Greek: e Ioudaion o theos monon; ouchi kai ethnon; nai kai ethnon,
Amplified: For we hold that a man is justified and made upright by faith independent of and distinctly apart from good deeds (works of the Law). [The observance of the Law has nothing to do with justification.] (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
Phillips: And God is God of both Jews and Gentiles, let us be quite clear about that! (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: Or, of Jews only is He God? Is He not also of Gentiles? Yes, also of Gentiles, (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: Is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles too? Yes, of Gentiles too,
|Romans — 3:21-5:21||Romans — 6:1-8:39||Romans — 9:1-11:36||Romans — 12:1-16:27|
Jew and Gentile
|Demonstration of Salvation|
|Power Given||Promises Fulfilled||Paths Pursued|
Restored to Israel
|Slaves to Sin||Slaves to God||Slaves Serving God|
|Life by Faith||Service by Faith|
Modified from Irving L. Jensen's excellent work "Jensen's Survey of the NT"
OR IS GOD THE GOD OF JEWS ONLY? IS HE NOT THE GOD OF GENTILES ALSO? (Ro 1:16; 9:24, 25, 26; 11:12,13; 15:9, 10, 11, 12, 13,16; Ge 17:7,8,18; Ps 22:7; 67:2; Ps 72:17; Is 19:23, 24, 25; 54:5; Je 16:19; 31:33; Ho 1:10; Zec 2:11; 8:20, 21, 22, 23; Mal 1:11; Mt 22:32; 28:19; Mk 16:15,16; Lk 24:46,47; Acts 9:15; 22:21; 26:17; Gal 3:14,25, 26, 27, 28, 29; Ep 3:6; Col 3:11)
Or is God the God of the Jews only? (as He must be, if justification is by the Law: for only to the Jews did God give the Law). Is He not the God of Gentiles also? Yea, of Gentiles also: since God is One (in His being, and alike to all nations). And He shall justify the circumcision (Jewish believers) out of simple faith (and not by their keeping Moses' Law though they had it from God), and the uncircumcision (Gentiles, who had nothing) through their faith (apart from His giving them the Law).
Vine observes that…
Faith is not a national quality, so neither is God merely a national God. Justification is not granted on a condition which only those under the Law can fulfill. (Vine, W. Collected writings of W. E. Vine. Nashville: Thomas Nelson )
The Old Testament is replete with allusions to the Gentiles being included in God's plan of salvation…
And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your descendants (which would include both Jews and Gentiles) after you. (Genesis 17:7)
Paul was in fact an apostle to the Gentiles, for Jesus clearly commissioned him as…
a chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel (Acts 9:15)
Paul had already declared the Gentiles were not excluded writing…
I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek (see note Romans 1:16)
In Galatians Paul explained that…
in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith (Galatians 3:14)
For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise. (Galatians 3:26-29)
In Ephesians Paul emphasized…
that the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel, (See note Ephesians 3:6)
Writing to the Colossians he declared that…
Salvation for the Gentiles was not a new teaching, the psalmist praying…
God be gracious to us and bless us, And cause His face to shine upon us-- Selah. That Thy way may be known on the earth, Thy salvation among all nations (goyim ~ the heathen, the Gentiles). (Ps 67:1-2) (Spurgeon's notes on Ps 67:1; 67:2)
Comment: the prayer invokes God's continued blessing on Israel so that the Gentiles might experience His salvation and also praise Him.
