Romans 3:1-8
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Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the benefit of circumcision? - Romans 3:1


Romans thus far has opened up much like a dialogue and it's as if Paul here is anticipating the questions the readers may have naturally come up with in lieu of the previous chapter (perhaps questions he himself asked during his training in Arabia, see Gal. 1:17). Paul having just argued that a person is not a Jew who is one outwardly but he is a Jew who is one inwardly, arguing that Gentiles (Greeks, Rom. 2:10), though not having the law, if they do instinctively the things of the law, are a law unto themselves and therefore will be regarded (Rom. 2:26). Therefore it is not outward signs such as circumcision but that which is done inwardly "by the Spirit" regardless if a person is born into Jewish or Grecian lineage, for God shows no partiality (Rom. 2:11). Paul also made it clear that those under the law who have sinned will not only perish as those without the law but additionally they will be judged by the law (Rom. 2:12). So now the question Paul can hear the reader having, maybe more so the Jewish readers, "then what advantage has the Jew? and why the sign of outward circumcision if God only accounts for that which is on the inside?" and so the answer.


Great in every respect. First of all, that they were entrusted with the oracles of God. - Romans 3:2


"Great in every respect" in other words, there are many advantages. "First of all" (or "chiefly" in the KJV), meaning this isn't the only but it is foremost. Paul revisits other benefits in 9:4-5. What advantage is there for the Jew? God trusted them with His word or "oracles" that would from them stem to the entire human race. Not only that, but since it was written in Hebrew (their native language) they could read God's word. Salvation through the gospel would be first presented to the Jews giving them opportunity to believe (Rom. 1:16, John 1:11). In a way the Jews knew this. They boasted about having the law and boasted in God (though they were not doers of the law, Rom. 2:13) and considered themselves a guide to those that didn't have, i.e. Gentiles (Rom. 2:18-20).


As Christians we are given advantages as well. We are given a hope in which we are in charge to give an account of to any that would ask (1 Peter 3:15). Furthermore, we have the privilege of studying the word of God which as Paul puts it:


16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17 so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. - 2 Timothy 3:16


So what advantage does that give us? As you read in the above verse it's as Paul put it, "great in every respect". It's been given to us to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God (Mark 4:11). We learn some basic things made known by God through His word that others not beholding His word are not privy too. Mysteries that many prophets and righteous men desired to know, see, and hear. (Matt. 13:17). Even so called smaller things are made known to us such as why there are 7 days in a week (instead of more or less) which are a mystery unless one understands it's origin from scripture on account of creation (Gen. 1:1-2:2). This advantage however is only that if you believe the word of God. This is what many of the Jews failed to do who continued in unbelief. Paul then poses his next question with his recipients in mind.


What then? If some did not believe, their unbelief will not nullify the faithfulness of God, will it? - Romans 3:3


In other words, if man does not hold to the word of God will the word of God then have no effect? Last week we spoke on covenants and how they differ than contracts. In a contract if either party fails to do their part the entire contract is nullified. That is NOT what is going on here. God is faithful to His word regardless if man holds to it.


May it never be! Rather, let God be found true, though every man be found a liar, - Romans 3:4a


"May it never be!" The words used here in the original Greek are of the strongest form of rebuke meaning "perish the thought" or "banish the thought", it's a phrase of outrage like us saying "ridiculous!" Man's unwillingness to cling to the truth doesn't alter the fact it is true. Man unwillingness to cling to God's word doesn't mean God doesn't come through on His word. Though men will deny God, God still will be blameless when He judges (Psalm 51:4). The unwillingness to accept the truth doesn't nullify the truth. Our inability or unwillingness to accept a fact doesn't nullify the fact. Let me elaborate.


When I worked at the police department, every time there was a car accident, because everyone now has a cell phone, there would be many 911 calls from people in the vicinity all reporting the same accident. Each from a different perspective and even different motives as to why there were telling me what they were telling me. Sometimes those involved would call in to report the accident but omit details that gave evidence to their guilt or they would flat out lie altogether. Even witnesses who weren't even involved in the accident themselves would still be found bias depending on their own filters. Those racist would favor one driver over another because of the color of their skin. Another who was sexist would blame a person because of their gender. You would be surprised how many accounts of the same accident would differ from one person to another, sometimes blatantly. Our job at the police department then was to get to the bottom of what actually happened using any available resource. We did so with the understanding that though there can be an unlimited amount of lies there can only one truth, one absolute truth of what actually happened and therefore we would pursue it. Paul here is imploring us to do the same.


