“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.”

            “Now we know”
            Literally:—“But we know.”–That is, we all admit; it is conceded; a plain point. 

             KNOW: (Grk.–oida)–Literally: “To know absolutely; to understand; to learn;    experience; recognize; acknowledge.”  Meaning a sure knowledge.  We are certain that this description given in the Law, or elsewhere in the Bible, concerning men, applies to those who are under the Law; that is, those who have the Bible.

That is, shown or proved so from their own conduct, and from the Bible, to be guilty and deserving of condemnation. This is the description of the natural character of man which God gives in the Bible, and it applies to all humanity. It is a description that shows that all men are sinners, guilty, and justly condemned; and that if saved, it must be not on account of their works or worthiness, but on account of the works and worthiness of Christ.  Paul means to show that this describes the natural character and state of Jews as well as Gentiles.

            “the Law saith”
            Literally: “That what the Law says.”–Whatever things are found in the Law, whether   given as precepts, or recorded as historical facts

          SAITH(Grk.–legei)–The two “saiths” in this verse are in their order:
 1.      (legō), referring to the meaning, or substance of that which is spoken,–“the law saith;” and,
 2.      (laleō), speaking of the expression or act of expressing that substance–“it saith to them”

          THE LAW: (Grk.–ho nomos)–That this does not mean only the Pentateuch (Torah), is evident from the preceding quotations.  From what Paul had been drawing his arguments, and his train of thought requires us here to understand the whole of the O.T.  The same principle applies to all law, that it speaks only to those to whom it is expressly given.

            “it saith to them who are under the law”
            Literally: “It says to those in the Law.” —That is, to those who own its authority; meaning  to the Jews; not the Gentiles. 

            Here Paul is quoting no scripture against them, but pleading with them only from the light of nature.  It speaks to them for whom it was expressly intended; to them for whom the law was given; meaning the JEWS.  Paul makes these remarks in order to prevent the Jew from evading the force of his conclusion. He has brought proofs from their own acknowledged laws; from writings given expressly for them, and which recorded their own history, and which they admitted to be divinely inspired. These proofs, therefore, they could not evade.
            It is obvious that Paul is referring to the O.T. in general.  It is from that he had been drawing his arguments, and his train of thought requires us here to understand the whole of the O.T

(Grk.–en)–Literally meaning: in the Law.”  This refers to those who are within the sphere of the Law; that is, legally within its jurisdiction.

“that every mouth may be stopped”–Paul may be here using a proverbial expression (Job 5:16; Psa. 107:42). That is open in self-justification. This really pictures a defendant in court rendered speechless by the evidence brought against him.

This means that they would be thoroughly convinced; that the argument would be so conclusive as that they would have nothing to reply and that all objections would be silenced. Here it denotes that the argument for the depravity of the Jews from the O.T. was so clear and satisfactory that nothing could be alleged in reply.

        STOPPED:  (Grk.–phagēi)–Fenced in;” from the Greek verb phrassō, meaning, “to fence in; block up; stop up; close up.”  Vincent says, “The effect of overwhelming evidence upon an accused party in court.”

This may be regarded as the conclusion of Paul’s entire argument, and the expressions may refer not only to the Jews but to all the world. It perhaps may be expressed as:  The Gentiles are proved guilty by their own deeds, and by a violation of the laws of nature. They sin against their own conscience; and have thus been shown to be guilty before God, (1:1-32). The Jews have also been shown to be guilty; all their objections have been silenced by an independent train of remark; by appeals to their own law and by arguments drawn from the authority which they admit. Thus the mouths of both are stopped. Thus the whole world becomes guilty before God. 

           THAT:  (Grk.–hoti)–The word rendered as “that” here is not referring not particularly to the argument from the law of the Jews, but to Paul’s entire previous train of argument, embracing both Jews and Gentiles. His conclusion is generally or universally drawn from arguments adapted to both divisions of mankind.

            “all the world may become guilty before God”
            Literally:  “All the world may become under judgment to God.”  

 “may become.”
 Literally:  “would be”–They are not made guilty by the law; but the argument from the law, and from facts  proves that they are guilty.  This can be seen to be, and own itself.  Now, according to this great law, this rule of moral conduct, whether given in a written revelation, as to the
Jews, or by the secret inspiration of his Spirit, as in certain cases to the Gentiles, every mouth must be stopped.

          WORLD(Grk.–kosmos)–That is, the world’s system, meaning both Jews and Gentiles alike, stand convicted before God: for all mankind have sinned against this law.

“guilty before God”
Literally: under the judgment of God.  The phrase is taken from courts of justice.
  It is applied to a man who has not vindicated or defended himself; against whom therefore the charge or the indictment is found true; and who is in consequence subject to punishment.

