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Romans 3:30 KJV

Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith.

Could this allude to the tribulation, where Israel will once again be under a 'works for salvation' program, unlike salvation being the freely offered "gift" to us, the church, the body of Christ?

What would be an example of something done "by" faith compared to something done "through" faith?

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  • You say, "Israel will once again be under a "works for salvation" programme". Please give a Bible reference to show how you came to this.
    – C. Stroud
    Feb 21 at 12:07
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    @C.Stroud Yes, thank you. Faith is always the underlying requirement (Hebrews 11:6), but works were required of Israel (James 2:17): They had to keep the commandments (Matthew 19:17), repent and be baptized (Acts 3:19), follow Christ's earthly ministry (Matthew 16:24), sell all possessions and give to the poor (Matthew 19:21, Acts 5:1-10), forgive trespasses to also be forgiven (Matthew 6:14-15). I don't see any of these as being 'optional' per se for them. Unlike them, believers today do these 'works' FROM salvation rather than FOR salvation, as it is the free unmerited gift to us. Feb 21 at 14:16
  • This question is interesting for it is not only Israelites are circumcised. Moreover, NIV translates the last sentence as "the uncircumcised through that same faith". So the faith is the same to both circumcised and uncircumcised. Feb 21 at 14:20
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    It is ek (largely, 'out of') and dia (largely, 'through'). See Biblehub.I suggest Daniel B Wallace's book 'Beyond the Basics' (p355 and thereafter on Greek prepositions) might be a useful source.
    – Nigel J
    Feb 21 at 17:57
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    @NigelJ I think you're on to something. I guess the question now is, what is the difference in something that is done "by" faith compared to something done "through" faith? Feb 21 at 17:59

2 Answers 2

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Just as a recap, Romans chapter 3 is focusing on:

The righteousness of God being manifested through Jesus Christ's faith, for all, on who are believing, there is no distinction. Rom.3:22

The question how one may become just before God. Only by becoming partakers of His righteousness.

The channel through which we may obtain, the righteousness is the faith of Jesus Christ. He, alone of all mankind, not only did good and kept the law, but He believed God, even when he smote Him for our sins. It is out of His faith for our faith. Rom1:17 CLT commentary

So now addressing the scripture at hand I am quoting from the CLT translation that I think brings more clarity to verse.

God is the One, Who will be justifying the Circumcision "out of faith" and the Uncircumcision through faith. Rom: 3:30

There are two different words being used for two different groups concerning faith. The Circumcision and the Uncircumcision.

The first one often translated by faith may be better interpreted out of faith according to the word ek that is used. 1537. ek or ex ►

Strong's Concordance ek or ex: from, from out of Original Word: ἐκ, ἐξ Part of Speech: Preposition Transliteration: ek or ex

Definition: from, from out of Usage: from out, out from among, from, suggesting from the interior outwards.

HELPS Word-studies 1537 ek (a preposition, written eks before a vowel) – properly, "out from and to" (the outcome); out from within.

1537 /ek ("out of") is one of the most under-translated (and therefore mis-translated)

Greek propositions – often being confined to the meaning "by." 1537 (ek) has a two-layered meaning ("out from and to") which makes it out-come oriented (out of the depths of the source and extending to its impact on the object).

With that being said, here is a commentary that I think is helpful when trying to understand this difficult verse.

The circumcision, who had believed before, and have received a pardon, receive this greater boon ( a timely, blessing, or benefit. )because of the faith they have.

On the other hand, the Uncircumcision are like Abraham was before he was even circumcised. The word used for their faith is; dia.

  1. dia ► Strong's Concordance dia: through, on account of, because of Original Word: διά Part of Speech: Preposition

Definition: through, on account of, HELPS Word-studies 1223 diá (a preposition) – properly, across (to the other side), back-and-forth to go all the way through, "successfully across" ("thoroughly").

1223 (diá) is also commonly used as a prefix and lend the same idea ("thoroughly," literally, "successfully" across to the other side). [1223 (diá) is a root of the English term diameter ("across to the other side, through").

Conclusion: Some of the circumcision were the first too believe in Christ, and now they are learning how they can have the righteousness of God, purely through the faith of Jesus Christ. They too, are justified based on Christ's faith alone and that's what they put their faith in.

The Uncircumcision are coming from a brand new place, just like Abraham did when he first believed. They are crossing to the other side of having the righteousness of God, without going through any thing else, without going through any of Israel's history except back to Abraham before he has circumcised.

