Saturday 01 February 2014

Bible Book:

Romans 3:1-20 Saturday 1 February 2014


Granted that the law (Genesis to Deuteronomy)cannot make people good, is it still something to admire? Has itscapacity to reveal the will of God been corrupted because it hasbeen placed in the guardianship of the Jewish people, with theirmanifest moral failures? Actually, argues Paul, the JewishScriptures (ie the Old Testament) continue to throw into relief theperfections of God. God's faithfulness, God's justice and God'struth stand secure and untarnished, in marked contrast to theimmorality of God's people - not that the Jewish failure to obeyGod can ever be justified on that ground; nor should it ever befurther encouraged in order to highlight God's holiness.

In verse 9 Paul returns to a point he has arguedearlier (Romans2:1-16). Both Jews and Gentiles (non Jews) indulge inwickedness and evil. Paul now provides a collection of texts(mainly from the book of Psalms) which confirm that "the oracles ofGod" already bear witness to the failure of all people everywhereto live up to their divine calling.

The Jewish Scriptures, then, have this to be saidin their favour. They reveal God's will for everyone; they alsoreveal that everyone, without exception, has broken the law. TheOld Testament announces God's promise of freedom; it also showsthat everyone, without exception, is blind to the law's teachingabout how God's salvation is to be delivered. The Scriptures makeclear that human hearts are in the vice-like grip of a power whichis alien to God ('sin').

In spite of the law's majestic qualities, itcannot save the Jews. They are spiritually in the same place asGentiles, ie they are sinners. There is no point in Gentilesbecoming Jews in order to be saved. Rather the gospel (good news ofChrist) must be heard as a new gift to everyone - a gift that makesa spiritual difference.

To Ponder

  • Do you consider it to be important for Christians to read theOld Testament? If so, what in your experience helps you to makesense of it?
  • What is your experience of saying or singing the Psalms inChristian worship? When was this last discussed in yourcongregation?
  • Identify two or three Old Testament passages that matter a lotto you because they help you in your Christian living. How can youbest share them with others?
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