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Chapter 3

God's Faithfulness  1 - 4.

 

3:1 Therefore what advantage does the Jew have, or what is the value of circumcision?

 

Having made clear that it is not by circumcision of the flesh that a person is saved but by what he calls circumcision of the heart Paul answers those who would argue, what advantage is there then in being a Jew ?  

 

3:2 Actually, there are many advantages. First of all, the Jews were entrusted with the oracles of God.

 

He replies "much in every way" for first of all God gave to them His Word (Rom. 9: 4 -5).

 

3:3-4 What then? If some did not believe, does their unbelief nullify the faithfulness of God? Absolutely not! Let God be proven true, and every human being shown up as a liar, just as it is written: "so that you will be justified  in your words and will prevail when you are judged."

 

Israel had not proved to be faithful to that which God had entrusted them, never the less, Paul makes it clear that men's faithlessness does not alter the unchangeable faithfulness of God (Malachi 3: 6).   To confirm this he quotes from Psalm 51: 4.   If  everybody else is false and liars, God is not.   He is justified by His word and His right actions.

 

God’s Judgement V5 - 8

 

3:5-6 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.) Absolutely not! For otherwise how could God judge the world?

 

It might be argued that if our wrong doings (unrighteousness) show the extend of God’s goodness and righteousness, is He right  to inflict wrath upon us.   Paul highlights the absurdity of this by stating that he his speaking as a mere man.   Is God unjust?   Indeed not, for if He was then He could not be qualified to judge the world (Acts 17:31).

 

3:7-8 For if by my lie the truth of God enhances his glory, why am I still actually being judged as a sinner? And why not say, "Let us do evil so that good may come of it"? — as some who slander us allege that we say. (Their condemnation is deserved!)

 

It would seem by these verses that Paul was being accused of preaching that by  unfaithfulness, unrighteousness and falseness God’s character is magnified and abounds to His glory; if we sin then it gives more opportunity for His grace to abound ! Paul emphatically denies this as nothing but slanderous lies (Rom. 6: 1 - 2).  Those who accuse Paul of this will be rightly condemned.

 

All have Sinned V9 - 20

 

Paul having given the position of the Jews in their relationship to God, showing that greater privilege involves greater responsibility, further clarifies their position .

 

3:9 What then? Are we better off? Certainly not, for we have already charged that Jews and Greeks alike are all under sin,

 

In case it is argued that the Jew is better than the Gentile throughout the epistle Paul shows that although they are a special people separated to God, they are still sinners, and subject to its power and control.    Sin   -   brought death (5:12), it abounds (5:20),it reigns over all (5:21), it has dominion (6:14), it enslaves (6:6, 20. 7: 14), it pays a wage - death (6:23).

 

3:10-18 just as it is written:  "There is no one righteous, not even one, there is no one who understands, there is no one who seeks God. All have turned away, together they have become worthless; there is no one who shows kindness, not even one." "Their throats are open graves,  they deceive with their tongues, the poison of asps is under their lips." "Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness." "Their feet are swift to shed blood, ruin and misery are in their paths, and the way of peace they have not known." "There is no fear of God before their eyes."

 

These verses are quotations from the Old Testament or a paraphrase of them. (Pss 14: 36: 1 5: Isaiah 59: 7-8).   Paul uses them to prove that "all have sinned"

 

None are righteous, just, truthful, upright, conscientious - this is the full meaning of the word. There is no one understand, no awareness of a spiritual or moral sense and no one seeks after God. All have turned away from God and gone their own way (Isaiah 53: 6).   Because of this everyone has become of no use, worthless.   The Hebrew word means 'to go bad, become sour like milk.'    There is no one that does any good, that is, good in character or constitution (W.E. Vine). Their mouths are like an open grave in which a man can fall and be infested.   They use their tongues to deceive ( mislead); like snakes poison lies beneath their lips waiting to strike out and kill. Because of this their mouth is full of cursing and bitterness and they have nothing good to say. (that's four things said in relation to speech !)    They are murderous in intent and fact. A path of destruction and misery is left behind them wherever they go. and the way of peace they have not known."  They know nothing about peace and do not even recognise a peaceful way.     After listing all these things to show that "all have sinned" he comes to the final one that is the foundation for all the others; there is no fear of God - Godlessness !

 

3:19 Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world may be held accountable to God.

 

The judgement of God lies heavily upon the Jews because they were given the Law of God and are responsible for keeping it; they are without excuse.   In fact every person in the world is without excuse and accountable to God for as we saw in chapter one  v19 - 20 no one is ignorant or need be ignorant of God's righteous requirements.

 

3:20 For no one is declared righteous before him  by the works of the law, for through the law comes the knowledge of sin.

 

No one is justified in God’s sight by doing what the Law requires; what the Law does is to make us know that we have sinned.

 

Justification by Faith

 

3:21 But now apart from the law the righteousness of God (which is attested by the law and the prophets) has been disclosed —

 

God has now made known His righteousness independently from the Law.  Although the Law and the Prophets had borne witness to the way God would justify the sinner.

 

3:22-23 namely, the righteousness of God through the faithfulness of Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

 

His righteousness has now been revealed through the Lord Jesus Christ, by His death on the cross, His resurrection and ascension.   A Righteousness by Faith in Jesus Christ!   That is, to all who personally believe and trust in Him.   Both Jew and Gentile have to come the same way and receive it by faith.   For all have sinned and come short of His glory!

 

3:24 But they are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.

 

He who believes in Christ is declared by God to be justified and this is a gift  obtained not through any merit or worthiness of man but by the 'unmerited favoured and undeserved love and mercy of God'; through the redemption that is provided by Jesus Christ.

 

3:25 God publicly displayed him at his death as the mercy seat accessible through faith. This was to demonstrate his righteousness, because God in his forbearance had passed over the sins previously committed.

 

God has set forth before the eyes of all that Jesus Christ is a propitiation - that is, a mercy seat - 'place where sins are blotted out' (Lev. 16: 15) by means of the blood of Christ and this is received by faith!.   This shows God's righteousness for in His Divine patience he had passed over former sins without punishment until Christ became a sacrifice for sin.

 

3:26 This was also to demonstrate his righteousness in the present time, so that he would be just and the justifier of the one who lives because of Jesus' faithfulness.

 

This was to show and prove that God Himself is righteous and that He and He alone justifies and accepts as righteous all who by faith accept Jesus Christ as their Saviour.  

 

3:27-28 Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded! By what principle? Of works? No, but by the principle of faith! For we consider that a person is declared righteous by faith apart from the works of the law.

 

We have nothing therefore to boast of for it is neither by the law nor good works that a person is justified (saved) but by faith alone.

 

3:29 Or is God the God of the Jews only? Is he not the God of the Gentiles too? Yes, of the Gentiles too!

 

It has been made clear then that He is not the God the Jew only but also of the Gentile, the God of all.

 

3:30 Since God is one, he will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith.

 

It is one and the same God who justifies both Jew and Gentile by faith in His Son the Lord Jesus Christ and Saviour.

 

3:31 Do we then nullify the law through faith? Absolutely not! Instead we uphold the law.

 

This does not make void the Law of God but is a confirmation of it.

 

Go to Romans 4 Bible study

 

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