What Does Romans 3:9 Mean?

What then? Are we better than they? Not at all; for we have already charged that both Jews and Greeks are all under sin;

Romans 3:9(NASB)

Verse Thoughts

In his letter to the Romans, Paul sets out the most exhaustive essay on salvation, and covers every question or query that might be raised, by both unbelieving skeptics and maturing believers alike.

In chapter 3 he presents the most comprehensive arguments, against Jewish objections to Christianity, and in the early verses of this chapter, he addresses the righteousness of God judgements and our being justified, freely by His grace - and Paul does this through a series of rhetorical questions, to which he provides precise theological answers.

Here in verse 9, Paul addresses the climax of this informative discourse with one final point. What then? he asks, "are we (Jews) better than they (Gentiles)? to which he gives his speedy response - " NO! Not at all! For we have previously charged that both Jews and Gentiles are all under sin." Paul needed to get this clear message across that whether one is born a Jew or Gentile, which encompasses the entire human race, we are ALL under the control of sin and subject to its power.

The pinnacle of Paul's reasoning, is to repudiate the Jewish opinion, that Jews are superior to Gentiles and that they automatically receive salvation because of their Jewish lineage, Abrahamic ancestry and covenant with God... OR that they are of far greater value to the Lord than non-Jews, because they happen to be God's chosen people.

While detailing Israel's incredible privileges... by being chosen of God, to be the one nation through Whom He would reveal Himself to a lost and dying world of sinners, Paul makes it clear, that God is no respecter of persons, and that Jew and Gentile alike, must approach Him in exactly the same way - by faith. By faith in His word.  Jews are saved in the same way as Gentiles are saved. Jew are credited with righteousness in the same way that Gentiles are declared righteousness - by God's grace, through faith in His word.

What then? Paul asks in his discourse, are we Jews better than the Gentile? And the resounding answer is NO! No, you are not better than Gentiles. Not at all, for we have already charged that both Jews and Greeks are ALL under sin. ALL are sinners before God. All are in need of salvation. Jews have most certainly been given many wonderful privileges, as God's chosen nation, but they are saved in the same way that Gentiles are saved. BY grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ, the promised Messiah alone - as recorded in Scripture.

Jews are not better than Gentiles. They do not have an automatic right to salvation because of their Jewish lineage and genealogy. As Paul reminds them.. we have already charged that both Jews and Greeks are all under sin. All have sinned and all fall short of God's glory.

For two whole chapters Paul systematically laid out the shocking reality that every man and every woman, who comes into this world, is born dead in sin. Paul made it very clear in his precious chapters that everyone comes into this world at enmity with God. All are filled with unrighteousness and all are under God's eternal condemnation. Everyone is filled with wickedness, envy, and murmurings. All are boasters, covenant-breakers, implacable, and unmerciful.

Paul explained that there are none that are righteous, not even one... and that no-one - whether Jew or Gentile, is excused, for each one is a sinner, who is estranged from God, and hostile towards Him. All are in desperate need of a Saviour, and all need salvation.

Paul is not simply laying out the hopelessness of man's destiny, however, but is listing this shocking truth through these devastating statistics, as the foundational groundwork, to give hope to the hopeless and eternal life to those that deserve eternal death. Paul is exposing the fallen nature of man so that He can announce the glorious hope we have in Christ and the amazing grace that God has shown towards us - in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us so that WE could have life.

Paul is showing that all have sinned, Jew and Gentile alike, but that God loved the world so much, that He gave His only begotten Son, into the world, to pay the price for the accumulated sin of the entire race, so that whosoever believes on Him, whether Jew or Gentile, would NOT perish, but be reconciled to God through the shed blood of His dearly beloved Son ... and that through faith in Him, they may be forgiven of their sin and receive life everlasting.

My Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank You for the amazing book of Romans, which shows so clearly that we have nothing to commend ourselves in Your sight - whether Jew or Gentile, but that in Your grace, You chose to redeem all who would believe, in Christ Jesus.. our human Kinsman and heavenly Redeemer. Thank You, Father - and it is in His name that I pray, AMEN.

Choose a Verse from Romans 3