“Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.” —Romans 3:27
Romans 3:27 begins with Paul’s rhetorical question, “Where is boasting then?” Yet, rather than leaving the obvious rhetorical question unanswered, Paul answers his own question in the very next sentence. The question comes at an interesting point in this letter; in the previous six verses, beginning with Romans 3:21, if the Spirit of God is illuminating anything at all to our souls, we should understand that there should be no point in boasting at all.
Remember, this letter is one of the most logical dissertations ever presented to man by God through a man; and we must certainly keep in mind that this is God’s holy Word to man, not man’s word to man. Certainly, the apostle may have been one of the most educated men of his day, sitting under the teaching of the venerated Gamaliel, knowing Greek and Hebrew, &etc; nevertheless, it was not his dizzying intellect that made him useable in the Master’s hand: it was God’s grace. Paul himself understood that his intellect may have even been a hindrance to drawing even nearer Christ’s glory by God’s grace, for he wrote to the Corinthians, “And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: that your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God” (1 Corinthians 2:4-5).
We have a tendency to seek a reason for the way things work out so that we may try to achieve them in our own strength, giving our flesh something to boast about. The true, Biblical gospel of Jesus Christ, however, prohibits such a thing. It isn’t a far stretch of the imagination to consider that Saul of Tarsus, who breathed out threatening against the church of Jesus Christ, was a radically depraved sinner; yet, we quite often forget that, although his name is now Paul, and that since his conversion he has been used mightily by God as an apostle for His holy name’s sake, he is no less a sinner. Apart from the grace of God, he is a sinner, as are we all: that is, as every man, woman, and child since the fall of Adam (Romans 3:23).
We have learned in that because of the goodness of God’s grace, God has justified all those who have believed on Jesus Christ; that is, He has declared them forgiven of their sins and righteous in His sight. God has redeemed the fallen man who believes on Christ from a debt that no man could possibly pay because Jesus Christ came to earth as a flesh and bone human being, lived a perfectly righteous and sinless life as a man, and became a propitiation upon Calvary’s cross, suffering the holy wrath of almighty justice for the sins of all those whom God would save by His free gift of grace. This free gift of God began with God before ever an angel winged in the heavens, and was decreed by God, fulfilled through God, and ends with God. This should make the question, “Where is boasting then?” utterly ridiculous. Nevertheless, the apostle answers his question, which we will look at next time.
Read the previous article in this series, “Propitiation Through Faith” (Romans 3:24-26).