Romans 3:1-8

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, March 2, 2015 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

“What advantage, then, is there in being a Jew, or what value is there in circumcision? Much in every way! First of all, the Jews have been entrusted with the very words of God.
What if some were unfaithful? Will their unfaithfulness nullify God’s faithfulness? Not at all! Let God be true, and every human being a liar. As it is written:
‘So that you may be proved right when you speak and prevail when you judge.’
But if our unrighteousness brings out God’s righteousness more clearly, what shall we say? That God is unjust in bringing his wrath on us? (I am using a human argument.) Certainly not! If that were so, how could God judge the world?
Someone might argue, ‘If my falsehood enhances God’s truthfulness and so increases his glory, why am I still condemned as a sinner?’
Why not say—as some slanderously claim that we say—’Let us do evil that good may result’? Their condemnation is just!”
(Romans 3:1-8)

In the previous section of Romans that we discussed last week, Paul wrote about how the Jews have the law and circumcision, but those really don’t matter anymore now that Jesus had come to earth. So after that discussion, we’d expect him to say that there is no value anymore in being a Jew over being a Gentile, but that’s not what he says! Even though everyone will be judged equally, the Jews still have some historical advantages. They were still the people who had the Scriptures of the day, the Old Testament. It was written in Hebrew and Aramaic, which were languages common primarily to the Jews.

Paul goes on in this section by answering question before they’re even asked. People do sin, are unfaithful, and live unrighteously (against God’s design). But, if the people are unfaithful, then is God considered to be unfaithful? Nope! If people are unrighteous, is God unrighteous? Nope! The standard for judgment is still God’s holy character.

Then Paul brings up a question that many still ask today: If we do something wrong and it brings God glory, is it still wrong? Yes! Sin is still sin, there’s no way around that. Can God use our sinfulness to accomplish His good purposes? Definitely - otherwise He’d have a hard time using us at all, since we’re so often sinful and disobedient.

In the midst of this section is a direct quote from the Old Testament, Psalm 51:4: “Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight; so you are right in your verdict and justified when you judge.” Any time we see an Old Testament quotation in the New Testament, it’s important to understand its context and why it’s there.

Psalm 51 was written by King David after he was caught in sin with Bathsheba. You can read the full story for yourself in 2 Samuel 11, but the short version is that King David committed adultery with a married woman, then had her husband killed. It was not exactly a stellar moment for his obedience to God. But, after the fact David realized he had sinned against God in these acts. He recognized that God is right and just in punishing him because of his sin.

We need to have that same realization as David did; God is right and just in disciplining us when we disobey Him. But God is still faithful, even when we require His discipline or punishment for doing something wrong.

This brings us back to the question at hand of if our sin is still sin if it brings God glory. Verse 8 shows us the definitive answer: “Why not say—as some slanderously claim that we say—’Let us do evil that good may result’? Their condemnation is just!” If we do sin with the purpose that God will use it for good, it is just that we receive condemnation for it! We should be punished if we intentionally do evil, even knowing that God can use it for good if He wants to.

The Jewish people put Jesus to death - the perfect, sinless, Son of God. I would say that murdering God’s Son for no reason is sin, wouldn’t you? But God most definitely used that for His good; through Jesus’ death and resurrection, all people have the opportunity to be saved through faith in Him! God will still accomplish His good purposes, but we don’t need to purposefully do evil for that to happen.

Do you recognize when you sin? Even though God can use any situation for His glory, are you trying to be obedient to what He commands in His Word?

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