There is no more important passage in Romans, than 3:20 thru 5:2. Grasp the content of this passage, and you will never be shaken! 3:1-19 is all about #2, sin and #3, judgment. See sin in nearly every verse between 3 and 18. See the mention of judgment in 5 thru 8, and verse 19. What’s lacking in people? It is #1, righteousness found in verses 5, 10 and 12.
Romans 3:20 opens with ‘Therefore.’ It is a conclusion drawn from the matters of sin and judgment in verses 1 thru 19! Verse 20 makes clear the issue is either #1, righteousness, or #2, sin. Which do you have? Paul’s point is that trying to be righteous by attempting to keep the Law only results in our breaking it, and shows you to have sin! Then, beginning with verse 21, he tells us how to get the necessary required righteousness. See its specific mention in verses 21 and 22. See also the word ‘justified’ in verses 24, 26, 28 and 30? That means what is said in verse 20, ‘declared righteous’! Plug that meaning in, and see it! If it will help, change ‘justified,’ or, ‘declared righteous,’ into declared ‘good enough,’ and see with perfect clarity! Since we know we need to be ‘good enough’ to enter life and the Kingdom, understand that we do not have that until God declares that we are righteous! Have you been declared righteous by God? How can I? 9 times in verses 22 thru 31, it is by #7, Faith! By faith in #4, the Savior found in verse 24. By faith in the Gospel element of His death, thru the shedding of His Blood in verse 25. Verses 1 thru 19 is all about #2, sin and #3, judgment. Verse 20 is a transitional verse between 1 thru 19, and verses 21 thru 31, which is all about #1, righteousness acquired by #7, faith in Jesus Christ, and the efficacy of His shed Blood to #8, save you. Do you perfectly understand this yet?
Chapter 4 repeatedly states that #1, righteousness is by #7, faith to prove his point by Abraham and by David from the Old Testament. Remember, ‘justified’ is ‘declared righteous’! See #1, righteousness some 14 times in verses 2 thru 25. How does one receive it? By #7, faith, seen some 17 times in verses 3 thru 24. Where we read ‘credited’ is that very point in time of the #8, New Birth of salvation, also expressed in the words ‘blessedness’ and ‘promise’! Our salvation is seen or alluded to some 14 times in verses 3 thru 24! This salvation is from the #3, penalty of our #2, sins says verses 7 and 8, 15, and 25. Paul closes by saying this is all ours thru our #4, Savior, and #5, the Gospel elements of His death for our #2, sins and resurrection from the dead with verses 24 and 25.
With 5:1+2, Paul concludes: “Since we have been ‘declared #1, righteous’ thru #7, faith, we have peace #8, (New Birth, salvation) with God thru #4, (the Savior) our Lord Jesus Christ, thru whom we have gained access by #7, faith into this grace (the #8, New Birth of our salvation) in which we now stand. And, we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God (in His #10, Kingdom!).” Romans 3:20 thru 5:2 is all about salvation by God’s grace thru our faith in Christ alone… It is beyond question what the Book is truly all about!
Harold F Crowell