Context - Romans
Righteousness before God through the law - not happening
19Now we know that what things soever the law said, it said to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. 20Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
Justified - declared or made righteous in the sight of God.
Righteousness - completely right with God - without guilt or sin.
Righteousness of God - righteousness provided by God
Redemption - bought back.
Propitiation - aversion of God’s anger.
A new way of obtaining righteous standing before God has been revealed - by faith through Jesus - and what that means. These verses are an Executive Summary of what is to come in chapters 4 - 8.
21But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; 22Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ to all and on all them that believe: for there is no difference: 23For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; 24Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: 25Whom God has set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; 26To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believes in Jesus.
27Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? No: but by the law of faith. 28Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. 29Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also: 30Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith.
31Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yes, we establish the law.
God sees Abraham as righteous because of Abraham’s faith, not because of righteous works.
Impute - ascribe.
1What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, has found? 2For if Abraham were justified by works, he has whereof to glory; but not before God. 3For what said the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness. 4Now to him that works is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. 5But to him that works not, but believes on him that justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.
David talks about this phenomenon of God’s reckoning - righteousness by faith, not by works.
6Even as David also describes the blessedness of the man, to whom God imputes righteousness without works,
7Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.
8Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.
God’s reckoning of righteousness came before Abraham’s circumcision so circumcision can’t be a prerequisite to that reckoning and it’s available to Jews and Gentiles.
9Comes this blessedness then on the circumcision only, or on the uncircumcision also? for we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness. 10How was it then reckoned? when he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision. 11And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed to them also: 12And the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised.
God’s promise of inheritance (think children) is also received by faith, not earned by righteous works to fulfill the law.
13For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. 14For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect: 15Because the law works wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression. 16Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all, 17(As it is written, I have made you a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who vivifies the dead, and calls those things which be not as though they were.
Description of Abraham’s faith - What is the faith Paul is talking about?
18Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall your seed be. 19And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah's womb: 20He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; 21And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. 22And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness.
God’s reckoning of righteousness - received by faith, not earned by righteous works to fulfill the law - is also available to me!
23Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; 24But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; 25Who was delivered for our offenses, and was raised again for our justification.
That reckoning is of great value - by it we have peace with God and access to God and hope of shining who He is and the indwelling Holy Spirit.
1Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: 2By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation works patience; 4And patience, experience; and experience, hope: 5And hope makes not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given to us.
God’s amazing generosity in providing a way for this reckoning to happen.
6For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. 7For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. 8But God commends his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
If God went to that extreme to get us, He will surely save, heal, deliver, protect, preserve, make whole, keep safe and sound. And be filled with joy because we are made one.
Atone - reconcile, at one.
9Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. 10For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. 11And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.
The reign of sin - one to many
12Why, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed on all men, for that all have sinned: 13(For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. 14Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.
God’s solution for sin - One for many
15But not as the offense, so also is the free gift. For if through the offense of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, has abounded to many. 16And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offenses to justification. 17For if by one man's offense death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ. 18Therefore as by the offense of one judgment came on all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came on all men to justification of life. 19For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
The law exposed sin. But grace overwhelmed.
20Moreover the law entered, that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: 21That as sin has reigned to death, even so might grace reign through righteousness to eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord. And this brings up a good question...
Romans 6 - Keep Sinning?
Is it ok to continue in sin? Because we realize that through faith in Jesus, grace overwhelms sin? No. Why? Because the old man with his old way of life is dead and gone, a new man with a new way of living is alive. There is a different, better way to think, a different perspective to see life from (“reckon you also…” - see yourself differently) and consequently a different way to live - that sin is not inevitable - that we don’t have to live as if sin is inevitable. Understanding that I will live towards what I believe is possible - that I’m growing up into Him in all things. The old man is dead. The new man is alive. And sin is inconsistent with that new nature. Sin is inconsistent with man’s purpose of manifesting who God is. In Him is no darkness at all.
1What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? 2God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? 3Know you not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: 6Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that from now on we should not serve sin. 7For he that is dead is freed from sin.
8Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: 9Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dies no more; death has no more dominion over him. 10For in that he died, he died to sin once: but in that he lives, he lives to God. 11Likewise reckon you also yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Don’t bring those old man ways into your new life.
12Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in the lusts thereof. 13Neither yield you your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin: but yield yourselves to God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. 14For sin shall not have dominion over you: for you are not under the law, but under grace. And that leads right into another good question…
Is it ok to continue in sin? Because we realize that God’s reckoning of righteousness is not obtained through righteous works to fulfill the law but through faith in Jesus? No, realize that… by your obedience you form a working relationship. One working relationship unto life the other unto death. Look at the end result of what your actions are producing.
15What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. 16Know you not, that to whom you yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants you are to whom you obey; whether of sin to death, or of obedience to righteousness? 17But God be thanked, that you were the servants of sin, but you have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. 18Being then made free from sin, you became the servants of righteousness. 19I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as you have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity to iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness to holiness. 20For when you were the servants of sin, you were free from righteousness. 21What fruit had you then in those things whereof you are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death. 22But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end everlasting life. 23For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Romans 7 - Old Man under the Law
And speaking of the law… You do realize that you are no longer obligated to try to fulfill the law through righteous works to gain reckoning as righteous in God’s sight. That old man under the law died.
1Know you not, brothers, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law has dominion over a man as long as he lives? 2For the woman which has an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he lives; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband. 3So then if, while her husband lives, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man.
Yet you are alive, a new man, newly married to another / for another purpose
4Why, my brothers, you also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that you should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit to God.
The law seemed to produce more death - Contrast of Two Different States: In the flesh - dead and captive - serving in under the letter v. delivered from the law - serving in newness of spirit.
5For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit to death. 6But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter. But I am not saying that: effectively, the law is sin…
The effect of the law - revealing of sin - and sin producing death.
7What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. No, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, You shall not covet. 8But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, worked in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead. 9For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died. 10And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be to death. 11For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me. 12Why the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.
13Was then that which is good made death to me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful.
The nature of the law is different from the nature of man - spiritual vs. carnal. This spiritual law was not helpful to me as a carnal man trying to resolve my problem with sin. (Like trying to open a bottled soda with an electric can opener.) Not the inadequacy of the law but the inadequacy of carnal man to fulfill the the law and achieve righteousness in God’s sight. Paul is talking about the old man (not born again) and why the law didn’t help him resolve his sin problem. You can’t not sin by just trying, in your own strength, not to sin (no matter who you are - even a committed Pharisee like Paul can’t do it).
14For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. 15For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. 16If then I do that which I would not, I consent to the law that it is good. 17Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwells in me. 18For I know that in me ...he clarifies what he is talking about here...(that is, in my flesh,) dwells no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. 19For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. 20Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwells in me.
21I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. 22For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: 23But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.
So, if the law isn’t my solution, what is? Jesus And summarizing again our predicament of a carnal man trying to gain righteousness by fulfilling a law whose nature is spiritual.
24O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? 25I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Summarizing our predicament under the law...So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.
Romans 8 - The Transformed Man - New Creation
The law couldn’t lead us into righteousness in God’s sight but Jesus can. Paul turns to address and describe a completely different situation - the situation of a man in Christ.
1There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 2For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. 3For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: 4That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
Get that mind renewed - pronto. See like He sees. Think like He thinks. Love like He loves. Live from His perspective.
5For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. 6For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 7Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. 8So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.
And that is only possible through the leadership of Holy Spirit.
9But you are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. 10And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwells in you.
12Therefore, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. 13For if you live after the flesh, you shall die: but if you through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, you shall live.
His Spirit in His children
14For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. 15For you have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but you have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. 16The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: 17And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
18For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. 19For the earnest expectation of the creature waits for the manifestation of the sons of God. 20For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who has subjected the same in hope, 21Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. 22For we know that the whole creation groans and travails in pain together until now. 23And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. 24For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man sees, why does he yet hope for? 25But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.
26Likewise the Spirit also helps our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. 27And he that searches the hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because he makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
28And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. 29For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.
31What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? 32He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? 33Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifies. 34Who is he that comdemns? It is Christ that died, yes rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.
35Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
36As it is written, For your sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.
37No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. 38For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
The American King James Version is generously made available in the public domain by Stone Engelbrite.