But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;…
I. THAT NONE CAN BE JUSTIFIED IN THE SIGHT OF THE LAWGIVER BY THE LAW IS EVIDENT; for —
1. No man has done the deeds of the law.
2. The law, when brought into contact with the deeds of men, always discovers sin and pronounces condemnation.
3. The law is law only; a rule of life merely, and in no sense or manner a means of restoration to a blameless state.
II. THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OR FREEDOM FROM CONDEMNATION WHICH THE GOSPEL DISPENSATION REVEALS, IS A RIGHTEOUSNESS WHICH —
1. God designs; the plan is of His devising.
2. God provides; the preparation of it is of His working.
3. God confers; the bestowal is of His grace and sovereignty.
4. God approves; He accepts it as complete in His sight, and will accept it in the last day. It is a blamelessness, righteously —
(3) Regarded as perfect blamelessness.
III. THIS RIGHTEOUSNESS IS "WITHOUT THE LAW"; entirely distinct from it and its purposes, belonging to another province altogether.
1. It is not provided for by the law.
2. It derives no aid, direction, efficiency of any kind from the law.
3. It has no reference to, or connection with the law, except as the law shows the necessity which is to be met.
III. IT IS WITNESSED OR TESTIFIED TO AS A DIVINE PROVISION, both by the law which reveals the sin, and by the prophecy which denounces it.
1. As being needed. The law, in the book or in the heart, gives silent assent to its necessity, by being dumb with regard to any other means of justification.
2. As being possible. In all the voice of the law, as God has spoken it, there is mingled an intimation of a possible pardon, not from the law, but from the mercy of God.
3. As being provided. In all the written law and prophecy of the Old Testament free pardon, as righteousness of God, is formally announced. The "righteousness" of the gospel pardon —
(a) Is no new thing. Obtained by Abel, Enoch, Abraham, without the law.
(b) Is manifested now in the means of its provision, the fulness of love that provides it, the signs and seals of its Divine approval, and the completeness of its restoration to favour and privilege.
(c) Is in perfect harmony with the law, though belonging to another sphere; since it recognises, respects, and meets the claims of the law, and provides for its maintenance as a righteous rule of life; so the law readily witnesses it.
IV. THIS "RIGHTEOUSNESS" HAS ALWAYS BEEN OBTAINED BY FAITH (see chap. Romans 4). Now by faith which rests not only in God as the pardoner, but also in Christ as the procurer of pardon. Faith —
1. Assents to the necessity and sufficiency of this righteousness.
2. Consents to its bestowal.
3. Relies on the work of Christ and the word of promise.
4. Claims, seeks, grasps, and holds this righteousness.
V. IT IS BROUGHT UNTO ALL IN THE GOSPEL MANIFESTATION, AND CONFERRED UPON ALL THAT BELIEVE, WITHOUT DISTINCTION.
1. The need is universal; so the remedy.
2. No distinction in the condemnation (see Romans 2:6-11); none in the justifying.
3. Faith a condition of which all are capable; and the only thing of which any are capable (ver. 23).
(1) All have actually transgressed.
(2) All have thus "fallen behind in the race" for the Divine approval, or giving of glory (Romans 1:10).
(3) All have made it impossible that they should be justified by law.
(4) God, therefore, since the provision is as large as the need, puts it within the reach of all.
Parallel VersesKJV: But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;