Chapter III continues to address the Jewish/Gentiles problems plaguing the early church.
Some of the things discussed are Jewish privilege, the consequences of sin, the corruption of our natural state, and how we stand guilty before God.
We also will see that there is nothing we can do to please God on our own strength.
Lastly, this chapter will show how the law is not put aside but established and completed through the work of Christ.
This post addresses vs. 1-9; the advantage of the Jew, the judgment due of sin, and loss of Israel’s favored privilege.
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.
The Jews were entrusted with God’s word and progressive revelation. The is no higher honor than to have God dwell among your people revealing His plan of salvation for all the world.
They had first-hand knowledge from the beginnings of creation until John the Baptist prepared the way. Culminating with the Jewish apostles giving us the finished and complete Word of God.
His divine favor rested on this peculiar people. We too are chosen to the similar calling as they, to be purified, holy, and to show the love and works of God to the world.
Looking for that blessed hope,
and the glorious appearing of the great God
and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
Who gave himself for us,
that he might redeem us from all iniquity,
and purify unto himself a peculiar people,
zealous of good works
~ Titus 2:13-14
Israel had Moses and the prophets, the excellencies of God’s treasures, yet they repeately abused these privileges and were cut off.
Oh how the warning bell was rung!
For their lusts and idolatry, they were overthrown in the wilderness.
For their fornication, twenty three thousand fell in one day.
For tempting Christ, many were destroyed by serpents.
For murmuring, others were destroyed by the destroyer.
All these things were written for our admonition.
Do we dare to think that we can commit these same sins and stand justified before The Lord of Hosts?
This is the sin issue Paul is constantly referring to in his epistles. Conjoined with unbelief in vs. 3-4. This epistle shows that through sin and unbelief we as Christians have much to work on if we are to be obedient unto the fruits of perfection for which Jesus’ commands.
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.
Unbelief is highly problematic because we sin through unbelief.
Unbelief in the power of his word leads to disobedience of the Laws of Christ.
Unbelief that the grace of God is powerful enough to divide our soul from our spirit or that it has the power to rip out our sinful nature and make us a new creation.
Unbelief that God shall destroy any man who defiles the temple of God; for the temple of God is holy, which temple you are ~ 1 Corinthians 3:16-17.
We must believe and act on the whole truth of God’s word for in it is the power of complete salvation.
But if our unrighteousness
commend the righteousness of God,
what shall we say?
Is God unrighteous who taketh vengeance?
(I speak as a man) God forbid:
for then how shall God judge the world?
For if the truth of God hath more abounded
through my lie unto his glory;
why yet am I also judged as a sinner?
Paul uses the term ‘God forbid’ 9 times in the New Testament. Just like its usage in the Old Testament the term pertains unequivocally to something that should NOT happen. It also intimates of consequences.
All our unbelief, all our sin, illustrates the mercy of God as He fulfills the promises He made to our forefathers coming in the flesh to suffer and die for our sins.
God’s punishment of sin is glorified in His mercy toward us when the Word came down and tabernacled among us.
Jesus showed us the way, then He provided us the power to walk in them through the grace of the Holy Ghost.
Paul is rightly explaining here that God’s judgment finds approval in the eyes of man through the utter sinfulness of our ways.
This is not an excuse to remain in sin.
Shall we continue to sin that grace may abound? God forbid!
We are to flee iniquity and find salvation in the approval and praises of God as His righteousness dwells and works in and through us.
And not rather,
(as we be slanderously reported,
and as some affirm that we say,)
Let us do evil, that good may come?
whose damnation is just.
Paul’s enemies are most likely charging him from principles of the Mosaic law being ignorant of the freedom and Laws of Christ and the riches and mercies of God’s judgment.
He absolute denies this perversion in doing evil that good may come and defends the principle of God’s moral judgment of our sins.
We are moral creatures and will be held morally accountable for every one of all our thoughts, words, deeds, and intentions.
What then? are we better than they?
No, in no wise:
for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles,
that they are all under sin;
In the Greek this verse literally means: Are we holding before ourselves (a shield in which we can escape judgment?) This is expounding on the argument against those who believe they can continue in sin and escape God’s punishment as noted in chapters I and II.
We are all under the guilt and power of sin; the Jews, by transgression of the written law; the gentiles, by transgression of the law of nature.
This is a strong proof condemning all sin and extends to those who continue to practice sin.
Paul is arguing that there is no protection in the mercy of God, the possession of the law, or in circumcision.
We will stand silent before God if we are found to be guilty in sin. His glorious majesty will reign justice over us. Do not use the truth of the gospel as an excuse to sin.
Like David, we can commit murder, lust, and envy. There will come a time; If we have not repented from and ceased in the sins we practice, we will not escape God’s everlasting judgment.
We learned in the last chapter that the Jews’ hypocrisy and sin was more wicked and because they knew better. Their judgment will also be much harsher.
The same stands true of us. The more knowledge of God we have, the more we will be held accountable such as pastors and teachers. Or, if we get saved and come to know Jesus, then turn away. How much worse is our judgment?
Ye therefore, beloved,
seeing ye know these things before,
beware lest ye also,
being led away with the error of the wicked,
fall from your own stedfastness
~ 2 Peter 3:17.
We can fall away after believing for a while as Jesus said,
They on the rock are they,
which, when they hear,
receive the word with joy;
and these have no root,
which for a while believe,
and in time of temptation fall away.
And that which fell among thorns are they,
which, when they have heard, go forth,
and are choked with cares and riches
and pleasures of this life,
and bring no fruit to perfection.
Those last 5 words of Jesus should sting us all in the core of our souls unless our heart is made of stone.
bring no fruit to perfection.
We are to bring fruits unto perfection. Be not deceived by man’s doctrine; which is a doctrine straight from Satan himself; that we cannot bring fruits unto perfection and must remain in sin.
God longs to inhabit holy and pure temples.
Make your tabernacle a fitting place for Him to dwell.
(I think this applies to most Christians) that it is time to clean house. In order to be inhabited by a loving, righteous, and living God.
Remember, our God is an awesome God. He is also a jealous God and does not tolerate sin or wickedness in His temple. He destroyed His temple two times so far. He will the third temple as well.
More importantly, He will destroy your temple if you continue to defile it with sin and wickedness.
Know ye not that ye are the temple of God,
and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
If any man defile the temple of God,
him shall God destroy;
for the temple of God is holy,
which temple ye are.
Let no man deceive himself.
If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world,
let him become a fool,
that he may be wise
~ I Corinthians 3:16-18
know ye not that your body
is the temple of the Holy Ghost
which is in you,
which ye have of God,
and ye are not your own?
For ye are bought with a price:
therefore glorify God in your body,
and in your spirit, which are God’s.
~ I Corinthians 6:19-20
We are not our own and must bring fruits unto perfection; God’s perfection in us, Christian perfection in Him.