God is True!
What advantage then has the Jew, or what is the profit of circumcision? Much in every way! Chiefly because to them were committed the oracles of God. For what if some did not believe? Will their unbelief make the faithfulness of God without effect? Certainly not! Indeed, let God be true but every man a liar. As it is written: “That You may be justified in Your words, And may overcome when You are judged.” But if our unrighteousness demonstrates the righteousness of God, what shall we say? Is God unjust who inflicts wrath? (I speak as a man.) Certainly not! For then how will God judge the world? For if the truth of God has increased through my lie to His glory, why am I also still judged as a sinner? And why not say, “Let us do evil that good may come”?; as we are slanderously reported and as some affirm that we say. Their condemnation is just. (Romans 3:1-8)
Paul’s words at the end of chapter two could lead some to conclude that there was no advantage to being Jewish. This is the reason for the rhetorical question of Romans 3:1. He asked the question because he knew his readers would be thinking the same question themselves.
Paul’s answer was unequivocal: much is gained by being a Jew. But one blessing stands out above all others … the blessing of having stewardship over the oracles of God. The logia of God (the actual word used in the Greek New Testament) are the utterances or sayings of God; a reference to the Old Testament writings. In other words, the chief advantage of the Jews is that they were called by God to be stewards over the scriptures! Digging deeper, the greatest advantage of having the Bible is to be regularly exposed to its message, which is of God’s love to mankind through His Son Jesus Christ, the Messiah of Israel and Savior of the world.
Even though the Jews have the Old Testament scriptures 1 , they obviously have not all believed the message it proclaims about their Messiah and His 1st coming. Does this reality somehow invalidate God’s promise? Does it mean that He is unfaithful if His chosen people do not believe? Certainly not! Paul asserts. God is always true. It is we humans that are untrue, liars. He remains what He has always been … the righteous judge of all mankind.
Paul, ever misunderstood, was accused of teaching that the gospel glorifies sinfulness. His retort is that those who say such things are slanderous, and worthy of any judgment they receive.
1 We owe a great debt of gratitude to the Jewish people, who were extraordinary keepers of God’s Word. The Dead Sea Scrolls confirm this fact. Essentially, the Old Testament in Jesus’ day is exactly like the Old Testament we have today. This is due to the Jews’ care for the scriptures (see http://www.livingwaters.com/witnessingtool/deadseascrolls.shtml).
For Further Review
1. What are the great advantages of having a Bible? List some of these advantages and then bless God for His Word!
2. Oftentimes, the real value of something can be measured by what our lives would be like without it. What would be missing from your life if you didn’t have the scriptures?
3. Reflect on the statement that God is true. What does this statement mean, and what are its implications for your life and for the culture in which we live?
4. Why is the philosophy incorrect and harmful: “let us do evil that good may come”? What are the results in a person’s life who believes that?
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