SERIES: Renewal Through Romans: The Gospel Defined, Explained & Applied
SETTING: North Kelso Baptist Church
SERVICE: Sunday AM (July 26, 2015)
SECTION: The Perversion of Righteousness (Romans 1:18-3:20)
SUBTITLE: The Righteous Judgment of God (Part 6)
SCRIPTURE: Romans 3:1-8
SUBJECT: God is faithful to the Jews
SUMMARY: God is just in His judgment of the Jews since judgment does not nullify the Jews advantages, God’s faithfulness, or God’s character.
SCHEME: To inform my people that God is just in His judgment
TITLE: The Righteous Judgment of God (Part 6)
TEXT: Romans 3:1-8
“What then is the superiority of the Jew, or what is the profit of circumcision? Much in every way! First of all that they were entrusted with the oracles of God. For what if some did not believe? Surely their unbelief will not nullify the faithfulness of God. Certainly not! Indeed, let God be true but every man a liar just as it is written, ‘that you may be judged in our words and you may overcome when you are judged.’ But what if our unrighteousness demonstrates the righteousness of God, what shall we say? Surely God, the on inflicting wrath is not unrighteous. (I speak as a man.) Certainly not! For otherwise how shall God judge the world? For is by my lie the truth of God has abounded to His glory, why am I also still judged as a sinner? And why not say, ‘let us do evil so that good may come?’ – just as we are slandered, and just as some affirm that we say. The judgment of whom is just” (English Majority Version, from Majority Greek Text)
THEME: God is right in judging the Jews
THRUST: since His judgment is consistent with His character.
TRUTH: God is just in judging the Jews since judgment is consistent with His character, because judgment does not nullify the advantages of the Jews, nor the faithfulness of God, nor His righteous character.
1A The Sinful Heathen (1:18-32)
2A The Sinful Hebrews (2:1-3:8)
1B The Judgment of God Declared (2:1-16)
1C The Jews deserved the judgment of God (2:1-5)
2C The Jews determined the judgment of God (2:6-10)
3C The Jews doomed by the judgment of God (2:12-16)
2B The Judgment of God Discussed (2:17-29)
1C The Jews Misunderstood their status (2:17-24)
2C The Jews Misunderstood their symbol (2:25-29)
3B The Judgment of God Defended (3:1-8)
1C The Favor by the Judge is not nullified (1-2)
1D The Anticipation by the Apostle
2D The Answer for the Adversary
2C The Faithfulness of the Judge is not nullified (3-4)
1D The Anticipation by the Apostle
2D The Answer for the Adversary
3C The Fame of the Judge is not nullified (5-8)
1D The Anticipation by the Apostle
The Righteous Judgment of God
Romans 3:1-8 * (Part 6)
A. Attention Getting Device
However the battle is ended,
though proudly the victor comes;
with fluttering flags, and prancing nags,
and echoing roll of drums.
Still history proclaims the motto,
in letters of shining light:
"No question is ever settled
until it is settled right."
Though the heel of the strong oppressor
May grind the weak to the dust;
and the voice of fame with loud acclaim
May call him great and just.
Let those who applaud take warning,
and keep this motto in sight:
"No question is ever settled
until it is settled right."—Selected
B. Raise A Need
In the life of every genuine believer the question of God’s working in our life and His care for us comes up. You find yourself asking is God right? At time is tempting to question the benefits of being a believer, or questioning God’s faithfulness to all his promises towards us or even questioning God’s character.
Have you ever questioned whether God was “right” in every trial of your life?
C. Orient the Theme
Why is God always right when He judges?
D. State the Purpose Bridge (What is the purpose of this sermon)
Today I want to challenge every genuine believer to always trust the judgment of God.
Today, I want to remind you that God’s judgment or chastisement in a genuine believer’s life no matter how painful, frustrating or frightening is always right because God’s judgment is consistent with His favor, with His Faithfulness and with His Fame.
A. Announce the Text:
Paul gives us the reasons why you should always have confidence in God’s judgments in Romans 3:1-8. Please take your bibles and turn there as we examine why God can be trusted in all of His judgments.
We are in series that has been looking at the Perversion of Righteousness. Last week we finished our examination of the fact that the Jews had misunderstood their symbol of circumcision. The Jews had come to believe that the symbol of circumcision was a guarantee of salvation. They misunderstood the fact that their symbol which stood for their identification as God’s chosen people and came to believe that is was their means of guaranteed salvation.
And so, last week we answered the question of, “How did the Jews misunderstand their symbol?” And it was easy to see that our text had described three means by which the Jews had in fact misunderstood their symbol. The Jews had attempted to maintain an obligation without obedience (vs. 25); their religion without reality (26-27); and their conviction without clarity (28-29).
So Paul’s message last week was simple, but straight to the point. The Jews attempted to keep their…]
- obligation without obedience
Even though the Jews meticulously and even at times fanatically kept and maintained the obligation of circumcision, they attempted to do so without remembering that they were to maintain circumcision with absolute perfect obedience. They forgot that God wanted obedience to accompany this ritual.
This outward symbol was designed to demonstrate an internal relationship. But the Jews more often than not disobeyed God’s Word and Will. Their disobedience resulted in God’s judgment.
[Secondly, the fact that the Jews misunderstood their symbol can be seen in their…]
- religion without reality
The Jews went through the motions but without the reality of having the HS and His power as their underlying base. They did the “right” things but without the power of God. They obeyed, served, or lived in the strength of their own flesh. So their religion, their faith, their rituals and all their obedience was actually a hypocritical farce.
[Thirdly, we saw the fact that the Jews misunderstood their symbol when we examined their…]
- convictions without clarity
It is one thing to have strong and unwavering convictions. But you must be very clear in your convictions. There is nothing more tragic than to be sincerely convinced but convinced in the wrong things or in the wrong ways.
How many of you had heard the expression, “Practice makes perfect?” Did you know that actually is not accurate or correct? “Perfect practice makes perfect!” You can actually practice something repeatedly and be wrong or incorrect, or off key, etc.
The Jews had very strong convictions. As a matter of fact they were willing and often did die for their convictions. But the sad truth is that the majority had convictions that were not based on God’s truth.
They were convinced that their race (Jews) their rituals, and their symbol (circumcision) guaranteed them heaven.
So, last week you saw that “Symbols will not justify sinners.”
C. Background to the Text
Historical Background – Paul mission in this letter is to explain the Gospel about salvation through faith in Jesus. He especially highlights that Jesus is the culmination of God’s relationship with Israel, and that the Gospel was always meant to spread beyond Israel to non-Jews. This is why he focuses so much on key Old Testament themes (Abraham, Torah, circumcision) and on the implications of the Gospel for the Jew/Gentile relationship.
Textual Background – Remember 1:18-3:20 deals with the fact that all men, all Gentiles, all Jews, and all Human beings are guilty of sin and warrant the judgment of God.
Preview structure – Today we begin chapter 3. I think we need to take a quick moment and remind ourselves of how this chapter fits into the overall context of this letter.
Don’t forget we are still developing Paul’s theme in 1:16-17; Paul is not ashamed of the gospel because it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes it, beginning with the Jews and then extending to the Gentiles.
This chapter division is truly in the right place. Now we are looking at a new thought. What is the theme of chapter 3? First of all, this chapter divides itself in to three (3) distinct portions – 1-8; 9-20; 21-31.
In 1-8 Paul deals with objections raised by either a real person or an imaginary opponent that is used by Paul to make his point; in 9-2 Paul goes back to the Old Testament and uses a number of passages to support his point. The Jews regarded the OT as authoritative and so Paul says, “Look, this is not my opinion.”
Then, having presented his point and proved his point he picks up his theme from chapter 1 and in vss. 21-31 expands his theme. This last portion includes that great doctrine and teaching of the atonement in vss. 25-26.
So, this chapter is perhaps the most important chapters in the bible. From the standpoint of doctrine and teaching there is no chapter in the bible as important as this one.
Our portion today divides itself in two three sections, vss. 1-2 deals with the favor that God has bestowed on Israel which gives them advantages; vss. 3-4 deals with God’s faithfulness towards His people and promises; and vss. 5-8 deals with the fame, or the character of God which justifies His right and ability to judge.
Repeat CPS - I want to challenge every genuine believer to always trust the character of God.
[Let’s dig into our…]
TRUTH FOR TODAY
3B The Judgment of God Defended (Vss. 3:1-8)
First of all let me say that these 8 verses were very difficult to grasp Paul’s intent and then to put it into some kind of outline in order to help discover, develop, and deliver Paul’s intent.
Frank Godet wrote, “…one of the most difficult, perhaps in the Epistle.”
Part of the problem seems to be that in this paragraph Paul asks 8 point blank questions in rapid succession.
Then as we look at this paragraph in order to find Paul’s intent and the application for the church today, we have to determine is Paul reproducing facts for debate or is he teaching new material?
Secondly, it seems that Paul is focusing solely on the Jews in these 8 verses.
But Paul must make it clear that no one understands him to say that the there is no advantage in being Jewish, or a part of Gods’ covenant people. As we will see, Paul insists that there is many or much advantage in being Jewish.
[So, having said this, let’s look then at…]
1C The Advantage of the Jews is not nullified (Vss. 1-2)
Remember, that the Jews believed that they had a tremendous advantage, especially over the Gentiles. They counted or relied on those advantages for their eternal well-being.
As they read or hear Paul’s diatribe in what we now know as chapter 2, some are beginning to wonder, “Wow, is there benefit to being part of the covenant family of God?”
[So we see, either an actual person, or an imaginary opponent voice this major concern in what I call…]
1D The Anticipation of the Adversary
“What advantage then has the Jew, or what is the profit of circumcision?” (Vs. 1)
Paul begins this section with one of his favorite words, “what.” By doing this, Paul is raising questions about what he has just taught them and he uses words like what, or then, or for in order to continue building his argument.
So, regardless of whether this adversary is real or imaginary, Paul is asking these questions so that he can make his teaching more clearly to the Jews.
He had just taught in chapter 2 that custodians of the law and the rite or ritual of circumcision which basically make one a Jew, made no essential difference on the Day of Judgment. So Paul must anticipate the loud and thunderous objection of “What is the advantage of being a Jew?”
It is a fair question isn’t it? After all, the Jews have been at best ridiculed and at worst persecuted for all of their peculiarities. From speech, to dress, to ceremonies, to physical mutilation. Even up to this point in their history they have been through a lot. And now Paul comes along and says that ultimately possessing the law and circumcision will not benefit them on Judgment Day?
[Look closely at…]
2D The Answer by the Apostle (Vs. 2)
“Much in every way! Chiefly because to them were committed the oracles of God.”
First of all, let me say that there are some who have answered this question with the answer, none! They would argue that Paul only answered the way in which he did because of his personal prejudices from being a Jew himself.
But listen, it is not Paul’s intention to prove that the Jews don’t have any advantages over the Gentiles. His intention is to prove that the advantages that the Jews do have do not give them any advantages when it comes to salvation or judgment.
As a matter of fact we will see these advantages laid out for us when we get to Romans, chapter 9:4-5.
Secondly, we see the intention of Paul in regards his choice of the word chiefly. The Greek word actually means and is usually translated “first.” First, as in number 1.
There is something very significant going on here. Paul is telling the Jews that their number one advantage is that they do have custody of the Scriptures, God’s word.
The greatest, most important, and truly number one advantage is that they have been entrusted with the Word of God. They have been exposed to God’s Word from birth. This is the greatest advantage that could possibly have.
Why is this such an important advantage? Because they have first hand, from God in their possession the knowledge of salvation. God had spoken and revealed His plan of redemption and justification and they had it.
The Gentiles did not have it. They had information that they garner from creation and they had some information written in their hearts in the form of conscience, but they were in darkness and did not have the light of the word of God. The Jews did!
The Jews should have been able to read God’s Word and get it right. Unfortunately many, if not most did not get it right.
[Listen to Psalms 147:19-20]
“He declares His Word to Jacob, His statues and His judgment to Israel. He has not dealt thus with any nation; and as for His judgments, they have not known them.” (Psalms 147:19-20, NKJV)
Did you get that? God declared His Word, His statues, His judgments to the Jews. He did not give His word to any other nation on earth – therefore they do not know the words of God.
[So, the Jews do have advantages. Their greatest advantage is having been entrusted with God’s Word which reveals the means of salvation and justification. And I want to challenge you to always trust the character of God.]
