Having shown that Gentiles and Jews are guilty before and condemned by God (1:18-29), Paul then answers four potential objections Jews may have about what he just taught (vv. 1-8). Verses 9-20 conclude this section, demonstrating that all—Jews and Gentiles—are sinners before God and thus deserve his wrath. No one is as righteous as God expects, so all are guilty and condemned.
The only way guilty, unrighteous sinners can be declared right in God’s sight and be freed from sin’s guilt (this is what justification means), is through faith alone in Jesus Christ (vv. 21-26). God’s righteousness cannot be earned (vv. 21-22), is for all and any who believe (vv. 22-23), and is entirely of grace (vv. 24-25). Jesus bore the wrath of God in sinners’ place (“propitiation,” v. 25) so that the penalties of God’s broken Law would be fully paid.
The result of justification by faith and not works is that all are humbled (vv. 27-28), every believer will be saved (vv. 29-30), and the Law is upheld (v. 31).
Truths to Nail Down and Meditate On
- Objections to the gospel have answers from and must be answered by the truths of the gospel. The better you know God’s truth, the better servant of the Lord you will be.
- Verses 10-20 are very helpful in teaching sinners their standing before a holy and righteous God. All are sinful in their character (vv. 10-12), communication (vv. 13-14), and conduct (vv. 15-18). No one can give a successful defense against this (v. 19). A guilty verdict is unavoidable and indisputable (vv. 19-20). The lost see that they are truly lost for them to seek salvation through Jesus.
- Guilty sinners have no hope in any human being or religion, only in God’s grace through Jesus Christ. sinners must receive and rest in Jesus’ for salvation (“faith”).