          GUILTY:  (Grk.–hypodikos)Literally:  “under judgment.”  In classical Greek it means, “brought to trial or liable to be tried.”  Vincent comments:  “The rendering, brought under judgment, regards God as the Judge, and He is rather to be regarded as the injured Party.  Not God’s judgment ut His rights are referred to here.  The better rendering is, ‘liable to pay penalty to God.’

The idea is that of subjection to punishment; but always because the man personally deserves it, and because being unable to vindicate himself, he ought to be punished. It is never used to denote simply an obligation to punishment, but with reference to the fact that the punishment is personally deserved. This Greek word, rendered “guilty,” is not used anywhere else in the N.T. nor is it found in the Septuagint (LXX). The argument of Paul here shows,
1.      That in order for there to be guilt, there must be a law, either that of nature or by Rev. (1:1-3:31); and,
2.     That in order for there to be guilt, there must be a violation of that law which may be charged on them as individuals, and for which they are to be held personally responsible.

“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”

         “Therefore, by the deeds of the Law”
         Literally:  “Because by works of Law.”  The definite article “the” is not in the Greek text.

Meaning, by their own works in obedience to Law; or by such deeds as the Law requires. In the Scriptures, the word “Law” has, a great variety of meanings.  Its strict and usual meaning is a rule of conduct prescribed by superior authority. The course of reasoning in these chapters shows the sense in which Paul uses it here in that he intends evidently to apply it to those rules or laws by which the Jews and Gentiles pretended to frame their lives; and to affirm that men could be

justified by no conformity to those laws.

            DEEDS:  ( Grk.– ergon)-Literally:  “works.”  By the “deeds (works) of the Law” is meant the deeds prescribe by the Law. 

“Not the Mosaic Law in its ritual or ceremonial aspect, but the Law in a deeper and more general sense as written both in the Decalogue and in the hearts of the Gentiles, and embracing the moral deeds of both Gentiles and Jews.  The Mosaic law may indeed be regarded as the primary reference, but its representing a universal legislation and including all the rest.”–Vincent

“shall no flesh be justified”
Literally: “Not {one of}all flesh will be justified”–The statement is general, and of course would include the Law of Moses.  
This means NO man; no human being, either among the Jews or the Gentiles.  This is a strong expression, denoting the absolute universality of Paul’s conclusion.

           FLESH:  ( Grk.– sarx)–Here equivalent to “man,” or “person.”

           JUSTIFIED:  ( “man,” dikaoō)–Will be regarded and treated as righteous. Vincent says, “the act or process by which a man is brought in a right state as related to God.”  In simple language it refers to the act of God removing the guilt and penalty of sin from a sinner who places his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior, and bestowing a positive righteousness.

         None shall be esteemed simply because he has kept the Law, or is being entitled to the rewards of obedience. None shall be forgiven and accepted of God. Since all are found to be sinners, law-breakers, none can be counted sinless; or, i.e., justified.
         As far as obedience to this moral Law goes, there shall no flesh; (that is, no human being), be justified; none can be accepted in the sight of God. And why?  Because by the Law is the knowledge of sin: it is that which determines what sin really is and shows how men have deviated from its righteous demands.  Therefore, the Law sentences them to death because they have broken it.
         Thus the Law is properly considered as the rule of right; and unless God had given some such means of discovering what SIN is, the darkened heart of man could never have formed an adequate conception of it. For, as an acknowledged straight edge is the only way in which the straightness or crookedness of a line can be determined, so the moral diviations of human actions can only be determined by the law of God; that rule of right which proceeds from God’s own immaculate holiness.

“in His sight”
Literally:  “Before Him.”  God sits as a Judge to determine the characters of men, and He shall not condemn any to have kept the law. But we know that no one can do so.

         “For through the Law”
         Literally:  “For through the Law; by means of the Law.”  That is, by all law. The connec
tion shows that this is the sense.

         Law is a rule of action. The effect of applying a rule to our conduct is to show us what sin is. The meaning of Paul clearly is that the application of a law to try our conduct, instead of being a ground of justification, will be merely to show us our own sinfulness and departures from duty.
         A man may esteem himself to be very right and correct, until he compares himself with a rule, or law; so, whether the Gentiles compared their conduct with their laws of reason and conscience, or the Jew his with his written law, the effect would be to show them how far they had departed. The more closely and faithfully it should be applied, the more they would see it. So far from being justified by it, they would be more and more condemned (comp. 7:7-10). The same is the case now. This is the way in which a sinner is converted; and the more closely and faithfully the law is preached, the more will it condemn him, and show him that he needs some other plan of salvation.
         But no deliverance either from the guilt or power of it.  The article “the” is not found in the Greek, so this literally reads, “before law.” Law, generally, when once known, reveals to us that we are transgressors. The savage steals as a legitimate pursuit, but when once he hears the law, “Thou shalt not steal” (Exodus 20:15), his sin is revealed.

         “is the knowledge of sin”
Literally:  “is knowledge of sin.”– The article “the” is not found in the original Greek text.

         When compared with or tried by the law of God, men are shown to be sinners, shut up under righteous condemnation, without the possibility, on the ground of their own works, of ever being saved.
         All that the Law can do is to show guilt; it can never offer deliverance from that guilt.  Only grace, purchased through the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, can offer that deliverance.

“But now the righteousness of God without the Law is manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the prophets”

“But now”–Having shown the entire failure of all attempts to be justified by the Law, whether among Jews or Gentiles, Paul now proceeds to state fully the Plan of  Justiication by Jesus Christ in the gospel. To do this was the main design of the epistle (1:17).   Therefore, in the close of this chapter he makes 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”
Literally:  “A righteousness of God.”  God's plan of justifying men; His method of saving sinners is now shown, by the Gospel, to be through His own mercy, by Christ Jesus.

That which God has provided in and by His Son Jesus Christ, and which He freely gives to sinners upon condition of faith in Christ.  “Righteousness of God” really speaks of the opposite of man’s righteousness.  This is referring to righteousness which God alone can provide—i.e., justification.  Again here, the KJV translators have added the article, “the” which is not in the original Greek text.

“without the Law”
Literally: “Apart from Law.” That is, in a sphere different from that in which the Law says, “Do this and live.”  The definite article “the” is not in the original Greek text; but has been added to the English text by the English translators. 

         In a way different from personal obedience to the Law; that is, in a way which justifies men not on the ground that they have rendered to the law the obedience which it requires, but through faith in Christ. But it must be remembered that this faith will produce true obedience to God's law.         

         This does not mean that God has abandoned His Law; or that Jesus Christ did not regard the Law, for he came to “magnify” it (Isa. 42:21) or that sinners after they are justified have no regard to the Law.  What it does mean is simply what Paul 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.
         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 preaching 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.

“is manifested”
Literally: “Has been manifested.”  A righteousness that does not spring from perfect obedience to law (without law), is predicted both by the Law of Moses and the prophets of Israel. It is clearly revealed in the gospel.

           IS MANIFESTED:  (Grk.–pephanerōtai)—Literally:  “has been displayed” in the perfect tense denoting a past event with a continuous action.  It has been manifest (put on display) and now lies open to view to all.  This implies a previous hiding–that is, a mystery.     

         “being witnessed”–Being borne witness to. It was not a new doctrine for it was found in the O.T. 

         Paul makes this observation with special reference to the Jews. He does not declare any new thing, but that which was fully declared in their own sacred writings. having been referred to, foretold, and described in the O.T.—(Gen. 3:15; 12:3; 15:6; Deut. 18:15,19; Psa. 51:14; 71:15,16; 85:10,13; 89:16; 119:142; Isa. 43:21; 45:5,24,25; 46:13; 51:5,7; 53:11; 54:17; 56:1 Isa. 61:11; 62:1,2; Dan. 9:24; Hosea 10:12; Habakkuk 2:4; Malachi 4:2).
         The way of salvation revealed in the O.T. was the same as that is revealed in the New.; howbeit, the revelation of the O.T. was not so clear and full, and it was addressed more to the outward senses: but in both, the salvation revealed is of grace, not of
debt; obtained not by works, but by faith; and given not on account of human merits, but the merits of Christ.

         This is righteousness that is totally apart from law—any law.  You cannot get it by doing something, or keeping something, not even by keeping God’s law (which you can never do anyhow).  God cannot save you by law for the simple reason that you cannot measure up to it (i.e., you can’t keep it). God cannot accept imperfection, and you, nor anyone, can provide perfection.

            BEING WITNESSED ( Grk.–marturoumenē)—Literally:  “borne witness to; attested to.  The present participle indicates that this testimony is even now being borne by the O.T. to the new dispensation.  Having been referred to, foretold, and described in the O.T.

“by the Law and the prophets”–It is significant that Luke tells us that when Jesus Christ     was teaching to the men on the way to Emmaus, He taught them “beginning at Moses and all the prophets, He expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning Himself” (Luke 24:27).

          BY( Grk.–dia)—A preposition of intermediate agency; i.e., “by means of.”  It denotes the means through which this righteousness is given. By all the promises in the   O.T.