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Romans 3:21

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

But now the righteousness of God - God's method of saving sinners is now shown, by the Gospel, to be through his own mere mercy, by Christ Jesus; without the law - without any right or claim which might result from obedience to the law; and is evidently that which was intended by God from the beginning; for it is witnessed by the law and the prophets - the rites and ceremonies of the one, and the preachings and predictions of the others, all bearing testimony to the great design of God, and to the absolute necessity there was for the sacrifice and salvation which God has provided.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

But now - The apostle, having shown the entire failure of all attempts to be justified by the “Law,” whether among Jews or Gentiles, proceeds to state fully the plan of justification by Jesus Christ in the gospel. To do this, was the main design of the Epistle, Romans 1:17. He makes, therefore, in the close of this chapter, an explicit statement of the nature of the doctrine; and in the following parts of the Epistle he fully proves it, and illustrates its effects.

The righteousness of God - God‘s plan of justifying people; see the note at Romans 1:17.

Without the law - In a way different from personal obedience to the Law. It does not mean that God abandoned his Law; or that Jesus Christ did not regard the Law, for he came to “magnify” it Isaiah 42:21; or that sinners after they are justified have no regard to the Law; but it means simply what the apostle had been endeavoring to show, that justification could not be accomplished by personal obedience to any law of Jew or Gentile, and that it must be accomplished in some other way.

Being witnessed - Being borne witness to. It was not a new doctrine; it was found in the Old Testament. The apostle makes this observation with special reference to the Jews. He does not declare any new thing, but that which was rally declared in their own sacred writings.

By the law - This expression here evidently denotes, as it did commonly among the Jews, the five books of Moses. And the apostle means to say that this doctrine was found in those books; not that it was in the Ten Commandments, or in the Law, strictly so called. It is not a part of “law” to declare justification except by strict and perfect obedience. That it was found “in” those books; the apostle shows by the case of Abraham; Leviticus 18:5; Deuteronomy 30:12-14, in Romans 10:5-11; compare Exodus 34:6-7.

And the prophets - Generally, the remainder of the Old Testament. The phrase “the Law and the prophets” comprehended the whole of the Old Testament; Matthew 5:17; Matthew 11:13; Matthew 22:40; Acts 13:15; Acts 28:23. That this doctrine was contained in the prophets, the apostle showed by the passage quoted from Habakkuk 2:4, in Romans 1:17, “The just shall live by faith.” The same thing he showed in Romans 10:11, from Isaiah 28:16; Isaiah 49:23; Romans 4:6-8, from Psalm 32:1-11. The same thing is fully taught in Isaiah 53:11; Daniel 9:24. Indeed, the general tenor of the Old Testament - the appointment of sacrifices, etc. taught that man was a sinner, and that he could not be justified by obedience to the moral law.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
Must guilty man remain under wrath? Is the wound for ever incurable? No; blessed be God, there is another way laid open for us. This is the righteousness of God; righteousness of his ordaining, and providing, and accepting. It is by that faith which has Jesus Christ for its object; an anointed Saviour, so Jesus Christ signifies. Justifying faith respects Christ as a Saviour, in all his three anointed offices, as Prophet, Priest, and King; trusting in him, accepting him, and cleaving to him: in all these, Jews and Gentiles are alike welcome to God through Christ. There is no difference, his righteousness is upon all that believe; not only offered to them, but put upon them as a crown, as a robe. It is free grace, mere mercy; there is nothing in us to deserve such favours. It comes freely unto us, but Christ bought it, and paid the price. And faith has special regard to the blood of Christ, as that which made the atonement. God, in all this, declares his righteousness. It is plain that he hates sin, when nothing less than the blood of Christ would satisfy for it. And it would not agree with his justice to demand the debt, when the Surety has paid it, and he has accepted that payment in full satisfaction.
Ellen G. White
SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 6 (EGW), 1070-3

What a scene that will be! No pen can describe it! The accumulated guilt of the world will be laid bare, and the voice of the Judge will be heard saying to the wicked, “Depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” 6BC 1070.1

