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God remains faithful even when we aren’t


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Romans 3:1-8 ESV

1Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the value of circumcision? 2 Much in every way. To begin with, the Jews were entrusted with the oracles of God. 3 What if some were unfaithful? Does their faithlessness nullify the faithfulness of God? 4 By no means! Let God be true though everyone was a liar, as it is written, “That you may be justified in your words, and prevail when you are judged.” 5 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.) 6 By no means! For then how could God judge the world? 7 But if through my lie God's truth abounds to his glory, why am I still being condemned as a sinner? 8 And why not do evil that good may come?—as some people slanderously charge us with saying. Their condemnation is just.

Main Idea: God remains faithful even when we aren’t

Up to this point in Romans, Paul has been building a case that Jews and gentiles alike will stand under the judgment of God. This begs the question…so is there any advantage to being Jewish? Paul’s emphatic answer is YES. They have access to God through the law.

However, their inability to uphold the law reveals that they are failing to live out their mission to exemplify God to the gentile world. Paul uses the example of the Jews to illustrate a theological reality about God’s character: God is faithful to humanity even when humanity is unfaithful to God.  

Discussion Questions:

  • How was accessing the law (Torah) an advantage for the Jewish people? What did it reveal to them about God and/or themselves?
    • Law reveals who God is and sheds light on the reality of an infinite gulf that separates God and man.
    • The law restrains evil. Though it cannot change the heart of a person, the law can to some extent inhibit lawlessness by its threat of judgment.
    • Points us in the direction of right living; the law reveals what will please God.

 

  • How does our “unrighteousness serve to show the righteousness of God” (Romans 3:5 ESV)?
    • Our failure to live up to God’s intended design for humanity reveals our need for a savior
    • Contract vs covenant…
      • Contract dissolves when one party breaches terms
      • Covenant upheld regardless of failure (i.e. like marriage)
      • If our relationship with God was contractual, he’d have every right to break ways with us in our sin
      • But we – like the Jews – are in covenant with God, which means He will uphold the relationship even despite our failures

 

  • Tim Keller defines grace as “The free, unmerited favor of God, working powerfully on the mind and heart to change lives.”

 

  • How do you see grace operating in this passage?
  • Can you think of a time in your life when you’ve experienced grace? (could be from God or from another person)
  • Describe your internal world after you breach God’s law. What does it look like to come under God’s grace?
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