used the phrase “the faith of God” here interchangeably with the “the oracles of God” in Romans 3:2. The Jew’s unbelief did not make God’s Word, or His promise, without effect. The Word of God is the faith of God. Faith comes by hearing God’s Word: God’s Word contains His faith.

“If some Jews did not believe God’s Word, is God’s Word of no effect?” The answer is “no” (Romans 3:4). Mark 7:13 says we make the Word of God of none effect through our traditions. What’s the harmony between these two verses? People can make God’s Word of no effect in their personal lives. Hebrews 4:2 says God’s Word will not profit people unless it is mixed with faith. So, God’s Word will not profit anyone who doesn’t believe it, but His Word doesn’t lose any power. That’s what Paul says. The Jewish nation’s unbelief did not void God’s promises concerning salvation through a savior. Salvation promises are of no effect to individuals who reject Jesus, but to those who put their faith in Jesus as Messiah, God’s Word has power to save.

Wesley. Shall their unbelief disannul the faithfulness of God — Will he not still make good his promises to them that do believe?

ESV. Even though the Jews were unfaithful and refused to trust and obey God, He remains faithful to them and therefore will fulfill His covenant promises – especially His promise to save them.

Verse 4.

“Certainly not! Indeed, let God be true but every man a liar. As it is written:

“That You may be justified in Your words and may overcome when You are judged.”

 

Paul uses the expression “God forbid” in Romans ten times (3:4, 3:6, 31; 6:2, 15; 7:7, 13; 9:14; 11:1, and 11). He used it four other times (1 Corinthians 6:15; Galatians 2:17, 3:21, and 6:14). The Greek words used for “God forbid” mean “let it not be, God forbid, far be it, perish the thought.” It expresses emphatic denial of the false conclusion (NO!) that someone could draw from his teaching.

The phrase “let God be true, but every man a liar” responds to the Romans 3:3 question. God and His promises are always true even if people don’t believe Him. Likewise, when anyone or anything contradicts God’s promise to us, we need to reckon God to be true and that person or thing to be a liar. We believe what God’s Word says about our prosperity is true (2 Corinthians 8:9 and 3 John 2), despite our checkbooks. We believe that we were healed by His stripes (Isaiah 53:5,Matthew 8:17, and 1 Peter 2:24). In every aspect of our lives, we need to believe God’s Word above what we see or hear.

This is David’s quote from Psalms 51:4 when he repents of his sin with Bathsheba and the murder of her husband. David admitted his sinfulness and proclaimed God’s justification in judging his sin however He saw fit. David’s sin did not made God unholy; it made David unholy. In his sinfulness, David saw the holiness of God more clearly than ever. That’s the lesson Paul drew from Ps. 51 and applying it here. God retained His holiness even when His people were unholy; He retains His faithfulness even when His people are unfaithful.

See Ps. 2:4.

Verse 5.

“But if our unrighteousness demonstrates the righteousness of God, what shall we say? Is God unjust who inflicts wrath? (I speak as a man.)”

Recap: The Jews’ faithlessness did not make God unfaithful to His Word. When we consider our unfaithfulness, God’s mercy and faithfulness are greater. So: If our unrighteousness reveals God’s righteousness in an even greater way, are we helping God? Can God judge us for something like that? Paul’s answer is “God forbid.” Yes, we would not have understood God’s love and goodness as clearly if we had not sinned, but our sins were a good thing. He never wanted us to know about sin by experience. No one can tell God on the Day of Judgment that his/her sins helped Him because they revealed how great His mercy was. The Lord is just in bringing judgment on those who refuse His offer of mercy given through Jesus, His Son.

Paul pointed out that the false argument was carnal logic. He expressed a thought spoken by opponents of the Gospel so that he could expose its error.

ESV. Paul considers a false implication that could be drawn from his argument. If the Jews could repent only by God’s grace, then it would be unrighteous, according to Paul’s Jewish opponents, for God to pour forth wrath on those who don’t repent, since as sinners they were unable to respond to Him.

Verse 6.

“Certainly not! For then how will God judge the world?”

Wesley. By no means. If it were unjust in God to punish that unrighteousness which is subservient to his own glory, how should God judge the world - Since all the unrighteousness in the world will then commend the righteousness of God.

ESV. He shows that the Jewish objector’s position is untenable, for then God could not judge the Gentile world either, so no evil could be punished.

Verse 7.

“For if the truth of God has increased through my lie to His glory, why am I also still judged as a sinner?”

Wesley. But may the objector reply, if the truth of God hath abounded - Has been more abundantly shown. Through my lie — If my lie, that is, practice contrary to truth, conduces to the glory of God, by making his truth shine with superior advantage. Why am I still judged as a sinner — Can this be said to be any sin at all? Ought I not to do what would otherwise be evil, that so much "good may come?" To this the apostle does not deign to give a direct answer but cuts the objector short with a severe reproof.

ESV. Some of Paul’s opponents insisted that He taught a doctrine of cheap grace – that God receives more glory when Christians do evil and then are forgiven. Paul rejects such a view (slander) but waits until Chapter 6 to answer it more fully.

Verse 8.

“And why not say, “Let us do evil that good may come”? —as we are slanderously reported and as some affirm that we say. Their condemnation is just.”

Paul was the leading teacher of God’s grace in the Bible. Some people slandered him by accusing him of encouraging people to sin. But God’s grace teaches us to deny ungodliness and worldly lust (Titus 2:11-12). Paul showed his rejection of those allegations by saying that the slanderers’ damnation was just.

Wesley. Whose condemnation is just — The condemnation of all who either speak or act in this manner. So, the apostle absolutely denies the lawfulness of " doing evil," any evil, "that good may come."

Verse 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.

In Romans 1:18-32, Paul showed that Gentiles are guilty before God for their sin because of an intuitive knowledge of God residing within them. In Romans 2, Paul showed that Jews also had the intuitive knowledge of God within them, but that they are worse off than the Gentiles because they also had the Glorious Word of God and had not kept it. In Romans 3, he brings this together by saying that everyone (Jew or Gentile, religious or pagan, moral or immoral) is guilty before God. Paul cited Old Testament scriptures to show that this was not a new doctrine.

Faith in the sacrificial death of a savior was always God’s plan for redemption. In Romans 3:9-18, Paul provides the reasons for salvation by grace through faith in Christ’s sacrificial death (Ephesians 2:8) and refutes the doctrines of every other religion. People simply cannot save themselves no matter how hard they try or even do; they must have a savior. No other religion provides a savior. The other world religions teach that the burden for salvation is upon man’s shoulders. That is, man, if he is to be saved, must save himself by works, by keeping some law. In contrast, Christianity provides a Savior, and not a human: God became the sacrifice and provided salvation for mankind.

Within the ranks of Christians, this is also the pivotal issue. Any deviation from trust in Jesus and His imputed righteousness alone for righteousness, to reliance on our works to produce holiness for right standing with God, is fatal error. Since people could never “make up” for their sins, God did what people could not do; He paid the price Himself. No other method of payment is acceptable.

Wesley. What then — Here he resumes what he said, verse1. Romans 3:1. Under sin — Under the guilt and power of it: the Jews, by transgressing the written law; the gentiles, by transgressing the law of nature.

ESV. Even though God has promised to fulfill his saving promises to the Jewish people (v. 1-4) they do not possess any inherent advantages for they too are under the power of sin. If the translation says “Greeks,” it means the entire Gentile world.

Verse 10-12.

“As it is written: There is none righteous, no, not one. (Psalms 14:1-3, 53:1-3.). There is none who understands. There is none who seeks after God. (Like Romans 3:10, this verse is also quoting Psalms 14:1-3, 53:1-3.). They have all turned aside. They have together become unprofitable. There is none who does good, no, not one.” ( Psalms 14:1-3, 53:1-3.)

 

Wesley. As it is written — That all men are under sin appears from the vices which have raged in all ages. St. Paul therefore rightly cites David and Isaiah, though they spoke primarily of their own age, and expressed what manner of men God sees, when he "looks down from heaven;" not what he makes them by his grace.

There is none righteous — This is the general proposition. The particulars follow: their dispositions and designs, Romans 3:11,12; their discourse, Romans 3:13,14; their actions, Romans 3:16-18Psalm 14:1.

There is none that understandeth — The things of God.

They have all turned aside — From the good way. They are become unprofitable — Helpless impotent, unable to profit either themselves or others.

