Romans 3:28
Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.
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(28) Therefore. . . .—There is a remarkable division of some of the best authorities in this verse between “therefore” and “for.” The weight of authority seems somewhat in favour of “for,” which also makes the best sense. That boasting is excluded is much rather the consequence than the cause of the principle that man is justified by faith. This principle the Apostle regards as sufficiently proved by his previous argument.

We conclude.—This conveys too much the idea of an inference; the statement is rather made in the form of an assertion, “we consider,” or “we hold.” “For we hold that a man (any human being—whether Jew or Greek) is justified by faith, independently of any works prescribed by law.”

Romans 3:28. Therefore we conclude — As if he had said, Since it appears, by what has been said, that all are sinners, involved in guilt and condemnation, and so cannot be justified by the law, whether natural or revealed, and that God has appointed another way of justification, we draw this conclusion; that a man is justified — Is accounted righteous, accepted and dealt with as such; by faith — By believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the mercy and grace of God, and the truths and promises of the gospel through him. See Acts 16:31; Galatians 2:16; Romans 4:24. Without the deeds of the law — Without perfect obedience to any law, as the meritorious cause of his justification. Every one, however, who is justified in this way, must show his faith by his works, James 2:14-26, and make the moral law the constant rule of his temper and conduct. It may be proper to observe here, 1st, That the faith by which men, under the new covenant, are justified, “hath for its object persons, rather than propositions. So Christ himself hath told us; Ye believe in God, believe also in me. So Moses also; Abraham believed in the Lord, and it was counted to him for righteousness: and Paul; Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved. In the mean time, this faith in God and in Christ necessarily leads those who possess it, to believe every thing made known to them by God and by Christ, and to do every thing which they have enjoined: so that it terminates in the sincere belief of the doctrines of religion, and in the constant practice of its duties, as far as they are made known to the believer.” 2d, “When the apostle tells us, that by faith man is justified without the works of the law, or rather, works of law, his plain meaning is, that men are justified gratuitously by faith, and not meritoriously by perfect obedience to any law whatever.” See note on chap. Romans 2:13. For at the same time he teaches us that men are justified freely through God’s grace; consequently he excludes faith equally with works, from any meritorious efficiency in the matter.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.Therefore - As the result of the previous train of argument.

That a man - That all who are justified; that is, that there is no other way.

Is justified by faith - Is regarded and treated as righteous, by believing in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Without the deeds of the law - Without works as a meritorious ground of justification. The apostle, of course, does not mean that Christianity does not produce good works, or that they who are justified will not obey the Law, and be holy; but that no righteousness of their own will be the ground of their justification. They are sinners; and as such can have no claim to he treated as righteous. God has devised a plan by which, they may be pardoned and saved; and that is by faith alone. This is the grand uniqueness of the Christian religion. This was the special point in the reformation from popery. Luther often called this doctrine of justification by faith the article upon which the church stood or fell - articulus stantis, vel cadentis ecclesiae - and it is so. If this doctrine is held entire, all others will be held with it. If this is abandoned, all others will fall also. It may be remarked here, however, that this doctrine by no means interferes with the doctrine that good works are to be performed by Christians. Paul urges this as much as any other writer in the New Testament. His doctrine is, that they are not to be relied on as a ground of justification; but that he did not mean to teach that they are not to be performed by Christians is apparent from the connection, and from the following places in his epistles: Romans 2:7; 2 Corinthians 9:8; Ephesians 2:10; 1 Timothy 2:10; 1 Timothy 5:10, 1 Timothy 5:25; 1 Timothy 6:18; 2 Timothy 3:17; Titus 2:7, Titus 2:14; Titus 3:8; Hebrews 10:24. That we are not justified by our works is a doctrine which he has urged and repeated with great power and frequency. See Romans 4:2, Romans 4:6; Romans 9:11, Romans 9:32; Romans 11:6; Galatians 2:16; Galatians 3:2, Galatians 3:5,Galatians 3:10; Ephesians 2:9; 2 Timothy 1:9.

28. Therefore we conclude, &c.—It is the unavoidable tendency of dependence upon our own works, less or more, for acceptance with God, to beget a spirit of "boasting." But that God should encourage such a spirit in sinners, by any procedure of His, is incredible. This therefore stamps falsehood upon every form of "justification by works," whereas the doctrine that.

