Romans 3:1-4

In Romans 3:1-4 Paul tackles the question that his audience is thinking about after he made clear that God’s love and grace was available to all, not just the Jews. “Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the value of circumcision?”  Paul has carefully explained in Romans 2 that the possession of the law or circumcision will not save a Jewish person. In fact, it won’t save any of us. Salvation is not based on who we are or what actions we might take. It is a matter of the heart if we fall short of complete obedience to the law, which is how all of us will stand before God, plain sinners!

Paul answers his own question about the advantage people have being Jewish. “Much in every way. To begin with, the Jews were entrusted with the oracles of God.” Paul knows there are many advantages God gave to the Jewish people. In particular, He entrusted them with the oracles of God, which speaks of God’s written revelation before the time of Jesus. He gave the Jewish people His Word, and that is an indescribable gift. Trapp wrote “This was their prime privilege, that they were God’s library-keepers, that this heavenly treasure was credited to them.” God gave His Word to His people, and that is a foundational advantage, although many fell short of really leveraging that gift.

The reality is that many Jews did not receive and accept God’s truth. The fact that the Jewish people as a whole to that point had rejected the gospel did not mean that God’s faithfulness to them was in vain. It did not mean that God’s work was futile or without effect. “What if some were unfaithful? Does their faithlessness nullify the faithfulness of God?” Man’s response does not change God’s truth. Paul reminds us that God will be justified in all His actions. In the end, it will be demonstrated that even our unrighteousness somehow proclaimed His righteousness and glory, even if only in judgment.

Paul again answers his own question. “By no means! Let God be true though every one were a liar, as it is written, “That you may be justified in your words, and prevail when you are judged.” Spurgeon wrote “It is a strange, strong expression; but it is none too strong. If God says one thing, and every man in the world says another, God is true, and all men are false. God speaks the truth, and cannot lie. God cannot change; His Word, like Himself, is immutable. We are to believe God’s truth if nobody else believes it. The general consensus of opinion is nothing to a Christian. He believes God’s word, and he thinks more of that than of the universal opinion of men.” There is one source of truth – God’s Word.

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