3:9. What then? Do we excel them? No, not so. For we have charged both Jews and Greeks, that they are all under sin.
3:10. As it is written: There is not any man just.
There is not any man just, viz... by virtue either of the law of nature, or of the law of Moses; but only by faith and grace.
3:11. There is none that understandeth: there is none that seeketh after God.
3:12. All have turned out of the way: they are become unprofitable together: there is none that doth good, there is not so much as one.
3:13. Their throat is an open sepulchre: with their tongues they have dealt deceitfully. The venom of asps is under their lips.
3:14. Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness:
3:15. Their feet swift to shed blood:
3:16. Destruction and misery in their ways:
3:17. And the way of peace they have not known.
3:18. There is no fear of God before their eyes.
3:19. Now we know that what things soever the law speaketh, it speaketh to them that are in the law: that every mouth may be stopped and all the world may be made subject to God.
3:20. Because by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified before him. For by the law is the knowledge of sin.
3:21. But now, without the law, the justice of God is made manifest, being witnessed by the law and the prophets.
3:22. Even the justice of God, by faith of Jesus Christ, unto all, and upon all them that believe in him: for there is no distinction.
3:23. For all have sinned and do need the glory of God.
3:24. Being justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,
3:25. Whom God hath proposed to be a propitiation, through faith in his blood, to the shewing of his justice, for the remission of former sins,
3:26. Through the forbearance of God, for the shewing of his justice in this time: that he himself may be just and the justifier of him who is of the faith of Jesus Christ.
3:27. Where is then thy boasting? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith.
3:28. For we account a man to be justified by faith, without the works of the law.
By faith, etc... The faith, to which the apostle here attributes man's justification, is not a presumptuous assurance of our being justified; but a firm and lively belief of all that God has revealed or promised.
Heb. 11. A faith working through charity in Jesus Christ. Gal. 5.6. In short, a faith which takes in hope, love, repentance, and the use of the sacraments. And the works which he here excludes, are only the works of the law: that is, such as are done by the law of nature, or that of Moses, antecedent to the faith of Christ: but by no means, such as follow faith, and proceed from it.
3:29. Is he the God of the Jews only? Is he not also of the Gentiles?
yes, of the Gentiles also.
3:30. For it is one God that justifieth circumcision by faith and uncircumcision through faith.
3:31. Do we then, destroy the law through faith? God forbid! But we establish the law.
Romans Chapter 4
Abraham was not justified by works done, as of himself, but by grace and by faith. And that before he was circumcised. Gentiles, by faith, are his children.
4:1. What shall we say then that Abraham hath found, who is our father according to the flesh?
4:2. For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory, but not before God.
By works... Done by his own strength, without the grace of God, and faith in him. Not before God... Whatever glory or applause such works might procure from men, they would be of no value in the sight of God.
4:3. For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God: and it was reputed to him unto justice.
Reputed, etc... By God, who reputeth nothing otherwise than it is.
However, we may gather from this word, that when we are justified, our justification proceedeth from God's free grace and bounty; and not from any efficacy which any act of ours could have of its own nature, abstracting from God's grace.
4:4. Now to him that worketh, the reward is not reckoned according to grace but according to debt.
To him that worketh... Vis., as of his own fund, or by his own strength.
Such a man, says the apostle, challenges his reward as a debt due to his own performances; whereas he who worketh not, that is, who presumeth not upon any works done by his own strength, but seeketh justice through faith and grace, is freely justified by God's grace.
4:5. But to him that worketh not, yet believeth in him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is reputed to justice, according to the purpose of the grace of God.
4:6. As David also termeth the blessedness of a man to whom God reputeth justice without works:
4:7. Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven: and whose sins are covered.
Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered... That is, blessed are those who, by doing penance, have obtained pardon and remission of their sins, and also are covered; that is, newly clothed with the habit of grace, and vested with the stole of charity.
4:8. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord hath not imputed sin.
Blessed is the man to whom the Lord hath not imputed sin... That is, blessed is the man who hath retained his baptismal innocence, that no grievous sin can be imputed to him. And, likewise, blessed is the man, who after fall into sin, hath done penance and leads a virtuous life, by frequenting the sacraments necessary for obtaining the grace to prevent a relapse, that sin is no more imputed to him.
4:9. This blessedness then, doth it remain in the circumcision only or in the uncircumcision also? For we say that unto Abraham faith was reputed to justice.
In the circumcision, etc... That is, is it only for the Jews that are circumcised? No, says the apostle, but also for the uncircumcised Gentiles: who, by faith and grace, may come to justice; as Abraham did before he was circumcised.
4:10. How then was it reputed? When he was in circumcision or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision.
4:11. And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the justice of the faith which he had, being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, being uncircumcised: that unto them also it may be reputed to justice:
4:12. And he might be the father of circumcision; not to them only that are of the circumcision, but to them also that follow the steps of the faith that is in the uncircumcision of our father Abraham.
4:13. For not through the law was the promise to Abraham or to his seed, that he should be heir of the world: but through the justice of faith.
4:14. For if they who are of the law be heirs, faith is made void: the promise is made of no effect.
Be heirs... That is, if they alone, who follow the ceremonies of thelaw, be heirs of the blessings promised to Abraham; then that faith which was so much praised in him, will be found to be of little value. And the very promise will be made void, by which he was promised to be the father, not of the Jews only, but of all nations of believers.