Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Chapter 10  
(21) But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; (22) Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for these is no difference: (23) For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; (24) Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: (25) Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; (26) To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. (27) Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. (28) Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. (29) Is he the God of the Jews only? Is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also: (30) Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith. (31) Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.
We begin here with the section of the doctrinal part of this great Epistle which we title — “The Righteousness of God, or, The Divine Method of Justification.” From 3:21 to 8:39 we see God’s way of salvation as revealed in the pure Gospel, and it covers six points — justification, redemption, adoption, regeneration, sanctification, and glorification. We will now focus on justification which continues on to the close of the 11th chapter; and resolves itself into 6 sub-sections. (1) Rom. 3:21-31 may be titled “A General Account of the Divine Method of Justification. (2) Romans chapter 4, “The Testimony of the Law and the Prophets to the Divine Method of Justification, as ‘without Law, ‘by Faith’ — ‘the Faith of Christ’ — and ‘upon all them that Believe.” (3) Romans chapter 5 has for its subject, “The Divine Method of Justification ‘Free’, ‘by God’s Grace’, ‘through the Redemption that is in Christ Jesus.’” (4) Romans chapters 6, 7, and 8 down to verse 17 cover the subject, “The Bearing of the Divine Method of Justification on the Spiritual Transformation of Man.” (5) Romans 8:18-39 may be entitled, “The Consistency of the Sufferings of the present time, to which Believers are Exposed, with the Reality and Permanence of the blessings secured to them by the Divine Method of Justification.” (6) The last one covers the 9th, 10th, and 11th chapters of Romans and has for its subject, “The Relations of Mankind, viewed as divided into Jews and Gentiles Joined into One Body, to the Manifested Divine Method of Justification.
Verse 21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets. There are nine leading features of the Divine Method of Justification in these 11 verses and they are: (1) It is “without the law” (vs.21), apart from law, not by law; (2) “witnessed by the law and the prophets” (vs. 21); (3) “by the faith of Jesus Christ” (Vs.22); (4) It is now “manifested to all” (vs. 22, 23); (5) Its effect is “on all them that believe” (vs. 22); (6) It treats every person, Jew and Gentile, as on the same level in reference to it; (vs. 22); (7) It is gratuitousness in its character as it refers to man (vs. 24); (8) In reference to God, its character is graciousness (vs. 24);  (9) and its most characteristic feature is strikingly exhibited in that view of the propitiatory sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ, proclaimed by the Gospel, which shows how, both in the times that are past and in the times that now are, the claims of justice were reconciled with the exercise of mercy, and how our Holy God is the just God, while He justifies poor sinners that believeth in Jesus Christ our Lord. From these views our apostle, moved upon by the Holy Ghost, comes to four conclusions. They are: (1) That God’s method of Justification excludes all boasting (vs. 27); (2) That a saving interest in it is through believing — by truly believing without the works of the Law — and can be only obtained thus (vs. 28); (3) It is absolutely necessary and sufficient for all races of men, whether they be Jews or Gentiles (vs. 29, 30); (4) It is far from making void the Law, without which — apart from which — Justification is, it establishes the Law (vs. 31).
Paul says “But now,” for in the New Testament era there has been a fuller and more glorious manifestation of God than there was in time past, both in the degree of light given and in those who received it. God was wondrously made known to Israel, yet nothing like He was when He became incarnate and dwelt among men (John 1:14). His perfections were certainly exhibited in His Holy Law, yet how much more glorious and clear do they radiate in His Son and by His glorious Gospel.
“Righteousness,” with the apostle, usually signifies Justification — sometimes viewed as a privilege bestowed by God on His elect — sometimes a benefit enjoyed by poor sinners. The Law, which is the ministration of condemnation and death — the Gospel is said, in opposition to the Law, to be “the ministration of righteousness” — that is, Justification — and, “of the Spirit” (2 Cor. 3: 8-9). True believers are said to be “of God in Christ Jesus, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption” (1 Cor. 1:30) — i. e., justified, sanctified, and redeemed. They are said to be “made the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus” (2 Cor. 5:21) — i. e. they are justified in the sight of God as united to Christ our Lord. The long description of “the righteousness of God,” in these eleven verses exactly suits the divine Method of Justification, and it suits nothing else. This phrase “the righteousness of God” here means God’s way of treating a sinner as if he were just — as justified by the Imputed righteousness of Christ.
Robert Hawker stated, “That righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ, which He wrought out for His Church, is ‘the righteousness of God’: for, as He was God as well as man, His righteousness was, to all intents and purposes, the righteousness of God.”  And as Henry Mahan said, “The righteousness of God’ is one of the most important expressions in the Scriptures, and it signifies both the precept of the Law and the penalty of the Law. That is, the holy Law in every jot and tittle must be honored, and where there is the least offense, justice must be satisfied. We are not talking here of God’s own personal holiness, but of that righteousness He has (by His grace) provided for and imputed to guilty sinners through His Son (Rom. 10:1-4).”
The first thing Paul says, in reference to “the righteousness of God,” or God’s way of justifying sinners, is that it is “without the law.” While there is no righteousness by the Law, there is a righteousness apart from the Law, i. e., a righteousness to which our obedience to the Law contributes nothing whatever (vs. 28; Gal. 2:16). What ever is, or can be, performed by ourselves in obedience unto the Law, is rejected from any interest in this righteousness of God. The elect are justified apart from it, that is, apart from any personal fulfillment thereof. If there is no imputation of Christ’s obedience, no one will be saved (Isa. 64:6 with Matt. 5:20). Personal obedience to the Law is not the principle of the Divine Method of justifying sinful men. Law, as a method of justification for sinners, has become “weak through the flesh” (Rom. 8:3). Man’s guilt and depravity make it impossible that the Law should be the means of his justification and eternal happiness for it can do nothing, with regard to him, but pronounce his condemnation and secure his eternal punishment. No modification of Law would serve the purpose of justifying the sinner. The perfect Law of God does not admit of any modifications. Any and every attempt to do so, instead of establishing the Law and bringing the sinner to salvation, dishonors the Law, and deludes and destroys the sinner. Those who would make obedience the ground of obtaining Divine favor, or even those who rightly say that the obedience unto death of the incarnate Son of God, and not their own obedience — but then say the means by which the individual obtains an interest in it is his own obedience — in neither of these cases would the method of justification be “without law” — apart from Law. Personal obedience is neither the grounds nor the means of justification. Words cannot be plainer than the apostle’s words in verse 28 of our chapter, “A man is justified without the deeds of the law;” and those in Gal. , “A man is not justified by the works of the law.”
Religions that make obedience the ground of a sinner’s justification are deceiving men. If obedience were the ground of the sinner’s justification it would have to be either perfect or imperfect but sincere. (1) Perfect obedience cannot be the ground for there is no such thing to be found among sinful men. There is not, there never was, there never will be, such a just mere man as “doeth good and sinneth not” (Eccl. ). Not only do the Scriptures teach this as impossibility, but fallen, sinful men cannot please God in anything, much less everything (Rom. 8:8). (2) Every person born of Adam is condemned already and everything they do is absolutely imperfect, being mixed with sin (Gen. 6:5). No man but a justified man — a man already in favor with God — can yield really sincere obedience to God — that is, obedience rising out of cordial esteem and true love of a Holy God and His Law.
The apostle then asserts that the Divine Method of Justification, revealed in the Gospel, is “witnessed” in the Old Testament Scriptures, “by the law and prophets.” God’s method of justifying sinners had been in operation since the fall of man and to a great extent, a mystery — a concealed thing, till Christ came who is, “THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.” The Gospel message is that the ground of the sinner’s justification is not his own doing and suffering, but the doing and suffering of the sinner’s Substitute, our Lord Jesus Christ, and the sinner is brought into the reality of this justification, not by doing and working, but through true believing. And this witness was fully manifested — fully, clearly, made known — in the fullness of time.  We finish comments on this verse with another good quote by Henry Mahan: “Why is the Gospel the power of God unto salvation? Because therein is the righteousness of God revealed! (Rom. 1:16-17). Christ fulfilled it for us and reveals it to us (Rom. ). Moses and all the prophets testified of this righteousness in Christ (Isa. 53:11; Jer. 23:5; Psa. 85:10-13).”
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. In the Scriptures the phrase “the righteousness of God” is to be understood, firstly, of that imparted righteousness that is communicated to our souls in regeneration and, secondly, of an imputed righteousness which is placed to our account or credit in the justification of a sinner. In Justification it is always imputed righteousness, that perfect obedience which Christ rendered to the Law of God, which is legally reckoned to each sinner that believes in Him (Isa. 61:10). Our Blessed Redeemer rendered perfect satisfaction to Divine justice on the behalf and in the stead of that people which had been given Him by the Father before the foundation of the world. That “righteousness” by which the believing sinner is justified is called “the righteousness of God” because He is the Appointer, Approver, and the One who imputes it to the sinner’s account. It is called “the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” (2 Pet. 1:1) because Christ wrought it out and presented it unto God. It is called “the righteousness of faith” (Rom. ) because faith is the apprehender and empty-handed receiver of it. It is called man’s righteousness in Job 33:26 because it was paid for him and imputed to him. These varied expressions all refer to that one perfect obedience unto death which our Saviour performed for His elect people.
We ask our readers to refer back to chapter one verse 17 for our remarks on faith. The “faith of Jesus Christ” is the faith of which Christ is the supreme object. Faith is the God-given instrument by which the true believer is given a saving interest in the justifying merits (the blood and the righteousness) of our Mediator. As Charles Hodge said, “It is only faith in Christ, not faith as such, which makes a man a Christian.” It is Christ in the truth of Him that is revealed in the heart by the Holy Ghost. God gives faith and it is produced but one way — by the preciousness of His testimony concerning the Lord Christ and the power of the Holy Ghost. It is “the faith of God’s elect” (Titus 1:1), the faith of God’s Christ, Head and members, chosen for each other in the counsels of eternity, and brought by the Spirit of Christ, through the Gospel of Christ. What a marvelous faith this is. It is the Father’s gift in Christ (Eph. 2:8). It is Christ’s work by the power of His Word (John ). It is the Spirit’s fruit by His own omnipotent energy (Gal. 5:22; Eph. 1:17-20). Sinners “go down to their house justified” (Luke ) when, by grace, they are enabled to really believe the truth respecting the Lord Jesus Christ, exhibited in the Gospel as the Propitiation of sin.” This perfect righteousness whereby we are justified and received into God’s presence is not imputed to us on account of anything of our own or any work which we have done, but it is received by faith. Faith is not a part of that righteousness, but it is through faith that it is received. Before we can have a part of anything in Christ, we must be one with Him, and this union is accomplished through faith (Phil. 3:9).
Paul does not say that the sinner is justified on the ground of his faith. Faith is not, and cannot be, the ground on which God justifies the sinner. Multitudes of preachers, teachers and speakers, as well as common professors of a “faith” by their own supposed ability, have seriously erred at this point. Oh, they will rightly say that we cannot be justified before God by our own works, yet they virtually make a “saviour” of their own so-called faith. They speak of faith as a contribution which God requires the sinner to make toward his own salvation — and millions profess and think that something they did for God, which they call faith, enabled God to save them. Oh, what damnable folly.
“How doth faith justify a sinner in the sight of God? Answer: Faith justifies a sinner in the sight of God, not because of those other graces which do always accompany it, or of good works that are the fruits of it, nor as if the grace of faith, or any act thereof, were imputed to him for justification; but only as it is an instrument by which he receiveth and applieth Christ and His righteousness” (Westminster Confession of Faith).  Faith is neither the ground nor the substance of our justification, but simply the helpless sinner, going out of himself, relying wholly upon Christ and His saving work in the sinner’s stead, entirely relinquishing any and all reliance on self, or anything else; it is the empty hand which lays hold of Christ (Heb. 6:18).
In connection with justification, faith is not to be considered as a virtuous exercise of the heart, nor as a principle of holy obedience: “Because faith, as concerned in our justification, does not regard Christ as King, enacting Laws, requiring obedience, and subduing depravity; but as a Substitute, answering the requirements of the Divine Law, and as a Priest expiating sin by His own death on the cross. Hence, in justification of them that have obtained like precious faith in the righteousness of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ (2 Pet. 1:1) and of ‘faith in his blood’ (Rom. 3:25), and as believers are described as ‘receiving the atonement’ and receiving the ‘the gift of righteousness’ (Rom. 5:11, 17), it is evident that faith is represented as having an immediate regard to the vicarious work of Christ, and that it is considered not under the notion of exercising virtue or of performing a duty, but of receiving a free gift” (Abraham Booth).     
