Chapter 3, The Study
The Righteousness of God Revealed only In The Gospel

J. Deering,


ROMANS CHAPTER 3 – Mason’s Outline1

The Righteousness of God REVEALED IN THE GOSPEL 1:18‑8:39


Subdivision I

The NEED for the Gospel
Man's Lack of Righteousness

1:18 – 3:20

Subdivision II

The Gospel in Relation to our SINS (acts)
God's Righteousness made Man's

3:21 – 5:11

Subdivision III

The Gospel in Relation to Indwelling SIN
How to Live the Christian Life

5:12 – 8:39


SUBdivision I. The NEED for the Gospel.  CONDEMNATION.

   I.        Man's Lack of Righteousness, 1:18-3:20

A.   The Preliminary Statement: Under Wrath, 1:18

B.   The Reason for Wrath: The Proof Marshalled, 1:19‑2:29 

C.   The State of the Degraded Heathen‑‑the Barbarian World, 1:19‑32

D.  The State of the Cultured Gentile, the Moralist, 2:1‑16

E.   The State of the Religious Jew, 2:17‑29

F.   The Conclusion: Complete Indictment of Entire Word, 3:1‑20

G.  Summary of case against Jew: Jewish "special pleadings" answered, 3:1‑8

H.  Jew and Gentile alike under condemnation: Proved from (Jewish) Scripture, 3:9‑20




i. Those without law, judged without (apart from) law.
(Have the light of nature and conscience)


ii. Those sinning in the law, judged according to law.
Primarily Jews, but not excluding Gentiles who have the light of the law (promulgated through civilized world), but who have not heard the gospel.


iii. Those who have received the full blaze of gospel light – judged on that basis.  Christ who offered Himself as their Saviour will be their Judge, Jn. 5:22

 SUBdivision II. The Gospel in Relation to our SINS (sinful acts). JUSTIFICATION.

God's Righteousness made Man's, 3:21‑5:11

A.   Justification by Grace through Faith is God's Gift on the Ground of Accomplished Redemption, 3:21‑31

B.   Justification by Grace through Faith Witnessed by the Old Testament, 4

C.   Justification's Blessed Spiritual Results, 5:1‑11

Romans 3

The Text and Commentary:

All the World Guilty


    what advantage has the Jew?
    what is the benefit of circumcision?

Great in every respect.
        First of all,
        that (A) they were entrusted with the (B) oracles of God. 

One of the most important responsibilities that God gave to the Jews was the keeping of the Law, not just the rules and regulations but the recording and preservation of the body of Scriptures as a whole. God's master plan includes that responsibility - given to them. While we may tend to think of early Christian Monks as those who protected and endlessly copied the scriptures, both for reading and for preservation, it was the Jew who kept the Words of God and His prophets written down and protected for centuries before Christianity was born. Paul writes as Christianity is just getting under way, before our long tradition of Bible copying. Were it not for the Jew - there would be no Scriptures to copy.

Paul uses and interesting word to point out the place of the Jew in the keeping of the Scriptures. "God ENTRUSTED the Jew with the oracles of God."  (Epi-steu-tha-san) The Greek is the 3rd person, plural, aorist (simple past), passive, indicative of the word pisteuo. "they were entrusted." The root word is the same word we usually translate as believed, or trusted. The prefix (epi) is a pronoun that brings out meanings like: on; together; in truth; etc.

This form of the word gives the translated meaning of Entrusted or Truly Believed. God, who does not make mistakes, truly believed and entrusted the Jew with the keeping of His word. He fully believed that they would be worthy and He entrusted them with the task, and in this responsibility they never let Him down. We have thousands of full manuscripts, as well as tens of thousands of fragments, over centuries of time, attesting to the accuracy of the copying of the Word of God by the Jews.

Oh, how blessed they are as a people whom God has "truly believed and entrusted" with the keeping of His word.

Paul also uses the word logia or words, the very thoughts of God, which is often translated as "oracles." "Words of wise counsel" would be a meaning of that translation, and who but God could supply the true wise counsel as found in His Scriptures. The Bible is truth, it is not all the truth there is in this world, but it is all the truth that is necessary to lead a person to faith and fellowship with God.


3What then?
    If (C) some did not believe,
        their unbelief will not nullify the faithfulness of God, will it?