For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. - 2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV)


Truth stands whether you believe it or not. If I tell you that 2 + 2 doesn't equal 4 you would (or at least should) say I'm being ridiculous. If you handed me two apples, and then two more apples and told me to add them up and that I would have 4 apples, if I stated "I don't believe it" would it mean that because I don't believe it than 2 + 2 doesn't equal 4? Absurd! It only proves that I'm a fool. Psalm 14:1 and 53:1 states "The fool has said in his heart, "There is no God." Does his belief mean there is no God? Absurd! Because I don't believe 2+2 = 4 wouldn't change the fact that I have 4 apples in my hands. Facts are facts, truth is truth, and as my dear friend Rob likes to say "it is what it is". An evil and adulterous generation (Matt. 12:39, 16:4) would inject here and try and argue even this basic apple math analogy. They, like Satan, would want you to question that which is good and sound truth. Satan started in with Adam and Eve with the words "indeed, has God said..." (Gen. 3:1), and again when he tempted Jesus he started with "If you are the Son of God..." (Matt. 4:3). An evil generation today would ask doubt provoking questions such as "how do we really know they are apples?"  or "are those apples really yours?" or the ever popular rebuttal "What is truth?". Paul is urging us here to understand the answer to the question "what is truth" is God's word which is God Himself (John 1:1).


17 Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth. - John 17:17


Some of scientist's greatest mysteries are answered in the word of God. Gravity for example is still a large mystery to men in regards to how it works. We cling to the fact it's real, even label it a law, and though men have studied it since our existence we still can't explain it. Because men don't consider the word of God they are left dumbfounded at something as rudimentary as gravity, though I've seen several attempts from Einstein to Youtubers trying to explain how it works, the fact of the matter is, we don't know, that is, apart from the word of God. (Col. 1:17, Heb. 1:3, Job 38:11). In older times, had men paid attention to God's word they would have known the earth is round (Isa. 40:22, Luke 17:34-36 night and day at the same time).


  as it is written,

That You may be justified in Your words,
And prevail when You are judged.” - Romans 3:4b


Men have often challenged what God has said. Specifically in regards to what God has said about sinners and the judgement of those who sin. Paul here is quoting Psalms 51:4. David having committed no small sin no longer questioned the judgement of sinners but David knew by the presence of his own sin that was ever before him that He was a transgressor of the law (Psa. 51:3) and that God was blameless when He judged him according to His words. We should always own up to our sin (1 John 1:9, 1 Pet. 5:6, Jam. 4:10). Remember the tax collector and the Pharisee? Which went home justified? (Luke 18:14). When bad things happen people tend to blame God. On insurance forms we see things like hurricanes and earthquakes listed under "acts of God". These particular "acts of God" didn't even exist prior to the flood, it was not part of God's intent but is the consequences of a world who rebels against God. People have a tendency, even since Genesis, to blame others and even God for our sin. "It's that woman YOU gave me" Adam said (Gen. 3:12). As with Adam God warned us, if by no other means as we discussed earlier in Romans, through our inherent morality (Rom. 2:15). If God says don't eat from that tree or you will die and then we eat from that tree and death sets in we cannot say to God "why am I enduring this punishment?" If I tell you not to touch the hot stove and then you touch it and burn yourself, can you blame me for your injury? Yet when calamity comes, we tend to blame God instead of ourselves. In Psalms 51 David is blaming himself, recognizing that he deserves wrath and does not fault God in His judgment of David's sin. Job, during his trials, sought an audience with God to vindicate himself (Job 13:18, 23:4). Then when God showed up and "prevailed" (Job ch: 38-42) Job put his hand over his mouth and determined to not speak again (Job 40:3-5, 42:6). Though God is scrutinized by man He will prevail even under such close examination. In other words, God is justified in what He has said. God, even under the most extensive level of scrutiny will be found justified and faithful to what He says because He is always true to His character (2 Tim 2:13).


11 It is a trustworthy statement:

For if we died with Him, we will also live with Him;
12 If we endure, we will also reign with Him;
If we deny Him, He also will deny us;
13 If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself. - 2 Timothy 2:11-13


Did you know that God, though omnipotent, because of His character is unable to lie? As we read above, man can lie (Rom. 3:3) but God by the sheer holiness of His own character cannot.


17 In the same way God, desiring even more to show to the heirs of the promise the unchangeableness of His purpose, interposed with an oath, 18 so that by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us. - Hebrews 6:17-18


in the hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised long ages ago, - Titus 1:2


Therefore hold to God's word originating from Him who cannot lie rather than to man's word of which all have been found liars.


But if our unrighteousness demonstrates the righteousness of God, what shall we say? The God who inflicts wrath is not unrighteous, is He? (I am speaking in human terms.) - Romans 3:5


Paul continues his dialogue with the reader. "But if our unrighteousness demonstrates the righteousness of God", in other words, light is most evident when there's the presence of darkness. God's righteousness is demonstrated in His punishment of wickedness. The presence of wickedness by contrast makes evident the presence of His righteousness. "what shall we say? The God who inflicts wrath is not unrighteous, is He? (I am speaking in human terms.)" Such men are arguing that God somehow needed them to or even caused them to do evil so that His righteousness could be enacted. In other words they are claiming that God, who said He would judge wickedness, needed wickedness in order for Him to prove He's true to His word. Some today have gone so far as to say God wanted us to sin and even baited us to sin, which is absolutely absurd! (Jam. 1:13) Such men argue, "God, by our evil we make you look good, so why are you condemning our actions?" "The God who inflicts wrath is not unrighteous is He?" they are reasoning if God is actually unjust in punishing them for their sin since they see it serving His purpose.