As the previous verse stated, it is “manifested to all,” now that the Messiah is come in the Person of Jesus Christ our Lord, the incarnate Son of God. The method of justification is “manifested,” made evident, by the great events having taken place on which God’s method of justifying sinners is founded — the great sacrifice of expiation offered up to Him by His Son (Heb. 9:28), on which all human justification rests. And this Divine method of justification is “on all them that believe” — i. e., it does not take effect on all who hear it proclaimed in the Gospel, for it is unto all and upon all that believe. It has no effect on the unbeliever; it is for the poor, weak, doubting believer. As sure as a poor sinner has the faith of Christ in his heart, he has the imputed righteousness of Christ reckoned to his account, let Law, Satan and men say what they will. God finds His children naked, He clothes them. The Jew with the written Law cannot be justified unless he believes. The Gentile without the Law, if he believes, is justified. All believers shall — none but believers can — be justified by this “righteousness of God.”
“There is no difference” in reference to justification; whether Jew or Gentile, or male or female, it relates to man the sinner. The Scripture states that “By Him” (Christ) “all that believe are justified from all things” (Acts ). However men may differ greatly in the nature and extent of their own sinfulness, there is absolutely no difference between the best and worst of men, in that they “all have sinned,” and so are under the wrath of God. Paul proves that the lawless wretch and the Law-breaking religionists are equally guilty, and not one among either the outwardly profane or the outwardly decent is righteous or good before a Holy God. Among natural, or unsaved men, there is no difference as to where they stand before God. Your record and mine before God must be as perfect as His own or we are hopelessly lost as the vilest offender. The very worst and the best of those unsaved are equally hopeless. Jehovah has only one standard for Heaven, and with Him there are no seconds or thirds. Men will pass with God’s own perfection (in Christ), or they’ll miss Him completely for all eternity.
Verse 23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. No wonder there is no difference “for all have sinned,” and both the Jews and the Gentiles have the guilt of Adam’s transgression imputed to them (Rom. ), and have original corruption inherent in them, from whence proceed all manners of evil transgressions (Mark -23). All are guilty, all are condemned, as all have violated the Law of God — they have all incurred its penalty; they are all the objects of judicial displeasure and the moral disapprobation of God. God’s method of justifying sinners deals with men not as Jews or Gentiles, not as possessing or being destitute of His revelation, not as being comparatively moral or enormously wicked — but as men, as sinners. It is not man as created, for when the Lord created man He created him upright (Eccl. ). He endowed him with the power to obey, and the ability to keep all the commands which God gave to him. He bestowed upon him also a will perfectly free in all its acting, entirely unbiased from either inward or outward causes, and in full and complete accordance with the laws which his bountiful Creator had given to regulate it. The result:  man fell (Psa. 14:1-3). All have sinned in Adam, and all are sinners by practice.
What is sin? Only the Holy One against whom it is committed can fully understand its nature or measure its enormity, yet, from the light in His Word that He has furnished us, at least we can give a partial answer. “Sin is the transgression of the law,” (1 John 3:4) and that this transgression is not confined to outward acts is made clear from “the thought of foolishness is sin” (Prov. 24:9). And the meaning of 1 John 3:4 is that sin is a trampling upon God’s holy commandment, which is an act of defiance against the Lawgiver. We continue this idea of what sin is from the words of A.W. Pink: “The law, being ‘holy and just and good,’ it follows that any breach of it is an evil and enormity which God alone is capable of estimating. All sin is a breach of the eternal standard of equity. But it is more than that: it reveals an inward enmity which gives rise to the outward transgression. It is bursting forth of that pride and the self-will which resents restraint, which repudiates control, which refuses to be under authority, which resists rule. Against the righteous restraint of Law, Satan proposed a false idea of ‘liberty’ to our first parents — ‘Ye shall be as gods.’ And he is still plying the same argument and employing the same bait. The Christian must meet it by asking, Is the disciple to be above his Master, the servant superior to his Lord? Christ was ‘made under the law’ (Gal. 4:4), and lived in perfect submission thereto, and has left us an example that we should ‘follow His steps’ (1 Pet. ). Only by loving, fearing, and obeying the law, shall we be kept from sinning.
“Sin, then, is an inward state which precedes the evil deeds. [It is the heart failing in the Lord’s command (Matt. -40), as it always does, L.V.C.].  It is a state of heart which refuses to be in subjection to God. It is a casting off the Divine law, and setting up self-will and self-pleasing in its stead . . . Only after the principle of holiness has been imparted to us, can we discern the real character of sin.”
All have “come short” of the glorious image of God, in which man was first created; of communion with God, in which the glory of a rational creature does consist; of eternal glory. The unbeliever continues under the sentence of condemnation which he has already incurred by violation of the Divine Law. “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God,” i. e. have lost the Divine approbation. Coming short of the glory of God is to live and act without love or desire for His glory. Every moment lived in this life without a single eye to God’s glory is sin. Every act of the sinner that stems from “turning to his own way;” every movement of the selfish heart; and every desire to gratify, please and exalt self is a sinful “coming short of the glory of God. This labels all the religious services of the natural man as sin. It leaves the religious professor in the same awful state as the irreligious; and uncovers the professing religious world with the same searching light that exposes the profane world. Dear reader, is all that you do, all that you think, all that you desire for the glory of God? The very glory of God requires that every one accepted in His sight should be without spot, stain or blemish, for a pure God cannot accept, look upon, or be pleased with impurity. Only as “God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our heart to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face (Person) of Jesus Christ” do we speak to His glory, act to His glory, consult His glory, and live to His glory.
We conclude with the words of J. C Philpot, “Now this all the election of grace are brought more or less to feel. It is the solemn and indispensable preparation of the heart for mercy; it is the introduction by the hand of the Spirit into the antechamber of the King of kings. It is the bringing of the soul to that spot, that only spot, where grace is felt, received, and known. It is, therefore, utterly indispensable for the election of grace, for all the ransomed and quickened family of God, to have felt in their conscience, that they have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”
Verse 24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. The renowned John Calvin said, “We simply explain justification to be an acceptance, by which God receives us into His favor, and esteems us as righteous persons; and we say that it consists in the remission of sins and the imputation of the righteousness of Christ . . . Justification, therefore, is no other than an acquittal from guilt of him who was accursed, as though his innocence has been proved. Since God, therefore, justifies us through the mediation of Christ, He acquits us, not by an admission of our personal innocence, but by an imputation of righteousness; so that we, who are unrighteous in ourselves, are considered as righteous in Christ.”
It is clear from Scripture that God had in His heart a secret and eternal purpose; His decree to justify all those who shall savingly believe. Therefore He gives them true faith in time. Then, what He eternally decreed effectually takes place in their souls. But there has been a teaching of eternal justification by some good and godly men that is not in keeping with the Scriptures, which must always be taken as a whole, and, as our Lord Jesus Christ said, “cannot be broken” (John 10:35). Due to the importance of this issue we give a rather lengthy quote of the godly A.W. Pink which includes his use of an important quote from the great Puritan, Thomas Goodwin: “Some of the older theologians, when expounding this doctrine, contend for the eternal justification of the elect, affirming that God pronounced them righteous before the foundation of the world, and that their justification was then actual and complete, remaining so throughout their history in time, even during the days of their unregeneracy and unbelief; and that the only difference their faith made was in making manifest God’s eternal justification in their consciences. This is a serious mistake, resulting (again) from failure to distinguish between things which differ . . . As an immanent act of God’s mind, in which all things (which are to us past, present, and future) were cognized by Him, the elect might be said to be justified from all eternity. And, as an immutable act of God’s will, which cannot be frustrated, the same may be predicated again. But as an actual, formal, historical sentence, pronounced by God upon us, not so. We must distinguish God’s looking upon the elect in the purpose of His grace, and the objects of justification lying under the sentence of the Law: in the former, He loved His people with an everlasting love (Jer. 31:3); in the latter, we were ‘by nature the children of wrath, even as others’ (Eph. 2:3). Until they believe, every descendant of Adam is ‘condemned already’ (John ), and to be under God’s condemnation is the very opposite of being justified.
“In his ponderous treatise on justification, the Puritan Thomas Goodwin made clear some vital distinctions, which if carefully observed will preserve us from error on this point. [The remainder of this quote is Pink quoting Thomas Goodwin]. (1) In the everlasting covenant, we may say of all spiritual blessings in Christ, what is said of Christ Himself, that their ‘goings forth are from everlasting.’ Justified then we are when first elected, though not in our own persons, yet in our Head (Eph. 1:3). (2) There is a further act of justifying us, which passed from God towards us in Christ, upon His payment and performance at His resurrection (Rom.4:25; 1 Tim. 3:16). (3) But these two acts of justification are wholly out of us, immanent acts in God, and though they concern us and are towards us, yet not acts of God upon us, they being performed towards us not as actually existing in ourselves, but only as existing in our Head, who covenanted for us and represented us: so as though by those acts we are estated into a right and title to justification, yet the benefit and possession of that estate we have not without a farther act being passed upon us . . . Before regeneration we are justified by existing in our Head only, as a feoffee, held in trust for us, as children under age. In addition to which we are to be in our own persons, though still through Christ, possessed of it, and to have all the deeds and evidences of it committed to the custody and apprehension of our faith. We are in our own persons made true owners and enjoyers of it, which is immediately done at that instant when we first believe; which act (of God) is the completion and accomplishment of the former two, and is that grand and famous justification by faith which the Scripture so much inculcates — note the ‘now’ in Rom. 5:9,11 and 8:1! . . . God doth judge and pronounce His elect ungodly and unjustified till they believe.”
This glorious Divine method of justification in reference to sinners is gratuitousness. Sinners justified are “justified freely.” There is — there can be no cause of justification in the sinner. The Holy Spirit, through His servant Paul, has proven that our own personal righteousness is expressly and directly excluded. “Being justified” without price, without merit, without cause or any means of procurement (I Sam. ; Psa. 69:4), showing that these words exclude all consideration of any thing in us that should be the cause or condition of our justification. It is without any cause or merit in us; only by the free favor of God to undeserving, ill-deserving sinners (Eph. 1:6-7; 2:8; Titus 3:7).
In reference to God, the character of the Divine method of Justification is Graciousness, gracious sovereignty. They who are justified are “justified by God’s grace.” The blessings conferred, and the method of conferring them, originated in self-moved sovereign grace and kindness. God’s glory and happiness are, like Himself, eternal and independent. Justice demanded any thing but men’s justification for they deserved punishment; they could never deserve any thing else. The reason that any of fallen mankind, the elect, are justified is because it is “according to His own will,” (Eph. 1:5) “which He purposed in Himself” (Eph. 1:9) — “the riches of His grace” (Eph. 1:7). Our Lord has mercy because He wills to have mercy; He has compassion because He wills to have compassion (Rom. ). Justification is “free” — there is no cause of it in man; it is “by God’s grace,” free and sovereign. All in our human nature is adverse to it. Nothing in us could deserve a right, or procure a title to it. It is freely proclaimed, to the wretched and Hell-deserving sinners, who have neither power nor inclination to perform any terms and conditions to obtain an interest in it. Yet a sinner lies entirely at God’s disposal. If Jehovah sees fit to leave the sinner in his sins, he is done forever; yet God has a perfect right to do so. Salvation, justification, is a matter of God’s choice and not ours, for we are merely clay in His hands to be molded into a vessel of honor or dishonor entirely as He pleases (Rom. ). Sinners are in the sovereign hand of God to save or damn according to His own will (Matt. ). That is His Divine prerogative. “Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth” (Rom. ). Justification is by the free, pure, sovereign grace of God.
“THE GRACE OF GOD is a perfection of the Divine character which is exercised only toward the elect. Neither in the Old Testament nor in the New is the grace of God ever mentioned in connection with mankind generally, still less with the lower orders of His creatures. In this it is distinguished from ‘mercy,’ for the mercy of God is ‘over all His works’ (Psa. 145:9). Grace is the alone source from which flows the goodwill, love, and salvation of God unto His chosen people … The fullest exposition of the amazing grace of God is to be found in the Epistles of the apostle Paul. In his writings “grace” stands in direct opposition to works and worthiness, all works and worthiness, of whatever kind or degree. This is abundantly clear from Rom. 11:6, ‘And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. If it be of works, then is it no more grace, otherwise work is no more work.’ Grace and works will no more unite than an acid and an alkali. ‘By grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast’ (Eph. 2:8-9). The absolute favor of God can no more consist with human merit than oil and water will fuse into one; see also Rom. 4:4-5” (Arthur W. Pink). Grace is God’s unmerited and uninfluenced favor, shown to undeserving and Hell-deserving sinners, neither human worthiness, works, nor willingness attracting it, nor the lack of them repelling it. It is as “The God of all grace” (1 Pet. ) that Jehovah justifies the ungodly. It is as “the God of all grace” He seeks, finds, and saves His people: asking them for nothing, giving them everything.