Our faith receives a righteousness

That makes the sinner just,

manifestly and entirely excludes "boasting"; and this is the best evidence of its truth.

Inference second: This and no other way of salvation is adapted alike to Jew and Gentile.

Here is the conclusion of the whole matter that he had been discoursing of, from Romans 1:17 to this very place. When he says, we conclude, he means, we have reasoned or argued well, as logicians do; or this is the full account that we have taken, and summed up, after the manner of arithmeticians.

A man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law; a phrase equivalent to that which is so much spoken against, that we are justified by faith only; as if we should say, That God is to be worshipped, excluding angels, idols, images, &c., it would be as much as to say, God is to be worshipped only. Therefore we conclude,.... This is the conclusion from the premises, the sum total of the whole account:

that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. The subject of justification is, "man", not in opposition to angels; nor does it design the Jew against the Gentile, though some have so thought; but the apostle names neither Jew nor Gentile, but "man", to show that Christ's righteousness is unto all, and every man, that believes, be he who he will; and is to be understood indefinitely, that every man that is justified is justified by faith. The means is "by faith", not habitually or actually considered; that is, either as an habit and principle infused into us, or as an act performed by us; but either organically, as it is a means of receiving Christ's righteousness; or objectively, as it denotes Christ the object of it: and all this is done "without works", of any sort; not by a faith which is without works, for such a faith is dead, and of no avail; but by faith without works joined to it, in the affair of justification; or by the righteousness of Christ imputed by God the Father, without any consideration of them, and received by faith, and relied upon by the believer, without any regard unto them.

Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.
Romans 3:28 gives the ground of the οὐχί κ.τ.λ[919]

ΛΟΓΙΖΌΜΕΘΑ] ΟὐΚ ἘΠῚ ἈΜΦΙΒΟΛΊΑς ΛΈΓΕΤΑΙ (Theodore of Mopsuestia): censemus, we deem, as in Romans 2:3, Romans 8:18; 2 Corinthians 11:5. The matter is set down as something that has now been brought between Paul and his readers to a common ultimate judgment, whereby the victorious tone of Romans 3:27 is not damped (as Hofmann objects), but is on the contrary confidently sealed.

πίστει] On this, and not on ΔΙΚΑΙΟῦΣΘΑΙ (Th. Schott, Hofmann), lies the emphasis in accordance with the entire connection; ΧΩΡῚς ἜΡΓ. ΝΌΜΟΥ is correlative. Paul has conceived ΛΟΓ. Γ. ΔΙΚ. together, and then placed first the word which has the stress; compare the critical observations. The dative denotes the procuring cause or medium, just like διὰ πίστεως. Bernhardy, p. 101 f. The word “alone,” added by Luther—formerly an apple of discord between Catholics and Lutherans (see the literature in Wolf)—did not belong to the translation as such,[920] but is in explanation justified by the context, which in the way of dilemma “cuts off all works utterly” (Luther), and by the connection of the Pauline doctrinal system generally, which excludes also the fides formata. See Form. Conc. p. 585 f., 691. Comp on Galatians 2:16, Osiander in the Jahrb. f. Deutsche Theol. 1863, p. 703 f.; Morison in loc[922] All fruit of faith follows justification by faith; and there are no degrees in justification.[923]

χωρὶς ἒργ. νόμου] Without the co-operation therein of works of the law (Romans 3:20), which, on the contrary, remain apart from all connection with it. Comp Romans 3:21.

On the quite general ἌΝΘΡΩΠΟΝ, a man, comp Chrysostom: Τῇ ΟἸΚΟΥΜΈΝῌ ΤᾺς ΘΎΡΑς ἈΝΟΊΞΑς Τῆς ΣΩΤΗΡΊΑς, ΦΗΣῚΝ, ἌΝΘΡΩΠΟΝ, ΤῸ ΚΟΙΝῸΝ Τῆς ΦΎΣΕΩς ὌΝΟΜΑ ΘΕΊς. See afterwards ΠΕΡΙΤΟΜῊΝ.… ΚΑῚ ἈΚΡΟΒΥΣΤ., Romans 3:30. Comp Galatians 2:16.

[919] .τ.λ. καὶ τὰ λοιπά.

