Is Paul saying in Romans 3 that all have the ability to be justified by grace? Can all believe or only the chosen?
Your confusion comes from taking these two verses out of their larger context in Romans 3. When we take verses 24-25 out of context, we lose sight of what Paul meant when he used the word “all.” So by returning to the context of the passage, we find the intended meaning of the word “all.”
Can all believe Romans 3:21-30 (NKJV)
God’s Righteousness Through Faith
21 But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance (patience) God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, 26 to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. Can all believe
27 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith. 28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law. 29 Or is He the God of the Jews only? Is He not also the God of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also, 30 since there is one God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith.
Paul describes our righteousness may be found. The righteousness required to enter Heaven is the righteousness of God, given to us by God’s grace, apart from works. Notice in verse 22 that Paul adds that this salvation is “for all those who believe; there is no distinction…” Paul is saying that the means of salvation is the same for both Jew and Gentile. There is no separate plan for Gentiles apart from Jews. We find this conclusion confirmed further when we look at the end of the passage, as Paul concludes God is the God of both Jew and Gentile. Can all believe
Therefore, when Paul uses the term “all” in this passage, he is referring to both Jew and Gentile. The word “all” doesn’t refer to all humanity.
“The author’s biblical interpretations and conclusions presented in this document rely on original teaching used by permission of Verse By Verse Ministry International (VBVMI). The author’s views may not represent the views of VBVMI, it’s Directors or staff. Original VBVMI teaching may be found at http://www.vbvmi.org.”
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