ESV. Paul focuses on the sinfulness of every human being (Ps. 14:1-3; Ecc. 7:20). When Paul says that “no one seeks God, none is righteous, and no one does good, he means that no one on his own does nay good merits his salvation. Prior to salvation, even good actions are stained by evil because they are not done for God’s glory.

Verse 13.

Their throat is an open tomb (we would say “grave). With their tongues they have practiced deceit. The poison of asps is under their lips.” See Ps 5:9; Mt. 23:27.

 

A sepulcher is full of death, stench, and decay. Natural man's mouth is like that. It spews out death ( Proverbs 18:21). The uncontrolled (by the Holy Spirit) tongue spews forth words that are like the venom of a snake. (Ps. 140:3)

Wesley. Their throat — Is noisome and dangerous as an open sepulcher. Observe the progress of evil discourse, proceeding out of the heart, through the throat, tongue, lips, till the whole mouth is filled therewith. The poison of asps — Infectious, deadly backbiting, tale-bearing, evil-speaking, is under (for honey is on) their lips. An asp is a venomous kind of serpent. Psalm 5:9Psalm 140:3.

ESV. Paul focuses on the sins of the tongue. Ps. 5:9; 10:7. The grace analogy highlights either the corruption of the heart or the deadly effects of sin. Man deceives through flattery or lying. Cursing and malice characterize all men before salvation.

Verse 14.

“Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness.”

Paul commanded to bless and not curse ( Romans 12:14)(Regenerated Man). Having bitterness and cursing in our hearts is devilish (Carnal Man).

Wesley. Cursing — Against God. Bitterness — Against their neighbor. Psalm 10:7.

Verse 15.

“Their feet are swift to shed blood.”

TPT. “To shed blood” is to murder.

In Romans 3:10-18, Paul describes fallen human nature. The Law is necessary to reveal these sins (our sins) to us. He concludes by saying that everyone has sinned ( Romans 3:23).

ESV comments on v. 15-17. Paul considers the impact of evil actions. See Is. 59:7-8. Human history is littered with murder, warfare, and evil. Sinners cut a broad swath of evil.

Verse 16.

“Destruction and misery are in their ways.”

Man has fallen hard, devastatingly, and totally. The Lord created us for His pleasure ( Revelation 4:11). The Romans’ description of life is not the way the Lord intended us to live ( Genesis 6:5-6). Sadly, this is still descriptive of those who have not been transformed by the renewing of their minds ( Romans 12:2).

Verse 17.

“And the way of peace they have not known.”

This is fallen man apart from Jesus’ redemptive power. He is our peace (Ephesians 2:14). Without faith and trust in what Jesus did for us, there is no peace (Romans 5:1). Peace is more than the absence of problems. We have peace that passes understanding (Philippians 4:7), and those who keep their minds stayed on the Lord will have perfect, continuous peace (Isaiah 26:3). Peace comes through the knowledge of God (2 Peter 1:2-3).

Wesley. Of peace — Which can only spring from righteousness.

See also Is. 59: 7-8

Verse 18.

“There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

The fear of the Lord is to hate evil ( Proverbs 8:13). Those who don't hate evil don't fear God. Psalms 36:1 says, "The transgression of the wicked saith within my heart, that there is no fear of God before his eyes."

“Transgression [like an oracle] speaks to the wicked deep in his heart. There is no fear or dread of God before his eyes.” AMP

Wesley. The fear of God is not before their eyes — Much less is the love of God in their heart. Psalm 36:1.

ESV. Ps. 36:1 identifies the root cause of sin as the failure to fear and honor God. Any society that assumes that God will not discipline sin in this life or the judge it in the next with have no fear of God and will therefore give itself increasingly to evil.

Verse 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.”

Womack. Both Jews and Gentiles are sinners and therefore unable to save themselves through their own works of righteousness. Both need a savior. Paul reveals that the means of that salvation is through faith in Jesus the Messiah - not through people’s moral goodness.

Most Christians think the Law is intended for them. However, Paul says that the Law was given to the Jews. The purpose of the Law was to produce guilt; therefore, those who deny their guilt before God can profit from its condemning effect (2 Corinthians 3:9 and 1 Timothy 1:9). Christians who embrace the Old Testament Law (not everything that is in the Old Testament is Law) as God’s gift to them have misunderstood its purpose. That is not to say that we as Christians should reject the Old Testament as God’s holy Word–God forbid. It certainly is God’s Word and is, therefore, profitable for doctrine, reproof (2 Timothy 3:16). However, it needs to be interpreted considering the New Covenant. Jesus didn’t only set us free from the curse of the Law (Galatians 3:13); He also set us free from the Law itself (Romans 4:16, 6:14-15, 7:4-6, 8:2; 2 Corinthians 3:7; Galatians 2:19, 3:24-25, 4:21, 5:18; Ephesians 2:14-15; Colossians 2:14; 1 Timothy 1:9; Hebrews 7:18-19, 8:7-13, and 10:8-9). A desire to live under the commands of the Old Testament Law to achieve righteousness is a return to bondage and a misunderstanding of our New Covenant in Jesus.

Paul’s statements were radical because the Jews, like many church people today, think that God’s Law was given so that they can earn their salvation through keeping it. That wasn’t its purpose. The Law was not given for the purpose of producing justification (Romans 3:20, 28, 4:13; Galatians 2:16, 3:11, 5:4; and Titus 3:5). The Law was given to kill (2 Corinthians 3:7) and condemn (2 Corinthians 3:9). The Law strengthened sin (1 Corinthians 15:56) and made sin come alive (Romans 7:9). The Law gave sin an occasion against us to deceive us and work all manner of lust in us (Romans 7:8 and 11). In short, the Law strengthened our enemy, sin, not us.

Why would God give us something that strengthened our enemy? It’s because sin had already beaten us, and we didn’t know it. Mankind was deceived into thinking that “surely our sins weren’t that bad.” But God doesn’t grade on a curve. It doesn’t matter if we are better than someone else. All have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23), and the wages for sin (any sin) is death (Romans 6:23). James 2:10 says, “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, is guilty of all.” If we commit any sin, we are guilty of them all. It’s like breaking a window. It doesn’t matter how big a hole the window has. If it’s broken, the whole window must be replaced. If we break even the slightest command, we are guilty of breaking them all. So, God broke the deception that people had – of thinking they were good enough to be accepted by God. The way He did this was to give the Law. It made sin and its lust come alive in people.

If God requires that the holy perfection of the Law be kept, people cannot be saved by their own goodness. That’s God point. No one can be saved by keeping the Law, because all have sinned and come short of the Law’s perfection (Romans 3:23). Therefore, the Law stripped people of every excuse and made them guilty before God. The Law gave them knowledge of just how sinful they were and removed any deception of them ever being saved because they were such “nice guys” in comparison to others. As Paul said in Galatians 3:23, “But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.” The Law took away every hope of salvation except faith in a savior. That was the purpose of the Law.

Wesley. Whatsoever the law — The Old Testament. Saith, it saith to them that are under the law — That is, to those who own its authority, to the Jews, and not the gentiles. St. Paul quoted no scripture against them but pleaded with them only from the light of nature. Every mouth — Full of bitterness, Romans 3:14, and yet of boasting, Romans 3:27. May become guilty — May be fully convicted, and apparently liable to most just condemnation. These things were written of old, and were quoted by St. Paul, not to make men criminal, but to prove them so.

ESV. These verses represent the culmination and conclusion of v. 9-18 and all 1:18-3:20, showing that all, without exception, are sinners. The law, as is typically the case in Romans, refers to the Mosaic law.

TPS. No one will be boast that he/she is innocent before God. The whole world will be liable to judgment by God.

Verse 20.

“Therefore, by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.”

The Law wasn’t given so that we could follow it and achieve justification. Its purpose is show us that we are sinners and need salvation from outside of ourselves. The only way to gain salvation is to place our faith in Jesus and his sacrificial death on the Cross for us. We are justified by faith in Him without obeying the deeds of the Law (Romans 3:28).

Wesley. No flesh shall be justified — None shall be forgiven and accepted of God.

By the works of the law — On this ground, that he hath kept the law. St. Paul means chiefly the moral part of it, Romans 3:9,19Romans 2:21,26; etc. which alone is not abolished, Romans 3:31. And it is not without reason, that he so often mentions the works of the law, whether ceremonial or moral; for it was on these only the Jews relied, being wholly ignorant of those that spring from faith. For by the law is only the knowledge of sin - But no deliverance either from the guilt or power of it.

