Since man was in rebellion against God, God reached out to man and provided salvation for him. Only God can provide the righteousness needed to obtain a right standing with a holy God. This righteousness is obtained through Jesus Christ’s death on the cross, and man receives this righteousness through faith. This faith does not cancel out the Law, rather it satisfies the legal requirements of it (Romans 3:31).
Faith justification is the only kind possible because it removes any natural advantages (3:27–31). This is not a new teaching, because the Old Testament even teaches faith justification. Abraham was not justified by his works (4:1–8), or by circumcision (4:9–12), or even by the Law (4:13–17). One can only be justified by faith, just as Abraham was (4:1–17).
Justification has many benefits (5:1–11). The one who is justified now has peace with God and a hope in God. Also, he now has a right standing before God (5:1–2). The one who is justified can boast in many things (5:2-11). He can boast in the hope of God’s glory. He can also boast in troubles, because those troubles will bring about perseverance, proven character, and hope (5:3–5). Since God demonstrated his love to a world that was in rebellion against him by sending his unique Son to die for the ungodly (5:6–10), the justified can boast in God, because he is now in a right relationship with God (5:11). Thankfully, since God sent his Son, man’s sin problem is now solved (5:12–21).
Paul begins his argument by saying that all of mankind is condemned and that God’s righteousness is needed (1:18–3:20). God’s wrath is being shown to man because they continually reject him (1:18), and the wrath that is coming is definitely deserved (1:19–32). Man even knows within his heart that there is a God, but he still rejects him. The creation is even crying out to mankind, “Look, there is a God” (1:20–21). Unfortunately, man still rejects God. All of mankind is in opposition against God, and man is without an excuse. Since God has revealed himself in the creation, man cannot defend himself (1:20).
Paul continues to argue that all Gentiles are condemned (1:18–32), to which the Jewish audience was probably saying, “Amen.” Then Paul continues to show how the Jews are in just as bad of shape as the Gentiles (2:1–3:8). The Jews even had many advantages compared to the Gentiles, but this just helps show the wickedness of man’s heart. It is interesting how Paul shows that the Gentiles do not have the Law, but they do things of the Law, because the Law is written on their hearts (2:14). The Jews, who had the Law, and the Gentiles, who only knew the Law in their hearts, are both condemned because righteousness does not come from the Law, but from God.
Now that Jews and Gentiles have been shown that they are in rebellion against God, Paul shows that man is helpless unless God intervenes. Paul continues his argument by saying that there is absolutely no one who is righteous or even seeks after God (3:9–18). Man’s only hope without God is to keep the Law (3:19a). Unfortunately, no one can keep the Law fully. The only thing that the Law does is condemn mankind (19b). Without a doubt, the Law can not justify anyone (1:20). This leaves man totally helpless to save himself. He is in desperate need of God’s righteousness. If God does not do any thing to reach out to man, then man will be lost forever.