Friday, 1 March 2013
What then? Are we better than they? Not at all. For we have previously charged both Jews and Greeks that they are all under sin. Romans 3:9
“What then?” What is the result of the question posed in 3:1 & 2? “What advantage then has the Jew, or what is the profit of circumcision? Much in every way! Chiefly because to them were committed the oracles of God.”
Paul noted that there is both advantage and profit in being a Jew and being circumcised. However, he then laid out the case that if their actions didn’t correspond with the sign they bore that God would be proven just in His judgment of them. He also showed that His faithfulness isn’t negated by their unfaithfulness and that His receiving glory through their unrighteous actions gave them no excuse in acting in an unrighteous manner.
And so he asks “Are we better than they?” In the end, are Jews better than the gentiles? The answer, “Not at all.” In chapter 1, he proved that the gentiles are bound under sin and then in chapters 2 and 3 he showed that the Jew are also – “For we have previously charged…”
The charges have been made and they have been fully substantiated. “All are under sin.” This is a truth not just found in Paul’s philosophy, but is found in Scripture itself. As Paul notes in Galatians 3:22 – “But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.”
Yes, Paul wrote Galatians, but he is citing “Scripture” which at that time consisted only of the Old Testament. The proof of Paul’s claim comes from the earliest pages of the Bible and continues right up until its last paragraph. Something more would be needed – Jesus. As chapter 3 unfolds, we will see this clearly.
Life application: God has shown in His word that all people are bound under sin. This doesn’t merely mean that we are sinners individually, but that we are under a broad kingdom of sin. We are trapped in it and there is only one exit. Take time to read Jesus’ words from John 14:1-6 and then stand fast on the truth that Jesus is the only way to be reconciled to God. Then, determine in your heart not to waffle on this conviction when confronted by those who challenge it.
Heavenly Father, I can see that I am no better than any other person. But what is also true is that no other person is any better than me. All it takes is one sin for us to be separated from You. Help me to remember this as I deal with others who seem so much more “sinful” than I am. We are all in the same desperate need of Jesus. Amen.