May it never be! For otherwise, how will God judge the world? - Romans 3:6


"May it never be!" Such an idea is outrageous and utterly horrible. The idea of darkness originating from God should be repulsive... always; and as we know this rebuke of such a wretched thought from earlier (Rom. 3:4) such a notion should be cleared from your mind and deleted from your memory banks! "How will God judge the world?" In other words, if someone is not just, how can they justly judge? Christ commanded us to take the log out of our own eye before we'd be able to see clearly to take the speck out of our brother's eye (Matt. 7:1-5). Never let this fact escape you. There is no evil nor darkness in God. God is always perfectly good all the time (1 John 1:5, Exo. 33:19).


But if through my lie the truth of God abounded to His glory, why am I also still being judged as a sinner? - Romans 3:7


In other words, if the word of God says "Everyone is a lair" (Psalm 116:11) and I lie, that just shows God was right when He said that, therefore why, if I prove the word of God am I still being judged a sinner. Furthermore, if even though I lie about keeping the law, if it still brings people to God, why am I being judged as doing wrong?


Question: If a Christian tells a fake story about God or about God's work in their life and it provokes a person to come to God and even accept Christ as their savior, should the actions of that Christian be condemned? Remember Ananias and Sapphira? (Acts 5:1-11). Did you know lying was the only repeat offense listed in the 7 things that are abominations to the Lord (Prov. 6:16-19).


The Jews may also feel they have other good causes to not be judged since in their sinning God's righteousness was made known. One example we have is that through their unbelief salvation was extended to the gentiles (Rom. 11:11, John 1:11, Matthew 15:27) as was God's plan from the beginning.


11 I say then, they did not stumble so as to fall, did they? May it never be! But by their transgression salvation has come to the Gentiles, to make them jealous. - Romans 11:11


They argue that their disobedience commends the righteousness of God. Christians have to be careful not to have the same mindset as Paul will elaborate on in Romans 6 but here's a quick reference:


What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it? - Romans 6:1-2


In other words, Gentiles, similar to the Jews, may argue that God wanted or needed them to sin so His characteristics of mercy, forgiveness, and grace could be demonstrated and that without such disobedience on their part God's goodness couldn't have been demonstrated. In the case of this context in Romans the Jews may be arguing that God said they would be led into captivity and that they would be punished for their disobedience and therefore by doing so they are proving God to be true to His word.


Keep in mind that while God in His grace causes all things to work out for good for those who love Him (Rom. 8:28) He does not need those things in order to fuel His goodness. While God can take something bad and make good on it (Gen. 50:20) He does not encourage nor need evil to carry out such purposes. On the contrary, God delights in lovingkindness, righteousness, and justice (Jer. 9:24).


And why not say (as we are slanderously reported and as some claim that we say), “Let us do evil that good may come”? Their condemnation is just. - Romans 3:8


It's glorious to see the grace of God extended to a person who's light and been completely extinguished by sin (Matt. 5:3) who's been deemed worthless by the worlds standards. A debt wiped clean to a person who then has been redeemed by Jesus Christ and thus imputed with His righteousness (2 Cor. 5:21) who is born again (John 3:3) and becomes a new creature in Christ Jesus (2 Cor. 5:17) who is zealous for good works! (Tit. 2:14). To take someone who like Paul, whom we may consider to be the "chief of sinners" (1 Tim. 1:5) and make them an instrument for His glory; trophies of grace (2 Cor. 5:21). To see someone lifted from the pit who becomes a light of the world, a transformation that all of heaven rejoices over, even when it just happens to one person! (Luke 15:7). Does this mean we should go do evil and destroy our lives so that good may come? Absolutely not. Some people feel they should go do what the prodigal did so that the love which was shown him by the Father can be manifested in their life... this is the absurd reasoning that some people have. Yes where sin increases grace abounds all the more (Rom 5:20) but to see that as licentiousness... well Jude warns that such people actually deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ (Jude 1:4). Paul warns that a person with such mentality better check themselves to see if they actually have the indwelling of Christ and therefore have died to sin and are freed from it (Rom. 6:2, 7). For those accusing Paul as preaching licentiousness, Paul writes of them "Their condemnation is just". To take so wonderful a gift of God's grace and pervert it in that way... could there be a worst perversion. To justify the sin as giving Christ an opportunity to redeem, utterly disgusting!



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