Romans Chapter 3 Verses 1-4
Chapter 3, Verses
Rom. 3:1 "What advantage then hath the
Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision? 2 Much every way: chiefly,
because that unto them were committed the oracles of God. 3 For what if
some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without
effect? 4 God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it
is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest
overcome when thou art judged."
During the Old Testament economy, did the
Jews have an advantage over the Gentiles when it came to the true
worship of God? Absolutely, God had given the nation of Israel his
words. He had made a covenant with them and then he sent his prophets
to declare and to write his words unto them. They were to speak of them
when they arose in the morning and they were to be as frontlets to their
eyes. Unto Israel was committed the oracles (words) of God.
Furthermore, for hundreds of years they had been carrying forth many of
the ordinances and services that God had commanded.
The Gentiles did not have the words of
God and their attempts at worship were done in ignorance and involved
idolatry: Acts 17:24 "God that made the world and all things therein,
seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made
with hands; 25 Neither is worshipped with men's hands, as though he
needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all
things; 26 And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on
all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before
appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; 27 That they should seek
the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be
not far from every one of us: 28 For in him we live, and move, and have
our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also
his offspring. 29 Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we
ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or
stone, graven by art and man's device. 30 And the times of this
ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to
"For what if some did not believe? shall
their unbelief make the faith of God without effect?" It is a commonly
held principle even today that if a person does not believe then it
makes the sacrificial atonement of Christ without effect for that
person. Those who hold to this false principle put more on the belief
of man than they do to the faithfulness of Christ. God is faithful. He
will perform what he said he would do. He promised eternal life before
the world began: Tit. 1:2 "In hope of eternal life, which God, that
cannot lie, promised before the world began." God in covenant promised
eternal life to the elect before the world began. God is faithful to
his promises. Whether we believe or not is not going to make the faith
of God without effect. All for whom Christ died for will live in
heaven's glory world.
"God forbid: yea, let God be true, but
every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in
thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged." The reference
is to Ps. 51:4, "Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this
evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest,
and be clear when thou judgest." The truth is that God is true even
though every man is a liar. We have all sinned and come short of the
glory of God. God is justified in his sayings and is clear in his
judgments. The fact that God cannot lie and that he cannot fail, gives
rise to our hope of eternal life and that God is true to his promises.
Chapter 3, Verses
God Does Not
Cause Man to Sin
Rom. 3:5 "But if our unrighteousness
commend the righteousness of God, what shall we say? Is God unrighteous
who taketh vengeance? (I speak as a man) 6 God forbid: for then how
shall God judge the world? 7 For if the truth of God hath more abounded
through my lie unto his glory; why yet am I also judged as a sinner? 8
And not rather, (as we be slanderously reported, and as some affirm that
we say,) Let us do evil, that good may come? whose damnation is just."
There are two great false doctrines
concerning sin in the religious world. Some say that God predestinates
men to sin. Others say that sin gives glory to the righteousness of
God. Both of these ideas are blasphemous to a Holy God.
God does not predestinate man to sin.
God is not the cause of sin. Sin is the disobedience to the
commandment. God does not cause man to disobey his commandments:
1. Jer. 7:31 "And they have built the
high places of Tophet, which is in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to
burn their sons and their daughters in the fire; which I commanded them
not, neither came it into my heart."
2. Jer. 19:5 "They have built also the
high places of Baal, to burn their sons with fire for burnt offerings
unto Baal, which I commanded not, nor spake it, neither came it into my
3. Jer. 32:35 "And they built the high
places of Baal, which are in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to cause
their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire unto Molech;
which I commanded them not, neither came it into my mind, that they
should do this abomination, to cause Judah to sin."
The above verses teach plainly that it
came neither into God's heart or mind nor did he command the children of
Israel to commit the wicked abominations they were doing. Plainly, God
does not cause man to sin.
Furthermore, our unrighteousness does not
commend the righteousness of God. God is righteous and deserves all our
praise, yet our sin does not bring praise to God. Some claim that
because our salvation is by grace alone and not by our works or faith,
that we can continue to sin and this will abound to the praise and glory
of God, because he will simply forgive our sins.
