God in the Dock

Paul scripts a debate with an imaginary critic who objects to his claim that the Jews are not privileged above Gentiles in knowing God because of their ethnic tradition and religion. If that is so, the critic mounts four charges, each arising from the previous one, against God. Isn't Jewish election a sham (vv1-2)? Hasn't their failure to keep the covenant meant that God has failed (vv3-4)? How can God be just (vv5-6)? If human sin magnifies God's righteousness, isn't God encouraging us to sin (vv7-8)? The passage challenges us to reflect on our view of the character of God.

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Romans 3:1-8

God's Righteousness Upheld

3:1 Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the value of circumcision? Much in every way. To begin with, the Jews were entrusted with the oracles of God. What if some were unfaithful? Does their faithlessness nullify the faithfulness of God? By 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.”

But 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.) By no means! For then how could God judge the world? But if through my lie God's truth abounds to his glory, why am I still being condemned as a sinner? And why not do evil that good may come?—as some people slanderously charge us with saying. Their condemnation is just. (ESV)

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. Copyright ©2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Text provided by the Crossway Bibles Web Service.

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