Romans 3 : – Riding on what He has done
Verse 1 – 8: – 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.[NKJV]
Reflections: – I have battled with this particular chapter cos’ of some hard truths in it, even Paul isn’t left out. It’s reassuring to know Paul wasn’t afraid to point out where he spoke as a human being, he needed to remind us Christians, it’s okay to ask those questions we encounter in our Christian walk. How often have we been taught we should never question God but looking through the Bible we constantly see men and women engaging in dialogue with God which sometimes involves questions… ‘Come let us reason together says the Lord’ Isaiah 1:18a. Now we are trying to uncover the truth behind the righteousness of God and Paul is asking if in the display of our sinful nature and unrighteousness God’s righteousness is brought to bear, why are we still judged for that since it’s an occasion for God to display it. To start with God is righteous, He doesn’t become righteous cos’ of our unrighteousness, it is who He is. A Doctor isn’t named one cos’ the sick visit him/her, neither should the Doctors be blamed for the sickness of their patients. The patients only highlight who they are and what they’ve studied for.
Verse 9 – 18: – Well then, should we conclude that we Jews are better than others? No, not at all, for we have already shown that all people, whether Jews or Gentiles, are under the power of sin. As the Scriptures say, “No one is righteous—not even one…They don’t know where to find peace. They have no fear of God at all.”[NLT]
Reflections: – An emphasis was made on “us” and “them”. He had to highlight that both the Jews (custodians of the law) and Gentiles (those without the law) were both on the same boat. There is none who is righteous as long as you are on earth; the sinful nature abides in you. Not just the nature but under the power and just like it’s highlighted “ how can one enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man” Matt 12:29. It’s a power tussle, we need a higher power to free us from sin, and self-will can’t get us there.
Verse 19 – 20: – Now we know that whatever the Law [of Moses] says, it speaks to those who are under the Law, so that [the excuses of] every mouth may be silenced [from protesting] and that all the world may be held accountable to God [and subject to His judgment]. For no person will be justified [freed of guilt and declared righteous] in His sight by [trying to do] the works of the Law. For through the Law we become conscious of sin [and the recognition of sin directs us toward repentance, but provides no remedy for sin].[AMP]
Reflections: – I enjoy watching Australia declares, in one of the episodes a woman was found with a suitcase packed with food stuffs and fruits too. She hadn’t declared it and it was against the Australian law to bring in such, hence she attracted a fine. But on further interrogation they found out she was a first time flyer and committed the crime out of ignorance not to forget the tantrum she threw at the officers. The items were destroyed and the fine was cancelled cos of her ignorance. This was highlighted in verse 19, the law was given to place everyone on the same level and that no one will have an excuse to accuse God of being an unfair judge. It brings us to the end of ourselves, that edge of the cliff moment where we know we are helpless without a Hand reaching out to grab us. Our sin senses get activated once we hear or see “Do Not”, I don’t know why but it’s human nature. Take a cue from Adam and Eve, it was after the instruction “Do not eat” that the tempter came along.
Verse 21 – 26 : – But now God has shown us a way to be made right with Him without keeping the requirements of the law, as was promised in the writings of Moses and the prophets long ago. We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are. For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, in His grace, freely makes us right in His sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when He freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed His life, shedding His blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when He held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past, for He was looking ahead and including them in what He would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate His righteousness, for He Himself is fair and just, and He makes sinners right in His sight when they believe in Jesus.[NLT]
Reflections: – But why did God give us an alternative through Jesus Christ in order to be made right with Him? Wasn’t the law good enough? The law that came through Moses by God gave us the only option of adhering to rules in order to earn our justification before God but not how to achieve it, but now even right now God is saying you are made right with God by placing your faith in Jesus Christ and believe in His death and shed blood. And this call is for everyone, it simply gives everyone an equal opportunity regardless of you or what you’ve believed in the past. You are declared righteous and no longer bound by the power of sin. This is the greater power, the Almighty God we need to tear down the strongholds of sins.
Verse 27 – 31: – Can we boast, then, that we have done anything to be accepted by God? No, because our acquittal is not based on obeying the law. It is based on faith. So we are made right with God through faith and not by obeying the law. After all, is God the God of the Jews only? Isn’t he also the God of the Gentiles? Of course he is. There is only one God, and he makes people right with himself only by faith, whether they are Jews or Gentiles. Well then, if we emphasize faith, does this mean that we can forget about the law? Of course not! In fact, only when we have faith do we truly fulfill the law.[NLT]
Reflections: – By this act of sacrifice, human effort is eliminated cos it’s not about anything we’ve done. Rather its simply believing, this makes the message of Christianity different, difficult to understand by other religions and legalists, too basic to be complicated. God calls you to Himself even in your sinful nature and cleans you up cos of your faith in Him. While other religions expects you to cleaned up before coming. God doesn’t respond to what we do rather we respond to what He does. Isn’t it amazing and mind boggling at the same time? If we are made right with God by faith without obeying the law, what kind of lives do we live? Vs 31 says we only fulfill the law when we have faith. But why do I still need the law when I have been made right with God already? I am sure other chapters will answer the question.
Loads of Love