Divine grace is the sinner’s only hope (Heb. -20), for it is not searching for good men whom it may approve, but for the guilty and lost whom it may save (Luke ). It comes not to those who have done their best and are quite presentable, but rather to those who have done their worst and are in rags and tatters (Luke ). Grace ever draws near to the poor sinner with his condition fully exposed. Grace recognizes no distinctions either social or moral: the chaste virgin is on the same level as the confirmed harlot, the religious moralist with the wildest profligate. Grace is God’s provision for those who are so corrupt that they cannot help their conduct, so averse to God that they cannot turn to Him, so dead that He must open their graves and bring them to spiritual life (John 5:25). Unless men are saved by pure, free grace they cannot be saved at all. The grace of God that saves sinners is always accompanied by the power of God to effectually apply His grace. He removes their ignorance and insensibility by His power for the sinner cannot do so by human effort. Only the might of the Lord can dispel the darkness from the sinners mind, take away their hearts of stone or free their sin-enslaved wills. All the faculties of the natural are opposed to the operations of Divine grace (Rom. 8:7) until God’s almighty power saves him from himself and “makes him willing in the day of his power” (Psa. 110:3). No sinner ever turned to God except God Himself turned him (Lam. ).

The cause of this blessing of justification, which stands opposed to accusation and condemnation, is the free sovereign grace of God (Rom. 8:30-31), by which we have the holiness and righteousness of His Son as if it were our own (Rom. 5:1; Eph. 1:6-7). By His grace He chose us, redeemed us and called us (the elect remnant) according to the good pleasure of His own will (Eph. 2:4-7). Our thralldom to sin makes it evident that if any man is justified at all, it must be by sovereign grace. Those who are “freely” justified “by His grace” clearly must receive it as God’s free gift. Our total inability and incapacity to make any contribution to His Divine donation to elect sinners could not be more strongly emphasized. The riches of God’s grace and the foolish, imaginary “merits” of man cannot be allowed to co-exist together for one moment. Church history has proved the maintenance of this truth is the crucial element in the preservation of the Gospel from corruption. It was the re-discovery by Martin Luther of the doctrine of God’s free justification of the ungodly which heralded the greatest revival of true religion since the days of the Apostles. There is so much that could be said about our Lord’s amazing grace but we must keep to the writing of this commentary. We simply state that not only is our Lord’s grace sovereign, it is Irresistible (Psa. 110:3; John ). We intend to deal with this aspect later in this commentary (D.V.). But then there is an erroneous theory called “Common Grace” which has no Scriptural basis whatsoever. Grace is not common, it ever “bringeth salvation” (Titus ) and “For by grace are ye saved” (Eph. 2:8) by the gift of God working in an irresistible, effectual manner in the soul. The quote given by Mr. Pink above touches on this but we shall give 3 additional quotes that show more fully and clearly the error of such a theory.

“We reject common grace on the basis of the Word of God. Common grace teaches that God loves the reprobate, but the Scriptures proclaim that ‘the Lord abhorreth’ ‘the covetous’ (Ps. 10:4). The Psalmist declares of God: ‘thou hatest all workers of iniquity’ (Ps. 5:5). God does not hate the sin but love the sinner! Moreover, ‘the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth’ (Ps. 11:5). Here is the intensity of God’s aversion to the reprobate: His very soul—all that He is—detests him. Thus Jehovah ‘shall rain snares, fire and brimstone’ upon him (11:6). Common grace teaches that the good things which the reprobate receive in this life are proof of God’s love for them. This was Asaph’s mistake, and it is the mistake of many. In ‘the sanctuary of God’ (Ps. 73:17), Asaph came to understand that ‘the prosperity of the wicked’ (73:3)—their health (73:4), food (73:77), riches (73:12) — was ‘surely’ God’s setting them ‘in slippery places’ before He casts ‘them down into destruction’ (73:18). God gave them good things in His providence, but He ‘despised’ them (73:20) for their wickedness (73:8).  

“Solomon, the wisest of men, declared, ‘The curse of the Lord is in the house of the wicked’ (Prov. ). All the good things in his house — wife, children, possessions, food etc. — come not with God’s love but with His curse. Some people say that we reject common grace on the basis of inferences drawn from the eternal predestinating council of God. But God’s revealed truth of predestination is not the only doctrine that militates against common grace. Against God’s unity (Deut. 6:4), common grace teaches that God has two loves, two mercies, two lovingkindnesses, etc. Against God’s immutability (Mal. 3:6), common grace teaches that God loves the reprobate in time and then hates them in eternity. Against the divine righteousness, which is so great that God cannot ‘look on iniquity’ (Hab. ), common grace says that God loves those who are completely evil (Rom. -18). In short, common grace postulates a temporary, limited, changeable, unrighteous love of God (outside of Jesus Christ!) for the reprobate. But the Scriptures teach us that God loves Himself, and that He loves His elect Church (Eph. ) with a particular (Rom. ), eternal (Jer. 31:3), infinite (Eph. -19), unchangeable (Ps.136) love in Jesus Christ. This initial error of a love of God for the reprobate is being used by many (including professed Calvinists) to erode the antithesis (Gen. 3:15), to soften total depravity, to compromise particular atonement, to preach a desire of God to save the reprobate, to silence and (then) deny unconditional reprobation and election, to refuse to condemn Arminianism and its teachers, and to enable fellowship with Arminians” (Angus Stewart, pastor in Northern Ireland giving a summary of the teaching of Herman Hoeksema and David Engelsma).

“Yes, it is true Calvin taught a form of common grace — Edwards and Whitefield followed somewhat in his train . . . But I believe in this they are outside the Scriptures — although not nearly so much as since the days of Andrew Fuller. When Fuller wrote his famous work, GOSPEL WORTHY OF ALL ACCEPTATION, he admitted to teaching a NEW thing:  The duty of natural, unquickened sinners to perform spiritual acts. The Baptists of his day didn’t believe that, for they knew what 1 Cor. teaches! But on Fuller’s ideas is based most of modern ‘Calvinism.’  On this view are the modern doctrines of ‘common grace, free offer of the Gospel and duty faith’ built. What a wonderful thing is this ‘common grace’! It is absolutely useless, worthless and accomplishes nothing. Common grace did not avail to keep Adam and Eve secure in the Garden of Innocence. Common grace did not help the antedeluvians. Noah ‘found grace in the eyes of the Lord’ — the whole of mankind besides did not.  True, Noah is denominated a ‘preacher of righteousness,’ but he preached by his actions in obedience to God. There is no evidence in the record that Noah pled with or exhorted his neighbors to repent. He neither offered them passage on the ark nor placed a ‘Smile, God Loves You!’ bumper sticker on the rear of that ship. No, the very PURPOSE of God with the ark was to make a DIFFERENCE between Noah the eighth Person and all the men of his day. God’s revealed purpose of the flood was to DESTROY the antedeluvians, not to OFFER them any mercy. ‘Common grace’ doctrine falls flat here. 

“Come to Sodom. What benefits of common grace can we see here? When Abraham interceded for them, he asked the Lord for mercy on the righteous people found in the city. He never dared ask God to SAVE the perverts of the plains. When it was certain that judgment would fall, we don’t find LOT trying to convert those wretches. In an act of paternal concern he DID seek to save his own family from physical destruction.

“In Egypt, long years later, where is any Common Grace, Free Offer of Mercy or Duty Faith at the Passover? The blood of redemption was not offered nor given nor provided for the Egyptians — only for Israel, as God would deliver them alone from bondage.  Here again the solemn bloodshed of that night was clearly seen making a Difference between the people of God and Pharaoh’s nation.

