Romans 3:27
Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.
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(27-31) A review of the consequences of this process of justification. How does it affect the pretensions of the Jew? It shuts them out by laying stress no longer on works, which were the proper fulfilment of the first law as it stood, but upon faith. Faith is the true medium of justification. And faith belongs as much to Gentile as to Jew. For faith is the appointed means by which all mankind will be justified; and they will all be justified before the same tribunal, whether they be circumcised or not. Still this involves no abrogation of the Law, but rather a confirmation of it.

(27) It is excluded.—Strictly, It was excluded—at the moment when the law of faith—i.e., the gospel—was brought in.

By what law?—Properly, By what kind of law? Is this law which gets rid of boasting one which calls for works; or is it one that calls for faith?

The law of faith.—Another name for the gospel.

Romans 3:27. Where is boasting then? — The boasting of the Gentiles in their philosophy, or of the Jews in the rites of the law of Moses, as sufficient for their salvation. Or the boasting of the Jews against the Gentiles, or that of any one in his own righteousness, or on account of any peculiar privileges he may enjoy. It is excluded — This way of justification by free grace, through faith, leaves no room to any one for boasting of what he is, or has, or does, or can do. By what law? Of works? — By that of Moses, or any other law, promising life only to perfect obedience, and threatening all disobedience with inevitable death? Nay; this, if the fulfilling of it had been practicable, and a man could have been justified thereby, would have left him room for boasting, even that he had procured his justification by his own virtue and goodness. But by the law of faith — “The law of faith here, as opposed to the law of works, is that gracious covenant which God made with mankind immediately after the fall. It is fitly termed a law, because it is the law, or rule, by which sinners are to be justified in every age; and the law of faith, because the requisition of faith, as the means of our justification, is as much a law to men under the new covenant, as the requisition of works for the same purpose was a law under the first covenant.” This law of faith is properly said to exclude boasting, since it requires all persons, without distinction, to acknowledge themselves sinners, deserving condemnation and wrath; and, as guilty, depraved, weak, and indigent, to make an humble application to the free mercy and grace of God in Christ, for pardon, holiness, and every other blessing which is necessary to their final happiness.

3:27-31 God will have the great work of the justification and salvation of sinners carried on from first to last, so as to shut out boasting. Now, if we were saved by our own works, boasting would not be excluded. But the way of justification by faith for ever shuts out boasting. Yet believers are not left to be lawless; faith is a law, it is a working grace, wherever it is in truth. By faith, not in this matter an act of obedience, or a good work, but forming the relation between Christ and the sinner, which renders it proper that the believer should be pardoned and justified for the sake of the Saviour, and that the unbeliever who is not thus united or related to him, should remain under condemnation. The law is still of use to convince us of what is past, and to direct us for the future. Though we cannot be saved by it as a covenant, yet we own and submit to it, as a rule in the hand of the Mediator.Where is boasting then? - Where is there ground or occasion of boasting or pride? Since all have sinned, and since all have failed of being able to justify themselves by obeying the Law, and since all are alike dependent on the mere mercy of God in Christ, all ground of boasting is of course taken away. This refers particularly to the Jews, who were much addicted to boasting of their special privileges; See the note at Romans 3:1, etc.

By what law? - The word "law "here is used in the sense of "arrangement, rule, or economy." By what arrangement, or by the operation of what rule, is boasting excluded? "(Stuart)." See Galatians 3:21; Acts 21:20.

Of works - The Law which commands works, and on which the Jews relied. If this were complied with, and they were thereby justified, they would have had ground of self-confidence, or boasting, as being justified by their own merits. But a plan which led to this, which ended in boasting, and self-satisfaction, and pride, could not be true.

Nay - No.

The law of faith - The rule, or arrangement which proclaims that we have no merit; that we are lost sinners; and that we are to be justified only by faith.

Ro 3:27-31. Inferences from the Foregoing Doctrines and an Objection Answered.

Inference first: Boasting is excluded by this, and no other way of justification.

27, 28. Where is boasting then? … excluded. By what law?—on what principle or scheme?.

of works? Nay; but by the law of faith.

Where is boasting then? the apostle doth, as it were, insult over them: q.d. Where is now the former boasting cf the Jews, as if they were so much better than the Gentiles? Or what is become of the ground of boasting, that they, or either of them, might think they had in the law, or philosophy, or any moral performances? See Jeremiah 9:23,24.

It is excluded. By what law? of works? If it be inquired upon what account this boasting is excluded, we answer plainly, It cannot be by that law that commands works, as the condition of acceptance and justification, and tells us nothing by whom that condition should be fulfilled; the law being become weak to us, for such a purpose. by reason of sin, Romans 8:3.

