(If you missed the previous posts in this study click here to catch up. Sorry for the delay, we've been without Internet for a few days due a problem with our ISP.)
One of the outward signs that the Jews had to show their faith in God was circumcision. Paul is speaking about the significance of that outward sign. Circumcision was a sign that they were God's chosen people. It had nothing to do with their own faith in Him. (Romans 3:3)
God will judge us according to His standards, not ours. We can only be justified if we speak according to His Word. We can't assume we are more righteous than God nor can we continue on in sin "knowing that good will prevail". God wants us to do good in all things no matter what, our liberty in Christ doesn't allow us to freely sin. God will still judge all sinners. We have no room to judge others as we are all sinners. God is our only judge. (Romans 3:4 - 10).
Romans 3 : 11 - 18 really show what the world's attitude is towards God. How the "average" person thinks and acts. Really, all of us, Christians alike can have these attitudes at times because as we know there is not one person that is perfect in this world. Only God is true perfection.
"The law" as spoken of in the Bible refers to God's law (Levitical law) that was written in the Holy Scriptures before Christ was born... God's word spoken through the prophets. As we know, Jesus came to fulfill the law (Matthew 5:17), therefore Christians are not "under the law" so to speak, we are to follow the teaching of Christ as he taught when her was here on earth to fulfill prophesy and establish Himself as God's Son on earth. The law speaks of God's judgement of people on the earth. There are many works people were required to do in order to avoid God's holy wrath. No one had been justified as of yet because Jesus hadn't been born yet. The law teaches what sin is. By knowing the law, people would know what things were sin in God's eyes. (Romans 3: 19-20)
We are all sinners and fall short of God's glory. As believers, however, we are righteous in God's eyes and justified by our faith in Christ who came to fulfill the law. God freely gave His son and justified us because He wished to (by His infinite grace). (Romans 3:21-24)
God has shown His righteousness to us through Christ, by forgiving our sins that have YET to happen, through Jesus' shed blood. He shows us His justice and He justifies us. (Romans 3:25-26).
We need not seek glory for our works. It is not by works that we are glorified nor justified, it is by our faith in Christ. Whether we are Jew or Gentile, we are justified by our faith and not some outward act such as by the law. However, we aren't to abandon the law, we are to hold up the law and stand by it. (Romans 3:27- 31).