Part 1 – Paul Gets Interviewed By His Brothers
As Paul moves into the third chapter of his Letter to the Romans he anticipates the questions that the Jewish believers would have since he just finished lambasting them about the worthlessness of circumcision – or any other Jewish ritual – if it doesn’t involve a circumcision of the heart – a true conversion, which can only come from the Spirit of the Lord by His grace.
So Paul sets up a hypothetical interview between himself and some believing Jewish church members in order to preemptively dispel any doubts that they may have about their significance as Jews, and the saving grace of God.
The first question is obvious: If circumcision and other Jewish rites aren’t important regarding one’s salvation, then what advantage is there in being Jewish. Paul answers that question by pointing out the most important advantage (and he will list many more later in Romans 9): The Jews were entrusted by the Lord God with the very words of God – the Word of God. No one else received this kind of revelation for their guidance, encouragement, comfort, and deliverance. But unfortunately, the Jews did not take advantage of God’s Word, which was to be a light unto their feet and path.
This fact then raised the next question: If the Jews were not faithful with God’s Word, does this nullify – cancel out – God’s faithfulness to His promises? And there’s your answer: If God makes a promise, He will keep it. The promises and love of God are not contingent on whether I am faithful or not – although I’m certainly called, encouraged, challenged, and told to be faithful and obedient, and blessings come from that – but God is faithful no matter what.
Then the questions arose concerning the potential abuse of grace: If the unrighteousness and falsehood of the Jews brings about more of God’s righteousness and truth, then is it good to live unrighteously and in lies? Of course, the answer to that is an emphatic “No!”
Not only does the Lord always remain faithful despite our tendency to be unfaithful, the Lord is already righteous and the truth, so our sin, or good deeds can’t make the Lord anymore righteous or truthful!
So, how does all of this relate to you and I today as 21st-century Christians? How can we apply these truths to our own life? What in the world does this hypothetical interview between Paul and some imaginary Jewish believers have to do with you and I?
You and I as 21st-century Christians have been given a wonderful flashlight called God’s Word. And not only does this flashlight of Scripture shine upon our daily path of this Christian journey - leading and guiding us in the way we should go in this life - but it’s a laser beam as well – it zeroes right upon the inner workings of our soul and spirit – and by the Lord’s loving grace and mercy it gently reveals or points out where our shortcomings, our selfish bents, our fleshy desires, and our obvious, and maybe not so obvious sins are hiding. It’s also a warning signal to us – keeping us from danger.
But the Lord isn’t a strict, mean, and vengeful cop/interviewer towards His children, who’s looking to snag us, embarrass us, stomp on us, and make a bigger mess out of us than we already are. His Word is a surgical laser that cuts out the cancers, the moles, and the tumors that are hindering our walk, and the removal of such then allows us to move, run, and live freely in God’s grace.
We don’t have to look to our heritage, our church membership, our baptism record, our tithing or offering receipt, etc. to determine if we are eligible to be called children of the King. All of those things are great, important, and often indicators that we are in the faith. But regarding our salvation: We rest on grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, and when we do, we will be at peace, and the Lord God will receive all the glory.