Nay: but by the law of faith; i.e. the gospel law which requires faith, by which the righteousness of Christ is imputed to us, and attained by us. And this is called a law of faith, as some think, in condescension to the Jews’ custom of speaking, who are so much delighted with the name of the law; and so that he might not be suspected of novelty: but, as most, it is a Hebraism, denoting no more than the doctrine or prescript of faith.

Where is boasting then?.... There is no room nor reason for it, either in Jews or Gentiles: not in the Jews, who were very apt to boast of their being Abraham's seed; of their circumcision; of their being Israelites; of their having and keeping the law; of God being their God; and of their knowledge of him: nor in the Gentiles, who were ready to boast of their philosophy, wisdom, and learning; of their self-sufficiency, freewill, and of the things they had in their own power.

It is excluded; it is shut out of doors; the key is turned upon it; it is not allowed of; it is entirely exploded:

by what law? of works? nay; for, that establishes boasting when men seek life, righteousness, and salvation by the works of it, and fancy they shall be able to attain them this way:

but by the law of faith: not by a law requiring faith; nor as if the Gospel was a law, a new law, a remedial law, a law of milder terms; but the word "law" here answers to the Hebrew word which signifies any "doctrine" or "instruction", and oftentimes the doctrine of the Gospel, as in Isaiah 2:3, and here particularly, the doctrine of a sinner's justification by faith in the righteousness of Christ; according to which doctrine the most unlikely persons are justified, even ungodly persons, the worst and vilest of sinners; and that without any consideration of works, by faith only, which is freely given them; and by faith in Christ's righteousness only: so that there is not the least room for boasting in the creature, but all their boasting is in Christ, who is made unto them righteousness, and by whom they are justified.

{11} Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what {e} law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.

(11) An argument to prove this conclusion, that we are justified by faith without works, taken from the result of justification. The result of justification is the glory of God alone: therefore we are justified by faith without works: for if we were justified either by our own works alone, or partly by faith and partly by works, the glory of this justification would not be wholly given to God.

(e) By what doctrine? Now the doctrine of works has this condition attached to it, that is, if you do, and the doctrine of faith has this condition, that is, if you believe.

Romans 3:27. Paul now infers (οὖν) from Romans 3:21-26—in lively interchange of question and answer, like a victor who has kept the field—that Jewish boasting (not human boasting generally, Fritzsche, Krehl, Th. Schott) is excluded.[916] The article indicates that which is known, and has been before mentioned (Romans 2:17 ff.), looking back to Romans 3:9; Romans 3:1.

ποῦ] As it were, seeking that which has vanished from the sphere of vision, Luke 8:25; 1 Corinthians 1:20; 1 Corinthians 15:55; 1 Peter 4:18; 2 Peter 3:4; also frequently used thus by classic writers.

The καύχησις is not the object of boasting (Reiche), which would be καύχημα, but the vaunting itself, which is presented with vivid clearness as that which no longer exists.

ἐξεκλείσθη] οὐκ ἔτι χώραν ἔχει, Theodoret.

διὰ ποίου νόμου;] scil. ἐξεκλείσθη, not δικαιούμεθα, which Mehring, following Michaelis, wholly without logical ground wishes to be supplied. The exclusion, namely, must necessarily have ensued through a law no longer allowing the καύχησις; but through what sort of a law? of what nature is it? Is it one that demands works? No, but a law of faith. In these attributes lies the ποιότης of the law, which is the subject of inquiry. This cannot have the quality of the Mosaic law, which insists upon works, but thereby fosters and promotes the parade of work-righteousness (Romans 2:17); it must, on the contrary, be a law that requires faith, as is done by the Christian plan of salvation, which prescribes the renunciation of all merit through works, and requires us to trust solely in the grace of God in Christ. The Christian plan of salvation might be included under the conception of a νόμος, because the will of God is given in it by means of the Gospel (comp 1 John 3:23), just as in the O. T. revelation by means of the Mosaic law. And the expression was necessary in the connection, because the question διὰ ποίου νόμου; required both the old and new forms of the religious life to be brought under the one conception of νόμος. Therefore the literal sense of νόμος remains unchanged, and it is neither doctrine (Melancthon and many others) nor religious economy. Comp Romans 9:31.

[916] Hofmann’s misconception of ver. 9 still affects him, so as to make him think here of Christian καύχησις. Comp., for the right view, especially Chrysostom.