“All through the Old Testament this is the case. Common Grace was surely of none avail to the inhabitants of Canaan! God sent Joshua to KILL them, not to offer them mercy! The only grace and mercy found in the Bible is given to God’s elect people. This seems to me to be very clear in both Testaments . . . The Word of God does not teach COMMON GRACE, but I’ll tell you what it DOES teach:  COMMON JUDGMENT (John 9:39).  The elect were once ‘children of wrath, even as others’ (Eph.2:3), ‘of the same lump’ (Rom. ) and were redeemed while others were not. But the reprobate NEVER was under the love, grace or mercy of God, and thus reaps no saving benefits therefrom” (Wylie W. Fulton). 
“INEFFECTUAL grace? That is a doctrine which represents Omnipotence itself as wishing and trying and striving to no purpose. According to this tenet, God in endeavoring (for it seems it is only an endeavor) to convert sinners may by sinners be foiled, defeated and disappointed. He may lay close and long siege to a soul, and that soul can, from the citadel of impregnable freewill, hang out a flag of defiance to God Himself, and by a continual obstinacy of defense and a few vigorous sallies of free-agency, compel Him to raise the siege. In a word, the Holy Spirit, after having for years appealed to the free will of man, may at last like an unsuccessful petitioner, be either put to an ignominious flight or be contemptuously dismissed without accomplishing the end for which He was sent ... The main root of the error consists greatly in not distinguishing between the Gospel of grace and the grace of the Gospel. The Gospel of grace may be rejected; but the grace of the Gospel cannot. Alas, alas! Did the matter rest with us, we should never choose to come to God at all. If He did not first change our wills we should never even will that great change without which no man can see the kingdom of Heaven. God would not have been Lord of any hearts, had He not by the constraining power of His own love effectually gained them over and invincibly attached them to His blessed Self. The glorious and independent Creator made us at first without our leave; and yet, according to the modern system, He must ask and wait for our leave before He can make us anew! God’s converting call is rendered successful not by the will of the person called, but by the power and grace of Him that calls — Psalm 110:3.”  (Augustus M. Toplady, composer of the great hymn, ROCK OF AGES.”).

The Divine method of justification is “through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Matt. ; Mark 10:45; 1 Tim. 2:6; Heb. 9:12). The ground or source of our justification is redemption through Christ. To redeem means to buy back and it is through the payment of ransom that the justification of sinners is accomplished.  Christ, as our Redeemer, perfectly obeyed the law, bore our sins in His own body, was buried and rose again. The “cost” of a “free” justification in met by Christ who gave His life “a Ransom for many.” Redemption, in the sense of deliverance, is “in Christ Jesus,” as it is only in union with Him that this deliverance can be enjoyed. Redemption, in the sense of the act of ransoming, is “in” or by “Christ Jesus,” because He paid the ransom. The ransom paid by our Lord Jesus Christ is the ground of the sinner’s justification — is that which makes it just in God to justify the ungodly.  The justification which the righteousness of God brings to sinners is not mere amnesty. It is pardon and acceptance granted to the sinner in consequence of Christ, who answered all the demands of a Holy God and His broken Law — the perfect obedience to death of the incarnate Son of God — in His submitting to take the place of all those the Father gave Him, and expose Himself to those evils which are the manifestation of the displeasure of God against sin. Our Lord Christ Himself, in His all-perfect humanity — doing and suffering all that the righteous Governor held necessary for the vindication of His Holy Law from the dishonor done to it by the sins of men, till on the Cross, yielding up His Spirit, He could say, “It is finished,” — was the ransom that laid the foundation for the unlocking the fetters of guilt and delivering from the slavery of sin and Satan.

Christ died for all “whom the Father gave Him” (John 17:9). In all the Scriptures we never find the word “redeem” or “redemption” employed by the sacred writers to describe a work in which it is not an effective work. For instance, when it is said, “God redeemed Israel out of Egypt,” (Exo. 13:3, 14) it is meant that God, with a mighty hand, brought them out. He left none of this to be done by man. It was all His Own effective work. When redemption of any kind was effected, it was a real actual redemption, not a thing offered or any suggestion or arrangement, leaving the party to be redeemed to accept or reject it. Too, redemption by Christ differs essentially from all other cases, for it is eternal; it was once for allnever to be repeated. Those whom He has redeemed He has secured for ever and ever. “The pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand” (Isa. 53:10), and “this is the pleasure or will of God, that of all that He hath given Him He should lose none” (John ). Reader, if we are redeemed we shall be saved with an everlasting salvation: if not redeemed, we shall perish for ever. The “redeemed from among men” alone stand before the throne of glory, serving the Lord continually in the “beauties of holiness” (1 Chron. ).

The doctrine of salvation by sacrifice, the blessed fact of reconciliation by substitution, the remission of sins by the blood-shedding of the Lord Christ, and the acceptance of poor sinners on the ground of His atonement, are the grand central truths of the Gospel. The preciousness of Christ’s redemption, however, can only be experienced as the Eternal Holy Spirit is pleased to take of the things of the Lord Jesus and reveal them to us as ours, sealing home to our hearts, and putting us into the experimental possession of His redeeming love, by which our interest in His finished work is made known. Truly redeemed sinners glory in Christ’s redemption.

Verse 25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God. The Lord Jesus, God’s perfect Sacrifice for sin, was the subject of Divine appointment — He, as the Victim for the sins of the elect, and thus the Author of holiness to men, was “fore-ordained before the foundation of the world” in the eternal counsel and covenant of redemption (Eph. 1:9 & 1 Pet. ). He was “set forth,” — fore-ordained “a propitiation in his blood.” When “Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together against God’s holy Child Jesus” (Acts -28), He was “set up from everlasting” (Prov. ). This central truth of true Christianity is further illustrated in the words that follow, in which the apostle shows that the manifestation of the Divine method of justification, in the Gospel, is effected by that Gospel setting forth the Lord Jesus as a Propitiatory Sacrifice, in the atoning, expiatory efficacy of which sinners show saving interest by believing (1 John 2:2). He is the Redeemer — the One who buys back. The meritorious ground consists in His expiation reaching the elect sinner through His mediation. He stands between the sinner and God and touches both. The first part of His mediation is the payment of that purchase price. He could not, in paying the purchase price, stand for God unless God set Him forth as a propitiation. He could not touch man unless He Himself was Man, as the incarnate God-Man, and voluntarily took the position as the sinner’s Substitute.

He was appointed to be a “propitiation,” that is, the One who would appease God’s wrath, satisfying every demand of His broken Law, and glorifying His justice and holiness. The word “propitiation” means that which placates or appeases by satisfying offended justice. God’s own Son must be made man; in that nature be charged with the sins of God’s elect; and must discharge that debt, by bearing the wrath of God, and curse of the Law, even unto death. Modern versions of “Bibles” prove themselves to be corrupt by eliminating this word and modern so-called scholars that substitute the word reconciliation or expiation for “Propitiation” show that they do not know the nature of sin nor the Holy nature of God, for those words do not point to the absolute necessity of this death as a satisfaction of Divine justice. It is the Godward aspect of the Atonement which is given precise expression in the important word “Propitiation.” The word “propitiation” clearly speaks of the appeasement or turning away of God’s wrath against sinners by means of an atoning sacrifice (Heb. ; 1 John 2:2; ). The Greek term is hilasterion, which is translated “mercy-seat” in Hebrews 9:5. The mercy seat was sprinkled with the blood of atonement and is therefore the “propitiatory,” or place of propitiation, because when the blood was sprinkled, God’s wrath was turned away. This is what our verse teaches — Christ by shedding His blood turned away God’s wrath. Similar words are used in Heb. , 1 John 2:2, and showing that our Lord Jesus, by the shedding of His own blood, has propitiated God and delivered His people from Divine wrath. John Owen, the prince of Puritan divines, lists four essential elements in any propitiation: “(1) An offence to be taken away. (2) A Person offended who needs to be pacified. (3) An offending person; one guilty of the offence. (4) A sacrifice or some other means of making atonement for the offence.” Christ, by His death on that bloody Cross, is the means of quenching God’s personal penal wrath against His people by blotting out our transgressions from His sight.

The words “through faith in His blood” limit the benefits of Christ’s sacrificial death to true believers, those who by inward revelation by God the Holy Ghost come to grateful recognition that “the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isa. 53:6). It is “in Christ,” and in Christ alone, that the thrice Holy God meets the sinner in pardoning mercy. Christ is the One who met His claims and endured His wrath on behalf of all the elect, all who trust in Him. Christ is the alone Mediator whereby transgressors can approach unto God. He is a propitiation through “faith in his blood,” for His blood avails none but those who plead it. The sinner must come and does come to Christ by the drawing of the Holy Ghost, but our coming is a falling before Him in our need of grace. “In Him, we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins” (Eph. 1:7). The price of our redemption is the precious blood of Christ, buying back that which was lost! — Sprinkling that which was polluted, and purifying it, so that an all-Holy God could take it to Himself, and see not a spot or stain upon it (Eph. 5:27)! True religion is a bloody religion and it demands an experimental acquaintance with the efficacy of Christ’s precious Blood. Yet this true religion is derided and despised by false religions and the world while man-made “human ability” and “works” religions are tolerated, even exalted. The central story of the true Church is that His Blood was the Purchase Price of her Redemption and “without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin” (Heb. ).

On this important, vital subject of the Blood of our Lord there are six things that must be pointed out. They are: (1) The precious Blood (1 Pet. 1:19) is precious in its Source — The Holy Body of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Beloved Son of God, yielded its life (“the Blood is the life”, Lev. 17:11,14); and the fountain from whence it came was His pierced, broken heart. The thorns, nails, and spear at Calvary all opened this fountain of blood which flows freely and fully for needy sinners. Ah, it is precious in its application. Sprinkled before the Throne of grace it gives access; applied to the heart it heals and softens. Applied to the guilty conscience, it cleanses from the guilt of sin.  (2) The Blood is ever in force. “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb” (Rev. 12:11) as Satan is vanquished and sin is conquered by His Blood. Christ’s Blood is the ground of His Intercession, and gives His prayer its prevailing power; for by His Blood He entered into the Holy Place, having obtained eternal redemption for us (Heb. 9:12).  The shedding of His Blood accomplished that which Jehovah took pleasure in from all eternity, the redemption of His Church. (3) Ah, His Blood is purifying. It cleanses from all sin (1 John 1:7), and purgeth the conscience from dead works to serve the Living God (Heb. ) as it removes the guilt of our unrighteousness and that defilement and guiltiness which clings to our best works. Through His Blood there is pardon for all sins of omission and commission because it covers over for ever the sins and iniquities of the redeemed from God’s sight. (4) It is the price of Redemption to the redeemed (i. e. bought back) with the precious Blood of Christ, as a Lamb without spot and without blemish (1 Pet. ). He has purchased the elect, the Church, with His own Blood (Acts ). (5) Our Lord’s precious Blood is pardoning Blood and forgiveness is the result of redemption. “In whom we have redemption through His Blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” (Eph. 1:7). There is no remission without this shedding of blood (Heb. 9:12); but His Blood so completely removes sin from those poor sinners for whom He died that abundant pardon is the merciful result. (6) The applied Blood brings Peace to the guilty conscience of the sinner. It makes peace (Col. 1:20) and it speaks peace (Heb. ). It gives peace and liberty to the conscience of the sinner. It is as fresh now as when it streamed forth from the wounded side of our Precious Lord Jesus upon the Cross: and sinners who are effectually called today, as well as all the called of the past, can overcome by it as certainly as ever. Amen! Our Lord’s Blood is precious, because it needs no repetition, no addition, and no admixture. It is of such efficacy, of such infallible virtue, of such almighty power, as at once and for ever to heal the sin-wounded hearts to which it is applied.