[920] Luther has not added it in Galatians 2:16, where the Nürnberg Bible of 1483 reads “only through faith.”

[922] n loc. refers to the note of the commentator or editor named on the particular passage.

[923] Comp. Riggenbach (against Romang) in the Stud. u. Krit. 1868, p. 227 ff.Romans 3:28. λογιζόμεθα γάρ: see critical note. In λογιζόμεθα there is no idea of an uncertain conclusion: it rather suggests the confident self-consciousness of the reasoner. ἄνθρωπον is not “any human being,” as if beings of another sort could be justified otherwise: it is like the German “man” or “one”. Cf. 1 Corinthians 4:1; 1 Corinthians 7:1; 1 Corinthians 11:28, Galatians 2:16. The sharp distinction drawn between faith and works of law, as characterising two different religious systems, shows that faith must not itself be interpreted as a work of law. In principle it is a renunciation of all such confidence as legal obedience inspires.28. Therefore] Another reading of the Gr. gives For. Evidence of MSS., &c. is strong on both sides: but the internal evidence, in the coherence of the argument, is decidedly for “For.” Romans 3:28 is then a resumé of what has gone before; a brief restatement of the “law of faith:” q. d. “for this is what our facts go to prove, that a man is justified, &c.”

If “therefore” is retained, this verse begins, or rather forms, a new minor paragraph, summing up indeed what has preceded, but with no bearing on what follows. If “for” is adopted, Romans 3:27; Romans 3:29 are in close connexion: the Jew’s boasting is “excluded,” because the “law of faith” is as much for the Gentile as for the Jew. “We conclude” should rather be we reason, we maintain.Romans 3:28. Λογιζόμεθα γὰρ) γὰρ for οὖν, in this sense: So far as regards these things; for we wished to set it forth as fully proved, that it is by faith, etc. Most copies read οὖν,[40] but it seems to have been repeated from Romans 3:27, and ΓᾺΡ serves the purpose of the argument against boasting, which is now deduced from justification through faith, Romans 3:22.—ΠΊΣΤΕΙ, by faith) Luther, allein durch den glauben; by faith alone, or rather only by faith, as he himself explains, T. V. Jen. f. 141. Arithmetically expressed the demonstration stands thus:—

[40] BC and both Syr. Versions with Rec. Text οὖν. But AΛGfg Vulg. and Memph. Vers. read γάρ.—ED.

The matter in dispute involves two elements,

Faith and Works,


Works are excluded,


Faith alone remains,


If one be subtracted from two, one remains [comp. ch. Romans 11:6]. So the μόνον, only, is expressed at Romans 3:29; and so the LXX. added μόνον, only in Deuteronomy 6:13, in accordance with [to complete] the Sense: with which comp. Matthew 4:10. The Vulgate has solum, only, Job 17:1, etc., πίστει μόνη, by faith alone, Basil., hom. 22, On Humility. In short, James, in discussing this very subject, and refuting the abuse of the doctrine of Paul, adds μόνον, only, ch. Romans 2:24. [And, in fact, volumes are on sale, abounding with testimonies of persons who used the word allein, only, before the time of Luther.—V. g.] Justification takes place through faith itself, not in so far as it is faith [not in the fact of its being faith; as if there were merit in itself] or a work of the law, but, in so far as it is faith of Christ, laying hold of Christ; that is, in so far as it has in it something apart from the works of the Law. Galatians 3:12. [Take care, however, lest this point should be misunderstood. Faith alone justifies; but it neither is, nor does it remain alone; it is constantly working inwardly and outwardly.—V. g.]—ἄνθρωπον) איש, any man whatever, Jew and Greek, with which comp. the following verse. So ἄνθρωπος, a man, 1 Corinthians 4:1.Verse 28. - For (γὰρ here, rather than οῦν, as in the Textus Receptus; though either reading rests on good authority, γὰρ suits best the course of thought, as introducing a reason for the assertion of the previous verse) we reckon that a man is justified by faith apart from works of law; i.e. the law of works, as a principle of justification, is, in fact, according to our reckoning, nowhere. It is to be particularly observed that χωρὶς ἔργων νόμου implies no antinomian doctrine, nor any opposition to James (James 2:14, etc.). Its reference is not at all to works required or not required from man for acceptance, but simply to the ground or principle of his justification.
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