Verse 21: The Gospel Reveals and Declares God’s Righteousness

“But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets.”

Womack. This is one of Paul’s radical statements. It was opposed to the Jewish thinking of his day. There was O.T. mercy and grace; they were typified in the Old Testament sacrifices required by the Law. The Jews thought that God would grant forgiveness when they fulfilled the Law, as best they could, and then offered sacrifices prescribed in the Law for remaining sins.

For Paul to say that one could be righteous apart from the Law and O.T. sacrifices were unthinkable. And he went on to say that this (salvation through faith) way of achieving right standing with God was promised in the Old Testament Law and Prophets. In other words, salvation by faith in the coming Messiah was foretold in the O.T. Paul was not putting forth a new doctrine but expounding the true doctrine that the Old Testament Law and prophets had advocated all along. This left no doubt that the Jews’ trust in the Old Testament Law for justification was never God’s intent. They had misunderstood and misapplied the Law.

Wesley. But now the righteousness of God — That is, the manner of becoming righteous which God hath appointed. Without the law — Without that previous obedience which the law requires; without reference to the law, or dependence on it. Is manifested — In the gospel. Being attested by the Law itself, and by the Prophets - By all the promises in the Old Testament.

ESV. The righteousness of God has been manifested now, i.e., in the period of salvation history inaugurated through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Righteousness is the morally right character of God that is clearly shown in his saving action by which human beings may stand rightly before God, the divine judge. This righteousness is revealed apart from the law which means that it is not based on obedience to the works of the law.

Verse 22.

“Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference.”

YLT. “And the righteousness of God [is] through the faith of Jesus Christ to all, and upon all those believing, -- for there is no difference (between Jew and Gentile).

Voice. “This redeeming justice comes through the faithfulness of Jesus, the Anointed One, the Liberating King, who makes salvation a reality for all who believe—without the slightest partiality.”

NLT. “We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are.”

See also Romans 9:30-10:9. The Jews sought to gain righteousness by their human strength in deeds, so-called holy actions, and obedience to the Law. Paul spoke, not an imposter righteousness achieved by human strength, but the perfect righteousness of God Himself. Through faith in Jesus, we can receive the God’s righteousness as a gift (2 Corinthians 5:21). God’s righteousness is the only standard that gets us into heaven.   (Isaiah 64:6). People can never be justified before God based on a righteousness that comes from their own acts of holiness. They must have God’s righteousness, and that only comes through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior. Paul said in Philippians 3:9, “And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.”

Some translations read that God’s righteousness comes by faith in Jesus Christ. Others say that God’s righteousness comes by the faith of Jesus Christ (presumably within us). Still others say that God’s faithfulness comes by the faithfulness of Jesus Christ. Womack prefers “the faith of Jesus Christ.” There is a big difference. Our faith does not produce our righteousness. Jesus obtained righteousness (the perfect righteousness of God) through His faith and offers it to everyone who will believe on Him as Lord. Therefore, our faith (which is also a gift from God, Ephesians 2:8) just receives what Jesus has already obtained for us through His faith. Jesus obtained our justification and righteousness through His faith (Galatians 2:16).

The only difference between Jew and Gentile, or the moral and immoral, is in the sight of people. From God’s point of view, there is no difference. All have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23 and James 2:10).

Wesley. To all — The Jews. And upon all — The gentiles that believe for there is no difference - Either as to the need of justification, or the manner of it.

Verse 23.

“For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”

Womack. This is a pivotal Scriptural doctrine. Jesus came to save sinners (1 Timothy 1:15). People must acknowledge that they are sinners to be saved. Romans 4:5 says that God justifies the ungodly. People, in their understanding and in their reliance, must be stripped of all other means of salvation (John 14:6) before they can receive Jesus as their Savior. That was the purpose of the Old Testament Law, and that was the

argument Paul gave in Romans 1:21-23. Therefore, the truth of universal guilt before a Holy God expressed here is true in all its applications. However, in context, this verse is a steppingstone to an even greater truth expressed in Romans 3:24-26. Because the whole world is guilty before God, He has provided one way of salvation for everyone. In the same way that everyone is guilty, so everyone has already been justified freely by God’s grace. That doesn’t mean everyone is saved. All people have had the sacrificial offering of Jesus made for their sins by grace (1 Timothy 4:10 and 1 John 2:2), but grace alone doesn’t save. They must put faith in what God has provided for them by grace (Ephesians 2:8). Therefore, although the price has been paid for the sins of the whole world, only those who receive it by faith will benefit from the salvation that Jesus offers.

The Greek word translated “glory” means “the manifested perfection of His character, especially His righteousness, of which all men fall short.” Jesus is the glory of the Father (John 1:14, 2 Corinthians 4:6, Hebrews 1:3, and Revelation 21:23). A common mistake that people make is comparing themselves with other people (2 Corinthians 10:12). Nearly everyone has heard, “If the hypocrites down there at church make it, then I’ll make it.” The only thing wrong with that thinking is that the hypocrites down there at church aren’t God’s “measuring stick.” Everyone is going to be compared to Jesus, the glory of God, and therefore everyone will come up short. We all need a savior.

Wesley. For all have sinned — In Adam, and in their own persons, by a sinful nature, sinful tempers, and sinful actions. And are fallen short of the glory of God — The supreme end of man; short of his image on earth, and the enjoyment of him in heaven.

Verse 24.

“Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.”

Justification (before God or obtaining righteousness before God) is not something to be earned (by being faithful and obedient to rules purportedly designed to give righteousness to all who follow) but a gift (an incredibly costly gift) to be received. Seeking to earn salvation is the only sin that prevent peoples from obtaining salvation, because their self-effort and self-reliance keeps them from submitting to the righteousness of God.

Grace is God’s ability given to us on an unearned, undeserved basis. This grace comes through the redemption (the shedding of His blood to wash away my sins and give me His character) that Jesus provided. Therefore, Grace in our lives comes from faith in Jesus and the faith of Jesus in us – which He also gave us. Romans 5:2 says, “By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”

“Through Him we also have access by faith into this [remarkable state of] grace in which we [firmly and safely and securely] stand. Let us rejoice in our hope and the confident assurance of [experiencing and enjoying] the glory of [our great] God [the manifestation of His excellence and power].”

Wesley. And are justified — Pardoned and accepted.

Freely — Without any merit of their own. By his grace — Not their own righteousness or works. Through the redemption — The price Christ has paid.

Freely by his grace — One of these expressions might have served to convey the apostle's meaning; but he doubles his assertion, to give us the fullest conviction of the truth, and to impress us with a sense of its peculiar importance. It is not possible to find words that should more absolutely exclude all consideration of our own works and obedience, or more emphatically ascribe the whole of our justification to free, unmerited goodness.

TPT. “Yet through His powerful declaration of acquittal, God freely gives away His righteousness. His free of love and favor now cascades over us, all because Jesus, the Anointed One, has liberated us from the guilt, punishment, and power of sin.”

ESV. Therefore, all are justified (declared not only not guilty of sins committed – to restore to a state of innocence – but to be affirmatively filled with the weighty Righteousness of God). This is done by God’s grace (unmerited favor). The word redemption reaches back to the OT exodus and the blood of the Passover lamb by which the Lord liberated Israel from Egypt; the exodus likewise points forward to the greater redemption Jesus won for his people through His blood by forgiving them their sins through his death on the cross (Ep. 1:7; Col. 1:14).

Verse 25.

“Whom 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.”

AMP. “Whom God displayed publicly, before all peoples’ eyes, as a life-giving sacrifice of atonement, reconciliation, and propitiation by His blood to be received through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, which demands punishment for sin, because in His forbearance - His deliberate restraint - He passed over the sins previously committed before Jesus’ crucifixion.

TPT. “Jesus’ God-given destiny was to be the sacrifice to take away sins, and now He is our mercy seat because of His death on the cross. (Mercy seat could be “propitiation. The mercy seat represents the sacrificial, redemptive work of Christ. The mercy seat was the lid to the ark of the covenant, which was carried throughout the wilderness for years and finally found a home in the temple in Jerusalem. “Blood of mercy” was sprinkled on the mercy seat (or place of satisfaction) yearly on the Day of Atonement, which covered the sins of the people until Jesus sprinkled His blood on the mercy seat in heaven. The mercy seat was not seen by the people; only the high priest went into the holy of holies to sprinkle blood upon the mercy seat. Yet Jesus was publicly offered as the satisfaction for sin’s consequences.). We come to Him for mercy, for God has made a provision for us to be forgiven by faith in the sacred blood of Jesus. This is the perfect demonstration of God’s justice, because until now, he had been so patient – holding back his justice out of his tolerance for us. So, he covered over the sins of those who lived prior to Jesus’s sacrifice.”

