FOR WE MAINTAIN THAT A MAN IS
JUSTIFIED BY FAITH: logizometha (1PPMI) oun pistei dikaiousthai (PPN)
a logical result or inference from what precedes. This verse, then, is a
confirmation of what has been said before: “Boasting is excluded, for we
maintain, that is, we are sure,” etc.
Notice that Paul says we,
this plural pronoun emphasizing that this is not just his personal
opinion. He doesn't tell us specifically who has applied similar
reasoning but salvation by faith not works is the resounding message one
encounters from Genesis through the Revelation.
from logos meaning reason) (Click
in depth study of
is an interesting verb which Wuest says means "our reasoned conclusion".
It conveys the idea of confident assurance and thus Paul is confidently
assured that sinners are declared righteous only one way -- by faith.
The idea of
logizomai is to think
about something in a detailed and logical manner and to draw a
conclusion based on this process of reasoning. In other words, Paul had
studied and even practice (as a Pharisee of Pharisees) the
alternative - man's attempt to achieve righteousness by his own effort
without God's intervention. Solomon although not referring specifically
to justification by faith nevertheless would have agreed that
justification by works is the "Vanity of vanities".
(anthropos) stands, not for man in distinction from other beings,
but for anybody of the human race, whether Jew or Gentile, without
reference to sex or nationality.
[word study] from dike =
expected behavior or conformity, not according to one’s own standard,
but according to an imposed standard with prescribed punishment for
more discussion of dikaioo
another discussion of
dikaioo) means to show
or declare the rightness of something or someone. As used in this
passage dikaioo means
to be declared righteous before God or to be justified, the process
being referred to as justification.
passive voice indicates action is conferred from an outside source)
justified means that the believer is viewed in Christ as righteous, and
is treated as such by God. The righteousness of our position in the Lord
Jesus is increasingly manifested in our condition, as we
“grow in grace,
and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ” (see note
2 Peter 3:18).
As Paul reminds the saints at
no man should boast before
God. But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom
from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption. that,
just as it is written (Je 9:23,24), "LET HIM WHO BOASTS, BOAST IN THE LORD." (1Corinthians
Since justification is in Christ
and not in ourselves, it is a truth of position, not condition. We
receive justification in the Lord Jesus by faith in the Word. It is a
fact believed, not an experience received. It has nothing to do with our
condition, but everything to do with our position. However, as we rest
in our justified position, our spiritual condition is affected. We
experience something of the new-found peace and joy of the Lord, and His
love for us.
I have heard justified defined
by some as "Just as if I never sinned". It sounds good because it somewhat
rhymes but it's not a doctrinally sound definition.
C H Spurgeon
agrees that it is not an accurate statement writing that...
"I said that clothed in the
righteousness of Christ, we are accepted as if we had never sinned.
I correct myself—had we never sinned, we could only have stood in the
righteousness of man. But this day by faith we stand in the
righteousness of God himself. The doings and the dying of our Lord Jesus
Christ make up for us a wedding dress more glorious than human merit
could have spun, even if unfallen Adam had been the spinner."
Righteousness is frequently
misunderstood often being associated with one's behavior. In other
people are behaving in a right (righteous) way, we say that they are "behaving
righteously". But in the book of Romans righteousness does not directly
touch on behavior. It is not what you do but in fact it is what you
are! What you are is
more important, because right behavior (righteous in practice) stems from what you are
(righteous in position). The
gift Paul is talking about, the gift from God, is that of a perfect,
standing. Justification is an event (a declaration by God) that occurs only once (when
initially believes upon or in Christ) but praise God is "valid" for all eternity.
The steps of faith
Fall on the seeming void, and find
The rock beneath.- Whittier
means a firm persuasion, conviction, belief in the truth, veracity,
reality or faithfulness. Saving faith is not just mental assent but firm
conviction, surrender to the truth and conduct emanating from that
surrender. In sum, faith shows itself genuine by a changed life.
For more discussion of
genuine/saving/justifying faith study James 2:14, 15, 16, 17, 18,
19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26 - then study the verse by verse notes
on this vitally important topic -
Jas 2:14; 15;
The well-known Bible expositor
John MacArthur adds that...
