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Waggoner on Romans - Contents
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    A Wonderful Manifestation

    The portion of Romans thus far studied has shown us both Jews and Gentiles in the same sinful condition. No one has anything whereof to boast over another. Whoever, whether in the church or out, begins to judge and condemn another, no matter how bad that other one may be, thereby shows that he himself is guilty of the same things that he condemns in the other. Judgment belongs alone to God, and it shows a most daring spirit of usurpation for a man to presume to take the place of God. Those who have the law committed to them have a wonderful advantage over the heathen; nevertheless they must say: “Are we better than they? No, in no wise; for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin.” Romans 3:9. And now we come to the beginning ofWOR 56.1

    The Grand Conclusion. Romans 3:19-22

    “Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law; that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight; for by the law is the knowledge of sin. 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.”WOR 56.2

    What do we know?WOR 56.3

    “Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law.”WOR 56.4

    To whom does it speak?WOR 56.5

    “To them who are under [within the sphere of] the law.”WOR 56.6

    What is the object of its speaking?WOR 56.7

    “That every mouth may be stopped.”WOR 56.8

    Under what circumstances only may every mouth be stopped?WOR 56.9

    “All the world may become guilty before God.”WOR 56.10

    What then is the conclusion?WOR 56.11

    “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight.”WOR 56.12

    Why not?WOR 56.13

    “For by the law is the knowledge of sin.”WOR 56.14

    What is now manifested?WOR 56.15

    “But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested.”WOR 56.16

    How is righteousness manifested?WOR 56.17

    “Without the law.”WOR 56.18

    Whose righteousness is it that is thus manifested?WOR 56.19

    “The righteousness of God.”WOR 56.20

    What credentials has this righteousness?WOR 56.21

    “Being witnessed by the law and the prophets.”WOR 56.22

    Where is it manifested?WOR 56.23

    “Unto all and upon all them that believe.”WOR 56.24

    How is it manifested?WOR 56.25

    “By faith of Jesus Christ.”WOR 56.26

    Within the Law.-This is not the place to consider the force of the term “under the law,” since it does not really occur here. It should be “in the law,” as in Romans 2:12, for the Greek words are the same in both places. The words for “under the law” are entirely different. Why the translators have given us “under the law” in this place, and also in 1 Corinthians 9:21, where the term is also “in the law,” as noted in Young’s Concordance, it is impossible to determine. There certainly is no reason for it. The rendering is purely arbitrary. What the verse before us really says is, “Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are in the law,” or, “within the sphere or jurisdiction of the law.” This is an obvious fact, and in view of what immediately follows, it is a very important fact to keep in mind.WOR 57.1

    “What the Law Saith.” -The voice of the law is the voice of God. The law is the truth, because it was spoken with God’s own voice. In the covenant which God made with the Jews concerning the Ten Commandments, he said of the law, “Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice.” etc. Exodus 19:5. The commandments were spoken “in the mount out of the midst of the fire, of the cloud, and of the thick darkness, with a great voice.” Deuteronomy 5:22. Therefore when the law of God speaks to a man, it is God himself speaking to that man. Satan has invented a proverb, which he has induced many people to believe, to the effect that “the voice of the people is the voice of God.” This is a part of his great lie by which he causes many to think themselves above the law of God. Let every one who loves the truth, substitute for that invention of Satan the truth that the voice of the law of God is the voice of God.WOR 57.2

    Every Mouth Stopped.-The law speaks that “every mouth may be stopped.” And so every mouth would be, if men would only consider that it is God that is speaking. If men realized that God himself speaks in the law, they would not be so ready to answer back when it speaks to them, and they would not frame so many excuses for not obeying it. When some servant of the Lord reads the law to people, they often seem to think that it is only man’s word to which they are listening, and so they feel themselves privileged to parley, and debate, and object, and to say that, although the words are all right, they do not feel under obligation to obey, or that it is not convenient. They would not think of doing this if they heard the voice of God speaking to them. But when the law is read, it is the voice of God now just as much as it was to the Israelites who stood at the base of Sinai. People often open their mouths against it now, but the time will come when every mouth will be stopped, because “our God shall come, and shall not keep silence.” Psalm 50:3.WOR 57.3

    The Law’s Jurisdiction.-What things soever the law says, it sa to them who are within its sphere, or jurisdiction. Why? “That every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.” How extensive, then, is the jurisdiction of the law? It includes every soul in the world. There is no one who is exempt from obedience to it. There is not a soul whom it does not declare to be guilty. The law is the standard of righteousness, and “there is none righteous, no, not one.”WOR 57.4

    No Justification by the Law.-“Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight; for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” One of two things must be the case whenever a man is justified by the law, namely, either the man is not guilty, or else the law is a bad law. But neither of these things is true in this case. God’s law is perfectly righteous, and all men are sinners. “By the law is the knowledge of sin.” It is obvious that a man can not be declared righteous by the same law that declares him to be a sinner. Therefore it is a self-evident truth that by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified.WOR 57.5

    A Double Reason.-There is a double reason why no one can be justified by the law. The first is that all have sinned. Therefore the law must continue to declare them guilty, no matter what their future life might be. No man can ever do more than his duty to God, and no possible amount of good deeds can undo one wrong act. But more than this, men have not only sinned, but they are sinful. “The carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” Romans 8:7. “For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary the one to the other; so that ye can not do the things that ye would.” Galatians 5:17. Therefore, no matter how much a man may try to do the righteousness of the law, he will fail to find justification by it.WOR 58.1