Sins that were committed under the Old Covenant, before the Jesus’ sacrifice, were also paid for by His blood. The Old Testament sacrifices were only types and shadows of the true sin offering that Jesus made. It was impossible for the blood of bulls and of goats to take away sins (Hebrews 10:4). The Lord dealt with sins under the Old Testament through His forbearance. The Old Testament sacrifices served as a token of the real sacrifice of Jesus that would pay for sin (Hebrews 9:13-14).

ESV. Jesus’ blood “propitiated” or satisfied God’s wrath (1:18), so that His holiness was not compromised in forgiving sinners. God’s righteous anger had to be appeased before sin could be forgiven, and God in his love sent his Son (who offered Himself willingly) to satisfy God’s holy anger against sin. In this way God demonstrated His righteousness (His holiness and justice). In the OT, complete satisfaction for the wrath of God is foreshadowed in Ex. 32: 11-14; Num. 25:8, 11; Josh. 7: 25-26.

Wesley. Whom God hath set forth — Before angels and men. A propitiation — To appease an offended God. But if, as some teach, God never was offended, there was no need of this propitiation. And, if so, Christ died in vain.

To declare his righteousness — To demonstrate not only his clemency, but his justice; even that vindictive justice whose essential character and principal office is, to punish sin. By the remission of past sins — All the sins antecedent to their believing.

Verse 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.”

AMP. “It was to demonstrate and prove at the present time (now) that He Himself is righteous and that He justifies and accepts as righteous him who has true faith in Jesus.”

“And when the season of tolerance came to an end, there was only one way possible for God to give away His righteousness and still be true to both his justice and his mercy –to offer up his own son. So now, because we stand on the faithfulness of Jesus, God declares us righteous in his eyes.”

Wesley. For a demonstration of his righteousness — Both of his justice and mercy.

That he might be just — Showing his justice on his own Son. And yet the merciful justifier of everyone that believeth in Jesus. That he might be just - Might evidence himself to be strictly and inviolably righteous in the administration of his government, even while he is the merciful justifier of the sinner that believeth in Jesus. The attribute of justice must be preserved inviolate; and inviolate it is preserved, if there was a real infliction of punishment on our Savior. On this plan all the attributes harmonize; every attribute is glorified, and not one superseded no, nor so much as clouded.

ESV. Paul repeats that God has demonstrated his righteousness, i.e., his holiness and justice, at the present time. In the cross of Christ, God shows Himself just (sin’s penalty demanded by the law is paid by Christ), but also the justifier (providing the means of justification and declaring people to be in right standing).

Womack. Jesus’ righteousness gives us a right relationship with the Father.

The righteousness of Jesus is given to us. We don’t just have enough righteousness to let us slip into heaven; we have been given all the righteousness that Jesus has. 1 Corinthians 1:30 says, “But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.” Jesus is our righteousness! 2 Corinthians 5:21 says, “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”

Verse 27.

“Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith.”

AMP. “Then what becomes of [our] pride and [our] boasting? It is excluded (banished, ruled out entirely). On what principle? [On the principle] of doing good deeds? No, but on the principle of faith.”

Wesley. Where is the boasting then of the Jew against the gentile? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay - This would have left room for boasting.

But by the law of faith — Since this requires all, without distinction, to apply as guilty and helpless sinners, to the free mercy of God in Christ. The law of faith is that divine constitution which makes faith, not works, the condition of acceptance.

ESV. Since salvation is accomplished by Christ’s atoning death, all human boasting is excluded. If righteousness came through works, then man could brag about what he has done. But since salvation is through faith, no can boast before God.

Womack. Boasting, bragging, and pride about our holiness or spiritual accomplishments highlight that we don’t understand justification by grace through faith. We are no better than anyone else regardless of our conduct. The only way we obtained peace with God was through putting faith in what Jesus did for us. There is no room for boasting about our achievements. It was Jesus’ accomplishments that saved us. Pride is the root of all church divisions. Church divisions are a painful testimony that the foundational truth of justification by grace through faith is not understood.

Paul referred to the law of faith. If we viewed faith as a law, rather than as something that sometimes works and sometimes doesn’t, we would have different results in prayer. The law of electricity has been on earth since creation. Man has observed it lightning and static electricity, but it was not until someone believed in laws that governed electricity that progress was made in putting it to use. Likewise, none deny the existence of faith. People must understand and learn the laws that govern faith so that faith can work for them.

Verse 28.

“Therefore, we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law.”

AMP. “For we hold that a man is justified and made upright by faith independent of and distinctly apart from good deeds (works of the Law). [The observance of the Law has nothing to do with justification.]”

TPT. “So, our conclusion is this: God’s wonderful declaration that we are righteous in his eyes can only come when we put our faith in Christ, and not in keeping the law.”

ESV. Justification is by faith alone and does not depend at all on doing any works of the law.

Wesley. We conclude then that a man is justified by faith — And even by this, not as it is a work, but as it receives Christ; and, consequently, has something essentially different from all our works whatsoever.

Womack. What a radical statement! Faith alone justifies us. The word “justified” means “to render (i.e. show or regard as) just or innocent.” It’s “just as if I’d never sinned.” It means to declare us free from the guilt of sin, the punishment for sin, and the bondage to sin.

This happens by grace through faith, without us keeping the Law. We have problems here. We accept that we need help, but we also need the revelation that right standing with God comes solely through putting our faith in Jesus as our Savior. We add “keeping a minimum standard of the Law,” to what Jesus has done. We don’t “do our best to keep the law” and trust God’s grace to cover the rest. Grace mixed with any works isn’t grace.

To be right with God requires faith in what Jesus did for us. Jesus + nothing = everything. Jesus + anything = nothing.

Verse 29.

“Or is He the God of the Jews only? Is He not also the God of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also.”

ESV. Since God is the God of everyone, there is only one way to salvation: through faith in the grace of God shown in the shed blood of Jesus which gives us His righteousness.

In Christ, there is neither Jew nor Gentile (everyone else) (Galatians 3:28 and Colossians 3:11). We are all the children of God, with just one ailment (Romans 3:23) for which Jesus is the one Cure.

Wesley. Surely of the gentiles also — As both nature and the scriptures show.

Verse 30.

since there is one God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith.

AMP. “Since it is one and the same God Who will justify the circumcised by faith [which germinated from Abraham] and the uncircumcised through their [newly acquired] faith. [For it is the same trusting faith in both cases, a firmly relying faith in Jesus Christ].”

TPT. Since there is only one God, He will treat us all the same -He eliminates our guilt and makes us right with Him by faith no matter who we are.”

Paul made no distinction between the way that Jews and the Gentiles are justified by his use of the words “by” and “through.” Both Jews and the rest of humanity receive Justification by faith. There is only one way for all humanity.

Verse 31.

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

AMP.  “Does faith then nullify the Law [making the Law of no effect or overthrowing it]? Certainly not! On the contrary, we confirm, establish, and uphold the Law [since it convicts us all of sin, pointing to the need for salvation]. (We confirm its true function.)

ESV. Justification by faith does not nullify the law; rather, it establishes it. The law instructs us that obedience to it cannot produce righteousness. Righteousness can only be had by faith in Jesus. Christ has achieved righteousness on behalf of all who believe in Him. His was a perfect fulfillment of the law and his atoning death on the cross for the salvation of all who believe. When Paul says that “we uphold the law,” he also affirms the abiding moral norms of the law.

TPT. “… Instead, our faith establishes the role the law should rightfully have.” The rightful role of the law is to bring conviction of sin and to present God’s standard of holiness, now fulfilled in Christ. Ro. 8:4.

Womack. Paul’s argument invalidated the Jews’ trust in keeping the Law to achieve justification. Then “Is the Law useless?” Paul answered, “God forbid.” The law’s real purpose was established by the Gospel. The Jews were using the Law for something that God never intended. The Law could not produce justification. God didn’t give the Law so that anyone could keep it and thereby earn justification. The Law was given to reveal that they could never live up to such a holy standard and thereby drive them to God to call out for mercy (Galatians 3:22-24). The law’s true purpose holds today. As 1 Timothy 1:8-9 says, “But we know that the law is good, if a man uses it lawfully; Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man.” God used the law to reveal to people their deep spiritual need. But the law is powerless to make provision for that need. Only the Gospel provides for salvation. In Romans 4, Paul uses two great men of the Old Testament (Abraham and David) as examples to show how justification is through faith, not through the Law.