Faith, like grace, is not
static. Saving faith is more than just understanding the facts and
mentally acquiescing. It
is inseparable from repentance, surrender, and a supernatural longing to
obey. None of those responses can be classified exclusively as a human
work, any more than believing itself is solely a human effort. (The
Gospel According to Jesus)
It's easy to say to someone
"Simply trust." But as a devotional from Our Daily Bread says, simply trusting...
is one of the most difficult
concepts to communicate to non-Christians. They have a hard time
understanding that they
can't do anything to earn God's favor. Jesus paid the penalty for all
their sins when He died on the cross. To receive God's forgiveness and
eternal life, and to have a right relationship with Him, all we need to
do is cast ourselves on His mercy and trust Him to save us. The apostle
Paul put it this way:
To him who does not work but believes on Him who
justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness (see
A person who understood this truth wrote,
For 30 years I had assumed that to
swim I must constantly struggle to keep from sinking. One day an expert
swimmer watched me for a few minutes and then shouted, 'Stop fighting
the water and trust it to hold you up!' Under his direction, I lay flat
in the water without moving. To my delight, it held me up. Why didn't
someone tell me that years ago!
The writer then concluded,
So many people constantly struggle to
become Christians. If they would only trust Christ, they would realize
that He does the saving.
Have you been attempting to save yourself? If so, then stop trying and
start trusting! —R W De Haan (Our
Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by
permission. All rights reserved)
We cannot earn our
way to heaven
By word or work or worth;
But if we trust in Christ to save us,
We will receive new birth. - Branon
Salvation is a gift, not a paycheck.
APART FROM WORKS OF THE LAW: choris ergon nomou:
(Ro 3:20, 21, 22,26; 4:5; 5:1; 8:3; Jn 3:14, 15, 16, 17, 18; 5:24; 6:40;
Acts 13:38,39; 1Co 6:11; Ga 2:16; 3:8,11, 12, 13, 14,24; Php 3:9; Titus
Soli Deo Gloria
The KJV Commentary
writes that justification by faith apart from works...
is the same conclusion which came to
the heart of Martin Luther and spawned the Protestant Reformation. When
this concept grasps our hearts we too come to the conclusion that
salvation is sola gratia, sofa fide, soli Deo gloria (by grace alone,
through faith alone; to God alone be the glory). (Dobson,
E G, Charles Feinberg, E Hindson, Woodrow Kroll, H L. Wilmington: KJV
Bible Commentary: Nelson)
Faith and works of
law, as a ground of justification, are mutually exclusive as Paul stated
again in Galatians writing that...
nevertheless knowing that a man is
not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus,
even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we may be justified by faith
in Christ, and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the
Law shall no flesh be justified. (Galatians 2:16)
Comment: Morris states that "Some have argued that James
contradicts Paul at this point, saying that Abraham and Rahab, for
example, were "justified by works" (Jas 2:21-note,
Jas 2:25-note). However, they were
not justified by the "works of the law." Abraham lived before God gave
the Mosaic law, and Rahab lived in a culture that had not heard of it.
As a matter of fact, they were justified by faith in the eyes of God
(Jas 2:23-note; Hebrews 11:31-note) and justified by works in the eyes of men
(James 2:18-note) (Ed note: In other words their works demonstrated
that they were already justified by faith). There is no contradiction,
for genuine saving faith is inevitably demonstrated before men by "works
of righteousness" (Titus 3:5-note; Ep 2:8,
Ep 2:10-note). In any case, Paul makes
it clear to the Galatians, and to us, that no one can ever be justified
by keeping the law; James himself makes it plain that no one can keep
the law fully (James 2:10). (Morris,
Henry: Defenders Study Bible. World Publishing)
Apart from (5565)
(choris from chora = room, space of territory) means at a
space from and so apart or separate from. Choris is a marker of
dissociation, indicating a distinct separation from something, in this
case the distinct separation of faith and works in regard to
(ergon) refers to toil as an effort or occupation. Good works are
acceptable unto God only through God's grace activating one's
heart and are always the result of salvation and not the means of
salvation. (See study of
Good Deeds) The person who has no faith
demonstrates by his evil works his separation from God.
in context with Romans 3:29,30,
brings to a conclusion what Paul has been arguing and prepares
the reader for the Old Testament example of Abraham to come in Romans 4.
gave the Law to be a ladder by which we climb to Him and earn His
acceptance. Instead God gave us the Law to be an x-ray to expose the extent of
our sin and guilt, so we would see our need for his grace.
