What does Romans 3:21-31 really mean?

Romans 3:21-31 is about the righteousness that comes through faith in Jesus Christ, available to all who believe, regardless of their past sins or efforts to earn salvation through the law.

21 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it—
22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction:
23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,
25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.
26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
27 Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith.
28 For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law.
29 Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also,
30 since God is one—who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith.
31 Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law.


Setting the Scene for Romans 3:21-31

In Romans chapter 3, the apostle Paul sets the scene by addressing a diverse group of individuals in the city of Rome. Among those present are Jewish believers who have a deep understanding of the Law of Moses and Gentile believers who have come to faith in Jesus Christ. The setting is likely a gathering of believers in a house church or a meeting place where they have come together to study and discuss the teachings of the apostles.

As Paul speaks to the group, he emphasizes the universal need for salvation and the righteousness that comes through faith in Jesus Christ. He explains how both Jews and Gentiles are justified by faith apart from the works of the law, highlighting the inclusive nature of God’s salvation plan. The room is filled with a mix of emotions as the listeners grapple with the profound truths being shared, some feeling convicted of their need for grace, while others are filled with hope and gratitude for the gift of salvation.

The atmosphere is one of deep reflection and contemplation as Paul’s words challenge the traditional beliefs and practices of the Jewish listeners, while also offering assurance and hope to the Gentile believers. The room is dimly lit by oil lamps, casting a warm glow on the faces of those gathered, creating a sense of intimacy and unity among the diverse group of believers. As the discussion continues, hearts are stirred, and minds are opened to the transformative power of God’s grace and the righteousness that comes through faith in Jesus Christ.

What is Romans 3:21-31 about?

Ah, the profound concept of justification by faith, not works! This verse emphasizes the belief that our salvation is not earned through our own efforts or good deeds but rather through placing our faith in Jesus Christ. It reminds us that no matter how hard we try to be good or how many good works we do, it is only through our trust and belief in Jesus that we can be truly justified before God.

Think about it – how liberating is it to know that our salvation is not dependent on our own merit or performance but solely on our faith in Christ? This verse challenges us to examine our beliefs and actions, prompting us to rely on the grace and mercy of God rather than our own accomplishments. It humbles us to realize that we are all equally in need of God’s saving grace, regardless of our background or deeds. So, let this verse serve as a comforting reassurance that our worth in God’s eyes is not determined by what we do, but by whom we believe in.

Understanding what Romans 3:21-31 really means

Romans 3:21-31 holds a pivotal place in Paul’s letter to the Romans, delving into the righteousness of God and the concept of justification by faith. The passage marks a significant shift from the old covenant of the law to the new covenant of grace through faith in Jesus Christ. Here, the righteousness of God is unveiled independently of the Mosaic Law, underscoring its universal accessibility. Through faith in Jesus Christ, God’s righteousness is bestowed upon all who believe, transcending boundaries and making salvation inclusive to everyone. The declaration that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” lays the foundation for the universal need for redemption, emphasizing that every individual, irrespective of background, requires God’s grace due to inherent sinfulness.

Furthermore, the proclamation that “all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus” underscores the gratuitous nature of God’s gift of justification. This justification is not earned through human effort but is a divine offering made possible through the sacrificial act of Jesus. Ephesians 2:8-9 and Galatians 2:16 echo and reinforce these sentiments, emphasizing salvation by grace through faith, rather than by works of the law. These passages elucidate that justification stems from faith in Jesus Christ, not from adherence to legalistic practices.

In today’s context, Romans 3:21-31 resonates profoundly, addressing the universal need for God’s grace in a world where individuals often grapple with feelings of inadequacy and the pressure to measure up to societal standards. The passage’s message of inclusivity, offering salvation to all who believe, serves as a unifying force in a society marked by divisions. Moreover, it liberates individuals from the burden of legalism, whether in religious or secular spheres, by emphasizing faith as the key to acceptance, rather than striving to earn approval through works.

Consider John, a man burdened by his past mistakes and striving to earn God’s favor through good deeds and religious observances. Upon encountering the truths of Romans 3:21-31, John experiences a profound shift in perspective. He realizes that God’s love and acceptance are not contingent on his performance but on his faith in Jesus Christ. This revelation brings John peace, a renewed sense of purpose, and the assurance that he is justified freely by God’s grace.

In conclusion, Romans 3:21-31 stands as a cornerstone of Christian doctrine, emphasizing that righteousness and justification are attained through faith in Jesus Christ, rather than through adherence to legalistic practices. This timeless message continues to offer hope, inclusivity, and freedom to all who embrace it, transcending cultural and temporal boundaries with its profound truths.

How can we obtain righteousness through faith alone?

According to the passage in Romans 3:21-31, righteousness is obtained through faith alone. This means that our righteousness before God is not based on our own works or efforts, but solely on our belief and trust in Christ. It is through faith in Jesus Christ that we are justified and made right in the sight of God.

The passage emphasizes that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, but through faith in Jesus Christ, we can be justified freely by His grace. This justification is a gift from God that we receive by putting our faith in Christ and His atoning sacrifice on the cross. Our good works or deeds do not earn us righteousness; it is only through faith that we can be declared righteous in God’s eyes.

Therefore, the key takeaway from this passage is that salvation and righteousness are attainable through faith alone. We can be justified and made right before God by believing in Christ and His finished work on the cross. Our works cannot save us, but faith in Jesus Christ is what brings us into a right relationship with God.


Step into the light of grace and let faith guide your path, for salvation awaits those who believe in Jesus Christ. The law may guide us, but it is through Christ that we find true redemption and forgiveness. Trust in Him to lead you towards a life filled with purpose and love. Will you open your heart today and accept the incredible gift of salvation that Jesus offers?