It’s time to focus Romans 3. As we do, it will become very clear that the biblical message about Christ our Righteousness is inseparably connected with a proper understanding of the Law of God, and to our relationship to it. In fact, the twin topics of Christ our Righteousness and the Ten Commandments are actually two sides of the same coin.
Don’t let anyone fool you about this.
Here’s the proof. In Romans 3:21-26 Paul refers four times to the message of “righteousness” that comes to us through faith in Jesus Christ (see Romans 3:21, 22, 25, 26), yet the immediate context of his message is the previous two verses about the Law of God. Notice carefully,
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. Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin (Romans 3:19,20).
Here Paul also mentions “the law” four times . Many who read these verses superficially assume that this “law” applies to Old Testament Jews alone, has finally passed away, and has no particular relevance to us today; but this is entirely false. Look closely. In the light of “the law”:
“every mouth” should “be stopped”
“all the world” is “guilty before God”
Thus “the law” is not just for Jews, but is for “every” person. Paul also refers to “the law” as being in full force right “now” (the first word in verse 19). Not only that, but the spiritual condition of “all the world” is that every human being now stands “guilty before God” as a violator of His law. The word “guilty” means that we are accountable, and face judgment. Based on such circumstances, instead of attacking either God Himself, or His law, each of us should humbly acknowledge our desperate condition and shut our mouths. Contrition, silence, and sincere repentance are most appropriate.
The truth is that it is only as we fully grasp the bad news of our spiritual condition before God as violators of His law that we can even begin to appreciate the good news of the gospel of His Son. In other words, apart from law, grace is meaningless.
That’s enough for now, for I don’t want to give you too much to digest at one time. In your private time, I urge each reader to thoughtfully consider Paul’s message in Romans 3:19. God has a law. It is still in force. The whole world is “guilty before God” for breaking it. And thus, we all need a Savior.
In Part 4, we’ll look closely at verse 20.