Wesley. We establish the law — Both the authority, purity, and the end of it; by defending that which the law attests; by pointing out Christ, the end of it; and by showing how it may be fulfilled in its purity.

Chapter 4.

Verse 1.

“What then shall we say that Abraham our father has found according to the flesh?”

AMP. “What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather humanly speaking, has found? [How did he obtain a favored standing?]”

TPT. Let me use Abraham as an example. Humanly speaking he was the founder of Judaism. What was his experience of being make right with God?

ESV. Abraham was the founder of the Jewish people, and his example is key. Abraham is a test case for the view that justification is by faith alone.

Womack. The question is, “What good, then, were Abraham’s works?” Abraham’s works were not good enough to grant him justification in the sight of God; that came by faith. Abraham’s works, or efforts, didn’t earn him anything from God. Abraham was justified by faith for over thirteen years before he was circumcision – the act Jews insisted was necessary for right standing with God (Romans 4:10-11).

Wesley. That our father Abraham hath found — Acceptance with God. According to the flesh — That is, by works.

Verse 2.

“For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God.”

ESV. If Abraham stood as righteous before God based on his good works, he could boast – because his obedience would serve as the basis for his right relationship with God. But Abraham could not boast before God.

Wesley. The meaning is, If Abraham had been justified by works, he would have had room to glory. But he had not room to glory. Therefore, he was not justified by works.

Womack. Our good works will only allow us to boast if we’re comparing ourselves with other people (2 Corinthians 10:12). However, God’s sight, none of us has anything good to brag about and much to be ashamed of. We all come short of the glory of God.

Verse 3.

“For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.”

TPT. “… because Abraham believed God’s words, his faith transferred God’s righteousness to his account.”

ESV. The point of the previous verse is not that Abraham cold boast before me. Instead, there was no basis for boasting at all, for Abraham stood in the right before God by believing, not be doing. Gen. 15:6.

Wesley. Abraham believed God — That promise of God concerning the numerousness of his seed, Genesis 15:5,7; but especially the promise concerning Christ, Genesis 12:3, through whom all nations should be blessed. And it was imputed to him for righteousness — God accepted him as if he had been altogether righteous.

Womack. All Jews knew Abraham’s story, but they missed the truth that Paul brought out. Genesis 15:6, says Abraham believed God and God counted Abraham’s faith or belief for righteousness. That’s clear. Later, Paul referred to the time interval (over thirteen years) between when Abraham was counted righteous and when he was circumcised. This was further proof that Abraham’s righteousness was given to him before he performed the act of circumcision.

Paul made a series of radical statements that were hard for these Jews to hear. He went to Old Testament scripture and the founder of the Jewish nation to prove his assertions. He used the scriptures they misunderstood to verify his Gospel of grace. He quoted David to draw on another of one of the most revered OT men as examples of salvation by grace through faith.

Hebrews 11:6 says, “But without faith it is impossible to please him.” Abraham’s faith pleased God. The Lord promised Abraham that his seed would be as numerous as the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore. Abraham believed God’s Word. God so counted Abraham righteous right then, even though Abraham had not yet fulfilled the rite of circumcision. According to Leviticus 18:9, it was an abomination (Leviticus 18:26) for a man to marry a half-sister. Sarah, Abraham’s wife, was his half-sister (Genesis 20:12). Therefore, Abraham’s marriage to Sarah was not what pleased God. Abraham had already lied about Sarah being his wife to save his neck. He was willing for a man commit adultery with his wife. Just after this instance where the Lord counted Abraham’s faith for righteousness (Genesis 15:6), Abraham tried to accomplish God’s will in the flesh with Hagar (Genesis 16) and then repeated this terrible sin with Sarah again (Genesis 20). Anyone who looks at Abraham’s life and the favor that he found with God would have to conclude that it was Abraham’s faith that pleased God. It’s the same with any of us. The only thing that we can do to please God is put faith in Jesus as our Savior.

The Greek word translated “counted” means “to take an inventory, i.e. estimate.” It is an accounting term that means “to enter in the account book.” The same word is used eleven times in this chapter. It is translated “counted” twice (Romans 4:3 and 5), “impute” once (Romans 4:8), “imputed” four times (Romans 4:11 and 22-24), “impute” once (Romans 4:6), and “reckoned” three times (Romans 4:4 and 9-10).

 

Verse 4.

“Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt.”

AMP. “Now to a laborer, his wages are not credited as a favor or a gift, but as an obligation [something owed to him].”

Wesley. Now to him that works — All that the law requires, the reward is no favor, but an absolute debt. These two examples are selected and applied with the utmost judgment and propriety. Abraham was the most illustrious pattern of piety among the Jewish patriarchs. David was the most eminent of their kings. If then neither of these was justified by his own obedience, if they both obtained acceptance with God, not as upright beings who might claim it, but as sinful creatures who must implore it, the consequence is glaring It is such as must strike every attentive understanding and must affect every individual person.

ESV. If salvation were based on works, then God in granting a person salvation would be repaying what he owed that person, just as an employer gives his employee wages for his work.

Womack. If an individual could be saved by works, then God would be providing salvation as a payment to that person. But our works are as filthy rags. Salvation is by faith alone. Trust in our works voids grace. Likewise, trust in God’s grace makes faith in our own efforts useless. See Romans 11:6– “And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise, grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise, work is no more work.”

Verse 5.

“But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness.”

TPT. But no one earns God’s righteousness. It can only be transferred when we no longer rely on our own works but believe in the one who powerfully declares the ungodly to be righteous in his eyes. It is faith that transfers God’s righteousness into your account. --- Or “calculated (reckoned) to be righteous.” The Greek word logizomai is used 11 times in this chapter. This teaches us that our faith is considered or calculated as righteousness before God.

ESV. Righteousness does not come to those who work for God, since all, including Abraham, do not measure up to God’s standards morally. None can come close. Right standing with God comes from believing not working.

Wesley. But to him that worketh not — It being impossible he should without faith.

But believeth, his faith is imputed to him for righteousness — Therefore God's affirming of Abraham, that faith was imputed to him for righteousness, plainly shows that he worked not; or, in other words, that he was not justified by works, but by faith only. Hence, we see plainly how groundless that opinion is, that holiness or sanctification is before our justification. For the sinner, being first convinced of his sin and danger by the Spirit of God, stands trembling before the awful tribunal of divine justice; and has nothing to plead, but his own guilt, and the merits of a Mediator. Christ here interposes; justice is satisfied; the sin is remitted, and pardon is applied to the soul, by a divine faith wrought by the Holy Ghost, who then begins the great work of inward sanctification. Thus, God justifies the ungodly, and yet remains just, and true to all his attributes! But let none hence presume to "continue in sin;" for to the impenitent, God "is a consuming fire." On him that justifies the ungodly - If a man could possibly be made holy before he was justified, it would entirely set his justification aside; seeing he could not, in the very nature of the thing, be justified if he were not, at that very time, ungodly.

Womack. What a statement! Paul had countered the false doctrine that acting righteous could make people righteous. Here he declares that God justifies the ungodly! Indeed, it’s the only kind of people He justifies. All people have sinned and come short of God’s glory. People can never earn God’s favor by their performance.

Faith in the atonement of Jesus grants us righteousness; our actions don’t. However, true faith will good fruit (actions) (James 2:17-18), and these actions, or lack thereof, to testify to our relationship with the Lord (1 John 3:7-10).

Verse 6.

“Just as David also describes the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes righteousness apart from works.”

AMP. And in this same way David speaks of the blessing on the one to whom God credits righteousness apart from works.

ESV. Ps. 32: 1-2. Paul introduces David as the second person to show that righteousness comes by faith and not by works.

Wesley. So, David also — David is fitly introduced after Abraham, because we also received and delivered down the promise. Affirms — A man is justified by faith alone, and not by works. Without works-That is, without regard to any former good works supposed to have been done by him.

Womack. King David lived under the Old Covenant of Law. However, Romans 4:7-8, quoting from Psalms 32, as well as from David’s Psalms 51 when repenting for his sins against Uriah and Bathsheba, shows that he had a revelation of the salvation by grace through faith alone - that was coming with the Messiah.

Verse 7.

 

“Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.”