"Is God unrighteous who taketh vengeance?
(I speak as a man) 6 God forbid: for then how shall God judge the
world?" If God caused men to sin as some claim, then man could not keep
himself from sinning and therefore, it would be unjust for God to take
vengeance on sin. However, God does not cause men to sin, therefore, it
is not unrighteous for God to take vengeance on sin. God forbid for man
to accuse God of making men to sin and then unrighteously taking
vengeance on sin. God has every right to judge the world for sin as he
is not the author of confusion and every sin and disobedience receives a
just recompense of reward.
"For if the truth of God hath more
abounded through my lie unto his glory; why yet am I also judged as a
sinner?" My lies and my sins do not cause the truth of God to more
abound unto his glory. God's truth does indeed abound unto his glory,
but our sins do not cause it to more abound, but rather our lies and our
sins more abounds to our shame. It is shameful for us to continue to
sin knowing that God has saved us by his grace.
"And not rather, (as we be slanderously
reported, and as some affirm that we say,) Let us do evil, that good may
come? whose damnation is just." I have heard men say, "If I believed as
you do that salvation is by grace alone, then I would go out and get my
fill of sin, for it wouldn't matter because I am saved by grace." What
they are saying is that the grace of God is a license for men to sin.
They are slanderously reporting that we are saying, "Let us do evil,
that good may come." This is just a slander and those who truly believe
that salvation is by grace alone, do not promote a sinful lifestyle, but
rather that we ought to serve God and worship him because of his grace
Paul said that those who slanderously
reported that we say, "Let us do evil, that good may come?" that their
damnation is just. That is God is just to condemn them that report such
slanders about those who believe in salvation by grace and that slander
a proper belief in grace.
Chapter 3, Verses
State in Nature
Rom. 3:9 "What then? are we better than they? No, in no
wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are
all under sin; 10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not
one: 11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh
after God. 12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become
unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. 13 Their
throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit;
the poison of asps is under their lips: 14 Whose mouth is full of
cursing and bitterness: 15 Their feet are swift to shed blood: 16
Destruction and misery are in their ways: 17 And the way of peace have
they not known: 18 There is no fear of God before their eyes. 19 Now we
know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are
under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may
become guilty before God. 20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there
shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the
knowledge of sin."
In the above passage of scripture Paul is describing all
men under the law of sin and death and describing their total depraved
state before being born of the Spirit.
The law of sin and death was given to Adam by God in the
garden of Eden: Gen. 2:16 "And the LORD God commanded the man, saying,
Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: 17 But of the tree
of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the
day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." God told Adam that
if he ate of the tree of knowledge of good and evil he would surely
die. The depraved state to which Adam plunged himself and subsequently
all mankind is described in Rom. 3:9-20. Eph. 2:1 describes this state
to which man fell as being dead in trespasses and sins: Eph. 2:1 "And
you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins."
Verse 9 of Romans chapter 3 tells us of the universal
state to which man is under the law of sin and death: "for we have
before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin."
Thus, all Jews and all Gentiles are under the law of sin and death.
There are no exceptions. Some have proposed that young children are
innocent until a certain age of accountability. However, there is no
age of accountability taught in the scriptures and the above verse
teaches us that even infants are under the law of sin and death. David
said in Ps. 51:5, "Behold, I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my
mother conceive me." Thus, David is saying that he and us are sinners
from conception. Furthermore, David said in Ps. 58:3, "The wicked are
estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born,
speaking lies." Therefore, even new born infants speak lies as soon as
they are born. They are sinners by nature and soon become sinners by
Verse 10 above teaches us of the universal condemnation
of sin: "As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one."
Without exception all of mankind were condemned in Adam and brought to a
state of being condemned or unrighteous before God and therefore worthy
of God's wrathful judgment of sin. One can be made righteous only by
the atoning blood of Jesus.
