Paul starts off by echoing what he was dealing with in the earlier chapter where he was scoffing at the Jews who “brag about their relationship with God”. According to Romans 3:1-2 the only advantage the Jews had, is that they were the first to be entrusted with “the words of God”. It is worthwhile to note that the Jews regarded themselves more righteous than anyone else and especially more than the Gentiles. This came about by their strict adherence to the law. They tended to look down on others.
However, according to Paul in Romans 3:9, Jews and Gentiles are all under sin, this means that the whole of the human race is under sin “All have turned away… there is no one who does good” (Romans 3:12). This particular scripture are very important even in the contemporary Christian setting where those who are saved can easily brag about their salvation and pass judgment on others. Religiosity or the act of it does not in any way justify the forgiveness of sin.
Many people who call themselves Christians fall into this trap where they think by the mere fact that they go to church, tithe, perform miracles and so on, they are better of than those who do not. This verse helps us to see that all of us are in sin and for us to make it to heaven then we have to be justified not through certain activities but through the grace of God. This point is summarized in Romans 3:20 where Paul goes ahead and says that no one will be declared righteous by observing the law. The law is only meant to make us well aware of our weaknesses and the sin that is prevalent in our lives. So what is the way out for the human race?
Paul gives an answer to this question in verse 22; which declares that “the righteousness from God comes through the faith in Jesus and is only for those who believe”. Because everyone has sinned in one way or the other, the grace that God gives freely through “the redemption that came through Christ Jesus” is readily available to all provided they believe.
According to Paul no one understands God, we are all worthless in God’s eyes and no one is good. Many as Paul describes including himself practice deceit and their “throats are open graves”. It is interesting to note that Paul includes himself in this category despite the fact that he is considered one of the most powerful apostles who wrote a better part of the New Testament and had direct conversation with God; he includes himself among the sinners.
This helps us realize that no one should boast of being sinless and therefore look down on anyone else. God through his wisdom realized the dilemma the human kind is facing, about sin. According to Isaiah 59:1-2 what has separated us from God is the sin in our lives. This is what actually hinders God’s face from us, to an extent that he cannot even hear our prayers; ultimately then, we are all destined for hell.
God through his mercy and grace provided a way out through the death of Jesus on the Cross to act as atonement for our sins. In Vs 29 Paul helps us to see that the Jews and the Gentiles are subject to be justified through faith and nothing else. Whether one is circumcised or not; that is quite irrelevant because what matters most is the faith that one develops that leads to salvation. The law is therefore important because through it we are conscious of sin.
All scriptures lifted from: The Holy Bible: New International Version.