Then those who pierced Christ will remember how they slighted His love and abused His compassion; how they chose in His stead Barabbas, a robber and murderer; how they crowned the Saviour with thorns, and caused Him to be scourged and crucified; how, in the agony of His death on the cross, they taunted Him, saying, “Let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him.” “He saved others; himself he cannot save.” They will seem to hear again His voice of entreaty. Every tone of solicitude will vibrate as distinctly in their ears as when the Saviour spoke to them. Every act of insult and mockery done to Christ will be as fresh in their memory as when the satanic deeds were done. 6BC 1070.2

They will call on the rocks and mountains to fall on them and hide them from the face of Him that sitteth on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb. “The wrath of the Lamb”—One who ever showed Himself full of tenderness, patience, and long-suffering, who, having given Himself up as the sacrificial offering, was led as a lamb to the slaughter, to save sinners from the doom now falling upon them because they would not allow Him to take away their guilt (The Review and Herald, June 18, 1901). 6BC 1070.3

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Ellen G. White
SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 6 (EGW), 1109

16 (ch. 3:10-13, 24; Romans 3:19-28; 5:1). No Room for Self-sufficiency—We are justified by faith. The soul who understands the meaning of these words will never be self-sufficient. We are not sufficient of ourselves to think anything of ourselves. The Holy Spirit is our efficiency in the work of character building, in forming characters after the divine similitude. When we think ourselves capable of molding our own experience, we make a great mistake. We can never of ourselves obtain the victory over temptation. But those who have genuine faith in Christ will be worked by the Holy Spirit. The soul in whose heart faith abides will grow into a beautiful temple for the Lord. He is directed by the grace of Christ. Just in proportion as he depends on the Holy Spirit's teaching he will grow (Manuscript 8, 1900). 6BC 1109.1

20 (Philippians 1:21; Colossians 3:3; see EGW on Revelation 3:1). The Greatest Work in the World—Everything good in men and women is the fruit of the working of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit teaches us to reveal righteousness in our lives. The greatest work that can be done in our world is to glorify God by living the character of Christ. God will make perfect only those who will die to self. Those who are willing to do this can say, “I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me” (Manuscript 16, 1900). 6BC 1109.2

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Ellen G. White
Selected Messages Book 1, 397-8

Genuine faith will be manifested in good works; for good works are the fruits of faith. As God works in the heart, and man surrenders his will to God, and cooperates with God, he works out in the life what God works in by the Holy Spirit, and there is harmony between the purpose of the heart and the practice of the life. Every sin must be renounced as the hateful thing that crucified the Lord of life and glory, and the believer must have a progressive experience by continually doing the works of Christ. It is by continual surrender of the will, by continual obedience, that the blessing of justification is retained. 1SM 397.1

Those who are justified by faith must have a heart to keep the way of the Lord. It is an evidence that a man is not justified by faith when his works do not correspond to his profession. James says, “Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was his faith made perfect?” (James 2:22). 1SM 397.2

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Ellen G. White
God's Amazing Grace, 164.6

Intemperance lies at the foundation of all the moral evils known to man. Christ began the work of redemption just where the ruin began. The fall of our first parents was caused by the indulgence of appetite. In redemption, the denial of appetite is the first work of Christ. What amazing love has Christ manifested in coming into the world to bear our sins and infirmities, and to tread the path of suffering, that He might show us by His life of spotless merit how we should walk, and overcome as He had overcome. AG 164.6

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Ellen G. White
That I May Know Him, 256.2

These are the words of our substitute and surety. He who is the divine Head of the church, the mightiest of conquerors, would point His followers to His life, His toils, His self-denials, His struggles and sufferings, through contempt, through rejection, ridicule, scorn, insult, mockery, falsehood, up the path of Calvary to the scene of the crucifixion, that they might be encouraged to press on toward the mark for the prize and reward of the overcomer.7 TMK 256.2

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Ellen G. White
The Faith I Live By, 111.1

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. Romans 3:21, 22. FLB 111.1

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