Summary: Series on Romans
Text- Romans 3:1-9
Title- The Faithfulness of God
Romans 3:1-8 1 Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the benefit of circumcision? 2 Great in every respect. First of all, that they were entrusted with the oracles of God. 3 What then? If some did not believe, their unbelief will not nullify the faithfulness of God, will it? 4 May it never be! Rather, let God be found true, though every man be found a liar, as it is written, "THAT YOU MAY BE JUSTIFIED IN YOUR WORDS, AND PREVAIL WHEN YOU ARE JUDGED." 5 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.) 6 May it never be! For otherwise, how will God judge the world? 7 But if through my lie the truth of God abounded to His glory, why am I also still being judged as a sinner? 8 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. 9 What then? Are we better than they? Not at all; for we have already charged that both Jews and Greeks are all under sin;
Verse 1- What’s the advantage of being a Jew?
Verse 2- Great benefit in every respect!
Verse 3-4- Jewish unbelief does not nullify God’s faithfulness.
Verse 5-8- Is unrighteousness somehow a good thing?
Verse 9- We are all under sin.
As a preacher I really love it when a section of scripture fits into a nice clean 3 point sermon structure. Last week my three points were- false security of heritage, false security of knowledge, and false security of religion. I didn’t have to reach for it, it was just there in the text. But unfortunately not every section of scripture is as cooperative.
The passage we will be studying today is one of those uncooperative ones. It is filled with culturally specific ideas, difficult wording, and some confusing ideas. So instead of trying to twist it to fit into an outline, I’m simply going to work through it verse by verse so we can be sure to understand what Paul is talking about.
This passage is a transitional one. He is finishing off some ideas from chapter 2 and setting up his big idea later in chapter 3.
Romans is a very unified and linear book. It is tough to just look at small chunks each week, because each chunk builds on the previous idea and connects with the following idea. We’ve already seen this over the past month.
I want to do a quick review so that we can all be up to speed on what Paul is talking about. The passage that we are going to look at today is a lot easier to understand if we keep it in context.
1:1-17- Paul gives his greeting and shares his desire to come and visit the church there soon
1:18-32- Paul begins his theological discourse by explaining that people are corrupted by their sin nature and all deserving of God’s wrath. He paints this picture of the immoral man that is in bondage to their sin.
2:1-16- He turns his attention to the moral man. The person who thinks that because they are a good person that they are going to heaven. Paul explains that they are just as guilty before God.
2:17-29- Here Paul addresses the Jewish person. Last week we talked about how the Jew thought that they were secure simple because of their heritage. Because they were born a Jew they thought they were automatically in.
They also thought that their knowledge of God’s law made them right with God. But Paul points out that their knowledge was faithless and worthless.
And these Jews thought that the religious rite of circumcision secured their place in heaven. But Paul shows how that was a false security as well.
Last week we talked about how we as Christians can fool ourselves with these same false securities. We can think that just because we are born to Christian parents that we are Christian. We can think that just because we know something about the gospel that we are saved. We can fool ourselves into thinking that because we go to church and do other religious things that we are right with God. But our security can not be in our family, or our knowledge, or our religious practices, it has to be grounded in a real faith in Jesus Christ.
So at the end of chapter 2 Paul basically tells the Jewish people that all the most important aspects of their belief system are not what saves them.
This concept would have been completely earth shattering to the Jew. To them being born a Jew meant that you were blessed, you were holier than the gentiles, you were deserving of a wealth of OT promises, and you were set.