Verdict of the Law: Guilty! Romans 3:19-20
“19) Now we know that whatever the Law says, it speaks to those who are under the Law, so that every mouth may be closed and all the world may become accountable to God; 20) because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin.” Romans‬ ‭3:19-20‬
After quoting extensively from the Law in Romans 3:10-16 (Notice that Paul used the book of Psalms as a commentary on the Law), he pointed out that purpose of the Law was not to justify, but rather to condemn. The purpose of the Law was to leave every mouth closed in the sight of God and guilty of sin. It was to leave mankind accountable.
Where there is no law, neither is their violation. Driving 90 MPH is not wrong until you come to a sign that says, “Speed Limit: 70 MPH.” Suddenly we know exacting where the line is between right and wrong. We also have a basis to police speeding and hand out tickets for violation. We just established a basis of guilt and judgment.
That’s exactly what the Law did in the Old Testament. The moral requirements of the Law were suddenly written in stone. They were black and white. They defined good and bad, right and wrong, moral and immoral. The purpose of the Law was to define sin and thereby expose sinners.
With this in mind, lets now revisit Romans 3:19-20. Paul said the Law left the whole world guiltily and accountable before God, because all have broken the Law. It posted God’s moral speed limit, and the police were just around the corner handing out tickets. With Ten Commandments and 612 different ordinances in the Law, it ensured that everybody was guilty of something.
Can you imagine the dismay to someone reading these verses and thinking they were morally good and acceptable to God based on the Law? Within minutes they were written up with handfuls of violations and assigned a court date to stand before God.
Mankind has no defense. Because of the Law, we all stand before God with our mouths closed as the verdict against us is is read in court; “Guilty.” The Law leaves the whole world accountable before God.
Do you realize what Paul just did in these two verses? He removed that Law as a basis of salvation and justification before God. So this leaves the obvious question; “If good works based on keeping the Law condemns us, what is the basis of salvation?” More importantly, “How can mankind be acceptable to God?”
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global