Brought to account

Are Jews more privileged that other people?

Yes, they certainly are. To begin with, they’ve been entrusted with the very words of God.

But haven’t some of them been unfaithful? Won’t their faithlessness force them to forfeit those privileges?

No. God will remain true, even if the whole world is unfaithful. As has been written: “You’ll be proved right when you speak, and you’ll be vindicated by your judgment.”

But if our failures merely demonstrate the perfection of God – as some people say – isn’t it unfair of him to then subject us to judgment? (Obviously, this argument is from a human point of view.)

No, otherwise you would be preventing God from judging the whole world.

“But if my faithlessness only serves to illustrate God’s faithfulness, and in that way increases his honour,” says someone, “why am I still condemned as sinful?” And other people even claim that we say, “Let’s do evil, so that good will come of it.” Clearly, people like that deserve their condemnation!

So, what’s our conclusion? Have the Jews been shown favouritism? Not really, because we saw earlier that everyone – whether they’re a Jews or Gentiles – are in the grip of evil. As has been written: “There’s no one is truly good – no, not even one single person. There’s no one who understands – no one who’s in search of God. Everyone’s turned away – they’ve all become completely useless. There’s no one who always does good – no, not a single one. Their throats are like an open grave – their mouth are filled with lies. The poison of snakes in on their lips – their mouths are full of curses and bitterness. They rush to commit murder – destruction and misery follow wherever they go. They don’t even know the way of peace – they don’t fear God at all.”

Now we know that whatever the law says, it only says to those people to who are under it, so they’ve got no excuse for failing to keep it, and the whole world can be brought to account before God. That’s why no one can ever be made right with God by trying to do what the law commands, because the law simply draws our attention to our failures.

But now – separate from the law – the goodness of God has been revealed, by a way which the Books of the Law and the Prophets had always made clear. The way to be made right with God is by faith in Jesus Christ. There’s no difference in treatment between Jew and Gentile, because everyone’s sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. But all are justified freely by his grace, through the redemption which comes from Christ Jesus. For God presented Jesus as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood, to be received by faith. He did this in his goodness because, due to his kindness, all our earlier sins had gone unpunished. But now, at this present time, he can be fair – but also the justifier of those have faith in Jesus.

What can we boast of, then?

Nothing!

Why not? What prevents us boasting?

Because we can’t keep the law that we’re supposed to. Instead, we’re put right with God by faith, and not the keeping the requirements of the law. This is what we’re saying – we’re justified by faith alone, not by the works of the law.

Is God only the God of the Jews? Isn’t he’s also the God of the Gentiles? Yes, he’s the God of the Gentiles, too. For there’s only one God, and he’ll justify the Jews by faith and the Gentiles by that very same faith.

Are we cancelling out the law, then, by this faith?

No. What we’re actually doing is upholding the law!

Paul

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