All Under Sin
What advantage then has the Jew, or what is the profit of circumcision? 2 Much in every way! Chiefly because to them were committed the oracles of God. 3 For what if some did not believe? Will their unbelief make the faithfulness of God without effect? 4 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."
5 But if our unrighteousness demonstrates the righteousness of God, what shall we say? Is God unjust who inflicts wrath?(I speak as a man.) 6 Certainly not! For then how will God judge the world?
7 For if the truth of God has increased through my lie to His glory, why am I also still judged as a sinner? 8 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.
9 What then? Are we better than they? Not at all. For we have previously charged both Jews and Greeks that they are all under sin.
10 As it is written: "There is none righteous, no, not one; 11 There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God. 12 They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one." 13 "Their throat is an open tomb; With their tongues they have practiced deceit"; "The poison of asps is under their lips"; 14 "Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness." 15 "Their feet are swift to shed blood; 16 Destruction and misery are in their ways; 17 And the way of peace they have not known." 18 "There is no fear of God before their eyes." NKJV Pew Bible Page 1033
I. The Advantageous Jew
A. Paul asks the obvious question, what advantage then does the Jew have? Is there no benefit in being a Jew?
1. Their idea was that being a Jew was a get out of jail free card, a free ticket.
2. But the benefits of the Jews were not what they thought.
3. It did not mean that you could live godless lives and still end up in heaven.
4. Then as today, the benefits are only for those who through faith lay hold of God’s promises.
B. Paul says there were many advantages of being Jews.
1. Life Application Bible Commentary: Romans
Paul answers yes, there are advantages for those members of God’s chosen nation. (1) They were entrusted with God’s laws (Exodus 19–20; Deuteronomy 4:8). (2) They were the race through whom the Messiah came to earth (Isaiah 11:1-10; Matthew 1:1-17). (3) They were the beneficiaries of covenants with God himself (Genesis 17:1-16; Exodus 19:3-6). Later in Romans, Paul returns to this theme and lists several other benefits of being Jewish: “Theirs is the adoption as sons; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of Christ, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen” (9:4-5 niv). But these privileges did not make them better than anyone else (see 3:9). In fact, the privileges made the Jews even more responsible to live up to God’s requirements.
2. MacArthur's New Testament Commentary: Romans 1-8
Many Scripture passages would have come to their minds. Just before God presented Israel with the Ten Commandments, He told them, “You shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation” (Ex. 19:6). Moses wrote of Israel, “Behold, to the Lord your God belong heaven and the highest heavens, the earth and all that is in it. Yet on your fathers did the Lord set His affection to love them, and He chose their descendants after them, even you above all peoples” (Deut. 10:14-15). In the same book Moses wrote, “You are a holy people to the Lord your God; and the Lord has chosen you to be a people for His own possession out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth” (14:2). The psalmist exulted, “The Lord has chosen Jacob for Himself, Israel for His own possession” (Ps. 135:4). Through Isaiah, the Lord declared of Israel, “The people whom I formed for Myself, will declare My praise” (Isa. 43:21).
C. The most significant was that they had the oracles of God.
1. This is the word of God.
2. The pagans had various oracles, through their sorcerers, or spirit guides or readers.
3. The Jews had a much richer heritage, they had the word of God as revealed in the Law, the Psalms and the Prophets.
4. Paul may refer to this primarily because he is going to quote extensively from them to prove his point.
D. The advantage of God’s Faithful promise.
1. God had made promises to Abraham and to his descendants, and we know God is faithful to His promises.
2. The Jews argument was that the Jews were partakers of the promises given to Abraham.
a. The argument followed that since God is faithful to those promises then every Jew is secure by virtue of his or her birth.
b. Therefore it follows that if one born a Jew was lost then God’s faithfulness would fail.
3. There mistake was to think that the promises were to every single Jew.
a. A promise to the descendants of Abraham were not applicable to every descendant.
b. As Paul will show later, the promise was to those who like Abraham believed God.
c. There would always be a remnant according to God’s grace.
d. But this by no means included every single Jew.
4. Paul concludes therefore that regardless of what happened to any individual Jew, God is always faith.
5. Indeed, let God be true but every man a liar.
a. If your reasoning leads you to ever conclude that God is unfaithful, or unholy, or many other things contrary to His nature, then your reasoning if false.
b. I remember hearing someone say once, if God were to do that He would be unjust.
c. That of course is not true. Whatever God does He is just, for He cannot be otherwise.
d. Two Views - Life Application Commentary
Law of Fairness
There is a law of fairness or just that is higher and more absolute than God. It is binding even for God. God must act in response to that law in order to be fair. Our response is to appeal to that law.
God Himself is the standard of justice. He uses His power according to His own moral perfection. Thus, whatever He does is fair, even if we don’t understand it.; Our response is to appeal directly to Him.
e. Remember, “Let God Be True and Every Man a Liar.”
6. That You may be justified in Your words, And may overcome when You are judged."
a. He is quoting from Psa 51
b. Psalms 51:3-4 (NKJV)3 For I acknowledge my transgressions, And my sin is always before me. 4 Against You, You only, have I sinned, And done this evil in Your sight-- That You may be found just when You speak, And blameless when You judge.
c. David here admits his sin and holds God guiltless in judging him.
II. How can God judge that from which He derives Glory? But if our unrighteousness demonstrates the righteousness of God, what shall we say? Is God unjust who inflicts wrath?(I speak as a man.) 6 Certainly not! For then how will God judge the world?
A. If God is faithful even when His people are not faithful and God get glory from that then how can God punish Israel for her unfaithfulness.
1. They are not attacking God here but Paul’s teaching about God.
2. They want to think that God is faithful because they have been faithful.
3. This goes along with their Jewish pride.
B. If God is glorified by the sins of Israel, being shown faithful Himself despite the unfaithfulness of His chosen people, then sin glorifies God. MacArthur
1. In the argument, if God is glorified by the sins of Israel then it is not right for Him to judge them.
2. But God will be glorified in everything.
3. He works all things for His own Glory, He is God.
1. God used Pharaoh to get glory for Himself in the delivering of Israel from Egypt.
2. But that did not lessen the wrath of God poured out on that nation as they rebelled against God.
3. Even Pharaoh lost his firstborn son to the final plague.
D. Second illustration.
1. God’s plan was for Jesus to die on the cross.
2. Wicked men carried out that plan.
3. God worked all that for His glory.
4. But God still brought judgment on those guilty of sin.
E. Most of what people know about God does not come from the Bible.
1. It comes from what people have said.
2. In our world, people have invented a false God just as if we made it from gold and stone.
3. God will surely punish what He allows, even when it brings Him glory for everything will ultimately bring God glory.
III. Perverted Grace
A. Let us do evil that good might come.
1. This is what Paul’s enemies were contending that he was teaching.
2. Their idea of grace was that it was unfair.
3. How could a person do evil and then by faith & repentance have their record cleared.
4. To them it seemed Paul was teaching, "Let us do evil that good may come"
B. But grace is not like that at all.
1. Grace means that God gave His son to pay the price we could not pay.
2. Grace means that we receive the righteousness that Christ earned for us.
3. Grace is not free, it cost God His beloved son.
4. For the Christian, that price for sin was so great that their desire is not to sin and cast reproach upon Jesus.