11/24/2014

Gospel Apart From Law (Rom 3:27-31)

Romans 3:27-31; 3:28

"So we are made right with God through faith and not by obeying the law" (Rom 3:28, NLT). "For we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law" (Rom 3:28, NIV).

Only by faith in Christ. In 3:27-4:25, Paul expounds one key element of the great theological thesis of 3:21-26 by concentrating on the vital theme of Rom 3:22, NIV: "This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe." Paul uses a series of antithesis to explain the nature and implications of faith as the sole means of salvation/justification. Faith is contrasted with:
  • "works of the law" (Rom 3:28),
  • "works" (Rom 4:1-8),
  • circumcision (Rom 4:1-9),
  • the law (Rom 4:13-16), and
  • "sight" (Rom 4:17-22).
Paul expounds and enunciates what has become a hallmark of the Reformation (sola fide) that "faith alone" is the means by which a person can be brought into relationship with God.

In 3:27-31, Paul asks 4 questions, which can be addressed in 3 parts:
  1. Where is boasting (27-28)?
  2. Is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles too (29-30)?
  3. Do we nullify the law by this faith (31)?
From these questions, we discover how the gospel resolves these issues:
  1. The gospel removes pride from our national, cultural and religious superiority.
  2. The gospel promotes unity by removing racial distinctions and elitism.
  3. The gospel upholds, fulfills and establishes the law, not nullify or cancel it.
Questions:
  1. What causes boasting (Phil 3:3)? With what results (1 Cor 1:12; 3:4; Gal 5:15)? What excludes boasting (Rom 3:27)? What could Paul boast about (Phil 3:4-6)? Why didn't he (Phil 3:7-8)? What did he boast about (Gal 6:14)?
  2. What does it mean that justification is by faith apart from the works of the law (Rom 3:28; 4:5)?
  3. Why is God the God of both Jews and Gentiles (Rom 3:29-30)?
  4. How does justification by faith uphold the law (Rom 3:21)? How does this refute the charge of antinomianism (Rom 6:1-2, 15)?