    Self-justification.-If one were justified by the deeds of the law, it would be because he always did all that the law requires. Note well that it would be he that did it, and not the law. It would not be that the law itself does something to justify the man, but that the man himself does the good deeds required. Therefore if a man were justified by the law, it would be because he has in him by nature all the righteousness that the law requires. He who imagines that he can do the righteousness of the law, imagines that he himself is as good as God is, because the law requires and is a statement of the righteousness of God. Therefore for a man to think that he can be justified by the law, is to think that he is so good that he needs no Saviour. Every self-righteous person, no matter what his profession, exalts himself above the law of God, and therefore identifies himself with the Papacy.WOR 58.2

    Righteousness without the Law.-Since because of man’s weak and fallen condition no one can get righteousness out of the law, it is evident that if any man ever has righteousness he must get it from some other source than the law. If left to themselves and the law, men would truly be in a deplorable condition. But here is hope. The righteousness of God without the law or apart from the law, is manifested. This reveals to man a way of salvation.WOR 58.3

    Righteousness “Manifested.” -Where?-Why, of course where it most needs to be manifested, in people, that is, in a certain class described in the next verse. But it does not originate in them. The Scriptures have already shown us that no righteousness can come from man. The righteousness of God is manifested in Jesus Christ. He himself said through the prophet David: “I delight to do thy will, O my God; yea, thy law is within my heart. I have preached righteousness in the great congregation; lo, I have not refrained my lips, O Lord, thou knowest.” Psalm 40:8, 9.WOR 58.4

    “Witnessed by the Law.” -Let no one imagine that in the Gospel he can ignore the law of God. The righteousness of God which is manifested apart from the law, is witnessed by the law. It is such righteousness as the law witnesses to, and commends. It must be so, because it is the righteousness which Christ revealed; and that came from the law, which was in his heart. So, although the law of God has no righteousness to impart to any man, it does not cease to be the standard of righteousness. There can be no righteousness that does not stand the test of the law. The law of God must put its seal of approval upon every one who enters heaven.WOR 58.5

    Witnessed by the Prophets.-When Peter preached Christ to Cornelius and his family, he said, “To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.” Acts 10:43. The prophets preached the same Gospel that the apostles did. See 1 Peter 1:12. There is but one foundation, and that is “the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone.” Ephesians 2:20. This also suggests another thought about “witnessed by the law.” It is not simply that the righteousness which is manifested in Christ is approved by the law, but it is proclaimed in the law. In the portion of Scripture specifically known as “the law,” the portion written by Moses, Christ is preached. Moses was a prophet, and therefore he testified of Christ the same, “for he wrote of me.” John 5:46. More than this, the very giving of the law itself was a promise and an assurance of Christ. This will appear when we come to the fifth chapter of Romans.WOR 59.1

    The Righteousness of God.-While there is no chance for the despiser of God’s law to evade its claims under cover of the expression, “the righteousness of God apart from the law,” there is also no need for the lover of that law to fear that the preaching of righteousness by faith will tend to bring in a spurious righteousness. Such is guarded against by the statement that the righteousness must be witnessed by the law, and further by the statement that this righteousness which is manifested apart from the law is the righteousness of God. No one need fear that he will be wrong if he has that righteousness! To seek the kingdom of God and his righteousness is the one thing required of us in this life. Matthew 6:33.WOR 59.2

    “By Faith of Jesus Christ.” -In another place Paul expresses his desire when the Lord comes to be found “not having mine own righteousness which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.” Philippians 3:9. Here again we have “the faith of Christ.” Still further, it is said of the saints, “Here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” Revelation 14:12. God is faithful. 1 Corinthians 1:9. Christ is faithful, for “he abideth faithful.” 2 Timothy 2:13. God deals to every one a measure of faith. Romans 12:3; Ephesians 2:8. He imparts to us his own faithfulness. This he does by giving us himself. So that we do not have to get righteousness which we ourselves manufacture; but to make the matter doubly sure, the Lord imparts to us in himself the faith by which we appropriate his righteousness. Thus the faith of Christ must bring the righteousness of God, because the possession of that faith is the possession of the Lord himself. This faith is dealt to every man, even as Christ gave himself to every man. Do you ask what then can prevent every man from being saved? The answer is, Nothing, except the fact that all men will not keep the faith. If all would keep all that God gives them, all would be saved.WOR 59.3

    Within and Without.-This righteousness of God, which is by the faith of Jesus Christ, is unto, literally into, and upon all them that believe. Man’s own righteousness, which is of the law, is only on the outside. Matthew 23:27, 28. But God desires truth in the inward parts. Psalm 51:6. “These words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart.” Deuteronomy 6:6. And so the promise of the new covenant is, “I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts.” Jeremiah 31:33. He does it, because it is impossible for man to do it. The most that men can do is to make a fair show in the flesh, to gain the applause of their fellow men. God puts his glorious righteousness in the heart. But he does more than that, he covers men with it. “I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness.” Isaiah 51:10. “He will beautify the meek with salvation.” Psalm 149:4. Clothed with this glorious dress, which is not merely an outward covering, but the manifestation of that which is within, God’s people may go forth, “fair as the moon, clear as the sun; and terrible as an army with banners.”WOR 59.4

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