Romans 3

This is a continuation of the Romans study, in NKJV with commentary in blue.
Romans 3:
1 What advantage then has the Jew, or what is the profit of circumcision? (Paul ends chapter 2 explaining that circumcision does no good unless you can fulfil the law. He is speaking to the Jewish Christians, but is also laying out the futility of relying on the works of the law. He begins chapter 3 by using a technique of posing questions these Jews may have and answering them. These may be questions which were often asked, something of a FAQ page. These may be also questions that the apostles argued or debated in Jerusalem. All of this is laying the ground work for the doctrine which is coming later in this chapter as well as the rest of Romans.)

2 Much in every way! Chiefly because to them were committed the oracles of God. (Oracles are the words or utterances of God. All Jews benefited from God's communications coming through His chosen people.)

3 For what if some did not believe? Will their unbelief make the faithfulness of God without effect? (Is God unfaithful if some do not believe? Why don't most people believe in and trust in God? Is what man is at his core God's fault? Some questions we wrestle with even today.)

4 Certainly not! Indeed, let God be true but every man a liar. As it is written: (Paul answers with scripture from Psalm 51:4.)
“That You may be justified in Your words,
And may overcome when You are judged.” (Here we either have a poor rendering from the original Hebrew into Greek then into English, or he is only quoting directly the first part of, "That You may be justified in Your words." The second part is translated directly from Psalms as, "And blameless (pure) when You judge". The "are judged" seems to not make sense.)

5 But if our unrighteousness demonstrates the righteousness of God, what shall we say? Is God unjust who inflicts wrath? (I speak as a man.) NLT--5 “But,” some might say, “our sinfulness serves a good purpose, for it helps people see how righteous God is. Isn’t it unfair, then, for him to punish us?” (This is merely a human point of view.) (Again, questions we still hear today from those who deny God exists. A question which goes with these is, "If God knew we would sin and fall away, then why does He punish those who do not believe? Why create these people at all? This is why they say God is unjust. To the contrary, our ability He gave us to make our own decisions demonstrates the righteousness of God.)

6 Certainly not! For then how will God judge the world? (Many don't see how truly just God is. The devil would make a terrible judge. Satan has proven he is swayed by all his prejudices.)

7 For if the truth of God has increased through my lie to His glory, why am I also still judged as a sinner? NLT--7 “But,” someone might still argue, “how can God condemn me as a sinner if my dishonesty highlights his truthfulness and brings him more glory?” (This excuse is, "God made me this way, why change?" "Why am I condemned?")

8 And why not say, “Let us do evil that good may come”?—as we are slanderously reported and as some affirm that we say. Their condemnation is just. NLT--8 And some people even slander us by claiming that we say, “The more we sin, the better it is!” Those who say such things deserve to be condemned. (If my sinfulness magnifies God's greatness, then I should sin all the more..... this is flawed logic. Paul says some have even accused him and the brethren of endorsing this through his teaching that the law has no rule over us. Grace has been granted us.)
Romans 3:9‭-‬20 NKJV

9 What then? Are we (meaning Paul and his fellow Jews) better than they (meaning Greeks and Gentiles)? Not at all. For we have previously charged both Jews and Greeks that they are all under sin. (This "charge" was made and taught probably during initial missionary visits. He is going to expound upon this throughout Romans and other letters to other churches.)
10 As it is written: “There is none righteous, no, not one;
11 There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God.
12 They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one.” (Ps 14:1-3; Ps 53:1-3; Ecc 7:20; These quotes from Scripture show the limitations of man's language. Paul knew the Scriptures well, but translating Hebrew to Greek, then Greek to English, then comparing this to a translation of Hebrew to English, shows the difficulties of it all. We do get a paraphrasing version this way, which is why I accept the NLT version as one of my go to versions.)
13 “Their throat is an open tomb; With their tongues they have practiced deceit”; “The poison of asps is under their lips”; (Ps 5:9; Ps 140:3)
14 “Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness.” (Ps 10:7)
15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood; (Prov 1:16)
16 Destruction and misery are in their ways;
17 And the way of peace they have not known.” (Isaiah 59:7-8)
18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” (Ps 36:1; Paul thoroughly supports this doctrine with OT scripture. This doctrine can be gleaned from Jesus' teaching when He said, "he who is without sin cast the first stone." None could cast a stone.)
19 Now we know that whatever the law says (lays out, relates), it says (or speaks) to those who are under the law, that every mouth (even those favored to be under the law) may be stopped (No case to be argued, our deficiencies are obvious), and all the world may become guilty before God. (Hmm. "Become guilty". Are we not already guilty? No, not yet. Not in a legal way. We have not been formally sentenced or condemned before God yet. There is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus...Romans 8:1)
20 Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin. (The law is the unattainable standard. Plus, the law is but bits and pieces of the overall essence of God and His natural law which is written on everyone's heart.
This gets me thinking about why the law was given at the time it was given. People had natural law beforehand. Natural law is what Adam and Eve took from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Cultures and tyrants have caused a confusion of what Natural law is or that it even exists. Which is why God had to intervene after the Egyptians influenced the Israelites, corrupting the conduit God was using. They needed the written law to work out the corruption from the culture they knew as slaves. When the culture grew to the point of understanding the purpose for law, and the sin it exposes, then the time for Jesus was accomplished. So many things, a confluence of events, had to occur to bring to fruition God's plan. Sin's effects, baptism, sacrifice, corrupt religious leaders, the rise of Rome, crucifixion, and many others had to become known and exist, guided by the hand of God.)
21 But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, (What a concept for the Jews to have presented to them. Their understanding of Scripture could not comprehend this. Jews were "married" to the law. This is one of Paul's major themes for the book of Romans. Righteousness apart from the law. This is part of the "mystery" he refers to later in chapter 16 and in other letters to the churches.)
22 even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference;
23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, (Did you catch that? Nobody is better than you and you are no better than anyone else.)
24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, (That's right. Free. No cost to you.)
25 whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, (Humanity has run up quite a bill of sin. God didn't just overlook it or write it off. He paid for it in His Son's blood.
26 to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. (Faith is the key to accept the payment to release you from your debt.)
27 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith. (No boasting because you didn't make the payment for your sin. The law of faith is not engraved anywhere. It is part of that Natural law which exists for all of creation. If you have faith in something, that something gets the attention and the glory, not you.)
28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law. (Your works in the law has nothing to do with salvation. Just grace connected to faith.)
29 Or is He the God of the Jews only? Is He not also the God of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also,
30 since there is one God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith. (Again, everyone is on equal footing.)
31 Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law. (Does the law become meaningless? No. The law helps make faith the necessary ingredient. The law can't save anyone. It condemns. Faith becomes necessary to accept the free gift of grace. The law is payment oriented. Grace is free. And grace can't yours without believing in that grace, the payment given by Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen)