TAKING SIN SERIOUSLY
Holy One, I thank You for Your wise and loving care. Today, may Your strength sustain me and Your wisdom instruct me.
Read ROMANS 3:1–8
3 What advantage, then, is there in being a Jew, or what value is there in circumcision? 2 Much in every way! First of all, the Jews have been entrusted with the very words of God.
3 What if some were unfaithful? Will their unfaithfulness nullify God’s faithfulness? 4 Not at all! Let God be true, and every human being a liar. As it is written:
“So that you may be proved right when you speak
and prevail when you judge.”[a]
5 But if our unrighteousness brings out God’s righteousness more clearly, what shall we say? That God is unjust in bringing his wrath on us? (I am using a human argument.) 6 Certainly not! If that were so, how could God judge the world? 7 Someone might argue, “If my falsehood enhances God’s truthfulness and so increases his glory, why am I still condemned as a sinner?” 8 Why not say—as some slanderously claim that we say—“Let us do evil that good may result”? Their condemnation is just!
- Romans 3:4 Psalm 51:4
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectIn our culture the notion of sin is out of vogue. Why do you think this is?
This passage is tricky, particularly since Paul is using a rhetorical question-and- answer style, touching on themes he will expand on at greater length in later chapters (particularly chapters 9 to 11). While Paul acknowledges the special relationship the Jewish people had as God’s chosen people (vs 1,2), in essence he is looking at how absurd it is for anyone to take advantage of God’s faithfulness (v 8). Paul reminds Jewish believers in Rome not to assume that an ethnic identity guarantees salvation, because all are guilty before God and need his grace.
Our culture struggles with the justice of God, but it is important to take our sin seriously (vs 5–8). Rebecca Manley Pippert writes, ‘People around us today often scoff at the notion of sin. Our world has new names for what ails us…It isn’t that these issues aren’t a reality; it’s that such analysis doesn’t go deep enough to reveal the root cause.’
In the book of Romans, Paul is always building his argument toward the same conclusion: whether Jew or Gentile, all are in desperate need of salvation. God’s special promises to Abraham were always intended to bring into being a multi-ethnic family of God, saved by Jesus and transformed by God’s Spirit.
Ask God to save you from a smugness or a self-righteousness and thank him for his continuing faithfulness to you.
Holy Spirit, press in on me today. I confess any duplicity in me and thank You for Your forgiving, cleansing grace. Your strength is made perfect in my weakness.
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