4(D) May it never be!
        let God be found true,
        though every man be found (E)a liar,
        as it is written,

The question is asked as to whether God can be judged as unfaithful if a person chooses to not believe Him and His word - be found by God as unbelieving and sentenced to an eternity apart from God in torment and suffering. If God is all knowing, all powerful, merciful and love, is he responsible to make sure that we all go to His heaven to enjoy eternal life with Him. A full study of the Bible on the righteousness of God finds Him faultless for the willful misdeeds (including unbelief) of human beings who have been given the responsibility of making the willful choice of believing or not believing in/on God.

Paul's answer is specifically tailored to speaking to the Jew but the issue is the same for the not-Jew. Mankind largely chooses to willfully not put their confidence and belief in God, but some do. Entrance into God's Kingdom is based solely upon the individual's obedience to the call of God in belief. According to the Scriptures, none are worthy to be found acceptable by God, but God has supplied grace (the outpouring of God's love based upon His character) to those who would receive or believe.

Mankind, in general, prefers to believe that they are the arbiters of what God should or should not do, and they prefer to base their eligibility to enter God's Kingdom upon their pitiful attempts to work or perform good deeds. It is impossible to please God by trying to buy from Him what He desires to give freely. We refuse His gift and then try to tell Him how much we will pay for salvation. It makes us the author of our own salvation - as if we had any salvation we could author. God is the author of salvation alone.

God has done everything possible to provide mankind with His salvation. Mankind just doesn't want God to have that relationship - being God. Each of us wants to be a god in our own right. Never bowing before Him and receiving His free gift (His Son, Jesus) disqualifies us from the offer. The old illustration is that of the man who puts a million dollars into a bank account for another man. He notifies the man of the amount and his right to just go and pick it up - but the second man refuses to believe that it's there for him and thusly never receives the blessing of the million dollars. Likewise, many, many men and women refuse to let God be God in their lives, they refuse to believe that salvation is found From God, In Jesus Christ - and thusly never receive the blessing of being forgiven by God and never receive the right to belong to God's family, and never enter into God's kingdom.

God is faithful even if every man (or woman, or child) in the world said he is not.


        our unrighteousness (G) demonstrates the righteousness of God, (H) what shall we say?
            The God who inflicts wrath is not unrighteous, is He?
                ((I) I am speaking in human terms.)

Paul's question is based upon the one before. If God is to be found righteous in His actions, and He is, then the sinful condition of man does a find job of exposing that sin, and it does, and God continues to be righteous ... but if God then punishes that sin, the very condition He has created, doesn't that make Him unrighteous for doing so?

Paul then states that he is aware that he is speaking from the viewpoint of a mere mortal and expressing himself in human terms about the human condition.


 6 (J) May it never be!
        For otherwise, how will (K) God judge the world?

The answer simply states that these actions do NOT make God unrighteous. The question implies that the questioner has more righteous based intelligence than God, and that God doesn’t know what He is doing, and that He should be held accountable for expressing His wrath against sinners. The truth of the matter is that sin is sin, and righteousness cannot abide the presence of sin, and sin cannot be just ignored. Sin is sin and the holiness of God demands His judgment and punishment of it.

It is important to remember that Paul is not expressing Christian doctrine about the salvation of those who believe. He is, instead, following the logical argument in a world without the knowledge of Christ and what has been accomplished through Him. If we are knowledgeable about Christian doctrine we know that it has been God’s plan from the beginning where sinners would be righteously exposed for what they are, condemn them for it, and provide a remedy for sin and unrighteousness in His Son.

If God could just excuse sin, look the other way, sweep it under the carpet, based upon the fact that He made the plan, then where would righteousness be? How could a righteous God just excuse sin and still be righteous?

If God was not righteous in this, how could he righteously sit in judgment of the world? He is righteous in this, He is God and all sin must be dealt with. In Paul's argument it is seen that God is just and righteous, and is so when he judges, condemns, and punishes sin and the sinner.


7 But if through my lie
    (L) the truth of God abounded to His glory,
        (M) why am I also still being judged as a sinner?

"Every time I act in sin, God is proved to be righteous – therefore, why am I being judged – Since I increase His glory when I sin, I ought to be rewarded and not judged," that's what man would say. Put the blame on God, "He made me this way." It's just faulty, fuzzy human logic speaking.


8 And
    why not say
    (as we are slanderously reported and as some claim that we say),
        "(N) Let us do evil that good may come"?

The evil in the human heart tries to self-justify before our righteous God. "Why shouldn't I not only continue in sin but accelerate my sin because the filthier I appear to be - the cleaner and glorious God appears to be because of it.

So the question is this "Why not just do more evil and make God more glorious?"