[The Favor of Jew are not nullified by judgment of God. Secondly…]
2C The Faithfulness of God is not nullified by judgment (Vss. 3-4)
OK, let’s stop for a second and do a little thinking. Having been entrusted with the Word of God is a great thing. But it hasn’t seem to be very helpful to the Jews has it?
An examination of Israel’s history can answer that question. They rebelled against God and His word very early on and continued to rebel and mishandle God’s word right up to the time of Christ.
So first of all, the question could be asked, “Is there any advantage and more at all of having God’s Word?”
1D The Anticipation of the Adversary (Vs. 3)
“For what if some did not believe? Will their unbelief make the faithfulness of God without effect?
First of all, and I am not going to go into any detail and take up precious time, but this verse has given many translators fits. There is some uncertainty about where the punctuation goes. Most translations divide the verse into two questions. This is how we will treat it also.
Second, Paul seems to want to soften the criticism or accusation a bit by using the Greek for “some.” History shows that almost all Jews failed to respond properly to the Word that they had been entrusted with.
Paul anticipates the objection of “what good is the having the word” by the use of unbelief and the verb did not believe.
Thirdly, Paul is making a tremendous contrast between the faithful character of God and the unfaithful response of the Jews.
Paul is referring directly to the God’s commitment to carry out all of the terms of the Abrahamic covenant that He had made with Abraham and later ratified by all of Israel.
[These questions lead us to…]
2D The Answer of the Apostle (Vs.4)
“Certainly not! Indeed, let God be true but every man a liar.”
Naturally, the way the question is framed by Paul in verse 3 gives the correct answer. No! God forbid! No Way Jose!
Regardless if every man is a liar and unfaithful to every promise that man ever makes, it will not affect God. God will be true to His word and His promises.
The covenant and all of the promises God made is not based on the faithful performance of man, or in this case the Jews, but they are made and fulfilled based on the character of God.
“Now therefore that the Lord thy God, He is God, the faithful God.” (Deut. 7:9)
“If we believe not, yet He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself.” (2 Tim 2:13)
“O Lord God of hosts, who is a strong Lord like unto you? Or to your faithfulness round about you?” (Psalms 89:8)
One more, OK? “your mercy, O Lord, is in the heavens; and your faithfulness unto the clouds.” (Psalms 36:5)
God’s unchanging and infinite faithfulness is His character. He never forgets, He never fails, and he never falters.
So, Paul anticipates the objection and has an answer that leaves no room for any doubt!
KJV says God forbid; Phillips says Of course not, NASB says May it never be.
Not only does he emphatically answer the question about God’s character, he supports it with a quote from Psalm 51:4 – “As it is written, that you may be justified in your words, and may over come when you are judged.” (Psalms 51:4, NKJV)
Don’t forget that Psalm 51 is that very personal and emotional confession of David in regards to his sin with Bathsheba and against Uriah.
I think Paul included this verse because David is stating that God is right in judging David. David sinned and deserves to be judged.
Paul is making it clear to the Jews that even though God has made promises, and even though the Jews have broken promises, and that God will judge the Jews, God is right in doing so. Because God’s character demands that He remains faithful to Himself and to His Word.
Regardless of the Jews unfaithfulness, regardless of the fact that God will judge their sin, God is faithful.
In other words, The Faithfulness of God is not nullified by judgment.
[So, the Jews do have advantages. Their greatest advantage is having been entrusted with God’s Word which reveals the means of salvation and justification.
[The unfaithfulness of Israel cannot in any means nullify the faithfulness of God. I want to challenge you to always trust the character of God.]
[Well, this leads us to the third and final point, and that is that…”
3C The Fame of God is not nullified (Vss. 5-8)
Paul’s purpose in vss. 5-8 is to respond to the Jewish objections that are assaulted by Paul’s teaching of the law and the covenant. Paul makes his case that even the Jews have advantages and privileges, they are still under moral obligation to be obedience or moral responsibilities.
First of all, when I say fame, I mean all that God is, all of His character and His nature.
Second, verse 5 somewhat parallels or is similar to verse 3. I appears to be an objection to Paul’s teaching in vss. 1-4.
