Boasting Excluded:
Restatement & Clarification
In a Brief Survey of the Epistle of Paul to the Romans
Based on sermons preached in PCC Worship Services, July 2003 to Sep 2005
Part 16b of 83


27 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. 28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. 29 Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also: 30 Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith. 31 Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law” (Romans 3:27-31).

[We saw in the previous instalment of this study that the text we are expounding is actually the apostle Paul’s concluding words to his treatment of the doctrine of justification by grace through faith. It has four parts. There is a point of application (v. 27), a point of reiteration (v. 28), a point of restatement (v. 29-30) and a point of clarification (v. 31). We began our study with the second part where we saw Paul’s reiteration that we must be justified by faith, even the faith that was purchased by Christ. We are justified not because God is pleased with our faith, for by the deeds of the law, which include our acts of faith, no flesh shall be justified. “A man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.” We continue in the present article with a point of restatement and a point of clarification -JJL]

2. Restatement

Verses 29-30 is a point of restatement. It reads:

Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also: Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith.

This is really a restatement of what we have already seen. In terms of the need for justification, there is no difference between Jews or Gentiles. All men descending from Adam are sinners in the sight of God. All are in need of God’s righteousness. All must obtain this righteousness by grace through faith. There is no difference for there is only one God and one righteousness acceptable to Him.

The Jews thought that God is the God of the Jews only. But Paul has proven otherwise. His proof is simple: Both Jews and Gentiles are guilty sinners. They both cannot obtain righteousness by the deeds of the Law. They both must be justified by faith.

Now, children, you must bear this in mind. You have been baptised. God is your God because you bear His sign and seal. But remember that you are as much in need of justification by faith as your unbelieving classmates in school. Just as your unbaptised friends cannot save themselves by the deeds of the law, so you cannot save yourself by the deeds of the law.

You cannot save yourself by keeping the law or by repentance. Christ must save you and you must receive Him by faith. If you understand this truth, cease to think of how good you are or how poor you are as a Christian. Remember that you are a failure if God were to look at your deeds. You are a failure in all that you do. Whether in keeping the Ten Commandments, or attendance at worship, or repentance, or believing! You are a failure in all that you do! Only Christ can save you. Look to Him therefore acknowledging that you are nothing and have nothing to offer for your salvation.

We have seen a point of reiteration and a point of restatement. Let consider now the point of…

3. Clarification

a.   Verse 31 is a point of clarification. It reads:

Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.

We have seen that the righteousness of God is without the law. Does this mean that the law is useless? Does this mean that if we accept the doctrine of justification by faith, we must conclude that the law is of no use? Certainly not! Rather, the doctrine of justification by faith establishes the law.

From what Paul has already said, in his introduction to the doctrine of justification by faith, we gather how this is so. We gather that justification by faith establish the law in three ways:

First, it established the law in that it is a clarification of what is already witnessed by the law and the prophets. Paul is not teaching something new. He is teaching what the law and the prophets had been teaching. God the Spirit who inspired Paul is the same Spirit who inspired the human authors of the Old Testament. God does not contradict himself! The doctrine of justification confirms the law by making clear what the law taught in the old covenant.

Secondly, the doctrine of justification establishes the law in that it answers the question of how the penalty of the law is met. The law demands punishment for sin. The doctrine of justification by faith teaches us that God does not violate his own law when He forgives sinners. If you can count sin, every sin committed by those God forgives are accounted for. Every one of them was laid upon Christ. Christ was punished for them. The doctrine of justification establishes the law by showing that the demands of the law are met for God’s children.

Thirdly, the doctrine of justification establishes the law in that it provides the encouragement for sinful man to keep the law! Without justification by faith, we are driven to despair because all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags in God’s sight (Isa 64:6). What is the use of keeping the law then? Why keep the law if we are going to be condemned whether we try to keep it or not? Why not rather, as some say: “let us eat and drink; for tomorrow we die” (cf. 1 Cor 15:32). Justification by faith encourages us to keep the law out of gratitude and love for God. And we can do so without the fear that God will condemn us even as we keep His law  (Rom 8:3-4).

The law and the Gospel must go hand in hand. Justification by faith is the Gospel. Thank God that we have both! By the law, we know how we should live for God. By the Gospel we are enabled, and encouraged to live for God.


It is sad that many today claim to have the Gospel, but would have nothing to do with the law. The fact is: those who claim to have the Gospel, but have no regards for the law, really do not have the Gospel. They do not understand what the apostle Paul teaches concerning justification by grace through faith. For the doctrine that Paul teaches establishes the law.

…to be Continued Next Issue

JJ Lim