Verse 11 above teaches us of mankind's total inability to
understand the things of God or to seek after God: "There is none that
understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God." The false
teachers tell men that if they will just understand and believe the
gospel and seek after God, then they will be born again and be saved
from sin. The problem is that men under the law of sin and death cannot
understand the gospel and cannot seek after God:
1. 1 Cor. 2:14 "But the natural man receiveth not the
things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither
can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned."
2. Ps. 10:4 "The wicked, through the pride of his
countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts."
Certainly, the gospel is of the Spirit of God, therefore,
the natural man cannot receive it, neither can he know it. We read in 1
Cor. 1:18 "For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish
foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God." To
those who have not been born of the Spirit the preaching of the cross is
foolishness. To those who have been born of the Spirit of God the
preaching of the cross is the power of God. Thus, preaching cannot be
the cause of one being born of the Spirit. One must be born of the
Spirit in order to be able to understand the preaching of the gospel.
Verse 12 above teaches us of our universal fall in Adam
together and of our total inability to do anything good: "They are all
gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is
none that doeth good, no, not one." The word, "together," carries with
it a connation of unity in time and space. To do something together
then we must be at the same location at the same time. For all of
mankind to become unprofitable together, then all mankind must have been
at the same location at the same time when they became unprofitable. As
we will see in Romans chapter 5 we were together in Adam when Adam
transgressed the law of sin and death and we at that time together
became unprofitable before a just and holy God.
Furthermore, our death in trespasses and sins rendered us
incapable of doing good. To tell a person who is dead in trespasses and
sins to do good is to tell him to do something he is not capable of
doing. Only those who have been born of the Spirit of God are capable
of doing good. The Lord spoke of man's condition in Matt. 7:18, "A good
tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring
forth good fruit." Man in his natural state is a corrupt tree incapable
of bringing forth good fruit. When man is born of the Spirit, the inner
man becomes a good tree that cannot bring forth evil fruit.
In Galatians chapter 5 Paul compares the fruit of the
natural man with the fruit of the Spirit: Gal. 5:19 "Now the works of
the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication,
uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance,
emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21 Envyings, murders,
drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before,
as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things
shall not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is
love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23
Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law." Man before he is
born of the Spirit cannot do good.
Verses 13 and 14 above teach us of the universal fountain
of corruption of man's speech: "Their throat is an open sepulchre; with
their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their
lips: Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness." Speech originates
in the throat and Paul affirms that man's throat in its natural state is
an open sepulcher. A sepulcher is a grave. Thus, man's speech is an
open grave. A grave contains dead and rotting things. Furthermore,
depraved man uses his tongue to deceive. Deception is the way of wicked
man. In addition, Paul affirms that the poison of asps is under the
lips of fallen man. Asps are a venomous serpent and their poison can
kill. Finally, the mouth of man is full of cursing and bitterness.
This is indeed a poisonous and bitter stream that proceeds from carnal
Verses 15 and 16 teach us of the murderous and
destructive ways of man: "Their feet are swift to shed blood:
Destruction and misery are in their ways." This murderous way of man
was manifest when Cain slew Abel because his own works were evil and his
brother's righteous. Every man in his natural state is capable of
murder and destruction.
Verse 17 teaches us that man does not know the way of
peace: "And the way of peace have they not known." Man in his natural
state does not know the way of peace with God or the way of peace in his
own heart and actions.
Verse 18 sums up the reason for the incapability of
depraved man: "There is no fear of God before their eyes." Without the
fear of God, man has no desire to do good, to seek after God or to
understand the things of God. Furthermore, without the fear of God man
does not desire to change his destructive and murderous ways and to
cease from the pathway of sin.
"Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it
saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped,
and all the world may become guilty before God." Again, the universal
nature and condemnation of fallen men is stated. There is no exception;
the law condemns all of mankind. We are all guilty under the law in the
eyes of a just and holy God. Our mouths are stopped. We have nothing to
plead. Under the law of sin and death we are all guilty before God.
"Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh
be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin." All
who would take the law and make it a means by which man can be justified
in the sight of God, do not understand the nature of the law. The law
was not given as a means by which one may get life. It was given to
give us the knowledge of sin and of our condition under sin.