God “set forth (His Son) to be a propitiation through faith in His blood, to declare (or demonstrate) His righteousness” — He gave His Son to be a propitiation for sinners rather than save them without one because He loved righteousness and hated iniquity. The forbearance of God in former times, i. e. sins that were committed in past ages, before Christ died, was widely misinterpreted by sinful men as an indifference to the claims of justice (Acts 14:16; 17:30). Thus the righteousness of God demanded the manifestation of Christ as propitiation to vindicate Divine justice. God so indulged our fathers, as to pardon them upon the account of what was to come (Heb. -18), Christ’s death on Calvary. He pardoned the sins of His people under the old economy by the atonement of Christ. They were persuaded of the promises in Christ and embraced them by faith (Heb. ). It was due to God’s forbearance that he did not immediately destroy them but passed by their sins till His Law was honored and His justice satisfied by Christ.

Verse 26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. “To declare, I say, at this time” means to manifest that perfect righteousness provided by Christ for every true believer (Rom. ; 2 Cor. ). “At this time” refers to the open manifestation of the Gospel in which there is a display of the mercy, grace, and goodness of God. The sinner’s deepest spiritual needs are met in the Gospel of God, the Gospel that Paul preached, the message of hope for sensible sinners. This hope rests upon the bedrock of Christ’s historical accomplishment of the eternal redemptive purpose of God. Justification declares us to be not only reckoned as innocent, but we have the righteousness of God in Christ. God saves sinners in such a way that His justice and truth are not compromised or violated. He is a just God and a justifying God (Psa. 85:10). God is the Justifier of true believers in Christ though not to the exclusion of the Son and Spirit. The word JUST, applied to God, means that He asserts just claims and inflicts just punishment. He is Holy and hates sin. This determines the character of the atonement. Such language would be unmeaning, if it were not admitted that the atonement is in the proper sense of the word a satisfaction of Divine justice. And when the apostle adds, “that he might be just, AND THE JUSTIFIER,” he alludes to the fact that these two apparently conflicting perfections, JUSTICE and GRACE, meet in full harmony on the Cross: justice suffers no violence, and grace has full outlet. This enables us to form a right judgment as to all those theories which allow only one element in the atonement, and reduce all to love. When modern theology commits itself to this one-sided theory, it is clearly in serious error and proclaims not what the Holy Ghost is revealing in His Word. This false theory in proclaimed in numerous quarters today and it ignores God’s justice or covers it over with a false view of love. This is a terrible evasion of God’s truth. Justification is pronounced by the Lord on the foundation of perfect righteousness, and neither the Holy Law nor perfect justice can find fault with, but completely approves of; and so our Jehovah appears just and righteous, when He, in sovereign mercy, justifies the ungodly sinner. He justifies the ungodly sinner and the propitiation through faith in Christ’s blood harmonizes all seemingly discordant elements. For in that “God hath made him to be sin for us who knew no sin,” justice has full satisfaction; and in that “we are made the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor. ), mercy has her hearts delight!

On the balance of this verse we quote the words of Dr. Robert Hawker: “The Justifier of him who believeth in Jesus. And who is this, indeed who can it be, but Jehovah? It is God the justifier. Who is he that condemneth? But, my soul, mark how each Person of the Godhead is revealed in the Scripture under this character; as if to convince every poor sinner that is looking for redemption in (spiritual) Israel only in Jesus, that God can be just, and yet the Justifier of him that believeth in Jesus. God the Father justifieth the poor believing sinner: for He manifests that He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, having found a ransom in the blood of His Son for sin, whereby He is faithful to all His covenant-promises in pardoning us, having received at our Lord’s hand double for all our sins. God the Son justifieth also His redeemed: for it is expressly said by the prophet, ‘In the Lord shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory.’ And that God the Holy Ghost justifieth, is as evident also: because it was through the eternal Spirit the offering of the body of Jesus Christ was offered, by which Christ is said to have been justified in the Spirit: and believers are said to be justified by virtue of it in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. Hence, all the Persons of the Godhead concur in the act of justifying every believer in Jesus; by whom we have peace with God, fellowship with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. Here then is a portion to live upon through life, in death, and to all eternity.”

Verse 27 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. The Holy Spirit makes it very plain that God’s method of justification excludes all boasting by those who have a saving interest in it. There is no room for boasting by Jew or Gentile. The Jews placed all their hopes in those things whereof they thought they could boast, — namely, their privileges and their own righteousness (Rom. 9:4; 10:3). But from the declaration made of the nature and causes of justification, the apostle infers that all boasting whatever is utterly shut out of doors. Justification is “freely by His grace,” by virtue of that great rule, “If by grace, then no more of works; otherwise grace is no more grace” (Rom. 11: 6). Justification is God’s free gift, originating in His sovereign favor. God’s plan of salvation by faith not only justifies Him, but absolutely excludes any boasting by removing from the heart of a regenerated sinner everything but gratitude for His free, sovereign grace. The poor sinner who enjoys it cannot boast of himself, for he is a mere recipient; he cannot boast over those who along with him enjoy it, for it is equally enjoyed in every case; he cannot boast over those who do not enjoy it, for he is no better than they. “For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? Now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?” (1 Cor. 4:7).

Receiving a benefit by our “works” gives occasion for boasting, and therefore God has contrived that our salvation shall not be of works, but of pure grace (Eph. 2:8). Israel followed after works for justification and did not attain it as the apostle states in Romans 9:31. By what principle is boasting excluded? It is excluded because it is a method of justification by faith. If the condition of justification had been some work, he who had done it might boast of having done it. But all this boasting is excluded.  In receiving from God the gift of faith and believing plain truth, accompanied with sufficient evidence, he has received the gift of justification. There is nothing to glory in this save the goodness of a merciful God. (Jer. 9: 23-24). By God’s Holy Law our sins are revealed and laid bare, and we are deprived of all glory.

The principle of “faith” destroys boasting, for faith receives all from God and claims nothing for ourselves (1 Cor. -31). Faith itself is of God, not of ourselves; and it brings us completely out of ourselves to God in His free grace — and not to any efforts or works of our own. If we boast of our faith or our believing, or if we be anything in ourselves, faith tells us then it is nothing to us; for it only fills them that are empty, and makes them all by grace who are nothing in and by self. While this true faith is at work, it will fill the soul with such thoughts as these: “I am nothing; a poor worm at God’s disposal; lost, if not found by Christ; — have done, can do, nothing on the account whereof I should be accepted with God: surely God is to be, in all things, submitted to; and my poor soul fall on His pure grace.” This is the true and proper work of faith, — to exclude and shut out boasting in ourselves; that is, to render us such as have nothing at all to glory or rejoice in within ourselves, that God may be all in all. Now, this working of faith will keep the heart in a readiness to subject itself unto our Lord in all things, both in the law of His grace and Providence.

The Puritan Stephen Charnock said that boasting would be introduced by ascribing regeneration to human ability, as much as it is excluded by denying justification by works. The Gospel of grace adamantly proclaims that no flesh should glory in God’s presence (1 Cor. ). Our Lord Jesus Christ gave this rule when upon this earth, that THE GLORIFYING OF GOD IS THE EVIDENCE OF TRUTH IN PERSONS: “he that seeketh His glory that sent him, the same is true” (John ).

Verse 28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. The second conclusion that Paul draws, that a man is justified by faith without the works of the law, is the conclusion of the whole matter that he had been discoursing of, from chapter 1:17 to here. Without believing the truth respecting Christ the Lord and God’s way of salvation in Him, a man cannot be justified. No ceremonial sacrifice, no external privilege, no act of obedience, singly or combined, can restore a sinner to the enjoyment of the Divine favor. The sinner who does really believe the true Gospel, shall be, is justified — “justified from all things” — however numerous, however aggravated his sins. And this without the works of the Law. Nowhere in the Scripture is it written that faith justifieth actively; it is always passively: that a sinner is justified by faith, and that God justifies sinners by, and through faith; yet the meaning is that faith is a mere instrument (an empty hand) receiving that imputed righteousness of Christ, for which we are justified; and that this faith, in the office of justification, is neither condition nor qualification, nor our Gospel-righteousness, but in its very act a renouncing of all such pretences. Whenever there is true faith, it fixes upon the Lord Jesus Christ alone for salvation. This same faith unites to Christ; and where there is union, there must be love; and where there is love, there must be obedience; and where there is obedience, there will be the reward of grace; and when the reward is acknowledged to be all of grace, without a trace of human merit, God will have all the glory in time and eternity. Wylie W. Fulton said, “We are justified in and through and by faith, true saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ — not because the act of faith has any merit with God, but because faith respects HIM in whom is all merit. True faith lays hold of Him who in His perfect obedience to the Law, plus suffering its penalty, has wrought a righteousness which God will accept. And when you are justified in the courts of Heaven and the court of conscience through believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, then it is that all the merits of Christ are imputed (accounted) to you.”

Paul states that “a man is justified before God by faith, without the deeds of the law;” and in the 20th verse he had already positively affirmed that “by the deeds of the law shall no flesh be justified.” The apostle James asserts that “by works a man is justified, and not by faith only” (James ). Paul speaks of a justification before God: James, of a justification before men. Paul speaks of the justification of penitent sinners before God: James, of the justification of saints before men. Paul voices the justification of sinners believing in the righteous of the Lord Jesus Christ for pardon and life: James, of the works of righteousness after justification by faith in Christ. Paul speaks of faith touching its office in the article of justification before God: James, of faith in its fruits and effects. Paul’s faith is fruitful in obedience, in consequence of a saving interest in the merits of Christ: James faith is declared so to be by obedience performed. The conclusion stands firm — justification is by faith without the works of the law. All real believers are freely justified by faith in Christ’s perfect obedience to the Law on their behalf. Their good works add nothing whatever to their justification, for as Luther insisted, it is by faith ALONE.

Verse 29 Is he the God of the Jews only? Is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also. Paul’s third conclusion is that the Divine method of justification is not a national blessing confined to one race of people, but it is necessary, suitable, and sufficient for all men, Jew and Gentile. Paul answers the boasting Jews and he plainly shows us that the covenant of grace, by which God is God of His people, does not belong exclusively to the Jewish people, but to the Gentiles also, according to His promise Gen: 17:5; 22:18; Psa. 2:8; Isa. 11:10,12, and many other Scriptures. These promises now are more especially being accomplished, since the wall of partition is broken down (Eph. -14). God is a universal, and not a national God. He designs to take a people out of this world from “every kindred, and tongue, and people and nation” (Rev. 5:9) for His name. All men are guilty; therefore, man can only be saved by grace for he has no merit of any kind, yea, “we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags” (Isa. 64:6). The sinner is justified by faith in Christ, or he is never justified.

This proud spirit of the Jews is so prevalent in our religion of today. There are numerous sects and religions that believe a man must join with them in their religious beliefs and line up with their “church,” group or organization in order to be saved, thus turning themselves and their religion into a false “god”.  Jehovah God in unity is the God of the unified race, regardless of color, race, or creed. The real issue is, do you know Christ as Lord and Saviour? Do you know what it means to lie at the feet of the Lord Jesus Christ in the dust of repentance, moaning over your sin nature and sins as a guilty Hell-deserving sinner, crying for mercy through His blood and righteousness? “This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (John 17:3). Do you know Him?