Their condemnation is just.

Not even a hint of arguing this self-centered, unrighteous, fuzzy human logic. For there is no justification for thinking in such a manner. The argument is only looking for an excuse to sin and do evil. There is no real seeking for any righteous answer, there is only the attempt to argue against God. But in the end God only has to say, "Their condemnation is just."


What then?
(O) Are we better than they?

Paul swings the converstaion around to the Gentiles. The supposition is that since the Jew had the benefit of God’s choice, and they let Him down, then doesn’t He love us more? Doesn’t that make us better then them?

Not at all;
for we have already charged that both (P)Jews and (Q)Greeks are (R)all under sin;

Paul is showing us that the Gentile wants to blame the Jew for God’s justice upon them. The Jew thinks that their position before God, as #1 sons, makes them above the Law, but the truth of the matter is… God places both the Jew and the Gentile in the position of both being equal – guilty, unrighteous, and apart from God’s grace – condemned and unforgiven.

It doesn't matter to God (apart from the grace of God) whether you are Jew or Gentile, man or woman, slave or free - ALL stand guilty before God - ALL are under sin.

Paul turns to the Old Testament for proof:

10as it is written,

Both the Jew and the scripture educated gentile at Rome would understand Paul's references. It's a wake-up call, a slap in the face to bring one back to reality. "There is none righteous, not even one." God is not at fault. He is righteous and pure, holy and glorious and every single created child of Adam is as defined as "There is no fear of God before their eyes."

The Place of The Law

we know that whatever the (Y) Law says,
it speaks to (Z) those who are under the Law,

Any law only speaks to those who are affected by the authority issuing that law and only upon those put under it. Florida law only extends to the boundaries of Florida, so with The Law of Moses, it is only effective and binding upon the physical generations of Abraham (The Jew). The Gentiles, having a need for righteousness, created rules and laws for themselves and thus were under their own law, and thus both the Jew and the Gentile become guilty before God because they both sinned under whatever law they were responsible to.

The sin of the individual is made clear. We recognize that there is righteousness and that there is unrighteousness. When we make that delineation we immediately become breakers of our own law, for "There is none righteous, not even one.," because, "There is no fear of God before their eyes." All are under law."

so that every mouth may be closed and
            (AA) all the world may become accountable to God;

Guilty as charged – The Jew has no right to think they are not guilty because they are part of a special grouping (Jews, Nation of God) and the Gentile has no right to think that they are not guilty because they think that only the Jew is under law of God.

Being under the law of God is much wider than The Law of Moses. ALL are responsible for sin and sinning – No Exceptions, all are accountable to God for the life they live. "There is none righteous, not even one," and, "There is no fear of God before their eyes."

    20because (AB) by the works of the Law
    no flesh will be justified in His sight;
    for (AC) through the Law comes the knowledge of sin.

A new idea comes into play here – the workings of law. The law cannot forgive or justify, it can only condemn. There is nothing about the law that that can do anything except show “want of, or lack of, conformity to the law. No state police officer is going to chase you down the highway and stop you to tell you how wonderful your driving is and that you have met the requirements of the law.

The law is the mirror that we look into to see what manner of man or woman we are. We look for imperfections and blemishes in a mirror, and in the mirror of the law we find them. No amount of makeup does anything but try to hide the truth - we are imperfect. Makeup is only an indication that we know this, we try to "cover it up." 

Righteousness is establish through Faith, not the law.

21But now
    apart from the Law

But Now - how grand and glorious. That wonderful word "but" comes along and rescues us from this hopeless situation - "There is none righteous, not even one," and "There is no fear of God before their eyes."

APART FROM THE LAW – Until now we have been discussing that ALL are guilty UNDER THE LAW, whether the Mosaic or just human, – but NOW – Apart from the law…

(AD) the righteousness of God has been manifested,

being (AE) witnessed by the Law and the Prophets,

22even the (AF) righteousness of God

through (AG) faith (AH) in Jesus Christ

WOW, those who have faith in Jesus Christ have The Righteousness of God, and the Scriptures are witness to it (foretelling it), manifesting the righteousness of God for all the world to see!

Paul addresses the Jews and the Gentiles in the Roman assembly, “But now…” It is Jesus Christ who has been manifested as THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD.

And there is the testimony of the Law – it foretold of His coming and His righteousness apart from the Law.

And there is the testimony of the Prophets – they foretold of His coming and His righteousness apart from the Law.

