Continuing on from Part 3, let’s once again notice carefully what Paul wrote in Romans 3:19, 20:
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).
In Part 3 we discovered (based on verse 19) that the basic spiritual condition of “every” human being before “the law” of Ten Commandments is that of being “guilty before God.” Being “guilty before God” not only means that we are directly accountable to our Maker for our actions, and that we will be judged by them, but it also implies that we cannot get ourselves out of our own mess by our own efforts.
“Therefore,” Paul continues—and this is his logical conclusion based on verse 19—”by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight.” The phrase, “by the deeds of law,” refers to all human efforts to rescue ourselves from our own plight, even by conscientious obedience to the “law.” It won’t work. We’re stuck. No matter how hard we try, our “guilt” remains. We simply can’t be “justified” by our own works. When Paul wrote, “Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified,” the words, “no flesh,” apply to both Jews and Gentiles. Thus
- The Law applies to everyone, Jew and Gentile.
- Both Jews and Gentiles are equally guilty before God.
- No amount of human effort, good works, or “deeds of the law,” can solve the problem.
Notice carefully that Paul wrote about being “justified in His sight.” Our main concern shouldn’t be how we appear in man’s sight, but in “His sight,” meaning God’s sight. In simple terms, to “be justified in His sight” means to no longer stand “guilty” before God based on His own legitimate verdict. To be “justified” means to be legally clean, clear, and innocent before the Lord and before the moral bar of His eternal judgment. Can man find help in the law to achieve such a wondrous condition? No. But does the law serve a purpose? Yes indeed. What purpose?
Paul’s answer is, “for by the law is the knowledge of sin” (verse 20).
In other words, it is the force of “the law,” applied to the conscience by the Holy Spirit, that finally gives us a living “knowledge” of our true condition, reveals our “sin,” exposes our “guilt” in “His sight,” shuts our mouths, and brings us to our knees in helplessness.
Believe it or not, this is a great thing.
For it creates a need for a Savior.