 

Wesley. Happy are they whose sins are covered — With the veil of divine mercy. If there be indeed such a thing as happiness on earth, it is the portion of that man whose iniquities are forgiven, and who enjoys the manifestation of that pardon. Well may he endure all the afflictions of life with cheerfulness and look upon death with comfort. O let us not contend against it, but earnestly pray that this happiness may be ours! Psalm 32:1,2.

 

Verse 8.

 

“Blessed is the man to whom the Lord shall not impute sin.”

 

AMP. “Blessed and happy and favored is the man whose sin the Lord will not take into account nor charge against him.”

 

TPT. “What happy progress comes to them when they hear the Lord speak over them, I will never hold your sins against you.” The Greek word is logizoai, which means to take an inventory and settle accounts. God has taken inventory of the virtue of Christ and through our faith in him, his perfect righteousness is now deposited in our account. It is settled; we are declared righteous by faith.”

 

Womack. The Greek words translated “will not” are double negatives - strongly expressing negation.” It’s the strongest language possible to say that those who receive forgiveness will never have their sins held against them. He said “will not,” implying that even future-tense sins have been dealt with through the sacrificial offering of Jesus, once for all (Hebrews 10:10 and 14). Most Christians believe that the sins they committed before their salvation experience were forgiven at salvation, but sins committed after salvation are unforgiven until they repent and ask forgiveness. No. All our sins–past, present, and future–were forgiven through the one offering of Jesus. If God can’t forgive future-tense sins, then none of us can be saved, because Jesus only died once, nearly 2,000 years ago, before we had committed any sins. ALL our sins were future tense but have still been forgiven.

Why, then, 1 John 1:9? “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” This is not speaking of our spirit’s eternal salvation, but rather, the salvation of our souls (James 1:21 and 1 Peter 1:9). Our spirits are born again when we are born again, and sin will never be imputed to our born-again spirits. They are sanctified and perfected forever (Hebrews 10:10, 14. They cannot sin (1 John 3:9). However, we are still in the process of saving our souls (James 1:21 and 1 Peter 1:9). When we sin, the devil has a legal right to steal, kill, or destroy in our soulish life (Romans 6:16). How do we get rid of the devil? We confess it, and God brings into our soulish realm that forgiveness already a reality in our born-again spirits. The devil thereafter has no right to stay. If we had to confess every sin committed after our born-again experience to maintain our salvation, no one would make it. What if we forgot to confess some sin? That also puts the burden of salvation back on us. We must remember that “God is a Spirit” (John 4:24), and we worship Him through our newborn-again spirits. We are blessed because God will not hold any sin against our spirits. Our spirits are clean and pure (Ephesians 4:24, Hebrews 12:23, and 1 John 4:17). That will not change due to our performance.

Verse 9.

“Does this blessedness then come upon the circumcised only, or upon the uncircumcised also? For we say that faith was accounted to Abraham for righteousness.”

AMP. “Is this blessing only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? For we say, “Faith was credited to Abraham as righteousness.”

Wesley. Faith was imputed to Abraham for righteousness — This is fully consistent with our being justified, that is, pardoned and accepted by God upon our believing, for the sake of what Christ hath done and suffered. For though this, and this alone, be the meritorious cause of our acceptance with God, yet faith may be said to be "imputed to us for righteousness," as it is the sole condition of our acceptance. We may observe here, forgiveness, not imputing sin, and imputing righteousness, are all one.

ESV. Abraham was righteous before God before he was circumcised, and therefore circumcision is unnecessary to belong to God.

Womack. Abraham’s faith was what granted him right standing with God, and Paul used a quote from David to verify salvation by grace through faith. Here he returned to Abraham and used the circumcision - the religious act the legalists were demanding compliance with - to reaffirm that salvation is by grace through faith.

Verse 10.

“How then was it accounted? While he was circumcised, or uncircumcised? Not while circumcised, but while uncircumcised.”

AMP. “How then was it credited [to him]? Was it after he had been circumcised, or before? Not after, but while [he was] uncircumcised.”

TPT. “How did he receive this gift of righteousness? Was he circumcised at the time God accepted him, or was he still uncircumcised? Clearly, he was an uncircumcised gentile when God said this of Him.”

ESV. Abraham was righteous before God before he was circumcised; therefore, circumcision is unnecessary to belong to God.

Wesley. Not in circumcision — Not after he was circumcised; for he was justified before Ishmael was born, Genesis 15:1-21; but he was not circumcised till Ishmael was thirteen years old, Genesis 17:25.

Womack. It was over thirteen years from God counted Abraham’s faith for righteousness and when he was circumcised. God counted Abraham righteous in Genesis 15:6, before the birth of Ishmael (Genesis 16:15). Abraham circumcised Ishmael the same day that he was circumcised (Genesis 17:26), and Genesis 17:25 and that took place when Ishmael was thirteen years old. Therefore, the circumcision of Abraham was at least thirteen years and nine months after his justification by faith in Genesis 15:6.

 

How did the legalistic Jews miss this? That Abraham was counted righteous before he was circumcised? If circumcision was necessary for justification with God, then Abraham could not have been righteous until after the performing of this act. But God Himself said Abraham was righteous. Therefore, the rite of circumcision (or any other act of obedience) cannot be a prerequisite for justification. In our day, religious people no longer contend that circumcision is essential for salvation. However, many still make the same mistake. They have substituted some other “act of holiness” for circumcision. For instance, some denominations state that water baptism is necessary for salvation. Jesus commanded water baptism (Matthew 28:19-20), just as the OT commanded circumcision (Genesis 17:9-14). However, Paul argument to disprove circumcision as a prerequisite to justification can be used to prove that water baptism is not a prerequisite for salvation. Any condition precedent for salvation, except faith in Jesus’ atoning work, is error (Romans 3:28). Paul called it “another gospel” or, more accurately, a perversion of the Gospel (Galatians 1:6-7).

Verse 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.”

AMP. He received the sign of circumcision, a seal or confirmation of the righteousness which he had by faith while [he was still] uncircumcised—this was so that he would be the [spiritual] father of all who believe without being circumcised—so that righteousness would be credited to them.”

TPT. “It was later that he received the external sign of circumcision as a seal to confirm that God had already transferred his righteousness to him by faith, while he was still uncircumcised. So now this qualified him to become the father of all who believe among the non-Jewish people. And like their “father of faith,” Abraham, God also transfers his righteousness to them by faith.

ESV. Circumcision was the sign and seal of Abraham’s righteousness that belonged to him by faith. In other words, circumcision documented and ratified the righteousness by faith that Abraham enjoyed before his circumcision.

Wesley. And — After he was justified.

He received the sign of circumcision — Circumcision, which was a sign or token of his being in covenant with God. A seal — An assurance on God's part, that he accounted him righteous, upon his believing, before he was circumcised. Who believe in uncircumcision — That is, though they are not circumcised.

Womack. Circumcision was a confirmation of Abraham’s righteousness already attained by faith – 13 years before. Circumcision was a constant reminder of the covenant between God and himself. It was never to be something that Abraham would boast about or use to show others his holiness. This was private! No doubt one of the reasons the Lord chose this act as a sign of the covenant instead of some other act was to prevent the very thing that the Jews were doing. How was one to tell if someone else was circumcised? That’s not the kind of thing that is public knowledge. It’s between God and that individual. God gave the sign of circumcision because it is a private act; therefore, He never intended circumcision to be used to judge anyone’s righteousness.

Verse 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.

AMP. And [that he would be] the [spiritual] father of those circumcised who are not only circumcised, but who also walk in the steps of the faith of our father Abraham which he had before he was circumcised.

Wesley. And the father of the circumcision — Of those who are circumcised and believe as Abraham did. To those who believe not, Abraham is not a father, neither are they, his seed.

Womack. Abraham had faith for salvation (righteousness) before he took the step of circumcision. Some think that actions produce faith, but that’s not so. Faith produces Godly actions. Acting right doesn’t make people Godly. They must be born again.

Verse 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.”

TPT. God promised Abraham and his descendants that they would have an heir who would reign over the world. This royal promise was not fulfilled because Abraham kept all the law, but through the righteousness that was transferred by faith.”

Wesley. The promise, that he should be the heir of the world — Is the same as that he should be "the father of all nations," namely, of those in all nations who receive the blessing. The whole world was promised to him and them conjointly. Christ is the heir of the world, and of all things; and so are all Abraham's seed, all that believe in him with the faith of Abraham.

