Study of Romans 3:1-8

God’s Righteousness Upheld

Rom 3:1  Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the benefit of circumcision? 
Rom 3:2  Great in every respect. First of all, that they were entrusted with the oracles of God. 
Rom 3:3  What then? If some did not believe, their unbelief will not nullify the faithfulness of God, will it? 
Rom 3:4  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.” 
Rom 3:5  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.) 
Rom 3:6  May it never be! For otherwise, how will God judge the world? 
Rom 3:7  But if through my lie the truth of God abounded to His glory, why am I also still being judged as a sinner? 
Rom 3:8  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. 

v1 – The way this chapter begins is to answer some objections which might come up from the Jews to the statements given in the last chapter. The first of these objections is stated in this verse. In essence, what is the advantage of being a Jew. If what the apostle Paul said was correct, what is the advantage of the Jewish faith? This would be an objection based on Rom 2:25-26, which says, ” For circumcision indeed is of value if you obey the law, but if you break the law, your circumcision becomes uncircumcision.  So, if a man who is uncircumcised keeps the precepts of the law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision?

v2 – The Jewish nation was given the Words of God. The scriptures, known to us as the Old Testament. Their advantage was that they knew what God commanded and required. The Jews believed that having, reading and listening to His Word was all they needed. However, they did not believe or live it out.

v3-4 – In these verses, we see the second objection. ‘If some are unfaithful, does this nullify the faithfulness of God? In Chapter 2, Paul had maintained the position that Israel was sinful. They had not obeyed what God had commanded them. The objector, whoever that was if it was an actual person, accepted this fact regarding a subset of the nation. Therefore, there must be some consequences to this. However, the idea was that God’s faithfulness was nullified. After all, He did entrust them with the oracles. So, the question to be asked is, does the unbelief of God’s chosen people say that God was unfaithful? God provided what they needed. It was the fault of the unfaithful that they did not believe.

v5-8 – Paul here anticipates a very interesting question. “If our unrighteousness shows the righteousness of God, then is God wrong in punishing us?” Paul basically agrees that their sin shows His righteousness, however, that does not change the fact that they were disobedient. How could God judge the world if it was unjust to punish them? it is not anything that He did, for they had the Word of God, they were the ones who did not believe. They knew, through these scriptures, about the true and living God. They had the advantage or the other nations. God is justified in condemning them. We need to see this in the light of today’s culture. Is God justified in condemning those today who do not accept the Word He has given us? Absolutely! To quote Francis Schaeffer in his book, “The Finished Work of Christ“, “And once again we must ask, if this is what God says about the Jews in Paul’s day, about their having the Old Testament Scriptures and yet being guilty before Him — indeed being especially under His wrath because of all the advantages they had — if this was true of the Jewish world of Paul’s day, what would God say to the world of Christendom today?” He continues by saying that we have access all the Bibles we want. I have close to twenty myself, in different translations. There is nothing stopping us from getting to know God in an intimate way along with His commands except our own desires.

Go Forward to Chapter 3 Part 2

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