God's Righteousness Through Faith
Paul states in Romans 3:21, “but now the righteousness of God, apart from law is revealed, being witnessed by Law and the Prophets”. In verse 28, he states, “therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from deeds of law”. In Romans 1:16 Paul there states the theme of this book in saying, “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God (thru faith) to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.
Paul states in 3:21, 28 God’s righteousness is “apart” from law or the deeds of law. In Galatians 2:16 Paul there says, “knowing that a man in not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ”. He further states in this verse that by works of the law no flesh is justified. Why? Romans 3:20 says, “Therefore by the deeds of law no flesh will be justified in his sight, for by law is the knowledge of sin”. James 2:10 reads, “for whoever shall keep the whole of law and yet stumble in one point is guilty of all”.
The only way law can justify is if you keep the whole of law and stumble not in any command. By this, one would be justified by law. But once a transgression is committed against law, the transgressor is guilty of law. Once this happen, law had no provisions in it to justify the transgressor. Something else was needed in order for the transgressor to be justified once again in God’s sight.
Romans 1:17, “a righteous plan of God was revealed. It was made available to all, who thru faith would be obedience to its commands. If accepted, it had the power to justify the transgressor who transgresses law. But, the plan of God was “apart” from Law.
“Apart” means separately, independent or unique qualities, having a character that is not shared by others. God’s righteous plan was unique in character. Why? It could provide something law could not. Justification to the transgressor. Paul had already shown in the chapters 1 and 2 of Romans that not only had the gentiles sin but also the Jew. Both had violated law and therefore all had sinned. 3:23. God’s righteousness plan was revealed.
This plan is distinct from law. Paul said in 3:21, “but, now apart from law”. In the time or dispensation in which they were living, a plan of righteousness had been manifested to them, made known. It was separate from law and had a character of its own. What was its character or nature? It could justify the transgressor of law. It showed to be justified; one would no longer do the deeds of law which could never justified regardless if they kept it perfect the rest of their lives. Once “a sin” had been committed against law. Law was useless to the transgressor.
It took something “apart” from law, and yet people cleave today to law and never, thru faith, accept that righteous plan of God thru which they are justified.
- CL Bruner