Romans 3 – Wow Companion

In Chapter 2, Paul discusses God’s objective and sound judgement.  The chapter concludes with Paul’s attack on an exterior form of faith without an internal reality.  He writes, “No, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a person’s praise is not from other people, but from God.”  The ultimate desire of an outward only faith is praise from man, and the root or motivating factor of internal faith is praise from God.  That the true Jewish nation is indicated by a love for God and love for others.

As a result, what value is there in being a Jew?  Quite often Paul presumes questions from his readers and preemptively answers them in his letters.  If a follower of God is identified by a heart change, then can’t we just get rid of this idea of a national people of God.  The answer is simply, no.

The story of God and the Jewish nation began in Genesis 12 and continues through the remainder of the Bible.  The whole Bible is a story of God’s faithfulness and humanity’s lack of faith.  Here is the issue.  If this is end of the story, then what promise do the Christians in Rome have that God will continue to be faithful? Continuing that thought, if God has started a work in your heart what promise do you have that God will continue to work?  Will he finish what he started?

What if some were unfaithful? Will their unfaithfulness nullify God’s faithfulness? Not at all!

God is faithful.  To whom is God faithful?  To the one that he has made a promise.  The new covenant promise is the Holy Spirit.  Those who love God through faith in Jesus are righteous, they are the promised ones.  God will be faithful to you.  Imagine the fire that promise would stir in the heart of the persecuted Church in Rome.  I imagine when your best friend is murdered for his faith the question; “Is God faithful?”, might pop up.

Paul goes on to conglomerate passages from the Psalms that have a common thread.  The exasperated Psalm writer looks around and only sees corruption.  Paul uses this language to validate his claim.  No one is righteous.  Not you.  Not me.  Not my pastor.  If there was a line that divided the righteous and unrighteous into groups, then we would all be on one side and God on the other.

I grew up in a church that taught the Old Testament included the rules I was supposed to follow, especially the 10 commandments.  I later discovered the Old Testament is mostly a story.  A series of writers wrote down the narrative of God and his people, including laws they were to center their lives around and help seperate Israel from surrounding nations.  Yet, while the laws are being cut into stone, they are being broken.  We can not keep the laws.  And this is one reason for the laws, that we become conscious of our sin.

20 Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.

I can’t follow God’s laws, or his desires, to be fair, I can’t even follow my own good desires.  So, how are we made right in the eyes of God if we can’t keep his rules?  Thank God for Jesus!

22 This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile,23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

We are sinners.  We are on the same team.  And we are only accepted because of Jesus.  Spiritual pride is a destruction of God’s righteousness.  It views God as food.  It absorbs him for its own energy, so it can grotesquely grow.  But as the Brethren of the Feast we are called to feast on the spiritual energy grace provides.  Allow God to work in you to impact your families, friends and congregations for the Glory of God.

Questions:

How do we stop Pharisaic attitude of God and I against everyone else?

Reading this page means God has started a work in your heart.  How does his great faithfulness impact your week?

If my relationship with God is based on someone else, if my wisdom, determination, heart, abilities were stitched into me by God, then where is my pride.  What do I have that I wasn’t given?  What has God given to you?  And how to you use it for his glory?

Concluding Thought:

I spent the week on a family trip to Myrtle Beach.  I took the opportunity to read and listen to some podcasts.  During a podcast, I suddenly felt the weight of Spiritual Pride.  A way of thinking that looks down on others.  Remember, the homeless dirty begger is a picture of my righteousness without Jesus.  What do you think about when you see someone laying on a sidewalk, shaking a change cup?  Maybe this is why Jesus loved people so well.  He could have looked down, rather he came down to seek and save the lost.  I challenge you to reshape the way you see one person this week.  Love them like Jesus would.

God Bless,

JP

*(Don’t be surprised if the cross-reference isn’t identical to Paul’s quotation.  You can then add LXX to the search.  Many of these verses are pulled from the Septuagint, which is a Greek translation of a Hebrew Bible.  There are english translations of the Greek Septuagint.)

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