This is God's justification, it is His righteousness which we receive without charge or payment; freely given. Cannot be earned.

This is a gracious gift given by God . It is gratuitously given.

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    Thank you Sherrie! Very clear message of sound doctrine I believe. Would it be safe to say that prior to the cross, Israel (under the "law") sought to achieve righteousness then "by" their works? Whereas Paul received the gospel of grace from Christ ascended, and then the 'new' message of "imputed" righteousness "through" faith in Christ's completed work on everyone's behalf arose. It appears then that Paul actually presented God's grace/Christ crucified to Peter/Israel, which clarified the completion of the old "law" of the flesh, and became the new spiritual law of "love". Thanks!! +1 Feb 21 at 21:40
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    @Mark Vestal Thanks and I think it's safe to say everything you just mentioned. The two weeks that Peter and Paul spent together, must've been pretty enlightening to Pe
    – Sherrie
    Feb 21 at 23:52
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    Indeed! I can only imagine... I would have also liked to have been a fly on the wall when Paul had to rebuke Peter for attempting to bring new Gentile believers back under law (circumcision). It is seriously no different than showing religionists today the truth that is found in God's grace, and what His completed work on the cross on our behalf means. It's more like herding cats than sheep, it seems... Feb 22 at 0:13
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    @Nihil Sine Deo even though we see things differently appreciate your interaction.
    – Sherrie
    Feb 22 at 22:17
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    @Mark Vestal, upvoted for “It's more like herding cats than sheep, it seems”. Too funny.
    – Rachel
    Feb 24 at 21:20
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The KJV is quite misleading in its translation of Rom 3:30. The Greek text of this verse is undisputed so let me quote it:

εἴπερ εἷς ὁ θεός, ὃς δικαιώσει περιτομὴν ἐκ πίστεως καὶ ἀκροβυστίαν διὰ τῆς πίστεως.

This I would translate as:

Since indeed God [is] One, who will justify circumcised by faith and uncircumcised by the [same] faith.

Note that in this verse, "faith" occurs twice:

  • the first has no article ["the"]
  • the second has an article which is anaphoric to the first which means it is the same thing; hence the justified insertion of the "same" to show this.

Therefore, according to this text of Rom 3:30, both the circumcised and uncircumcised are justified by the same faith in the One God. This is stated explicitly in the previous verse where we read:

Rom 3:29 - Is God the God of Jews only? Is He not the God of Gentiles too? Yes, of Gentiles too,

this is Paul's point in Rom 3:28 where he states the foundation of the doctrine of justification by faith alone:

Rom 3:27, 28 - Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. On what principle? On that of works? No, but on that of faith. For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the law.

This is also consistent with Paul's earlier statement in the previous chapter:

Rom 2:6-11 - God “will repay each one according to his deeds.” To those who by perseverance in doing good seek glory, honor, and immortality, He will give eternal life. But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow wickedness, there will be wrath and anger.

There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil, first for the Jew, then for the Greek; but glory, honor, and peace for everyone who does good, first for the Jew, then for the Greek. For God does not show favoritism.

This is what is also taught in Gal 3:26-28

You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed and heirs according to the promise.

That is, Jews and Gentiles are both saved by the same faith in Jesus Christ.

As to the Greek prepositions, in this instance "ek" (out of) and "dia" (through/via) amount to the same thing - both achieved through/from faith.

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  • Interesting! Thank you @Dottard. I upvote for your thorough input! I will also revise the question and remove the "ages to come" reference. I believe it is the "fulness of times" when Israel and the Church come together as one, and I see that being after Christ's millennial reign on earth: Eph 1:10 "That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:" I cannot disagree that "the ages to come" is then not reference to Israel's awaited 70th week of Daniel on earth per se. Thanks!! Feb 21 at 20:20
  • To be fair, I do see many other verses now that support your answer. Some from Paul to Gentiles, and some from Peter and whoever the author of Hebrews is as well to Israel's believing remnant. Thanks again! Feb 21 at 20:31
  • Are you saying that ἐκ and διὰ are the same preposition or that they mean the same thing? You translate them both as by in Rom 3:30 but then translate διὰ as through in Gal 3:26.
    – Henry
    Feb 21 at 23:17
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    @Henry - they are different but ion this context they mean the same thing. Even if we tranbslate the send as "through" it does not change the meaning.
    – Dottard
    Feb 22 at 1:20

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