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Romans 3:20 & meaning...


the works of the law, no flesh will be justified in his sight. For through the law comes the knowledge of sin.

Romans 3:20


Romans 3 [19.] Now we know that whatever things the law says, it speaks to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be closed, and all the world may be brought under the judgment of God. Because by the works of the law, no flesh will be justified in his sight. For through the law comes the knowledge of sin. But now apart from the law, a righteousness of God has been revealed, being testified by the law and the prophets; even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ to all and on all those who believe. For there is no distinction, for all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God; being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus; whom God sent to be an atoning sacrifice,[h] through faith in his blood, for a demonstration of his righteousness through the passing over of prior sins, in God’s forbearance; to demonstrate his righteousness at this present time; that he might himself be just, and the justifier of him who has faith in Jesus.


In this verse, Paul makes a profound statement about the inability of human beings to achieve righteousness or justification before God through their own efforts to obey the law. The phrase "works of the law" refers to the Jewish legal system, including adherence to the ceremonial and moral laws prescribed in the Torah.

Paul's assertion that "no flesh will be justified in his sight" emphasizes the universal nature of human sinfulness and the impossibility of attaining righteousness through human effort alone. No matter how diligently one may strive to keep the law, they will inevitably fall short of God's perfect standard (Romans 3:23).

Furthermore, Paul highlights the role of the law in revealing the reality of sin. He writes, "for through the law comes the knowledge of sin." The law serves as a mirror that exposes the sinful condition of humanity, revealing our need for a Savior (Galatians 3:24). Rather than providing a means of salvation, the law exposes our guilt and condemnation before God (Romans 7:7-13).

In the broader context of the book of Romans, this verse is part of Paul's argument that salvation is a gift of God's grace, received through faith in Jesus Christ (Romans 3:21-26). Paul goes on to explain that God's righteousness has been revealed apart from the law, through faith in Jesus Christ, for all who believe (Romans 3:21-22). It is not based on human achievement or merit but on God's unmerited favor and mercy toward sinners (Ephesians 2:8-9).

This concept of justification by faith apart from works of the law is a central theme in Paul's theology and has significant implications for our understanding of salvation. It emphasizes the sufficiency of Christ's atoning sacrifice on the cross for the forgiveness of sins and the imputation of His righteousness to those who believe (2 Corinthians 5:21). It also underscores the universality of the gospel message, which is available to all people, regardless of their ethnic or religious background (Romans 10:12-13).

As we reflect on Romans 3:20, we are reminded of our utter dependence on God's grace for salvation. We cannot earn or merit our way into God's favor through our own efforts to keep the law. Instead, we are called to place our faith in Jesus Christ, who has fulfilled the righteous requirements of the law on our behalf and offers us forgiveness and reconciliation with God (Romans 10:4).

In conclusion, Romans 3:20 highlights the inadequacy of human effort to achieve righteousness before God and underscores the necessity of faith in Jesus Christ for salvation. It invites us to humbly acknowledge our need for God's grace and to trust in the finished work of Christ on the cross for our redemption. May we embrace the truth of justification by faith and live our lives in grateful response to God's unmerited favor and love.

PIB Scriptures are derived from the World English Bible


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