“But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.”
Verse 22 is a contrast to verse 21. Salvation by faith is the polar opposite of righteousness through the law.
the Scripture has confined all
The word “confined” connotes shut in on all sides like fish in a net (Luke 5:6). Scripture confines everyone to the status of a sinner so that there is no way to keep the law for salvation. The Scripture imprisons everyone under the confines of sin so that it is impossible to be justified by keeping the law. God shut the door so completely that there is no hope of salvation by works. Everyone is a prisoner of sin and cannot escape that prison. Sin keeps you in jail under lock and key.
“O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God—through Jesus Christ, our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin” (Romans 7:24-25).
Scripture is the court beyond which there is no appeal. It is God’s infallible, inspired, inerrant, eternal, unalterable Word. You either take it or leave it, but whatever you do, you can never alter it. The Bible will still be here when we are dead and gone. There will always be a Bible.
“Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away” (Matthew 24:35).
Every person is under the dominion of sin. From this conclusion, there is no escape; to this rule, there is no exception. The law is like a massive rock crushing eternal life out of us.
“For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace” (Romans 6:14).
that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe
Since the law is inadequate to save our souls, our only hope is the finished work of Christ. The legalists admitted justification by faith, but the catch was by faith alone. The legalists wanted to add works to faith. God alone gives salvation; we can not work for it.
The law locks us up to the status of a sinner so securely that there is no hope of salvation by works.
Every person is bankrupt before God. The law put us into a prison from which there is no escape by self-effort. The law nails our casket shut. Our only hope is trust in the finished work of Christ. Otherwise, we do not have a leg to stand on.
The purpose of the law is to show us that we should not lose the acknowledgment of our sins. The law allows no justification for sin. It keeps us in the prison of conviction. Jesus opens the doors of this prison when we place our faith in His work on the cross.
“Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God” (Romans 3:19).
Immediately upon trust in Christ’s work on the cross, God reckons the merit of Jesus to our account. He views us as having the same righteousness that Jesus has. We possess all the magnificent merit of the incomparable Son of God. He places on Jesus your demerit and reckons to us His merit. Jesus takes our hell; we receive His heaven.
“…for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10 ).
“This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief” (1 Timothy 1:15).