The Letter to the Romans



12. All Boasting Is Excluded


Romans 3:25-31

25 God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished-

26 he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.

27 Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. On what principle? On that of observing the law? No, but on that of faith.

28 For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law.

29 Is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles too? Yes, of Gentiles too,

30 since there is only one God, who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith.

31 Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law.


Key Words


Observing the law

Justified by faith

Uphold the law


Paul has just introduced the righteousness from God that comes to us "through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus." (v. 24) Paul now makes the bold claim that God sent Jesus to demonstrate his justice. The reason, Paul continues, that God needed to demonstrate his justice was that he had "left the sins committed beforehand unpunished."


1. Why did God leave humanity's sins unpunished for millennia, and how did people deal with sin before Christ? (see Acts 14:16-17; 17:29-31; Galatians 3:19-25; Leviticus 16:15-17, 20-22)


2. How did presenting Jesus as "a sacrifice of atonement" demonstrate God's justice, making us see that he is both just and the one who justifies? (see Deuteronomy 21:22-23; Galatians 2:15-21; 3:13; 4:4-5; 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Corinthians 1:28-30; Hebrews 9:22, 27-28;10:8-10, 19-22; 1 John 2:2; 4:10; 5:10-11)


3. What is the boasting which Paul says is excluded? (see Romans 2:17, 23; 4:2; 1 Corinthians 1:29-31; Ephesians 2:9)


4. No one can boast, not even those who know and have the law, because people are justified by having faith in Jesus, not by lawful behavior. What is faith that justifies apart from observing the law, and what relationship do faith and law have? (see Acts 13:38-39; Romans 3:20-22; Galatians 2:15-16; 3:10-13; 23-25; 5:2-4; Ephesians 2:8-9; Colossians 2:13-17; Hebrews 7:11-12, 18-19)


5. How do we know that God accepts the "lawless" Gentiles as surely as the chosen Jews? (see Deuteronomy 32:21; Psalm 117:1; Isaiah 65:1; Acts 10:34-35; Romans 9:23-26; 10:11-13; 15:7-13; Galatians 3:28-29;)


6. In v. 30 Paul refers to the first article of Jewish faith, "There is only one God." By saying this, he is saying there is only one way of salvation for all people, Jew or Gentile. If having or not having the law makes no difference in the matter of salvation, what does make a difference? (see Romans 4:9-12; Galatians 3:6-9)


7. Since keeping the law is not part of being saved, and since we are not expected to be under its authority as Christ-followers, why do we not nullify it? (see Psalm 119:89; Isaiah 55:10-11; Matthew 5:17-18; Luke 16:17; 21:33; John 5:39; Acts 10:43; Romans 3:20; 4:14-15; 5:20; 7:7-8; Galatians 3:17, 19, 21-25; Colossians 2:16-17; Hebrews 3:1-6)


Application and Commitment

8. What is your understanding of the role of the law in your life?


9. What (if any) is your biggest fear about accepting grace through faith in Jesus and jettisoning the law as authoritative in your life?


10. In what areas of your life do you struggle with self-indulgence and temptation, fearing God's condemnation of your sin?


11. How has faith in Jesus changed you, and if it hasn't, why do you think it hasn't?


12. Ask God to reveal to you the truth about yourself. Ask him to make your heart willing to acknowledge your sin and to surrender it to him. Ask him to be more real to you than your fear, and ask him to transform you with his Spirit. Ask him to make your heart vulnerable to Jesus and to fill you with the peace and security that will enable you to let go of your compulsive attempts to "be good". Thank him for his sacrifice for you, and accept his forgiveness and your release from the curse of the law.

Copyright (c) 2003 Graphics Studio, Redlands, CA USA. All rights reserved. Posted August 15, 2003.
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