What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision?Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God.For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect?God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged. (Romans 3:1-4)
In Romans 1 and 2, Paul has shown that all men, godless and pious, gentile and Jew, pagan and religious, are in desperate need of Righteousness with God, none have it inherently.There is no one who has perfectly pleased God in every respect.
An objection is anticipated, “if this is true, than what benefit have the Jews? Why don’t they believe this ? If even Israel is unsaved, has not God proven unfaithful to His promises to them?” Israel’s salvation has always been based upon faith; the faithfulness of God, and the believing response of Man.
“That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and overcome when thou art judged”
Paul’s quotation of Psalm 51 here, Likens Israel to David after having sinned with Bathsheba, who had to come to the point where he confessed his sin to God, in order to Justify God, that is, admit that God is ‘in the right’.
One either ‘justifies God’ or one condemns Him. God has declared that all of us are sinners, without exception, whether atheist or religionist. Furthermore God has revealed to us that each one of us are without any excuse for our sins, for all of us have sinned against knowledge. Finally God has stated that we sinners deserve His judgement.
But most people don’t really believe this. They argue for their own righteousness, or as in the text , they throw arguments at God , such as “How could God condemn the Jews” or “What about the heathen that never heard ? “. Accusations against God himself are common, like, “If God was really a Just God…why…” , or,”If God were a God of Love,how come….?” .
There are really only two choices, either one justifies God and condemns themselves in the process, or they condemn God, so that they can justify themselves. Either I agree with God’s evaluation of me, in Romans 1-2-3, or I condemn God, calling him a liar. John puts it this way in his epistle,
If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.(I john 1:10)
Justifying God is saying “You are right…about me…I am a sinner deserving of wrath…”.In the scripture ,we read that “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness”(.I John 1:9) , the word “confess” – means “to say the same thing as God has said about your sin.
Jesus said in Luke 7 that those who were baptised in the Jordan under the preaching of John, “Justified God” by their baptism, while those who refused John “Rejected the counsel of God against themselves”,
And all the people that heard him, and the publicans, justified God, being baptized with the baptism of John.But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of Godagainst themselves, being not baptized of him(Luke 7:29-30)
These are the only two choices, neutrality is not an option, in Romans 1 and 2 Paul has brought the human race before the bar of God’s holy justice, and he has condemned us all. We can either agree with God’s assessment, justifying Him,(condemning ourselves by admitting that He is right), or we can keep insisting on our own righteousness, in spite of what God has said,(making him a liar to justify ourselves). Is God right about you, or are you?