Paul is saying, "Justification is apart from works of the Law" because
if it were based on the deeds of the Law, then the Gentiles who don't
have the Law would be at a disadvantage and God would appear to be
partial to the Jews (cp Dt 10:17, 2Chr 19:7, Ro 2:9, 10, 11-notes,
Acts 10:34, 1Pe 1:17-note).
He would not appear to be the
God of the Gentiles as well as of the Jews. But, in fact, that is not
the case, as [Ro 3:30-note] then makes plain
Since indeed God, who will justify
the circumcised (Jews) by faith and the uncircumcised (Gentiles) through faith, is one.
In other words, there is one God over all
peoples and nations (Gentiles) and over the Jews. There not
many gods. In the similar way, there is only one way of getting right with this God; namely,
Works of Law are
anything one does (besides faith "Jesus answered and said to them, "This
is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent."
Jn 6:29) to obtain a right standing
with God (justification, God's declaration of righteousness). Many
sinners vainly seek to earn their way
to heaven by performing "good" works (in fact every other
religion or cult other than Christianity has some form of works based
salvation plan). But before a depraved sinner can do genuine good
works for God (cp Jn 15:16, one day even our motives will be weighed! -
1Co 4:5), they must first believe on the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 16:31,
1Jn 5:13), in Whom such works have been prepared (in eternity past) and
by which they are empowered (by His Spirit, cp Jn 15:5, Ep 2:10-notes,
Col 1:10-note). Good
works do not precede salvation; they follow it (cp Jas 2:17-note). The only good work a
sinner can do is to confess his sins, believe and receive Christ as Lord
and Savior (Jn 6:28, 29, cp 1Jn 3:23). If you try to do anything (no matter how "good") besides
trust the Gospel of grace (Acts 20:24) and peace (Eph 6:15) in order to get right with God, you are doing
a "work of Law" - and you are still in the grip of sinful
human pride that still thinks it can do something to please a perfectly
holy God. Boasting is
not excluded by "works of Law," but only by faith.
My hope is built on
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand
It’s Too Late! An Englishman by the name of Ebenezer Wooten had
just concluded a preaching service in the village square. The crowd had
dispersed, and he was busily engaged in loading the equipment. A young
man approached him and asked, “Mr. Wooten, what must I DO to be saved?”
Sensing that the fellow was trusting his own righteousness, Wooten
answered in a rather unconcerned way, “It’s too late!” The inquirer was
startled. “Oh don’t say that, sir!” But the evangelist insisted, “It’s
too late!” Then, looking the young man in the eye, he continued, “You
want to know what you must DO to be saved. I tell you it’s too late now
or any other time. The work of salvation is DONE, completed, finished!
It was finished on the cross.” (Jn 19:30 - verb for finished =
tetelestai = "Paid in full" - see note below) Then he explained that our part is simply to
acknowledge our sin and receive by faith the gift of forgiveness. (Our
Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by
permission. All rights reserved)
"'Tis finished!" on the Cross He
In agonies and blood;
'Tis finished! now He lives to plead
Before the face of God.
'Tis finished! here our souls can rest,
His work can never fail;
By Him, our Sacrifice and Priest,
We enter through the veil.
Within the holiest of all,
Cleansed by His precious blood,
Before Thy throne Thy children fall,
And worship Thee, our God.