Paul explains to the Galatians that
you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek (Gentile), there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise. (Galatians 3:25-29)
J Vernon McGee explains this passage
In other words, does God belong to the Jews alone and not also to the Gentiles? And Paul says, "Yes, to the Gentiles also." Now, listen to this. This is a very cogent argument. Paul says, "If justification is by the law, then God does belong to the Jews. But if justification is by faith, then He is the God of both Jews and Gentiles." Now, notice the logic of this. If the Jew persisted in this position, then there must be two Gods-one for the Jews, one for the Gentiles. But the Jew would not allow this. He was a monotheist, that is, he believed in one God. Probably the greatest statement that ever was given to the nation Israel was Dt 6:4, "Hear, O Israel: Jehovah, our Elohim is one Jehovah" (literal translation mine). That was the clarion message He gave in the pagan world before Christ came. (McGee, J V: Thru the Bible Commentary: Nashville: Thomas Nelson)
YES, OF GENTILES ALSO: nai kai ethnon:
There is only one true God as Paul explained in a parallel thought in his letter to the Corinthians writing that…
"For even if there are so-called gods whether in heaven or on earth, as indeed there are many gods and many lords, yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from Whom are all things, and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by Whom are all things, and we exist through Him." (1Corinthians 8:5-6)
It is tragic that Israel refused for the most part to fulfill her purpose in the Old Testament. Despite the Old Testament commission to be a blessing to the nations (Ge 12:3) and a kingdom of priests (Ex 19:6), the Jews isolated themselves from the world and wanted God to be the God for one nation. Paul used their basic teaching--only one God exists--to convince them God was just in admitting non-Jews to salvation.
Greek: eiper eis o theos os dikaiosei (3SFAI) peritomen ek pisteos kai akrobustian dia tes pisteos.
Amplified: Since it is one and the same God Who will justify the circumcised by faith [which germinated from Abraham] and the uncircumcised through their [newly acquired] faith. [For it is the same trusting faith in both cases, a firmly relying faith in Jesus Christ]. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
Phillips: The same God is ready to justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised by faith also. (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: assuming that there is one God who will justify the circumcision out of a source of faith and the uncircumcision through the intermediary instrumentality of faith. (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: since there is only one God, who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith.
SINCE INDEED GOD WHO WILL JUSTIFY THE CIRCUMCISED BY FAITH AND THE UNCIRCUMCISED THROUGH FAITH IS ONE: eiper eis o theos os dikaiosei (3SFAI) peritomen ek pisteos kai akrobustian dia tes pisteos : (Ro 3:28; 4:11,12; 10:12,13; Galatians 2:14, 15, 16; 3:8,20,28; 5:6; 6:15; Philippians 3:3; Colossians 2:10,11)
Vine adds that…
Circumcised (4061) (peritome from perí = around + témno = cut off) refers literally to cutting and removal of the foreskin. (See exposition of Scriptures on Circumcision) The Hebrew people came to take great pride in circumcision and in fact, it became a badge of their spiritual and national superiority. Here Paul uses "circumcised" as a term for "Jew".
Why does Paul say "by faith" for the Jews and "through faith" for the Gentiles? Cranfield points out that attempts to find a very subtle difference are not convincing. Augustine was probably correct in ascribing the change to rhetorical variety.
Although other commentators see no major difference in "by" and "through", Vincent writes that…
Uncircumcised (203) (akrobustia from ákron = the extreme + búo = cover) means uncircumcised or uncircumcision and thus referred to the prepuce or foreskin. Akrobustia here is the term of scorn and derision by Jews, for they equated the "uncircumcised" with being a pagan Gentiles.
There are 20 uses of akrobustia in the NT - Acts 11:3; Rom. 2:25, 26, 27; 3:30; 4:9, 10, 11; 1 Co. 7:18, 19; Gal. 2:7; 5:6; 6:15; Eph. 2:11; Col. 2:13; 3:11. There are 14 uses of akrobustia Ge 17:11, 14, 23, 24, 25; 34:14, 24; Ex 4:25; Lv 12:3; Jos. 5:3; 1Sa 18:25, 27; 2Sa 3:14; Je 9:25.
By faith or through faith signify that both Jew and Gentile find acceptance with God in the same way -- on the basis of faith -- a personal committal to Him, a personal trust in Him.
Faith (4102) (pistis) (Click study of pistis) means a firm persuasion, conviction, belief in the truth, veracity, reality or faithfulness. Saving faith is not just mental assent but firm conviction, surrender to the truth and conduct emanating from that surrender. In sum, faith shows itself genuine by a changed life.
One (1520) (heis) is the first cardinal number and defines that which is united as one in contrast with being divided or consisting of separate parts. There is only one God. There is not one God for the Jew and one for the Gentile. Paul's point is that righteousness through faith means we are all on equal footing. There is not one way of salvation for the Jew and another way for the Gentiles. His plan of salvation is the same for both groups! We Gentiles thank Him for this great truth!
