Romansby David Cook
If, as far as God is concerned, Jews are not better off than anyone else, what advantage is there in being a Jew, one of God’s people?
Paul says the advantages are many, although he lists only one (v. 2). Jews have been entrusted with the very words of God, the Old Testament Scriptures. Israel‘s supreme privilege is that she was the first to know the mind of God.
Paul anticipates two other questions. The first is in verses 3 to 4. Does Jewish unfaithfulness release God from His obligation to be faithful? “No way!” says Paul. “God always remains faithful.” John Calvin, the 16th-century theologian, said that this is “the primary axiom of all Christian philosophy”. God is faithfully committed to His Word.
David acknowledged that God was just to punish him for his sin (v. 4, see Psalm 51:4). God is therefore faithful. He stands by His covenant promises and His covenant threats. His faithfulness is seen in His punishment of David and in His punishment of Jewish faithlessness.
The second question comes in verses 5 to 8. If God’s faithfulness is shown when He punishes our sin, then why not continue sinning? Isn’t God unjust to punish us when our sin highlights His faithfulness? “Certainly not!” Paul responds strongly (v. 6). If that were the case, God could never judge us. Notice here how Paul accepts God’s judgment as a fact. It is immovable. Your thinking is wrong if it rules out God’s judgment.
Paul says that those who justify sinning because it enhances God’s character are justly condemned (v. 8). Paul had been slandered; it was claimed he encouraged sin, no doubt because of his emphasis on faith, not works. Others were not slandered like this, no doubt because their version of the gospel had an element of human contribution to it.
In the endeavour to justify ourselves and condemn God, we see the depth of sin in the human heart.
If a doctrine causes us to have a slack attitude towards sin, and to live below God’s moral standard, then it is not the truth. lt is not of God.
The condemnation of the Jew is a reminder to us that one can be zealous, knowledgeable, and religious, and yet not know God. Do you know God or merely know about God?