Both the Law of Moses and the Prophets foretold of THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD COMING THROUGH FAITH IN JESUS CHRIST!

All the world should have seen it, but most did not. Some did – those in the Gospels who were waiting for Him. The rest did not. Even His own disciples did “not get it” until after the resurrection.

    (AI) all those who believe;


    (AJ) there is no distinction;
    all (AK) have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
        24being justified
            as a gift
            (AL) by His grace
            through (AM) the redemption which is in Christ Jesus;

Belief in the Redemption which is IN CHRIST JESUS results in being given the GIFT of JUSTIFICATION, by and before God, even though you have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God!

25whom God displayed publicly

as (AN)a propitiation

It is a proven FACT, it is TRUE, there is absolute PROOF, Jesus Christ lived, ministered, died on the cross, and Resurrected. He was publicly displayed - regardless of how much the world wants to rewrite history. The books are there, the journals of the eye witnesses are there. It really happened - just as the Scriptures proclaimed. Salvation has come through God's only begotten Son, Jesus Christ.

he Redemption which is applied is the result of God’s COMPLETE SATISFACTION that every penalty has been paid for (past, present, future), and the sign of that satisfaction was the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

(AO) in His blood

through faith.

The Old Testament demonstrates blood sacrifice in the sacrifices and offerings made to God for the atonement of sin. The death of these innocent animals never accomplished any single instance of forgiveness. The sacrifices and offerings were all types (pictures) depicting the one true sacrifice that was to come - Jesus Christ.

Then upon the cross His blood was shed for the remission of sins - absolute forgiveness, only made possible by the shed blood of the God-man Jesus. The final expression of sacrifice and spilled blood. That those who believe upon Him might have life eternal, in the presence of that just and holy God that, until the sacrifice of His Son, would incinerate us due to our lack of approachableness, or lack of that quality that would allow us to be present - in the presence of Almighty God. Now, through His sacrifice and His blood, we have that quality, we have that approachableness. We are now fit to enter into the presence of Almighty God - and so much more.

It is by Faith, Belief, Trust, that makes Salvation freely available to all (all are sinners) and only available as a free gift made to a heart that desires HIM.

This was to demonstrate His righteousness,

Free Salvation, through Jesus Christ, made possible by His blood, is a DEMONSTRATION of HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS

God is righteous in allowing man to sin, allowing the fall of mankind, putting a plan into action (from eternity past) to forgive even the vilest of sin based on the shed blood of Jesus Christ, and to offer that forgiveness to ANYONE WHO WOULD BELIEVE (desire Him).

in the (AP) forbearance of God
    He (AQ) passed over the sins previously committed;
        26for the demonstration, I say,
            of His righteousness
                at the present time,
                    so that He would be
                        just and
                        the justifier
                            of the one who has faith in Jesus.

Think about the FORBEARANCE of God – all the sin since the fall of Adam and Eve was “Passed Over” – taken off the table for each individual so that the RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD might be DEMONSTRATED even more. So that He would be finally seen as both JUST in doing this, AND He would be finally seen as THE ONLY ONE who can JUSTIFY the ONE WHO HAS FAITH in Jesus.

Boasting, works, and the Human element has no place


27Where then is (AR)boasting?

"Well, I did this, and I did that." "I'm special, I do good things." No the answer comes, you didn't and you don't. "There is non righteous, no not one."


It is excluded

You could not even die for your own sins, let along another. You could never do enough for God to make yourself fit for His presence. He is Holy and Righteous, He is eternal, knows everything, is everywhere, the Creator and Lord of the Universe (and much more). No one has ever been able to righteously (or otherwise) provide salvation for themselves or offer salvation to anyone else – Until Jesus Christ. There is no place for Human boasting – every human has fallen victim to sin. Until Jesus Christ, "there were none righteous, no not one."


By (AS) what kind of law?

Of works?

Paul re-asks the human question - "So then, we can work for our salvation?" Isn't that what we always do when we are first confronted with the absolute truth - return to our own understanding of how things work.


No, but

by a law of faith.

 28For (AT)we maintain that a man is justified by faith

apart from works of the Law.

There is no salvation in works – the works of a tainted sinner are absolutely unacceptable before God. There is no "work" any human could do that could make us approachable to God. We are totally alien to His nature, totally unacceptable, corrupt, filthy, earthen "pots."

No Difference - Jew or Gentile (member of the world community) - It is by FAITH


 29Or (AU)is God the God of Jews only?

Is He not the God of Gentiles also?

