Romans 3:20
Parallel Verses
New American Standard Bible
because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin.

King James Bible
Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

Darby Bible Translation
Wherefore by works of law no flesh shall be justified before him; for by law is knowledge of sin.

World English Bible
Because by the works of the law, no flesh will be justified in his sight. For through the law comes the knowledge of sin.

Young's Literal Translation
wherefore by works of law shall no flesh be declared righteous before Him, for through law is a knowledge of sin.

Romans 3:20 Parallel
Commentary
Barnes' Notes on the Bible

By the deeds of the law - By works; or by such deeds as the Law requires. The word "Law" has, in the Scriptures, a great variety of significations. Its strict and proper meaning is, a rule of conduct prescribed by superior authority. The course of reasoning in these chapters shows the sense in which the apostle uses it here. He intends evidently to apply it to those rules or laws by which the Jews and Gentiles pretended to frame their lives; and to affirm that people could be justified by no conformity to those laws. He had shown Romans 1 that "the pagan, the entire Gentile world," had violated the laws of nature; the rules of virtue made known to them by reason, tradition, and conscience. He had shown the same Romans 2-3 in respect to the Jews. They had equally failed in rendering obedience to their Law. In both these cases the reference was, not to "ceremonial" or ritual laws, but to the moral law; whether that law was made known by reason or by revelation. The apostle had not been discussing the question whether they had yielded obedience to their ceremonial law, but whether they had been found holy, that is, whether they had obeyed the moral law. The conclusion was, that in all this they had failed, and that therefore they could not be justified by that Law. That the apostle did not intend to speak of external works only is apparent; for he all along charges them with a lack of conformity of the heart no less than with a lack of conformity of the life; see Romans 1:26, Romans 1:29-31; Romans 2:28-29. The conclusion is therefore a general one, that by no law, made known either by reason, conscience, tradition, or revelation, could man be justified; that there was no form of obedience which could be rendered, that would justify people in the sight of a holy God.

There shall no flesh - No man; no human being, either among the Jews or the Gentiles. It is a strong expression, denoting the absolute universality of his conclusion; see the note at Romans 1:3.

Be justified - Be regarded and treated as righteous. None shall be esteemed as having kept the Law, and as being entitled to the rewards of obedience; see the note at Romans 1:17.

In his sight - Before him. God sits as a Judge to determine the characters of people, and he shall not adjudge any to have kept the Law.

For by the law - That is, by all law. The connection shows that this is the sense. Law is a rule of action. The effect of applying a rule to our conduct is to show us what sin is. The meaning of the apostle clearly is, that the application of a law to try our conduct, instead of being a ground of justification, will be merely to show us our own sinfulness and departures from duty. A man may esteem himself to be very right and correct, until he compares himself with a rule, or law; so whether the Gentiles compared their conduct with their laws of reason and conscience, or the Jew his with his written law, the effect would be to show them how far they had departed. The more closely and faithfully it should be applied, the more they would see it. So far from being justified by it, they would be more and more condemned; compare Romans 7:7-10. The same is the case now. This is the way in which a sinner is converted; and the more closely and faithfully the Law is preached, the more will it condemn him, and show him that he needs some other plan of salvation.

Romans 3:20 Parallel Commentaries

Library
God Justified, Though Man Believes Not
"For what if some did not believe? Shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect? God forbid: yea, let God be true, and every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged."--Romans 3:3,4. The seed of Israel had great privileges even before the coming of Christ. God had promised by covenant that they should have those privileges; and they did enjoy them. They had a revelation and a light divine, while all the world
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 38: 1892

How Christ is the Way in General, "I am the Way. "
We come now to speak more particularly to the words; and, first, Of his being a way. Our design being to point at the way of use-making of Christ in all our necessities, straits, and difficulties which are in our way to heaven; and particularly to point out the way how believers should make use of Christ in all their particular exigencies; and so live by faith in him, walk in him, grow up in him, advance and march forward toward glory in him. It will not be amiss to speak of this fulness of Christ
John Brown (of Wamphray)—Christ The Way, The Truth, and The Life

Justification.
Christ is represented in the gospel as sustaining to men three classes of relations. 1. Those which are purely governmental. 2. Those which are purely spiritual. 3. Those which unite both these. We shall at present consider him as Christ our justification. I shall show,-- I. What gospel justification is not. There is scarcely any question in theology that has been encumbered with more injurious and technical mysticism than that of justification. Justification is the pronouncing of one just. It may
Charles Grandison Finney—Systematic Theology

Atonement.
We come now to the consideration of a very important feature of the moral government of God; namely, the atonement. In discussing this subject, I will-- I. Call attention to several well-established principles of government. 1. We have already seen that moral law is not founded in the mere arbitrary will of God or of any other being, but that it has its foundation in the nature and relations of moral agents, that it is that rule of action or of willing which is imposed on them by the law of their
Charles Grandison Finney—Systematic Theology

Cross References
Psalm 143:2
And do not enter into judgment with Your servant, For in Your sight no man living is righteous.

Acts 13:39
and through Him everyone who believes is freed from all things, from which you could not be freed through the Law of Moses.

Romans 3:28
For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law.

Romans 4:15
for the Law brings about wrath, but where there is no law, there also is no violation.

Romans 5:13
for until the Law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law.

Romans 5:20
The Law came in so that the transgression would increase; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more,

Romans 7:7
What shall we say then? Is the Law sin? May it never be! On the contrary, I would not have come to know sin except through the Law; for I would not have known about coveting if the Law had not said, "YOU SHALL NOT COVET."

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