READ | SERMON NOTES
- What advantages, then, to be a Jew, or what value is there in circumcision?
- What if some were unfaithful? Will their faithlessness nullify or cancel the faithfulness of God?
- But if our injustice serves to confirm the justice of God, what should we say? That God is unjust to inflict wrath on us?
To understand how Paul came to this engagement we look at Romans 2:17- 29 where he highlighted the spiritual posture of the Jews and the observations that formed the context.
- They do not walk the talk.
Paul knew the heart of the religious person. Being religious only taught a good game but in truth, they struggled to live up a life they should be reflecting on because of their heart condition. They became hypocrites.
- It takes one to know one!
As Paul was once like them, Paul knew the Jews taught about God’s love, but they found hate to persecute the innocent. They taught about the purity of life but joined in their lust and judgment as we see in the encounter of the woman with the alabaster jar. They knew about what it meant to give to God His due but they were so used to robbing God. Paul was determined to appeal to them and bring them to the grace of God. (Acts 8: 1-3)
- Their religious sacrifices are meaningless (Romans 2:29)
The Jews observed all the religious rituals and were proud of their ritual and sacrifices as they set them apart as God’s people. (Romans 2:25) Paul stated the Jews were equally in need of the Gospel because God is more concerned about our hearts than outward signs of religion.
The sense of privilege comes with spiritual issues that Paul tried to address in the following chapter as he anticipated questions that may linger in their mind.
The three observations from key passages:
- We have been entrusted with God’s word (Romans 3:2)
When there is no value in circumcision, there is no advantage to being a Jew as all are equally in need of God. Paul emphasized that being entrusted with the oracle of God itself is a privilege. Jews were entrusted with God’s word to share God’s blessings upon all nations, not just upon Israel. (Genesis 12: 1-2) It was Abraham and the Jews who were entrusted with truth in God’s word, practicing and proclaiming God’s work.
- Our unfaithfulness will never frustrate the faithfulness of God (Romans 3: 3-4)
Paul knew the readers were uncomfortable with the responsibilities so he pointed them to the character of God and quoted Psalm 51 “So that you may be justified in your words, and prevail in your judging”. Though God judged, God also forgave David. God’s love is greater than our sins.
- God cannot overlook sin (Romans 3: 5-8)
The last rhetorical question: “How can a righteous God punish men for their sin if He benefits from their unrighteousness?” Paul replied that we do not do evil that good may result. God judges the world righteously. Paul is determined to tell his readers how the Jewish brethren have fallen and their spiritual pride can justify their actions to manipulate the character of God. Indeed, the condemnation is just for those who twisted God’s word to conform to their action.
Man does not determine who God is. Only God Himself can. Our God is faithful and He has revealed Himself through His words entrusted to the Jews and by His grace to us today. Our life can be a blessing to all who hear and see through our actions, though we are not perfect. Our discipleship here is to conform to God’s word, to commit to knowing God through reading His word, and prayer. As a faith community let’s help one another acknowledge God’s word as truth and His way as life.
(Sermon notes by Caesiapeah Lim)
PONDER | REFLECTION QUESTIONS
Let’s recall, reflect, consider and commit.
- Recall when was the last time you were entrusted with a responsibility to complete a task or project.
- How did it motivate you to complete it?
- Reflect on Romans 3:1-8. What was the benefit of being a Jew as Paul alluded to?
- Do you identify with the benefit as a Christian today?
- Consider what it means to be entrusted with the best news of humanity.
- What might be hindering you from sharing of the gospel with another person?
- Commit to the Lord some areas of your life for a “heart circumcision”.
- What are the areas of your life where you might seek greater surrenderance?
Do take some time to pray and seek Him in the next steps of your discipleship being a disciple that is entrusted with God’s Word.