There is no Old Testament scripture that states that Abraham will be heir of the world. The closest scriptures would be when the Lord told Abram that all the families of the earth would be blessed through him (Genesis 12:3) and that he had made Abraham the father of many nations (Genesis 17:4-5). The Jews interpreted God’s promises to Abraham as being to his physical descendants only. However, the Apostle Paul’s interpretation of the Old Testament promises to Abraham removed any doubt about the Jews being the only ones to be blessed through God’s covenant with Abraham. Abraham’s true seed is anyone of any nation or language who places faith in Christ as his or her Savior.

ESV. The final reward (the inheritance, another term for final salvation) that will be given to Abraham and all believers is the world to come. He. 11: 10-16; Rev. 21-22.

Verse 14.

“For if those who are of the law are heirs, faith is made void and the promise made of no effect.”

TPT. “For if keeping the law earns the inheritance, then faith is robbed of its power and the promise becomes useless.”

Womack. We are justified by faith in our works without faith in Christ or we are justified by faith in Christ without faith in our works - not a combination of the two (Romans 11:6). Trusting in our goodness as the reason that God would grant us salvation neutralizes faith and renders God’s promise to Abraham useless. Some Christians who have put their faith in Christ for eternal salvation, fall back into the deception that God will bless and use them based on their performance. See the Galatians. Christ had become of no benefit to them if they trusted in their good works to be justified with God (Galatians 5:4). Today, many Christians don’t experience full salvation because they make their faith void by trusting in their own goodness.

Wesley. If they only who are of the law — Who have kept the whole law. Are heirs, faith is made void — No blessing being to be obtained by it; and so, the promise is of no effect.

ESV. Faith and works are fundamentally opposed. Faith means trusting in or relying on God’s work and not depending in any way on human performance.

Verse 15.

“Because the law brings about wrath; for where there is no law there is no transgression.”

AMP. “For the Law results in [God’s] wrath [against sin], but where there is no law, there is no violation [of it either].”

Wesley. Because the law — Considered apart from that grace, which though it was in fact mingled with it, yet is no part of the legal dispensation, is so difficult, and we are so weak and sinful, that, instead of bringing us a blessing, it only worketh wrath; it becomes to us an occasion of wrath and exposes us to punishment as transgressors. Where there is no law in force, there can be no transgression of it.

Womack. Christians are not under the Old Testament Law. There is no longer transgression for those who have accepted Jesus, because, as 1 John 3:4 says, “Sin is the transgression of the law.”

Hundreds of New Testament scriptures mention believers sinning and admonitions against sinning. 1 John 1:8 and 10: “If anyone says they have no sin, they deceive themselves and the truth isn’t in them.”

All of us have been exposed to and lived under the Law. So, even though Jesus has satisfied the law and therefore removed it, we still know right from wrong because of that Law. James 4:17 says, “Therefore to him that knows to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” So, violating the conscience is sin. Whatsoever is not of faith is sin (Romans 14:23).

ESV. One cannot be an heir through the law. Man can’t keep the law and therefore faces God’s wrath. Transgression is the violation of a known command, which means that the Jews, who had the written law, had even greater responsibility for their sin and as great a need to be saved and justified by faith.

God does not impute sins to us anymore. Our sins are no longer a transgression against God; He has removed the Law. Sin is a transgression against God; it also opens the door to the devil. So, even though God doesn’t impute sins to us, Satan does. Christians who open the door to the devil and will suffer for those sins (Galatians 6:7).

Grace liberates us from sin, not to sin. Any person who lives in sin and uses the God’s grace as an excuse to sin is not truly born again. Grace breaks the dominion of sin; it doesn’t encourage or empower sin.

When the Law was introduced, sin revived, and we died. The Law produced death by releasing God’s wrath against our sins.

Those who seek to keep the Law to be justified in God’s sight release God’s wrath in their lives. Jesus liberates us from sin.  Grace breaks sin’s dominion: it doesn’t encourage or empower sin.

The Law released God’s wrath. Without Law, there is no wrath because without the Law, there is no transgression. 1 John 3:4 says, “Whosoever commits sin transgresses also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.” Therefore, before the Law of God was given, people’s sins were not held against them.

That explains why Abraham was not killed for marrying his half-sister and Jacob for marrying his wife’s sister (Leviticus 18:18). God had not yet given the Law concerning these things; therefore, there wasn’t a willful transgression on the part of these who brought us out from under the Law and put us under grace (Romans 6:14).

Verse 16.

“Therefore, it is of faith that it might be according to grace, 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.”

AMP. “Therefore, [inheriting] the promise depends entirely on faith [that is, confident trust in the unseen God], in order that it may be given as an act of grace [His unmerited favor and mercy], so that the promise will be [legally] guaranteed to all the descendants [of Abraham]—not only for those [Jewish believers] who keep the Law, but also for those [Gentile believers] who share the faith of Abraham, who is the [spiritual] father of us all.”

The seed of Abraham includes more than his physical descendants. Paul said the same thing. (Romans 2:28-29, 4:11-12, 16, 9; and Galatians 3).

Since God made salvation available based on faith in what He did, then everyone can be saved. If He had made our holiness the basis of salvation, then no one could have been saved, “for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23.

Wesley. Therefore it — The blessing. Is of faith, that it might be of grace — That it might appear to flow from the free love of God, and that the promise might be firm, sure, and effectual, to all the spiritual seed of Abraham; not only Jews, but gentiles also, if they follow his faith.

ESV. Faith means trusting in another not in one’s own efforts. Faith therefore corresponds to grace which involves trusting God’s gift of unmerited favor.

Verse 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.”

AMP. “As it is written, I have made you the father of many nations. [He was appointed our father] in the sight of God in Whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and speaks of the nonexistent things that [He has foretold and promised] as if they [already] existed.”

The phrase, “and calleth those things which are not as though they are,” refers to God changing Abram’s name to Abraham (Genesis 17:5). Abram means “high father,” and Abraham means “father of a multitude.” The Lord changed Abram’s name to Abraham one year before Isaac was born, confessing that Abraham was the father of a multitude before it happened in the natural. This illustrates God’s faith. God says things are so before there is physical proof that they are so. The same thing was done at creation (Genesis 1). God spoke everything into existence, and then it was so. He spoke light into existence and then four days later created a source for that light to come from (Genesis 1:3 and 14-19). God has given us the power to create with faith-filled words (Proverbs 18:20-21. If we operate in God’s kind of faith, we must call those things that are not seen as though they are.

Wesley. Before God — Though before men nothing of this appeared, those nations being then unborn. As quickening the dead — The dead are not dead to him and even the things that are not, are before God.

And calling the things that are not — Summoning them to rise into being and appear before him. The seed of Abraham did not then exist; yet God said, "So shall thy seed be." A man can say to his servant existing, do this; and he doeth it: but God saith to the light, while it does not exist, go forth; and it goes. Genesis 17:5.

Verse 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.”

AMP. For Abraham, human reason for hope being gone, hoped in faith that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been promised, so numberless shall your descendants be.

“Against all odds, when it looked hopeless, Abraham believed the promise and expected God to fulfill it. He took God at His word, and as a result he became the father of many nations. God’s declaration over him came to pass: ‘your descendants will be so many that they will be impossible to count’” Or “beyond hope in hope believed.” Gen. 15:5.

Wesley. The Apostle shows the power and excellence of that faith to which he ascribes justification.

Who against hope — Against all probability, believed and hoped in the promise. The same thing is apprehended both by faith and hope; by faith, as a thing which God has spoken; by hope, as a good thing which God has promised to us.

So shall thy seed be — Both natural and spiritual, as the stars of heaven for multitude. Genesis 15:5.

Neither Abraham nor Sarah had any natural, human hope for God’s promise to be fulfilled concerning their destiny to be fulfilled. They were both as good as physically dead when with respect to having children. Abraham was 100 and Sarah nearly so. Therefore, they rejected the natural view and believed God with a supernatural hope and faith in God’s word. There is a natural hope that everyone has, and there is a supernatural hope/faith that is imparted by God (1 Corinthians 13:13). To receive miracles, we must reject the limitations of natural hope and press on to obtain God’s supernatural hope/faith.

Abraham’s faith was based on God’s Word. Every word of God is powerful and contains the faith of God to bring that word to pass. We need to only consider and look to God’s Word and believe (Romans 8:6).

ESV. ESV. Abraham believed in a God who could raise the dead and summon into existence what did not exist (new life in Sarah’s womb).

 

 

Verse 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.”