Paul recaps, with the very thought that John received from the Holy Spirit (John 3:16) "For God loved the world in such a way, that He gave His only born Son, in order that whoever believes in Him, should not perish, but have eternal life" (translation mine).


Yes, of Gentiles also,

 30since indeed (AV)God

(AW)who will justify

the circumcised by faith and

the uncircumcised through faith

(AX)is one.

Faith, Faith, Faith - no other way except by faith. Whether Jew or a member of the nations other than the Jews, salvation is only available by FAITH.


 31Do we then nullify the Law through faith?


(AY)May it never be!

On the contrary,

we (AZ)establish the Law.

The truth of the law can now be seen clearly. Man is guilty – there is not way around the law (to the Jew or to the Gentile) – All are guilty. The Law has done its job – it has proven that RIGHTEOUSNESS is absolutely available, but only through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. That has authenticated the Law or Established it as legitimate. Salvation by Faith is the fulfillment and culmination of the Law.

Cross references:

Romans 3:2 : Deut 4:8; Ps 147:19; Rom 9:4

Romans 3:2 : Acts 7:38

Romans 3:3 : Rom 10:16; Heb 4:2

Romans 3:4 : Luke 20:16; Rom 3:6, 31

Romans 3:4 : Ps 116:11; Rom 3:7

Romans 3:4 : Ps 51:4

Romans 3:5 : Rom 5:8; 2 Cor 6:4; 7:11

Romans 3:5 : Rom 4:1; 7:7; 8:31; 9:14, 30

Romans 3:5 : Rom 6:19; 1 Cor 9:8; 15:32; Gal 3:15

Romans 3:6 : Luke 20:16; Rom 3:4, 31

Romans 3:6 : Rom 2:16

Romans 3:7 : Rom 3:4

Romans 3:7 : Rom 9:19

Romans 3:8 : Rom 6:1

Romans 3:9 : Rom 3:1

Romans 3:9 : Rom 2:1-29

Romans 3:9 : Rom 1:18-32

Romans 3:9 : Rom 3:19, 23; 11:32; Gal 3:22

Romans 3:10 : Ps 14:1-3; 53:1-3

Romans 3:13 : Ps 5:9

Romans 3:13 : Ps 140:3

Romans 3:14 : Ps 10:7

Romans 3:15 : Is 59:7

Romans 3:18 : Ps 36:1

Romans 3:19 : John 10:34

Romans 3:19 : Rom 2:12

Romans 3:19 : Rom 3:9

Romans 3:20 : Ps 143:2; Acts 13:39; Gal 2:16

Romans 3:20 : Rom 4:15; 5:13, 20; 7:7

Romans 3:21 : Rom 1:17; 9:30

Romans 3:21 : Acts 10:43; Rom 1:2

Romans 3:22 : Rom 1:17; 9:30

Romans 3:22 : Rom 4:5

Romans 3:22 : Acts 3:16; Gal 2:16, 20; 3:22; Eph 3:12

Romans 3:22 : Rom 4:11, 16; 10:4

Romans 3:22 : Rom 10:12; Gal 3:28; Col 3:11

Romans 3:23 : Rom 3:9

Romans 3:24 : Rom 4:4, 16; Eph 2:8

Romans 3:24 : 1 Cor 1:30; Eph 1:7; Col 1:14; Heb 9:15

Romans 3:25 : 1 John 2:2; 4:10

Romans 3:25 : 1 Cor 5:7; Heb 9:14, 28; 1 Pet 1:19; Rev 1:5

Romans 3:25 : Rom 2:4

Romans 3:25 : Acts 14:16; 17:30

Romans 3:27 : Rom 2:17, 23; 4:2; 1 Cor 1:29-ff

Romans 3:27 : Rom 9:31

Romans 3:28 : Acts 13:39; Rom 3:20, 21; Eph 2:9; James 2:20, 24, 26

Romans 3:29 : Acts 10:34; Rom 9:24; 10:12; 15:9; Gal 3:28

Romans 3:30 : Rom 10:12; Gal 3:20

Romans 3:30 : Rom 3:22; 4:11, 16; Gal 3:8

Romans 3:30 : Deut 6:4

Romans 3:31 : Luke 20:16; Rom 3:4

Romans 3:31 : Matt 5:17; Rom 3:4, 6; 8:4


New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation

1 Outline by:
Dr. Clarence E. Mason, Jr.

Philadelphia Biblical University, 1964
Mason’s Notes,
Copyright © 2010
All Rights Reserved