Verse 30 Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith. “Both the circumcised Jews and the uncircumcised Gentiles are justified by the same God in Christ, and by the same way and manner, viz. by and through faith, with no more difference than there is betwixt these two phrases, (by faith and through faith) which cannot be distinguished the one from the other” (Matthew Poole). See Eph.2:13-14. Jews and Gentiles are on the same level with respect to their state before God. He is the Lord God of both, and He justifies both in the same way — through faith in Christ our Lord. Had it been a method of justification by circumcision, or keeping the Law, the Jews might have been right to expect God to favor them exclusively. But it is a method of justification by faith, a free gift and Divine favor of God — something nothing of man can supply the place of in God’s way of justifying sinners. There is but one God and one method of justification; and it equally suits, and is equally effectual in, Jews and Gentiles. God “shall justify the circumcision by faith, and the uncircumcision through faith.” He justifies the Jew not as a Jew, but as a believer; and as to the Gentile, He will not exclude him from justification because he is a Gentile; let him truly believe, and, like the believing Jew, he will be equally “justified freely by God’s grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” If the Jew is justified, it is not because he is a Jew, but a believing sinner; and if the Gentile remains in condemnation, it is not because he is a Gentile, but because he is an unbelieving sinner.

Verse 31 Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law. The fourth and last conclusion that Paul draws is that this Divine method of justification, far from making void the Law, apart from which it stands on its own peculiar basis, establishes the Law. In the all perfect righteousness of our Lord Jesus Christ, it secures honor to the Law, both in its precepts and sanctions, such as it never could have obtained in any other way; and its effects on the justified person, it secures from him a kind and extent of obedience that could not otherwise have been obtained. As the apostle says in Romans chapter 8, “God sending his Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin” — that is, a sacrifice for sin has done what the Law could not do, because it was weak through the flesh, “has condemned sin in the flesh” (8:3); so that “the righteousness of the law” — the requirements of the Law — “are fulfilled in us who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit” (8:4).

But if the keeping of the Law cannot contribute to our salvation in any way, what is its use? Does the Law then serve no useful purpose? Does it have no place at all in the Christian life? Our Lord has plainly warned us all, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets,: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil” (Matt. 5:17) — “fulfill” it not only in His mediatorial and atoning work, but in His teachings and by inspiring His followers to act according to the requirements of the Law (Rom. 8:4; 7:22), and so far from the Gospel setting aside these requirements, it establishes them. In the Gospel all is harmonious: justice and mercy, as it regards God; freedom from the penalty of the Law, and the strongest obligations to obedience, as it regards men (vs. 25, 31). God’s Law is still in force, for neither did Christ repeal it; He professes the contrary in the Scripture quoted above. The Gospel does not abrogate it; the apostle testifies here to the contrary; the Gospel was published to establish the Law. So, on the objection that was raised, that if God acquits the man without his having paid the penalty of the Law, does not that make the Law void? — Paul’s answer is an emphatic denial. He strongly asserts that it not only does not make the Law void, but it establishes the Law. How? The Law is honored in that the sinner’s Substitute obeys it and dies in suffering its penalties. Further by the fact that the Holy Ghost takes the sinner saved by grace and gives him, through regeneration, a new heart and mind to obey the Law, though it be done imperfectly, He gives the sinner the desire to do it perfectly for the renewed sinners desire is to “love the Lord with all his heart, soul, and mind,” — and this all the redeemed shall do perfectly throughout eternity. The Law fulfils all its penal sanctions through the ONE who redeems and through the Holy Spirit’s work in the sinner that is redeemed. When the saints get to Heaven we shall be all perfect keepers of our Lord’s Holy Law.

In many quarters when a servant of God describes the straight and narrow way to professing Christians they consent not, but charge him with teaching salvation by works and bringing souls in bondage to the Law, knowing not that the Gospel is the handmaid of the Law and not its enemy. True saving faith not only trusts our Lord but follows Him (Matt. ), and, it not only believes God’s promises but obeys His precepts. The vast majority of our fellow men and women, professing Christians (?), will miss Heaven: it is because their profession does nothing in their lives that changes them to prefer holiness and hate sin (Luke ). In their daily walk they are ever indulging the lusts of the flesh instead of walking in loving obedience to the Word of God, and they love self and their own way instead of the Lord Christ whom they “will not have to reign over them.” They love the world and its pleasures and have no “heart” for God, and they love “fitting in” with the broad way of the world and religion while they detest the strait and narrow way in which the true saints of God lovingly walk (1 John 2:15). They are unwilling to forsake their sins, destroy their idols, turn their backs on the world, and submit to Christ as absolute LORD.

The obedience of the regenerate man is still obedience to the Law, whatever change may have taken place in his ability and motive by God’s inworking grace and power. The Law does not cease to be the Law now that the born again sinner has been changed from his hatred of it and has come to love it. The great puritan Thomas Goodwin boldly affirms that the Law is “the original copy of all the grace which the saints have,” and that “all grace is but the copy of the Law,” and thus Christian obedience is truly a “righteousness of the Law.” Anthony Burgess said that Believers “still keep the Law,” and this is important in the eyes of the Lawgiver, for it is not “all one to the Law, whether the debt of obedience, or the debt of punishment were paid; for certainly it’s the debt of obedience the Law doth principally aim at, and when the debt of punishment is paid, the debt of obedience is not thereby abrogated.” The godly Baptist pastor, E. W. Johnson said, “Do we then make void the Law?  The Apostle Paul raises this question in romans , and then answers it with, ‘God forbid: yea, we establish the law.’  The Cross of Christ sanctifies the Law. Christ the King will execute the Law at the last day. The Law in its spirituality is written upon the heart of every redeemed soul. And Christ is the end of the Law for righteousness, in free justification, to every one who believes. Those who have a faith that does not establish the Law have another gospel.  And those who have a law that is their gospel have another law and another gospel.” John Calvin added, “Nothing was further from the design of Christ, than to alter or innovate anything in the commandments of the Law. There God has once fixed the rule of life which he will never retract.”
But there is a serious error running rampant in our churches and amongst certain groups that flies in the face of Holy Scripture, by denying this text as well as numerous others throughout the Word of God. Antinomianism, in the Greek anti “against,” nomos “law”; a term that literally means “against the Law.” Those who hold to this erroneous view assert that (1) The moral Law is not binding upon true believers in any way, even as a rule of life. (2) Believers may sin without concern, for God sees not sin in His people. Thus, this school of thought ignores the chastening of our Lord to their own peril. There are other doctrines which they promote but it is to the first mentioned that we shall devote more attention. Antinomianism has attracted many Calvinists who see it as a bulwark of the doctrine of free grace. The bulk of Dispensationalists have also adopted it for the same reason, they claim, but it is mainly due to their unscriptural views of national Israel and the true Church. There are some good and godly men who hold to the doctrine but their living is better than their doctrine as it shows that they regard God’s Holy Law as a rule or standard of obedience which they lovingly adhere to. As for the practical Antinomians “They profess that they know God;” and many of them hold to a strong view of pure, free grace “but in works they deny him” (Titus ), and our Lord said that it is useless to call Him “Lord, Lord,” and do not the things He says. The antinomians claim the support of various N.T. texts: such as Gal. ; Rom. ; Rom. 7:4-6; 1 Tim. 1:9, etc. but they ignore many Scriptures that refute their forced interpretation of these texts. All of these Scriptures which they use mean that the Law is not a covenant of “life” for believers, which has been the Scriptural view held by the true Church for centuries. Scripture is clear that God’s Law, reflecting His essential holiness, is a commandment to be obeyed by regenerated sinners out of love to our blessed Lord (John 14:15).
Gal. 2:19 and Rom. 7:4-6 teach that in Christ true believers are legally free from the condemnation of the Law, and in the Romans passage Paul shows that the Law is not dead but is satisfied. The antinomians suggest that the Rom. 6:14 passage means that the saints have no obligation to obey our Lord’s Law, but verse 15, which refutes this, reads, “What then? Shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.”  This is clearly an argument for obeying the Law and it cannot be disputed. The Holy Ghost is telling us that since we are not under the Law as a covenant of life but are saved by free grace, let us keep the righteous standard of God’s Law as our rule of life. Then, when Paul told Timothy, “The law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient” (1:9) the expression “not made for” has the force of “to lie upon.” Paul is saying that the Law lies upon sinners, not justified saints. The godly Puritans interpreted the verse to mean, the Law was not given to condemn those whom God declared righteous by the imputed righteousness of His Son, but it was given to condemn sinners. To use it to bring the truly justified under condemnation is an unlawful use of the Law.
There are six arguments that the true Church has held from N.T. times, which are plain and persuasive. These are: (1) Our Lord addressed the Law to the redeemed Israelites (Exod. 20:1-3), the true O. T. Church, showing that redemption was all the more reason for obeying it. (2) In the N. T. the apostles take it further and make obedience to the rule of God’s Law a distinguishing mark of a true believer (1 John 2: 3-4). (3) The apostle Paul, in giving his testimony as a justified sinner says, “I delight in the law of God after the inward man” (Rom. ). (4) Please read Hebrews 8:8, 10 and see how the Holy Ghost gives us truth that is the very opposite of antinomianism and legalism plus He defined the essence of the covenant of grace in such a way as to prove that it neither makes the Law the way of salvation nor eradicates it as the rule of living for the saints. (5) According to our 31st verse here in Romans, grace does not lessen our obligation but increases it — to keep God’s Law. Our text tells us that we do not make void [or, abolish, do away with] the Law through faith, we establish the Law. (6) We “being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ” (1 Cor. ). This verse sums up the believer’s relation to God’s Law as simply as any, and it shows that we are “in law to Christ” (Greek). The Scriptures present that believers are not without Law, and neither are they under Law in a way that would condemn them. We are in (not outside) Law to Christ, that is under its direction as a rule of life. The Puritan Thomas Taylor put it so well when he said, “The liberty of a Christian man is not liberty from obedience to the Law but from disobedience to it.”
The faith or doctrine of the Gospel “establishes the law” in its covenant form — exhibiting a Divine Suretyship of obedience to the Law, as the price for justification; and in its directive form — inculcating practical obligations upon a stronger foundation, and fulfilling them by the power of a heavenly life, and the impulse of evangelical motives. Thus the offices of Christ delightfully combine. AS OUR SURETY, HE DELIVERS US FROM THE CURSE OF THE LAW. AS OUR KING, HE BRINGS US UNDER ITS RULE. This Scriptural faith saves us from its condemnation, and enables us for its requirements. 
In 1998 this author wrote a letter to a dear friend and brother in Christ covering the “Law in the Life of the Believer.” We conclude this chapter by including the main argument of that letter as written years ago. We wrote:
— Since only a lost sinner who has heard the Voice of the Son of God “lives” (Ezek. 16:6; John ), the question of spiritual life cannot apply to legalistic, dead professors doing anything! Our Lord said that ALL the Law and prophets hang on love with all the heart, soul and mind to the Triune God and true love to our neighbor (Mat. 22:37-40). God puts His laws into the mind of every regenerate sinner and writes them in the new heart (Heb. ; Jer. 31:33) as is so clearly shown in the life of the Apostle Paul (Romans 7:9-25), God’s pattern in working salvation in His people (I Tim. ). The Holy Spirit by an inward work “fulfills in us” (Rom. 8:4) the righteousness of God’s Holy Law. The saint of God gladly and lovingly bows to that Law as it is in the hands of the Lord Jesus (1 Cor. ). While the unsaved religionist is reveling in his “security and liberty” (?), the saint of God is ever seeking to know “what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God” (Rom. 12:2). Yes, God’s people are being conformed to their Master and Law-Giver (Rom. ) who Himself says, “I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart (Psa.40:8).
Yes, there is “doing” in the realm of pure grace, for it is GOD which worketh in His people “both to will and to do of his good pleasure” (Phil. ). Lest some should shower us with terms like “work-monger” or “legalist,” just read the above Scriptures and see that what we’ve said is what the Scripture has said. Those Scriptures point out what God Himself has and does work within the hearts of His people (Isa. 26:12).
To those who have not the “written” Law and to all before God “wrote” His Law—yea, to every man—ALL show the work of the Law written in the heart (Rom. 2:15). God told us (in Adam) that we shall not be outside of subjection to HIM—man will not be Boss. But we, in Adam, said that we’d have our own way, and our sinful natures and evil, self-centered actions prove that this is where our rebellion is brought to a head.
That preaching that claims to be GRACE and proclaims their message as if the problem is with the Law—instead of “the carnal mind” which “is enmity with God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be” (Rom. 8:7)—is not the Gospel of the Bible. Yes, our Lord Jesus Christ obeyed the Law in living for His people and then He died and paid the penalty of that broken Law in the stead of His people. He satisfied the HOLY claims of a Holy God for His sheep. “To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness, that he might be just, and the Justifier of him which believeth in Jesus” (Rom. ).
Our Lord did not destroy nor set aside the Law (Matt. -19) in His justifying of sinners. He did not take His Law that natural men hate, those Ten Commandments which are an expression of His unchanging character and will, and set it aside so mere professors could walk in their “liberty.” No, He did not change the Law—He gives the rebellious sinner a new heart. He gives the sinner a new nature that loves the precious Lord Jesus, loves the Law, the Gospel, and the entirety of His Word (1 John 2:3-5), bowing in humble subjection, desiring to glorify his Lord.          

