Convoluted Arguments

Romans 3:1-8
1Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the value of circumcision?
2Much in every way. To begin with, the Jews were entrusted with the oracles of God.
3What if some were unfaithful? Does their faithlessness nullify the faithfulness of God?
4By no means! Let God be true though every one were a liar, as it is written, “That you may be justified in your words,
and prevail when you are judged.”
5But if our unrighteousness serves to show the righteousness of God, what shall we say? That God is unrighteous to inflict wrath on us? (I speak in a human way.)
6By no means! For then how could God judge the world?
7But if through my lie God’s truth abounds to his glory, why am I still being condemned as a sinner?
8And why not do evil that good may come?—as some people slanderously charge us with saying. Their condemnation is just.

Whenever I read these chapters of Romans my mind conjures up images of Paul and the people of his day standing in a public forum engaging in philosophical / theological debates. It would appear that is what the people did for fun and entertainment. Since they didn’t have the distraction of television, they engaged in public conversation about the important topics of the day. The arguments that Paul makes in our reading for today sound just like one of those convoluted speeches that someone engaged in debate would make.

Paul has spoken of the sinfulness of everyone – Jew and Gentile alike. He has shown that the existence of God and His moral standard is written onto the heart of every person born. Now he makes a case for the Hebrews being uniquely blessed because they have been singled out by God as partners in His overall plan of salvation. They have been entrusted with His holy Word. This is indeed an honor, for in God’s Word we find salvation. Paul then goes on to show how our unfaithfulness is not a reflection on God, nor does it serve as a backdrop for God’s pure faithfulness. This makes me think of today’s bridesmaids. The joke is that they are present in the wedding in order to make the bride look good – ugly dresses and all. That is, of course, ridiculous. Apparently, there were people who making the charge that Paul was teaching just such a crazy notion. My sin does not make God’s righteousness all the more apparent. It only serves to bring me conviction and an awareness of my great need for a Savior, which God has provided in Jesus Christ.