Saturday, 23 February 2013
For what if some did not believe? Will their unbelief make the faithfulness of God without effect? Romans 3:3
This verse, following immediately after verse 2 should be looked at in conjunction with verse 2 in order to find proper context –
Paul, in verse 1, asked what was the value of being a Jew and having the sign of circumcision. After this, he stated what that value is. That “to them were committed the oracles of God.”
As the stewards of God’s oracles, they have a special part in God’s dealings with the world and the implication is (and which is explicitly stated throughout the Bible) that God will deal with them in a way which will always preserve them as a people. If this is so, then what if “some” of them did not believe? Paul is being gracious here because the vast majority of the nation rejected Christ just as they rejected their Lord throughout their history, thus resulting in judgment and exile. What about this? Will their unbelief make the faithfulness of God null and void?
On the surface, this question seems clear and accuses God of being unfaithful. It is an argument which Paul had probably heard time and again. Those looking to find fault in God will propose such a thought in order to excuse their own unbelief. However, the question contains flawed human reasoning which Paul will clearly refute as he lays out his argument.
Throughout chapter 2, Paul showed that a believing gentile is in better standing with God than an unbelieving Jew. He also demonstrated that the sign of circumcision is pointless unless it is accompanied by living out what the sign is intended to convey – a relationship with God. Those who are uncircumcised and live in faith will have their uncircumcision counted as circumcision while those who are circumcised and don’t live in faith will be as if they are uncircumcised. But if their circumcision, which is the sign of the covenant, doesn’t save them then doesn’t this nullify God’s faithfulness? This is the argument and is what Paul will cover in the verses ahead.
Life application: One of the things lacking in the daily lives of people is clear thinking. It is something that requires training and must be developed through practice and study. Without clear thinking, arguments which are otherwise convoluted may seem right. It is hard to defend against such an argument unless the flaw can be pinpointed and shown as fallacious. Take time to study critical thinking, either through self-study on the internet or by enrolling in a college course which deals with the subject. You will be surprised how pertinent your studies will be to your daily life.
Heavenly Father, You created me to be a rational being. You have given me a brain which is meant for more than rote exercises and daily rituals, but which is for seeking wisdom in the many disciplines which I come in contact with from day to day. Help me to clearly and critically think through the important issues I face. Amen.