Why do the Lord’s people, struggling and in imperfection, keep their Master’s Law? Because they’ve been wrought upon by the Holy Spirit who applies within the heart of the elect sinner that which our blessed Redeemer has done for them! The Lord’s people cannot rest in a bare doctrine but they desire “that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh” (2 Cor.
). They fear to do anything that is not pleasing to their Lord. They are given a heart of love. And by the grace of God in making them “partakers of the Divine nature,” in love they “fulfill” (not replace!) the requirements of the Law of their Lord who loved them and gave Himself for them (Gal.  ; Rom. ; Rom. ; James 2:8).
Why do the Lord’s people keep His commandments? Because by God’s operation of grace, they’ve been given that new heart of LOVE for Him. They Love HIM. Do you? Do I? “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him” (John ). Amen. May God help us! Oh, that I might KNOW HIM!  Lynn V. Connell, March 4, 1998   RCLVC

Worthy Doctrinal and Spiritual Notes and Quotes on Romans 3: 21-31.
Verse 21. This righteousness is here said to be without the Law, literally without Law, that is without deeds done by man in obedience to the precepts of the Law, or as Tyndale expresses it, “without the fulfilling of the lawe.” The righteousness by which sinners are saved is not a legal righteousness. It is a great righteousness — even the righteousness of God. It is pleasing to God. In the case of sinners God will accept it and none other. — William S. Plumer (1802-1880).
The moral Law . . . the precepts are enforced by new and stronger motives, and the penalty is answered in Him who bore our sins in His own body on the tree . . . the Gospel, instead of invalidating, establishes the Law . . . After showing that the Law cannot save, that both justification and sanctification are by the Gospel, he is wont to state in a sentence what is the true end of the Law, or that the Law and the Gospel being both from God, but designed for different ends, are not in conflict. — Charles Hodge (1797-1878).
Proud men will be offended at this, and strive to establish some distinction between themselves and more scandalous and vulgar sinners: but they labor in vain . . . The meanest and most guilty of the human species, who comes in God’s appointed and manifested way, shall be justified freely by His grace through the redemption of His Son: while all, who persist in the attempt of justifying themselves, will assuredly perish under the wrath of God. — Thomas Scott (1747-1821).
Verse 22. Every wicked temper that is found in a fiend I can find in myself, and discern in others. And I could as soon suppose that God created fiends, as believe that He created man in his present state. Before the fall man was pronounced good, very good; but after the fall he became bad indeed; bad enough to be called of God the devil’s child and the devil’s subject. Surely Beelzebub must grin to hear his vanquished subjects preach of the dignity of human nature; and, if such dignity be found in the subject, how much more in the prince! — John Berridge (1716-1793).
Faith must either be the ground of our acceptance with God, or the means or instrument of our becoming interested in the righteousness of Christ; it cannot stand in both relations to our justification . . . That faith cannot be the substance or ground of our justification is clear from many considerations. The “righteousness of God [i.e., the satisfaction which Christ rendered to the law] is revealed from faith to faith” (Rom. ) and so cannot be faith itself. Romans declares “with the heart man believeth unto righteousness” so that righteousness must be a distinct thing from believing. In Jeremiah 23:6 we read ;The Lord our righteousness,’ so faith cannot be our righteousness. Let not Christ be dethroned in order to exalt faith: set not the servant above the Master. — A. W. Pink (1886-1952).
O my friends, believe it, fine names and brave words are of little value with God. God will no more spare you for these than Samuel did Agag for his delicate ornaments and spruce appearance. — John Flavel (1628-1691).
Verse 23. There is the natural death of the body which takes place on every individual son and daughter of Adam when the soul takes it departure from the mere animal life of flesh and blood. Had there been no transgression, there had been no mortality; therefore death is not only called an enemy, but the last enemy that shall be destroyed. There is a spiritual death which Adam also sustained in the day of his transgression and in which all his posterity were involved, which is defined by the Holy Ghost: “Dead in trespasses and sins”. And there is an eternal death which consists in a total separation from God, both body and soul, for ever. This is, in the alarming language of Scripture, called “the second death”. In the same Scripture and in an allusion to the reign of grace in the recovery of the redeemed of the Lord by Him who “hath abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel”, it is said: “Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection, on such the second death hath no power.” — Robert Hawker (1753-1827).
THE GLORY OF GOD.  This is the end of every good work.  "Whether therefore ye eat or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God" (I Cor. ).  "Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples" (John 15:8).  The apostle Paul shows that the end of our salvation in Christ is, that we should be "To the praise of the glory of God's grace" (Eph. 1:1-6).  And the apostle Peter says that God hath called us out of darkness into His marvelous light "that we should show forth His praise." Therefore, as to love God and delight in Him is the chief good, so to glorify Him is the highest and noblest end to which saints and angels can aim...The royal psalmist says, "All thy works shall praise thee, O Lord; and thy saints shall bless thee" (Psalm 145:10).  Good works, therefore, have their foundation, existence and end in God; He is their Author, working in His children both to will and to do of His good pleasure.  Hence a prophet of God's people says, "Lord, thou wilt ordain peace for us:  for thou also hast wrought all our works in us" (Isaiah 26:12). —David Bartley.
If the guilt of sin is so great that nothing can satisfy it but the blood of Jesus; and the filth of sin is so great that nothing can fetch out the stain thereof but the blood of Jesus, how great, how heinous, how sinful must the evil of sin be. — William Bridge (1600-1670).
When I look into my heart and take a view of my wickedness, it looks like an abyss infinitely deeper than Hell. — Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758).
I do not understand how a man can be a true believer in whom sin is not the greatest burden, sorrow and trouble. — John Owen (1616-1683).
All is but forced and counterfeit in conversion until this is the great motive in all of our work: God is displeased and offended by sin. — Anthony Burgess (d.1664).
If any man sin freely because of forgiveness of sins, that man may suspect his forgiveness, for in all Scripture and Scripture examples the more forgiveness the more holiness. Mary loved much because much was forgiven her. — John Saltmarsh (d. 1647).
Verse 24. There was no sin in Christ; but why would the Lord then have Him suffer? Even because He sustained our persons and cause: for there was nothing at all that could satisfy God’s justice but the death of His only begotten Son. — John Calvin (1509-1564).
A grain of grace of God’s planting is more worth than millions of gold of man’s getting — a more worthy gift than all the gold of Ophir — which God gives to men by their own industry, who shall never see His face; but this is by His Spirit in order to glory. It is a royal gift He reserves in His own hands, to bestow upon those that were His favorites in His eternal purposes. It grows not in every man’s ground, neither is it sown in every man’s field. — Stephen Charnock (1628-1680)
It is not our tears, nor our prayers, nor our attempted reforms, no, nor our faith considered in any act of ours, which can bring glory to God or peace to ourselves. A broken and a contrite heart becomes a blessed effect from God’s grace there planted. But it is God’s grace and Christ’s blood which are the cause, and the change wrought by that grace and blood is the effect. — Robert Hawker (1753-1827).
How sweet are the words, “By grace” (without merit) “ye are saved!” Here is an overflowing fountain of comfort and Divine strength! But how little are the generality of vain and worldly people, who still feed upon husks, acquainted with these words! How little are they relished by our self-righteous moral Christians (?) but, oh! How deliciously does a poor hungering sinner fare upon them! There is hardly anything less known and understood, as to the power and experience, than the mystery of Christ’s suffering and dying for us, and justification by faith in Him; though it is the only paradise and element of believers, and the greatest jewel restored by the Reformation. Such talking and representations of sin that only strike the imagination, are not sufficient; but we must also feel the mortal wounds of sin, by which the flesh is mortified, and be actually healed by the stripes of Christ. — C. H.V. Bogatzky (1690-1774).
The Scriptures and the experience of every true Christian declare against the notion that a natural man has the moral capacity of believing in or turning to Christ. Man’s only refuge is in the free grace of God. The idea of creature ability will soon be destroyed in the heart of him who hath had any spiritual dealings with Jesus Christ as to His merits and righteousness. Christ is every way too magnificent a Person for poor nature to apprehend. Christ is so infinitely holy, nature durst not look at Him; so infinitely good that nature can never believe Him, when it has a full sight of sin and guilt. Christ is too high and glorious for nature so much as to touch. There must be a divine nature first put into the soul to make a man lay hold on Him who lies so infinitely beyond his natural sight. That Christ which a natural man CAN comprehend is but a “Christ” of his own making, not Christ Jesus the Son of the Living God, to Whom none can come without the Father’s drawing (John 6:44-45, 65). — Wylie W. Fulton (b. 1939).

Grace is a provision for men who are so fallen that they cannot lift the axe of justice—so corrupt that they cannot change their own natures—so averse to God that they cannot turn to Him—so blind that they cannot see Him—so deaf that they cannot hear Him, and so dead that He Himself must open their graves and then lift them into resurrection. — George S. Bishop (1836-1914).

