Saint Paul has just spent two and half chapters of this majestic letter laying out the real problem we have with God: Namely, our sin and His law. After Paul finishes with us here, no one is left standing. All are exposed as sinners who can do nothing to earn a righteous standing before God. "For by works of the Law no human being will be justified in His sight, since through the Law comes knowledge of sin" (Romans 3:20). God is the judge and before His righteous Law we have no hope. The Law God gives is not a plan we can follow to placate His wrath. The Law does the opposite to us. It reveals our sins. Under the Law, our fears of God’s wrath are justified.
But, for those who fear this deserved wrath, Jesus comes to remove our fears. "But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the Law, although the Law and the prophets bear witness to it—the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe" (Romans 3:21-22). That is to say, our right standing before the holy God comes in a manner wholly different from God's commands, in a way which is not according to law. It comes as a pure gift to be received by faith, not as a reward to be earned. "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by His grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as propitiation by His blood to be received by faith" (Romans 3:23-25).