Romans 3:21-23 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God
‘Now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets’ Since the gospel has come and the New Testament has been made, people can be justified and made righteous without the law (Rom. 3:21-31). ‘The law and the prophets’ the name for what is known to us as the Old Testament.
‘Righteousness of God.’ Righteousness in the Bible means: The perfection of the divine nature, whereby God is most just and holy in Himself, and in all His dealings with His creatures (John 17:25). The clemency, mercy, and goodness of God (Deut. 2:25; Ps. 51:14). The faithfulness of God to His promises (Ps. 31:1; Isa. 42:6; 1 Cor. 10:12-13). “The righteousness of Christ” is the active and passive obedience of Christ, whereby He perfectly fulfilled the law, and propitiated the justice of God so that man could obey God and receive the righteousness which is by faith, and their persons be accepted of God and received to eternal glory (Dan. 9:24; Jer. 23:6; 1 Cor. 1:30). Uprightness and justice in dealing between men (Luke 1:75). Holiness of life and conversation (1 Cor. 15:34). “The righteousness of God” is that righteousness which has been fully met and maintained in the atoning work of Christ on the cross, by which God is now able to save sinners and still be righteous in doing so (Rom. 1:17; 3:5, 21-22; 10:3). Under the law, God required righteousness from man, but the law instead of giving it to many only demonstrated that he was destitute of it and needed God’s righteousness, which He now freely gives under Grace.
‘Witnessed by the law and the prophets’ the rites and ceremonies of the law and the predictions of the prophets all testified of the great redemption in Christ that would justify people apart from both the law and the prophets (Psa. 16:8-11; Isa. 53:1-12; Luke 24:44; John 5:39; Col. 2:14-17; Heb. 8:1-10:23; etc.).
‘For there is no difference’ no difference whether Jew or Gentile (Rom. 1:16; 2:7-11; 1Cor. 12:13; Gal. 3:28).
‘All have sinned’ one must know and confess he is a sinner before he can be saved (Luke 13:3, Acts 2:38; 3:19; Rom. 10:9-10; 1Jn. 1:9).
The conclusion is that all have sinned (1:18-3:18, 23). All are guilty before God (3:19-20). The law cannot justify anyone (3:20). The law only condemns (3:20). God has provided redemption by faith in Jesus Christ (3:21-26). All boasting is excluded and man is helpless to save himself (3:27). People are justified only by accepting God’s plan of redemption (3:28). ‘Short of the glory of God’ this refers to original glory (Gen. 1:26-28; Psa. 8:1-9; Rev. 21-22).