[So, let’s start then and look at…]
1C The Anticipation of the Adversary (vs. 5)
“But if our unrighteousness demonstrates the righteousness of God, what shall we say?
This is an interesting objection, isn’t it? What this imaginary adversary is saying, “Since my sin brings out to the forefront better than anything else, shouldn’t God be happy?
The conclusion would be, “Isn’t God unfair to inflict punishment on the Jews?
If our sin highlights or brings out God glory, or His righteousness, then our sin actually glorifies God. Paul, you are saying that what would bring glory to God has been forbidden by you.
MacArthur says think of it this way:
“God is like a merchant who displays his expensive gold jewelry on a piece of black velvet so the contrast makes the gold appear even more elegant and beautiful. You are charging God with using man’s sin to bring glory to Himself, and that is blasphemy.”
That is a pretty good illustration, don’t you think? But Paul is worried that his readers might think he was teaching his own opinion so he adds in parenthesis the fact that he was sharing his own thought process – (“I speak as a man.”) Hey don’t think I believe this, this how I think a normal man would think about it.
[So once again he are given…]
2D The Answer of the Apostle (Vs. 6)
“Certainly not! For then how ill 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.”
So that Paul’s readers do not conclude that he was writing about his own personal thoughts process, he once again says, “May it never be!” NO way, Jose!
God does not encourage sin so that He can be glorified by sin.
If God acted like that, how could he judge the world? If the Jews knew anything, they knew that God was a perfect judge. The OT, especially the Psalms are filled with verses that testify to the fact that God is perfect and a perfect judge who will judge perfectly.
Paul even in vss. 7-8 says the same thing a little differently when he says that he is being misquoted and saying that God is glorified through his sin. Paul’s enemies were saying that Paul was teaching the wicked a person was the more gloried God was.
Summary: Paul warns his readers not to jump to the wrong conclusion from his statement that being entrusted with God’s word and submitting to circumcision would guarantee his readers salvation and advantages over the Gentiles on the Day of Judgment.
God is faithful to His covenant and to His promise, therefore He is faithful to His people. But here is the lesson that Paul wanted the Jews to get and the lesson that He wants us to get – God’s faithfulness is ultimately not to Israel, but actually is faithfulness is to Himself, to his own person and his own promises.
We can take at least four (4) thoughts from this truth:
- God is righteous or just when he judges his people for their sin
- God cannot excuse sin on the basis that it glorifies God
- God’s grace which is extended to his people is based on His own character
- God will chasten and/or judge believers today when they sin
[So, the Jews do have advantages. Their greatest advantage is having been entrusted with God’s Word which reveals the means of salvation and justification.]
[The unfaithfulness of Israel cannot in any means nullify the faithfulness of God.]
[And, the fame or the character of God is not challenged, changed, or condemned by the fact that He will judge His people.]
I want to challenge you to always trust the character of God.]
[What do you say that we wrap this up?]
The Application for North Kelso Baptist Church:
Paul had built a tremendous case against the Jews. The Jews, or as we have been calling them, are as guilty of sin as the Gentiles, or the Heathen. They too were under the wrath of God. God was going to judge the Jews as He was going to judge the Gentiles.
Paul has defended the right of God to judge the Jews. Even though God is going to judge the Jews, His judgment does not nullify all of the advantages that belonged to the Jews. His judgment does not nullify the faithfulness of God regardless of how unfaithful the Jews have been. And His judgment does not nullify the nature or the character of God. The sin of the Jews will not impugn the character of God.
As believers we will not stand before God at the great White throne judgment of God. We will not have to answer for our sin nor be judged by God. However, we will stand at the Bema Seat of God and we will give an account of our lives here on earth as believers.
Let’s not be so hard on the Jews. Even as believers we sin and are often unfaithful. We rely on ourselves rather than God or His Word. We need to confess our sin, our unfaithfulness, our own disobedience.
We need to seek the righteousness of God and set our hearts on heavenly things.
Paul’s goal was to expose that false wall of security in order for the Jews to quit relying on it so that they might rely on God himself as God always intended. He accomplished that. It is clear that the Jews sinned and deserved the judgment of God and that God was just in judging His own people.
Today I want to motivate you to always trust the character of God and to rely on God rather than yourselves.
Let’s pray! J