SALVATION by grace means that it is an exclusively Divine work, absolutely free and sovereign, in which man has no part at all, and which does not in any sense depend upon the choice of man’s will. Even as the work of creation is of God alone, which He accomplished without the cooperation of the creature, so the work of salvation is exclusively God’s work, in which man has no part whatever. Even as Adam lived and was an active creature, not in or before his being created, but by virtue of this marvelous work of God, so the sinner lives, and becomes positively active, so that he wills to be saved and embraces Christ, not in cooperation with God who saves him but as a result of the wonder of grace performed upon him. Salvation by grace implies that grace is always first. True, ‘whosoever will may come,’ but the will to come is not prevenient to grace but subsequent to it as its fruit”— Herman Hoeksema (1886-1965).

Verse 25. From the sufferings and death of Christ we learn the great evil and malignity of sin. The justice of God was so much injured, that none but Christ could satisfy it; the plague of our hearts was so great, that the precious blood of Christ alone could heal it; the dishonors we had cast upon God were so many, as to require the most painful sufferings of His dear Son to atone for them. — David A. Doudney (1811-1893).
So then, those who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ—who accept Him as their Substitute—stand at once in all His rights, in all His righteousness in which God omniscient cannot see one spot or flaw. That is to say, as it is written, ‘He hath made him to be sin for us who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him’ (2 Cor. 5:21).So that, to put it again and even more clearly if possible—I, standing before the Law of God a fallen, sinful child of Adam, one on whom that Law lays its commands but who constantly breaks and cannot keep it—Christ comes in and keeps it for me, obeying all His lifetime in my room and sealing this obedience at last in the vermilion of His precious Blood—or, to clinch it in the language of my text, Romans 5:19, “As by one man’s (Adam’s) disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of One (Christ) shall many be made righteous.” — George S. Bishop (1836-1914).

The wound which sin hath made in thy soul must be perfectly cured by the blood of Christ; not skinned over with duties, tears, enlargements, &c. Apply what thou wilt besides the blood of Christ, it will poison the sore . . . Thou wilt find that sin was never mortified truly, if thou hast not seen Christ bleeding for thee upon the Cross. Nothing can kill it but a sight of Christ’s righteousness. — Thomas Wilcox (1549-1608).

The blood must be applied: “Thou shalt take the blood and sprinkle it on the two side-posts” (Ex. 12:7). Mental assent to the Gospel without a personal receiving of Christ avails not to deliver from judgment: there must be an appropriation of Christ, “faith in His blood.” A Saviour accepted, not a Saviour provided, actually saves. — A. W. Pink (1886-1952).
A propitiation through faith in his blood. Let us look at “the precious blood of Christ” (1 Pet. ). Standing at the foot of the Cross, we see hands, and feet and side, all distilling crimson steams of precious blood. It is “precious” because of its redeeming and atoning efficacy. By it the sins of Christ’s people are atoned for; they are redeemed from under the Law; they are reconciled to God, made one with Him.
Christ’s blood is also “precious” in its cleansing power; it “cleanseth from all sin.” “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.” Through Jesus’ blood there is not a spot left upon any believer; no wrinkle nor any such thing remains. O precious blood, which makes us clean, removing the stains of abundant iniquity, and permitting us to stand accepted in the Beloved, notwithstanding the many ways in which we have rebelled against our God!
The blood of Christ is likewise “precious” in its preserving power. We are safe from the destroying angel under the precious blood. Remember, it is God’s seeing the blood which is the true reason for our being spared. Here is comfort for us when the eye of faith is dim, for God’s eye is still the same.
The blood of Christ is precious also in its sanctifying influence. The same blood which justifies by taking away sin, does, in after action, quicken the new nature, and lead it onward to subdue sin, and to follow out the commands of God. There is no motive for holiness so great as that which streams from the veins of Jesus.
And “precious,” unspeakably precious, is this blood because it has an overcoming power. It is written, “They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb.” How could they do otherwise? He who fights with the precious blood of Jesus fights with a weapon which cannot know defeat! The blood of Jesus! Sin dies at its presence; death ceases to be death; Heaven’s gates are opened. The blood of Jesus! We shall march on, conquering and to conquer, so long as we can trust its power! — C. H. Spurgeon (1834-1892).

Verse 26. EFFECTUAL and final justification by faith, is the capital doctrine of the Gospel, a most precious grace of the New Covenant, and the everlasting glory of the Redeemer. — John Berridge (1716- 1793).

The obedience of Christ satisfies the Law for our not being what we ought to be, viz., righteous, and makes us so as it is imputed to us. His death is a satisfaction to the Law for our being what we ought not to be, viz., sinners. Both these are necessary in order to our pardon and acceptance. The former makes us just and the latter discharges us from guilt; and they are perfectly consistent. — David A. Doudney (1811-1893).

God dealt with Christ in justice that He might deal with us in mercy. God dealeth with us freely, though He satisfied His justice upon Jesus Christ. The yoke of the Old Covenant is not upon the neck of believers, because the stroke of it is upon the back of Christ. — Thomas Manton (1620-1677).

Here is the reversal of the lying insinuation of Eden and the fall of man. The essence of every sin is the denial of the truth of God, and carries the imputation that God is not good. The Gospel revelation vindicates the character of God and asserts His truth: “that God might be just and the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus” (Rom. ). The testimony which Christ brings from above is the full, eternal truth of the character of God and the faith which receives it vindicates the Name of God from every lying insinuation and slander that sin has ever put upon it. — Charles D. Alexander (1904-1991).

The more God’s justice was declared towards His Son, the more was mercy magnified towards the sinner. — John Mason.

Verse 27. All the precepts which Christ obeyed may be reduced to one law, and that is that which the apostle calls the law of works, (Rom. ). Every command that Christ obeyed may be reduced to that great and everlasting Law of God that is contained in the covenant of works, that eternal rule of right which God had established between Himself and mankind. Christ came into the world to fulfill and answer the covenant of works; that is, the covenant that is to stand forever as a rule of judgment; and that is the covenant that we had broken, and that was the covenant that must be fulfilled. This law of works indeed includes all the Laws of God which ever have been given to mankind; for it a general rule of the law of works, and indeed of the law of nature, that God is to be obeyed, and that He must be submitted to in whatever positive precept He is pleased to give us. — Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758).

God has managed and ordered all things in this way of forgiveness, so as “no flesh should glory in His presence,” but that “he that glorieth should glory in the Lord,” (1 Cor. -31). “Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? by the law of works? Nay; but by the law of faith,” (Rom. ). It might be easily manifested that God hath so laid the design of saving sinners by forgiveness according to the law of faith, that it is utterly impossible that any soul should, on any account whatever, have the least ground of glorying or boasting in itself, either absolutely or in comparison with them that perish. — John Owen (1616-1683).

Verse 28. If God the Judge of the world be appeased and satisfied, and the Law, upon which our accusation is grounded, and which is the testimony of our debt, be cancelled, the removal of our guilt must necessarily follow. — Stephen Charnock (1628-1680).

Justification is the very hinge and pillar of Christianity. An error about justification is dangerous, like a defect in a foundation. Justification by Christ is a spring of the water of life. To have the poison of corrupt doctrine cast into this spring is damnable. It was a saying of Luther that after his death the doctrine of justification would be corrupted. In these latter times, the Arminians and Socinians have cast a dead fly into this box of precious ointment. — Thomas Watson (d. 1690).

Verse 29. The sovereignty of God may be defined as His absolute right to govern and dispose of all His creatures according to His good pleasure. — R. B. Kuiper (1886-1966).

In the saving of individuals, as well as in the calling of nations, God acts as a sovereign, and gives no account of His matters. — J. C. Ryle (1816-1900).

God’s reasons of mercy are all drawn from Himself, not from anything in us. — Matthew Henry (1662-1714).

Verse 30. God does not justify us because we are worthy, but justifying makes us worthy. — Thomas Watson (d. 1690).

God’s sovereignty is not arbitrariness, as some misunderstand it, for God has His reasons, based on His infinite wisdom, which He does not always choose to reveal to us. — Spiros Zodhiates (1922-2009).

When God justifies the ungodly, He does not declare that the sinner is innocent, but that satisfaction for his sins has been made, and that, as a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, he has a title to eternal life — a title which is founded in justice. — Ernest F. Kevan (1903-1965).

Verse 31. John Gill is falsely reported as being an antinomian but the following quote shows he stoutly defends obedience to God’s Law as a rule in our daily walk: “I abhor the thoughts of setting the Law of God aside as the rule of walk and conversation, and I constantly affirm (according to Scripture) that all who believe in Christ for righteousness ‘should be careful to maintain good works for necessary uses’ (Titus 3:8).” — John Gill (1697-1771).

Though the Law and Gospel vary in some respects very widely, yet there is a perfect consonance and agreement between them. Many now suppose that one is the avowed enemy of the other. Not so. There is a sweet consent between the Law and Gospel, for Christ came to fulfill the former and is the substance of the latter, and therefore are we informed through His chief apostle that “by faith we establish the law” (Rom. 3:31), and that when Moses had given the Law unto the people of Israel he offered sacrifices and sprinkled the blood thereof upon the book and the people (Heb. 9:19-20) — type of the shedding of Christ’s blood and which thus did notify the perfect harmony of the Law and the Gospel. — A. W. Pink (1886-1952).

The Law is established in several ways: as an expression of the holiness of God; as an expression of the righteousness of God; as the revelation of the sinfulness of man; and as a sword to slay man. But the entrance of faith’s law — the law of righteousness through Christ — established the Law forever as a demonstration that God demanded its fulfillment to the last iota and exacted its extreme penalty from Christ. — Donald Grey Barnhouse (1895-1960).

What do they owe to Him in whose grace the whole wondrous plan originates, and to Him who, by giving Himself to be the propitiation for our sins, opened a way for this grace to reign through righteousness to their eternal life? How should they value for themselves that record, by the faith of which they obtain and retain all the blessings of this Divine method? And how should they labor to communicate it to others, by whom the Divine method of justification is equally needed, for whom it is equally suited, and who can be interested in it only by knowing and believing the truth? Knowing that “all things are of God” in this method of justification, and that “of God are they in Christ righteousness” — “the righteousness of God in Him” — let them learn not to glory in His presence, of if they glory, to glory only in the Lord; and, finally, let them see that they possess, in ever increasing measure, the only satisfactory evidence of personal interest in this Divine method of justification, in the Law being established as to its great object in their experience, in its righteousness being fulfilled, in their walking not after the flesh but after the spirit. Justification is not Sanctification, but the one cannot exist without the other. WHERE THERE IS JUSTIFICATION, THERE IS, THERE MUST BE, SANCTIFICATION. — John Brown of Edinburgh (1784-1858).

We conclude this chapter with the following quotes on Antinomianism:

The person who claims he can live carelessly because he is not under Law but under grace needs to be sure that he is not under wrath. — Anonymous.

Antinomianism sets up the grace of God in opposition to His government. — Richard Cecil.

Such as will not have Christ to be their King to rule over them shall never have His blood to save them. — Thomas Watson (d. 1690).

When the Law of God is written in our hearts, our duty will be our delight. — Matthew Henry (1662-1714).

Christ has redeemed His people from the curse of the Law and not from the command of it; He has saved them from the wrath of God, but not from His government. — A.W. Pink (1886-1914).

He who really, and in good faith, preaches the Cross, never opposes the preaching of the Law. —W. G. T. Shedd (1820-1894).                        

No comments:

Post a Comment