Τί οὖν τὸ περισσὸν τοῦ Ἰουδαίου, ἢ τίς ἡ ὠφέλεια τῆς περιτομῆς;
πολὺ κατὰ πάντα τρόπον. πρῶτον μὲν γὰρ ὅτι ἐπιστεύθησαν τὰ λόγια τοῦ θεοῦ.
τί γάρ; εἰ ἠπίστησάν τινες, μὴ ἡ ἀπιστία αὐτῶν τὴν πίστιν τοῦ θεοῦ καταργήσει;
μὴ γένοιτο· γινέσθω δὲ ὁ θεὸς ἀληθής, πᾶς δὲ ἄνθρωπος ψεύστης, καθὼς γέγραπται· Ὅπως ἂν δικαιωθῇς ἐν τοῖς λόγοις σου καὶ νικήσεις ἐν τῷ κρίνεσθαί σε.
A careful survey of the verb justify is in Morison.
εἰ δὲ ἡ ἀδικία ἡμῶν θεοῦ δικαιοσύνην συνίστησιν, τί ἐροῦμεν; μὴ ἄδικος ὁ θεὸς ὁ ἐπιφέρων τὴν ὀργήν; κατὰ ἄνθρωπον λέγω.
μὴ γένοιτο· ἐπεὶ πῶς κρινεῖ ὁ θεὸς τὸν κόσμον;
εἰ δὲ ἡ ἀλήθεια τοῦ θεοῦ ἐν τῷ ἐμῷ ψεύσματι ἐπερίσσευσεν εἰς τὴν δόξαν αὐτοῦ, τί ἔτι κἀγὼ ὡς ἁμαρτωλὸς κρίνομαι,
καὶ μὴ καθὼς βλασφημούμεθα καὶ καθώς φασίν τινες ἡμᾶς λέγειν ὅτι Ποιήσωμεν τὰ κακὰ ἵνα ἔλθῃ τὰ ἀγαθά; ὧν τὸ κρίμα ἔνδικόν ἐστιν.
Τί οὖν; προεχόμεθα; οὐ πάντως, προῃτιασάμεθα γὰρ Ἰουδαίους τε καὶ Ἕλληνας πάντας ὑφ’ ἁμαρτίαν εἶναι,
καθὼς γέγραπται ὅτι Οὐκ ἔστιν δίκαιος οὐδὲ εἷς,
οὐκ ἔστιν ὁ συνίων, οὐκ ἔστιν ὁ ἐκζητῶν τὸν θεόν·
πάντες ἐξέκλιναν, ἅμα ἠχρεώθησαν· οὐκ ἔστιν ποιῶν χρηστότητα, οὐκ ἔστιν ἕως ἑνός.
τάφος ἀνεῳγμένος ὁ λάρυγξ αὐτῶν, ταῖς γλώσσαις αὐτῶν ἐδολιοῦσαν, ἰὸς ἀσπίδων ὑπὸ τὰ χείλη αὐτῶν,
ὧν τὸ στόμα ἀρᾶς καὶ πικρίας γέμει·
ὀξεῖς οἱ πόδες αὐτῶν ἐκχέαι αἷμα,
σύντριμμα καὶ ταλαιπωρία ἐν ταῖς ὁδοῖς αὐτῶν,
καὶ ὁδὸν εἰρήνης οὐκ ἔγνωσαν.
οὐκ ἔστιν φόβος θεοῦ ἀπέναντι τῶν ὀφθαλμῶν αὐτῶν.
Οἴδαμεν δὲ ὅτι ὅσα ὁ νόμος λέγει τοῖς ἐν τῷ νόμῳ λαλεῖ, ἵνα πᾶν στόμα φραγῇ καὶ ὑπόδικος γένηται πᾶς ὁ κόσμος τῷ θεῷ·
Now we know that what things the law says, to those in the law it speaks in order that every mouth might be stopped and the entire world might be answerable to God.
Paraphrase: Now all men are arraigned before God in His holy court, and the matters which I have listed above are the charges to which they must answer. Furthermore, we know that no indictment can be brought against a person unless that person is under the jurisdiction of that law. We don’t hold a person responsible to obey laws which don’t apply to him. Well we have before proven that both Gentiles and Jews are subject to God’s law. In fact, the entire world is under God’s jurisdiction and is now brought to the bar of His perfect justice; and when the charges are read, there is nothing left for them to say in their defense. Their mouths, which were so full of arguments and objections before, are now closed tight. They have nothing to say in their defense any longer; it only remains for them to hear the Judge pronounce the awful sentence. (Hebrews 10:27)
διότι ἐξ ἔργων νόμου οὐ δικαιωθήσεται πᾶσα σὰρξ ἐνώπιον αὐτοῦ, διὰ γὰρ νόμου ἐπίγνωσις ἁμαρτίας.
because, by the works of the law, all flesh is not justified before Him, for through the law knowledge of sin.
