“God’s Judgments and God’s Faithfulness” Pt. 2
July 10, 2016
A few weeks ago, a woman took the book Myths and Legends of Maoriland back to her Auckland, New Zealand library. It was a little late and she was concerned about the potential fine. Actually, it was checked out in 1948, making it 67 years, or 24,605 days past the date it was due to be returned.
“She told me she had checked out the book as a child and been meaning to return it for years,” said librarian Zoe Cornelius.
“She seemed a bit embarrassed but I was pleased because she said she had read and enjoyed the book many times over the decades and that made me happy – that the book had been in a good home and loved.”
The woman would not incur any late fees, said Cornelius, as she was a child when the book was checked out and children were not charged late fines at the library. [Accessed from The Guardian, 5/1/16.]
Had the library instituted the fine currently imposed by the library, she would have owed about $17,000 (American; or NZ$24,605).
Wouldn’t it be nice if all your debts could be erased so easily? You’d call your mortgage company and the bank holding your car loan, and all your credit card companies and say, “You know, I’m embarrassed about my debt — I know I’m a little late with the last few payments; can we just forget about it?” Not too likely that will happen!
Wouldn’t it be nice if the same thing could happen to your sin debt? “You know, God, I’m kinda sorry about what I did, but I haven’t had a chance to do anything about it and I know you are kind and loving, so can’t we just forget all my sins ever happened?” That’s the way most people think God operates; He’s a gentle, benevolent, old man (who is a little forgetful) — something like a favorite grandfather — and if He even remembers your sin, He’ll just overlook it at the end.
But the Scriptures paint a very different picture. As Paul notes in Romans 1, God will pour out his wrath on those who reject Him (and is already judging them, 1:24, 26, 28). And in Romans 2, Paul asserts that God will even condemn His covenant people, Israel, if they do not repent and turn in faith to Him. That second chapter had to be upsetting to those who were Jewish; there certainly would have been objections to that wrath of God. And some of those objections are given in Romans 3:1-8. And the objections have to do with the fairness of God in His judgments. And what Paul will demonstrate is that God is always fair in all He does. In this section, Paul answers a series of four objections that might be made against his comments against the sinning and unrepentant Jews.
Paul’s theme in these opening verses is that —
God is faithful and true when He judges sinners — even Jewish sinners.
In this passage, Paul answers four questions that might be made against his teaching on the nature of sin and God’s judgment of Jewish sinners (he’s continuing the diatribe against the hypothetical, typical Jew who might be objecting to his understanding of the nature of sin).
Q1: If God Judges Jews, Is There an Advantage to Being a Jew? (vv. 1-2)
- The problem: It doesn’t seem advantageous to be Jewish if God condemns Jews (v. 1)
- The solution: God has given Jews many benefits, beginning with Scripture (v. 2)
Q2: If God Judges Jews, is God Unfaithful to His Promises? (vv. 3-4)
- The problem: If Jews do not believe, then it seems that that God hasn’t kept His promises (v. 3)
- The solution: God is always true to Himself and will be vindicated for His actions (v. 4)
Q3: If God Judges Jews, Can God Righteously Judge Sin? (vv. 5-6)
- Problem: When men sin more, it makes God’s righteousness appear more glorious, so it seems unfair to judge men’s sins (v. 5)
- Solution: God must always judge sin if there is justice and if He is just (v. 6)
Q4: If God Is Glorified by Judging Jews, Why Are Jews Still Condemned As Sinners? (vv. 7-8)
- Problem: It appears unfair for God to judge sin if sin brings Him glory (v. 7)
- Problem: It seems like men should sin more if sin brings God glory (v. 8a)
- Solution: Such foolish thinking demonstrates the justness of God’s judgment (v. 8b)
Download the rest of this sermon from Romans 3:1-8.
The audio will be posted on the GBC website later today.