WEDNESDAY, MAY 23
SCRIPTURE: Romans 3
I want to break this chapter into three parts: one, the faithfulness of God; two, the truthfulness of God; and, three, the righteousness of God.
At the end of chapter 2, Paul is speaking about circumcision which was a token of the covenant that God made with Israel. He basically said an obedient (one who obeys God) Gentile without circumcision is more acceptable to God than a disobedient Jew who had been circumcised. That would have been a most difficult thing for Jewish people to accept, After all, circumcision was the one physical proof that a particular person was a Jew and therefore a part of the chosen people of God, Israel.
When chapter 3 opens the question is are there any advantages of being a Jew or any value in being circumcised? Paul’s answer was there is a lot of value. The example He gives is that God has entrusted them with the Holy Scriptures. The next question is if circumcised Jews failed to do what the Scripture says, does their unfaithfulness make God decide to be unfaithful as well.
The magnificent answer is that God is always faithful. God is faithful. Regardless of what we say or do, God is faithful. He will never lie. He cannot lie. He will always do exactly what He said He would do. We need to grab this great truth and hang on to it.
The second thing we see in this chapter is God’s truthfulness. I don’t know if you have thought about this or not, but God is not one to beat around the bush. He stands His ground and speaks the truth. We can trust His Word because it is true, even when we might not want to trust His Word.
Paul’s example of this is found in verses 13-18. Paul pulls together pieces of several different Psalms to make the point that none of us, Jew or Gentile, are righteous people. In fact, this collection of verses paints a pretty horrible picture of humanity. Left to our own devices we are not nice people.
It would have been easier and nicer not to include these verses. But God is a truth teller. He has always been. He is. He always will be. And since, as Jesus said, the truth will set you free, God constantly and consistently speaks truth. Besides that we will never admit our need for a Savior unless we admit we are sinners.
The third section (righteousness) begins in verse 21. It is at this point that God holds up His righteousness as a comparison to the self-righteousness or sinfulness of humanity. He goes on to say that His righteousness is shown by Christ and Christ alone.
In verse 23 we are reminded that we are all sinners. But verse 24 points to the fact that we are justified (given legal standing before God) by God’s grace gift. That same grace is what makes redemption available in Jesus. As 2 Corinthians 5:21 teaches us, Christ took on our sin and died for us so that we might become the righteousness of God. When God looks at Christ followers, He sees us through the righteousness of Jesus.
This is an amazing chapter that is just overflowing with incredible truth. I would encourage you to reread the chapter. I suspect if you do, God will show you something in addition to what you learned the first time you read it.