Paraphrase: The reason for this sentence of condemnation is simple. Not one single person can be set right with God by keeping His laws. No matter how perfectly he might live and no matter how strict his obedience might be, it falls short of what God requires. In fact, the hard truth is that our very attempt to gain justification with God by obeying His commands leads us more and more to see just how far short we’ve fallen from His perfect standard. The law is the very thing that exposes our guilt and takes every objection and argument out of our mouth. The justice of God’s verdict is now plain and obvious for all to see.
Νυνὶ δὲ χωρὶς νόμου δικαιοσύνη θεοῦ πεφανέρωται, μαρτυρουμένη ὑπὸ τοῦ νόμου καὶ τῶν προφητῶν,
but now, without the law, the righteousness of God has been revealed being testified by the law and the prophets,
Paraphrase: Now in this situation, the sinner has nowhere to go and nowhere to hide. (Hebrews 4:13) The record of his life is marked by repeated transgressions of the law of God, and there’s simply no way to escape the punishment which is sure to come. Now this brings me to the good news, brothers; listen carefully to the message of the gospel. The gospel teaches us that God Himself will supply us with a righteousness that is perfect and satisfies all His requirements. God will give us this righteousness as a gift; it won’t be something we work out ourselves by our own actions. In fact, God had already announced this righteousness long ago in the days of the patriarchs and the prophets.
δικαιοσύνη δὲ θεοῦ διὰ πίστεως Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, εἰς πάντας τοὺς πιστεύοντας, οὐ γάρ ἐστιν διαστολή.
i.e. the righteousness of God through faith of Jesus Christ to all believers, for there is no distinction.
Paraphrase: This righteousness, which God offers to all men, is credited to the record of every person who puts their faith in Jesus, no matter what ethnicity they might be. The truth is that, in terms of the gospel, even the difference between Jew and Gentile is erased. (Galatians 3:28) Everyone stands before God on the same ground.
I translated δὲ here with the “i.e.” The Attics often employed δέ as a sign of resumption. source
I take Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ as an objective genitive contrary to the NET translators which is the only major translation that translates it as a subjective genitive. Hendriksen says that in this verse, Paul is pointing back to the theme of the entire book which was first given in Romans 1:16; i.e. there is a righteousness from God to every one who believes; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. If this connection is in Paul’s mind, then the genitive is certainly objective. Support for this idea comes from the fact that the phrase “righteousness of God” is taken up here never having been mentioned (except with a different meaning in Romans 3:5) since Romans 1:17. cf Lange.
This righteousness is granted to faith, not assuredly because of any merit inherent in it,—for this would be to fall back on works, the very thing which the new dispensation wishes to exclude, but because of the object of faith. Therefore it is that this object is expressly mentioned, Jesus Christ. source
πάντες γὰρ ἥμαρτον καὶ ὑστεροῦνται τῆς δόξης τοῦ θεοῦ,
For all sinned and come short of the glory of God.
Paraphrase: Let me expand on this. Every person, regardless of whether they are a Jew or a Gentile, has sinned against God and brought down on themselves God’s wrath and judgment. (John 3:18) One person is not more guilty than another; all have fallen short of God’s perfect holiness. The glory of God is His holiness, and He will not tolerate the least thing contrary to it. These are the terms of the covenant which God originally made with Adam, and all those, who come from him, live under these terms. (Genesis 2:17)
I take γὰρ here as explicative and epexegetic. source
δικαιούμενοι δωρεὰν τῇ αὐτοῦ χάριτι διὰ τῆς ἀπολυτρώσεως τῆς ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ·
being justified freely by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus.
Paraphrase: Now those very same people who are under God’s judgment, God declares Not Guilty! in His courtroom. Yes, it’s true; they are justified by the Great Judge Himself even though in themselves, they remain sinners. This is the wonder of the gospel which we never can fathom or fully comprehend. How is it possible? It happens because God is full of grace and delights in showing mercy. His grace led Him to find a new way to justify sinners. Here is how He does it. He does not require any action from them or any merit of any kind. They do not have to produce any personal righteousness of their own. On the contrary, God justifies sinners by looking away from their own personal record and looks instead to what Jesus did in their place. Jesus redeemed His people by giving His life as the price which God’s justice demands for the liberation of His people. God’s perfect justice no longer has any claim against sinners. Their guilt is entirely removed by Jesus stepping into their place and suffering the penalty for it.