Boldly our heart and voice we raise,
His Name, His blood, our plea;
Assured our prayers and songs of praise
Ascend by Him to Thee.
by James G. Deck
FULL - When someone had a debt in ancient times and it was paid off,
they would write "TETELESTAI" on the certificate of debt to
signify that it was 'PAID IN FULL'. These were the exact words
Jesus uttered just before dying. (cp Mk 10:45 "ransom", 1Pe 1:18-note).
the concept of tetelestai is unfamiliar to most modern readers of
the Bible, but it was used by various people in everyday life in the
first century. For example, a servant would use it when reporting to his
or her master, “I have completed the work assigned to me” (cp Jesus'
words in Jn 4:34 with Jn 17:4) where verb teleioo is used with the same
idea. Jesus had brought to completion all the Father had desired for Him
to accomplish as the God Man (cp "made perfect" in Heb 5:8-note;
In another usage, when a PRIEST examined an animal sacrifice and found
it faultless, the word tetelestai would be used. Jesus, of
course, is the perfect Lamb of God, without spot or blemish (cp Jn 1:29,
1Pe 1:18, 19-note).
When an artist completed a picture, or a writer completed a manuscript,
they might declare, “It is finished!” (tetelestai). Indeed, the death of
Jesus on the cross “completes the picture” that God the Father had been
painting from before the foundation of the word, as well as the old, old
story that He had written in His Word, centuries before. Perhaps
the most meaningful secular usage of tetelestai was by merchants,
who wrote across the bill “The debt is paid in full!” When Jesus
gave Himself on the cross, He fully met the righteous demands of a holy
law and thus paid the sinners' debt (Ro 6:23-note)
in full. None of the Old Testament sacrifices could take away sins, but
could only cover sin. Only the Lamb of God's shed blood, for the
redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first
covenant (Heb 9:15-note)
could take away the sins of the world (Jn 1:29; Heb 9:24-note,
He 9:25, 26-note,
He 9:27, 28-note).
In one final secular use of tetelestai, when a Roman citizen was
convicted of a crime, the law of that day resulted in him being confined
to prison. A so called "Certificate of Debt" was prepared that listed
all the crimes he was convicted of and this certificate was nailed it to
his cell door for all to see. The certificate of debt remained nailed
there so all would be assured that the prisoner served his full
sentence, and "paid in full" the penalty for his crimes. The very word
that Jesus shouted from the Cross, "Tetelestai", was the same word that
would be stamped across the prisoner's Certificate of Debt after he had
completed his prison term. The idea was that the prisoner had "Paid in
Full" for all his crimes. Then the criminal was given the certificate.
He would be able to produce it to show that his crimes were "paid in
full." He could never become a victim of "double jeopardy." (cp the same
assurance believers have - 1Jn 5:13).
William Newell asks an interesting question...
If God announces the gift of
righteousness apart from works, why do you keep mourning over your bad
works, your failures? Do you not see that it is because you still have
hopes in these works of yours that you are depressed and discouraged by
their failure? If you truly saw and believed that God is reckoning
righteous the ungodly who believe on Him, you would fairly hate your
struggles to be "better"; for you would see that your dreams of good
works have not at all commended you to God, and that your bad works do
not at all hinder you from believing on Him, -that justifieth the
Therefore, on seeing your failures,
you should say, I am nothing but a failure; but God is dealing with me
on another principle altogether than my works, good or bad, -a principle
not involving my works, but based only on the work of Christ for me. I
am anxious, indeed, to be pleasing to God and to be filled with His
Spirit; but I am not at all justified, or accounted righteous, by these
things. God, in justifying me, acted wholly and only on Christ's
blood-shedding on my behalf.
Therefore I have this double
attitude: first, I know that Christ is in Heaven before God for me, and
that I stand in the value before God of His finished work; that God sees
me nowhere else but in this dead, buried, and Risen Christ, and that His
favor is toward me in Christ, and is limitless and eternal.
Then, second, toward the work of the
Holy Spirit in me, my attitude is, a desire to be guided into the truth,
to be obedient thereto, and to be chastened by God my Father if
disobedient; to learn to pray in the Spirit, to walk by the Spirit, and
to be filled with a love for the Scriptures and for the saints and for
Yet none of these things justifies
me! I had justification from God as a sinner, not as a saint! My
saintliness does not increase it, nor, praise God, do my failures
decrease it!" (Romans: Verse by