Vine writes that…
The oneness of God was a belief basic to Judaism and proclaimed by every devout Jew each day (cf. Deuteronomy 6:4). Here Paul appeals to this doctrine, claiming that since God is one, He must have the same concern for the salvation of the Gentile as he does for the Jew. The Judaism of Paul’s day, however, did not draw the same conclusion from God’s essential unity. They taught that the only way a Gentile could be rightly related to God was to become a proselyte to Judaism, including coming under the yoke of the law. And even then, they were always Gentiles, never quite up to the level of Jews by birth. In the eyes of the Jew, they had no natural claim on God. Paul says, however, that God is interested in the Gentiles apart from the law and that contrary to certain Jewish expectations, the Gentiles are saved through the same faith that saves a Jew.
Greek: nomon oun katargoumen (1PPAI) dia tes pisteos; me genoito (3SAMO) alla nomon histanomen (1PPAI)
Amplified: Do we then by [this] faith make the Law of no effect, overthrow it or make it a dead letter? Certainly not! On the contrary, we confirm and establish and uphold the Law. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
Phillips: Are we then undermining the Law by this insistence on faith? Not a bit of it! We put the Law in its proper place. (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: Then are we making law of none effect through this aforementioned faith? Let not such a thing be considered. Certainly, we are establishing law. (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law.
|DO WE THEN NULLIFY THE LAW THROUGH FAITH: nomon oun katargoumen (1PPAI) dia tes pisteos: (Ro 4:14; Ps 119:126; Je 8:8,9; Mt 5:17; 15:6; Gal 2:21; 3:17, 18, 19)
Why does Paul make this statement about the Law at this point? He knows that in view of the fact that he has been arguing that a man is justified apart from keeping the Law, he would undoubtedly be accused of being against the Law (anti-nomianism). He refutes the hypothetical charge as absurd.
As MacArthur explains…
Nullify (2673) (katargeo from kata = intensifies meaning + argeo = be idle from argos = ineffective, idle, inactive from a = without + érgon = work) (Click in depth study of katargeo) literally means to reduce to inactivity. The idea is to make the power or force of something ineffective and so to render powerless, reduce to inactivity. To do away with. To put out of use. To cause to be idle or useless. To render entirely idle, inoperative or ineffective. Cause something to come to an end or cause it to cease to happen. To abolish or cause not to function. To free or release from an earlier obligation or relationship.
Here katargeo means to make ineffective the power or force of the Law. Someone has written that katargeo is pictured by phrases like "pull the teeth out of," or "declaw."
The Amplified Version renders it do we
Phillips explains it this way "Are we then undermining the Law by this insistence on faith?"
Paul undoubtedly knew that he would be accused of antinomianism (being against the law) for arguing that a man was justified apart from keeping the law. The detractors might argue something like this:
The problem is that they have a misunderstanding of the purpose of God's Law. It was never meant to save us but to show us that we need salvation.
John Piper comments…
MAY IT NEVER BE: me genoito (3SAMO):
Again Paul responds with the powerful repudiation, “A thousand times no,” is the idea. Let not such a thing be considered.
William Newell rightly remarks that…
ON THE CONTRARY, WE ESTABLISH THE LAW: alla nomon histanomen (1PPAI): (Ro 7:7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14,22,25; 8:4; 10:4; 13:8, 9, 10; Psalms 40:8; Isaiah 42:21; Jeremiah 31:33,34; Matthew 3:15; 5:20; 1Corinthians 9:21; Gal 2:19; 5:18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23; Hebrews 10:15,16; James 2:8, 9, 10, 11, 12)
Spurgeon comments that…
On the contrary (235) (alla) is a conjunction indicating contrast marking opposition, antithesis, or transition.
Establish (2476) (histemi) means to cause to stand.
Establish the Law is paraphrased by Phillips as "We put the Law in its proper place".
The point is that salvation by grace through faith does not make the Law ineffective, but in fact brings into clearer focus the real purpose and importance of the Law: The role of the law in making men conscious of sin is confirmed by everyone who acknowledges sin and turns to Christ in faith. Writing to the Galatians Paul explained that…
John Piper comments that…
John MacArthur explains the purpose of the Law writing…