On δωρεὰν, see Witsius §41.
ὃν προέθετο ὁ θεὸς ἱλαστήριον διὰ πίστεως ἐν τῷ αὐτοῦ αἵματι εἰς ἔνδειξιν τῆς δικαιοσύνης αὐτοῦ διὰ τὴν πάρεσιν τῶν προγεγονότων ἁμαρτημάτων
whom God set forth as a propitiation through faith in His blood for a proof of His righteousness on account of the passing over of sins committed previously.
Paraphrase: Now what did Jesus do such that God was now willing to save lost sinners? The truth is that Jesus was a sacrifice which removed God’s wrath. (Leviticus 4:35) When Jesus died on the cross, the justice of God was satisfied with this punishment and no longer had any claim on sinful men. Clearly, God was very pleased with what Jesus had done; and now, He publicly displays Jesus to all the world as the only way any person can be set right with Him and saved from eternal death. God calls us to take refuge into the death of Jesus; to lose ourselves in Him and so to find a full and free forgiveness of all our sin. Now, you might wonder why it was that Jesus had to suffer such awful pains and agonies. Why couldn’t God have simply overlooked our sin and forgave it without Jesus having to suffer so? The first reason is this. Consider the fact that we committed many sins in our past life as did our ancestors. Why didn’t God punish these sins immediately? Why didn’t He immediately damn us and them to eternal punishment? Why the delay? Some people might look at this and question God’s justice. They might be led to believe that maybe God isn’t so angry with sin after all. This then, is the first reason for Christ’s sufferings. In the crucifixion of Jesus, God gives us a clear revelation of what He thinks of sin. God never just overlooks sin or passes it by; on the contrary, He hates sin so severely that He even gave His well beloved Son over to death to show us His real attitude toward sin. God punishes sin even when that means punishing our sin in the person of His only begotten Son.
Of all the errors to be found in exegetical and lexical literature, that of imagining that ἱλαστήριον in the LXX is identical in meaning with כַּפֹּרֶת, cover (of the ark of the covenant), and that therefore the word with them means propitiatory cover (Luther: Gnadenstuhl), is one of the most popular, most pregnant with results, and most baneful. Its source lies in the fact that the LXX’s frequent external verbal equation, viz., ἱλαστήριον=kappōreth, has been inconsiderately taken as an equation of ideas. source
Read Trench’s very interesting comment on Cocceius’ view that sins under the old covenant were πάρεσιν but not ἄφεσις. Witsius denied this (§38) but Trench goes on to defend a distinction between these two words. See also Neander.
The governmental view of the atonement is taught here (see Hodge), but Christ’s atonement does far more than this.
ἐν τῇ ἀνοχῇ τοῦ θεοῦ, πρὸς τὴν ἔνδειξιν τῆς δικαιοσύνης αὐτοῦ ἐν τῷ νῦν καιρῷ, εἰς τὸ εἶναι αὐτὸν δίκαιον καὶ δικαιοῦντα τὸν ἐκ πίστεως Ἰησοῦ.
in the toleration of God, towards the revelation of His righteousness at the present time, in order that He might be just and the One justifying the one by faith of Jesus.
Paraphrase: Now the second reason for Christ’s suffering is this. God can now maintain His perfect justice and also justify guilty sinners. How is this possible? How is it possible to be just and yet to declare a guilty person, not-guilty? (Exodus 23:7; Proverbs 17:15) The reason is because Jesus stepped into the place of sinners and took the punishment which they deserved. The death which they deserved, He took on Himself. He gave His life in place of theirs; so now, they are able to go free, and He suffers the accursed death on the cross in their place. (Galatians 3:13)
Ποῦ οὖν ἡ καύχησις; ἐξεκλείσθη. διὰ ποίου νόμου; τῶν ἔργων; οὐχί, ἀλλὰ διὰ νόμου πίστεως.
λογιζόμεθα γὰρ δικαιοῦσθαι πίστει ἄνθρωπον χωρὶς ἔργων νόμου.
ἢ Ἰουδαίων ὁ θεὸς μόνον; οὐχὶ καὶ ἐθνῶν; ναὶ καὶ ἐθνῶν,
εἴπερ εἷς ὁ θεός, ὃς δικαιώσει περιτομὴν ἐκ πίστεως καὶ ἀκροβυστίαν διὰ τῆς πίστεως.
νόμον οὖν καταργοῦμεν διὰ τῆς πίστεως; μὴ γένοιτο, ἀλλὰ νόμον ἱστάνομεν.