Romans 3:27-31. In these verses the positive exposition of the righteousness of God as offered to faith through the redemption in Christ Jesus, is concluded. The Apostle points out two inferences which can be drawn from it, and which go to commend it to religious minds. The first is, that it excludes boasting. A religious constitution under which men could make claims, or assume anything, in the presence of God, must necessarily be false; it is at least one mark of truth in the Christian doctrine of justification that by it such presumption is made impossible. The second is, that in its universality and its sameness for all men, it is consistent with (as indeed it flows from) the unity of God. There can be no step-children in the family of God; a system which teaches that there are, like that current among the Jews, must be wrong; a system like the Christian, which excludes such an idea, is at least so far right. In Romans 3:31 an objection is raised. The whole system just expounded may be said to make Law void—to stultify and disannul all that has ever been regarded as in possession of Divine moral authority in the world. In reality, the Apostle answers in a word, its effect is precisely the reverse: it establishes law.

27. boasting] Lit. the boasting; i.e. probably “the boasting of the Jew in his pride of privilege.” This reference is supported by the next three verses, especially if “for” is read in Romans 3:28 (q.v.).

It is excluded] Lit. It was excluded, by the “declaration” made in the Redeemer’s death.

the law of faith] The word “law,” in Greek as in English, is elastic in its reference. In English it is freely used for two almost opposite conceptions, a moral law and a law of nature; of which the first is a precept of duty à priori, the second a statement of observed facts à posteriori. Here the word, connected with faith, evidently means not a moral code but a rule of procedure; the Divine institute that justification is reached only by faith.

Romans 3:27. Ποῦ, where) A particle showing the argument to be complete and unanswerable. 1 Corinthians 1:20; 1 Corinthians 15:55; comp. 2 Peter 3:4.—ἡ χαύχησις, boasting) of the Jew, over the Gentiles, towards God, ch. Romans 2:17, etc., Romans 4:2. He may boast, who can say, I am such as [all that] I ought to be, having fully attained to righteousness and life. The Jews sought for that ground for boasting in themselves.—διὰ ποίον νόμου) by what law, supply ἐξεκλείσθη ἡ καύχησις, is boasting excluded; or rather, by what law is the thing [justification] accomplished? A similar ellipsis is found at ch. Romans 4:16, [διὰ τοῦτο ἐχ πίστεως, therefore it is accomplished of or by faith].—οὐχὶ, nay) Although a man, according to the law, might have [i.e., supposing he might have] righteousness and a reward, yet he could not boast before God; comp. Luke 17:10; now as it is, seeing that there is no righteousness to be had by the law, there remains much less room for boasting; and boasting is much more excluded by the law of faith, than by the law of works.—νόμον πίστεως, the law of faith) An appropriate catachresis [change[39] in the application] of the word law. This [justification by faith] is also a law, inasmuch as being of Divine appointment, to which subjection [submission] is due, ch. Romans 10:3. [They have not submitted themselves to the righteousness of God].

[39] See Appendix.

Verse 27. - Where then is the boasting? (that of the Jew, referred to in ch. 2, of his superiority to the Gentile with regard to justification). It is excluded. By what manner of (ποίου) law? Of works? Nay, but by the law of faith. Is it, then, here implied that the law of works would allow of boasting? Not so practically. But its theory would leave room for it, on the supposition of its conditions being fulfilled; it is a kind of law (observe ποίου νόμου;) which does not exclude it; for if a man could say, "I have fulfilled all the righteousness of the Law," he would have something wherein to glory. But the principle of the law of faith, which has been shown to be the only one available for the justification of either Jew or Gentile, in itself excludes it. It will be observed that the strict sense of the word νόμος, hitherto preserved, is extended in νόμος πίστεως. (For the various applications of which the word is capable, see especially ch. 7.) Romans 3:27Boasting (καύχησις)

Rev., glorying. Only once outside of Paul's writings, James 4:16. See on rejoiceth, James 2:13. Not ground of boasting, which would be καύχημα, as Romans 4:2; 2 Corinthians 1:14; Philippians 1:26. The reference is to the glorying of the Jew (Romans 2:17), proclaiming his own goodness and the merit of his ceremonial observances.

It is excluded (ἐξεκλείσθη)

A peculiarly vivid use of the aorist tense. It was excluded by the coming in of the revelation of righteousness by faith.

By what law? (διὰ ποίου νόμου)

Lit., by what kind of a law? Rev., by what manner of law? What is the nature of the excluding law?

Of works? (τῶν ἔργων)

Lit., the works, of which the Jew makes so much. Is it a law that enjoins these works? Nay, but a law which enjoins faith. Paul does not suppose two laws and give the preference to one. There is but one divine law of ejectment, the quality of which is such that, instead of enjoining the Jews' works, it enjoins faith. The old and the new forms of the religious life are brought under the one conception of law.

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