“He did not weaken in faith even as he acknowledged the [utter] impotence of his own body, which was as good as dead because he was about a hundred years old, or [when he considered the reality of the barrenness of Sarah’s [deadened] womb.”

Womack. Abraham kept from becoming weak in faith. How? He focused on God’s promise. He did not deny his circumstances, but he didn’t focus on them. The word “consider” is defined as “1. To think carefully about. 2. To regard as. 3. To consider.” The Greek word that was used for “considered” means “to observe fully.” Abraham did not think carefully about his age and the impact it would have on God’s  promise. That’s not what he paid attention to. He didn’t consider the negative facts that looked contrary to God’s promise (we may look at the negative facts and then try to use our faith to overcome the fear and unbelief that come through those thoughts. That’s not the way Abraham was strong in faith. Abram was seventy-five years old when the Lord first promised him that he would have a child and that all the nations of the earth would be blessed through him (Genesis 12:1-4). He was ninety-nine years old in Genesis 17:1, and Sarah was ninety years old (Genesis 17:17). Yet he only considered what God had promised him. It’s true that Abraham was strong in faith (Romans 4:20), he was strong in faith because he kept his mind stayed on God’s promise. He kept his mind off everything that was contrary to God’s promise. To have Abraham’s faith, we need to control our thinking the way Abraham did. Faith is a direct result of what you think on. If you think on God’s Word, faith comes (Romans 8:6 and 10:17). If you think on other things, unbelief and fear come (Romans 8:6.

Verse 20.

“He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God.”

AMP. “No unbelief or distrust made him waver (doubtingly question) concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong and was empowered by faith as he gave praise and glory to God.”

Womack. Our English word “staggered” is translated from the Greek word which means “to separate thoroughly i.e. (literal and reflexive) to withdraw from, or (by implication) oppose; figurative to discriminate (by implication decide), or (reflexive) hesitate.” So, Abraham didn’t think about what was contrary to what the Lord had told him (Romans 4:19). He didn’t hesitate.

Giving glory to God requires humility - not depending upon self-effort. About a decade-and-a-half prior Sarah’s pregnancy, both Abram and Sarai were proud and decided to help God bring the promise to pass through Hagar (Genesis 16:1-4)(which would have brought glory to themselves). Ishmael’s birth caused problems then and now. Giving glory to God includes trusting God and not ourselves.

The unbelief that Abraham refused to consider was the unbelief that would have come through thinking on the natural facts. Many of us don’t perceive facts as generating unbelief. We have been led to believe that we must consider all the facts to make a proper decision, but that’s not so with God’s Word. When we have clear direction from God’s Word, we shouldn’t consider anything else. Considering “facts” contrary to God’s promises will make us stagger in our faith.

Jesus equated praise with strength. Here, Abraham praised and worshipped which made him strong in faith. Praise keeps your mind stayed on God and what He is doing. You can’t praise God and focus on the problem. You will fall into complaining every time. That’s why praise makes you strong in faith.

A person who believes God’s promises brings glory to God.

ESV. Abraham’s faith grew as the time of waiting went on. He grew strong in faith and gave glory to God. He continued to believe that God would do what he promised. Therefore, Abraham honored and gloried God.

Verse 21.

“And being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform.”

“Fully satisfied and assured that God was able and mighty to keep His word and to do what He had promised.”

“He never stopped believing God’s promise, for he was strong in his faith to father a child. And because he was mighty in faith and convinced that God had all power needed to fulfill His promise, Abraham glorified God.” Or “he was empowered in faith.”

Womack. Abraham was fully persuaded that God would keep His promise, His Word. Some are persuaded that God’s promises are true, but they stop short of meditating on His Word until they become fully persuaded. Strong faith belongs to those who continue in God’s Word until all doubt is removed.

We sometimes doubt that God will perform His promises to us. How could this be? The answer lies in the way God made our hearts. What we focus our attention on is what our hearts will believe, and whatever we neglect is what our hearts will disbelieve. If we allow ourselves to meditate on our problems and all the reasons it looks impossible for God to move in our situation, then we will believe that our problems are bigger than God. However, when we keep our minds stayed on God’s promise, nothing is too difficult for Him (Jeremiah 32:17 and 27).

Verse 22.

“And therefore “it was accounted to him for righteousness.”

AMP. “That is why his faith was credited to him as righteousness (right standing with God).”

Womack. “Impute” is an accounting term. Something credited to our account. 2 Timothy 4:16.

God reconciled (made them one with Him; brought them back to Him) the sinful people to Himself by not imputing our sins unto us (2 Corinthians 5:19). He imputed our sins unto Jesus. God gave His debit card so all my sins and the sins of all people would be charged to Jesus’ account. If I gave my debit card to pay for your purchase, would be unjust to charge us both. Your transaction shouldn’t show on your account if I gave my debit card for that purchase. Likewise, since God paid for our sins by imputing them to Jesus, we have no charges on our accounts. It’s “just-as-if-we’d” never sinned. That’s justified.

Verse 23.

“Now it was not written for his sake alone that it was imputed to him.”

AMP. “But the words, “It was credited to him,” were written not for his sake alone.

TPT. “And this declaration was not just spoken over Abraham, but also over us. For when we believe and embrace the one who brought our Lord Jesus back to life, perfect righteousness will be credited to our account as well.

Wesley. On his account only — To do personal honor to him.

Womack. In Romans 4:23-24, the eternal truths expressed by Paul (illustrated in Abraham’s life) apply to you and me. God is no respecter of persons (Romans 2:11). He justified Abraham by faith; He justifies you and me by faith.

ESV. Paul applies Gen. 15:6 for the benefit of Christians in the new covenant age.

Verse 24.

“But also, for us. It shall be imputed to us who believe in Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead.”

AMP. “But for our sake also—to whom righteousness will be credited (imputed, accounted), as those who believe in Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead.”

TPT. “When we embrace and believe the One who brought our Lord Jesus aback to life, perfect righteousness will be credited to our account as well.”

Wesley. But on ours also — To establish us in seeking justification by faith, and not by works; and to afford a full answer to those who say that " to be justified by works means only, by Judaism; to be justified by faith means, by embracing Christianity, that is, the system of doctrines so called." Sure, it is that Abraham could not in this sense be justified either by faith or by works; and equally sure that David (taking the words thus) was justified by works, and not by faith.

Who raised up Jesus from the dead — As he did in a manner both Abraham and Sarah. If we believe on him who raised up Jesus — God, the Father therefore is the proper object of justifying faith. It is observable, that St. Paul here, in speaking both of our faith and of the faith of Abraham, puts a part for the whole. And he mentions that part, about Abraham, which would naturally affect the Jews most.

Womack. Jesus paid the price needed to pay for our salvation. We don't and can’t earn salvation. It's a gift from God ( Romans 6:23) that we receive by faith ( Ephesians 2:8 and Romans 5:2). Romans 10:9-13 reveals what we believe and confess.

Verse 25.

“Who was delivered up because of our offenses and was raised because of our justification.

AMP. Who was betrayed and put to death because of our misdeeds and was raised to secure our justification (our acquittal), [making our account balance and absolving us from all guilt before God].

CJB. Yeshua, who was delivered over to death because of our offences and raised to life to make us righteous.

EXB. Jesus was ·given to die [handed/delivered over; 8:32] ·for [because of] our ·sins [violations; transgressions], and he was raised from the dead ·to make us right with God [for our justification; or to confirm our justification].

Philips. … who was delivered to death for our sins and raised again to secure our justification.

Wesley. Who was delivered — To death. For our offences — As an atonement for them. And raised for our justification — To empower us to receive that atonement by faith.

Womack. Our sins were imputed to Jesus, laid on Jesus, credited to Jesus’ account before God. His righteousness was imputed to us, credited to our account, assigned to our account. What a trade! Those who still want to pay for their sins dishonor Jesus, and those who don’t believe they were made righteous dishonor Jesus.

ESV. Both the crucifixion (death) and resurrection of Jesus are required for the forgiveness of our sins and for our justification. When God the Father raised Jesus from the dead, it was a demonstration that He accepted Christ’s suffering and offering and death as full payment for sin, and that the Father’s favor, no longer His wrath against sin, was directed toward Christ and through Christ to those who believe. Since Paul sees Christians as united with Christ in his death and resurrection (Ro. 6:6, 6:8-11, Ep. 2:6; Col. 2:12; Col. 3:1, God’s approval of Christ at the resurrection results in God’s approval also of us – all who are united to Christ, resulting in our justification.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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