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October 22, 2017

"LET GOD BE TRUE"

TEXT: Romans 3: 1-8
READING:  1 Peter 4: 1-19

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SUBJ: The absolute nature of the righteousness of God and its coexistence with God in all His attributes making all efforts at detracting from or enhancing it both fruitless and ungodly.

AIM: That we might abandon all thoughts of comparison or contribution to His righteous and rather that we reverence Him and the oracles of God which so gloriously reveal Him.

INTR: The matter of universal guilt before God continues to be addressed in this chapter and is as such a continuation (remembering that chapter divisions were added as an aid to searching the scriptures).
1. Paul continues to press the issue of Jewish advantage as to the revelation of God and the Gospel and we begin with a rhetorical question.
2. This one is quickly answered, and it behooves us to recognize and study what was given to them and so to make it our advantage as well.
3. Paul employs a device that is most effective; he puts words into the mouths of readers in anticipation of the negative thoughts they might have.

THESIS: The righteousness of God is a standalone truth and needs no assistance from men in the sense of either proving it or of supplanting it in the interest of defending their own righteousness. He is God; He is righteous! That statement is made without equivocation.

I. The Jewish advantage (vv. 1-2)
1. Early in chapter 2, Paul asserted that God is no respecter of persons which would seem to contradict this. One suggested that Paul has heard someone speak of the necessity of being a Jew.
1) In the sense of one born again of the Spirit of God there is no advantage in that the middle wall of partition has been broken down
2) In the sense of the historical heritage of the Jews, there is an advantage.
2. The question is quickly answered and speaks much to us that is of value:
1) It was the Jews to whom the oracles of God were committed as custodians and by this was meant:
i. The Law of Moses including all the early history of creation and the nation.
ii. The institution of the ceremonial Law whereby types and shadows spoke volumes in reference to Christ and of the nature of the God they served as filled with mercy and forgiveness.
iii. They were given the prophets who spoke in the Spirit of Christ and were looking to Him
(a) There was an immediate application to their ministry and
(b) They were preaching of the coming Messiah and
(c) They foresaw and taught of the events of this present age and of the world to come.
iv. The fact of the Trinity had been given to them.
2) Thus, a long association with the living truths of the living God has been theirs exclusively. You only have I known of all the families of the earth: therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities. Can two walk together, except they be agreed? Amos 3:2-3.
3. It is important to inject here that the very fact that the Old Testament is so referenced as the oracles of God and that so much of the New Testament is anticipated here provides abundant warrant to study both and to consider the Bible as one Book.

II. Jewish and other unfaithfulness (vv. 3-4)
1. A second question is asked relating to the unbelief (unfaithfulness) of some as appearing in opposition to God being able to carry out His promises.
1) It is to be noted that unfaithfulness is the issue here in reference to both since the many of the Old Testament were truly people of faith and faithfulness and
2) The promises of God never have and never will hinge on the faith or faithlessness of men!
2. The apostasy of the Jews in the Old Testament is a matter of record. One has rightly noted that their behavior is almost rhythmic in their idolatry, captivity, repentance and return only to start the cycle over.
3. This could in no way, however, negate the determination of God to bring Christ into the world in a prescribed manner with an unwavering purpose and a people to salvation glory.
1) The promise to David concerning Christ coming through his progeny was given before the sin with Bathsheba – it was of this union that Solomon came into the world.
2) The quote here is from Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest. Psalms 51:4.
i. It is not that God needs to be cleared or justified by men only
ii. He will have them to know that truth is His and righteousness.

III. An ungodly supposition (vv. 5-8)
1. The suggestion had been pressed that since the righteousness of God stands out in glorious contrast against the sinfulness of men that somehow sin made God look better.
2. This would lead to the conclusion that God should not be so hard on sin and that He would be wrong to take vengeance on those who were helping Him (Paul will again address this issue in writing: What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Romans 6:1-2.
3. This calls out and anticipates the devices of men employed to minimize thoughts of divine judgment.
4. The question continues with the reasoning that God has “abounded through my lie unto His glory.”
1) While the glory of God excels in comparison to the sin and sinfulness of man
2) He is righteous and glorious with no assistance and what a monstrosity He would be if He propagated evil just so good may come.
3) Whose damnation is just! (Paul had been accused of preaching such heresy).
5. We need only go to the cross to see the hatred and intolerance God has for sin as we witness what was done to Christ because He bore my sins in His body on the tree.