Romans 3:1-19 [5-11-11]


[Verses 1-19]




Romans 2:29) [NIV] No, a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a man’s praise is not from men, but from God.

QUESTION: What are verses 17-20 telling his Jewish readers?

ANSWER: The Jewish Christians in the Roman Church thought they were superior Christians to the non-Jewish Christians in the Church because they had the Law of Moses.

QUESTION: What are verses 21-24 telling his readers?

ANSWER: He’s telling his readers that having the Law is a curse, not a blessing, unless you keep the Law. Verse 24 is a “free quotation from the lxx of Isa 52:5” [Robertson]. It tells us that if you have the Law but don’t keep the Law you are a stumbling block to others.

NOTE: When we act holier-than-thou but live badly we hinder others from receiving the Gospel.

QUESTION: What are verses 25-29 telling his Jewish readers?

ANSWER: Jews throughout the ages from Moses until Paul were circumcised and had the Law, yet many of them were rejected by God because they didn’t keep the Law.

NOTE: In this new dispensation of the Gospel many Gentiles who weren’t circumcised, and who never had Moses’ Law, were keeping the moral part of Moses’ Law. Paul states that they are in right relationship with God.

QUESTION: What are his concluding thoughts in this chapter?

ANSWER: When he talks about an inward Jew versus a physical Jew he is basically talking about who are God’s real people. God’s real people are the ones who live right, not the ones who are merely physical descendents of Abraham.

On To This Week’s Lesson:

Romans 3:1-19) [NIV] What advantage, then, is there in being a Jew, or what value is there in circumcision?

2) [NIV] Much in every way! First of all, they have been entrusted with the very words of God.

Romans 9:3-5) [NIV] for my people, my own flesh and blood! For their sake I could wish that I myself were under God’s curse and separated from Christ.

4) [NIV] They are God’s people; he made them his children and revealed his glory to them; he made his covenants with them and gave them the Law; they have the true worship; they have received God’s promises;

5) [NIV] they are descended from the famous Hebrew ancestors; and Christ, as a human being, belongs to their race. May God, who rules over all, be praised forever! Amen.

QUESTION: If having the Law didn’t save the Jews, then what’s the advantage of being a Jew?

ANSWER: 1) They were entrusted with the very Words of God;

2) They are God’s people, His children;

3) God revealed His glory to them;

4) God made covenants with them;

5) God gave them the Law;

6) They had the only true worship;

7) They have received God’s promises.

3) [NIV] What if some did not have faith? Will their lack of faith nullify God’s faithfulness?

QUESTION: If God promises to heal me, and I die sick, does that mean God can’t be trusted?

ANSWER: Absolutely not! In the O.T., to realize God’s promises the Jews had to keep the Law. In the N.T., to realize God’s promises we must exercise faith in God to keep His promises.

NOTE: When the Jews kept the Law in the O.T. by doing right, and by offering sacrifices for their sins when they failed to do right, it was an exercise of faith in God. 

4) [NIV] Not at all! Let God be true, and every man a liar. As it is written: “So that you may be proved right when you speak and prevail when you judge.” [Psalm 51:4]    

(CEV)  No, indeed! God tells the truth, even if everyone else is a liar. The Scriptures say about God, “Your words will be proven true, and in court you will win your case.”

QUESTION: Is everyone a liar?

ANSWER: 1) It’s most likely certain that every human who lives to be self-aware has told a lie.

2) Certainly, any time we doubt God’s Word we are living a lie.

QUESTION: What’s the main point of this verse?

ANSWER: God’s Word is always trustworthy regardless of the actions of mankind.

5) [NIV] But if our unrighteousness brings out God’s righteousness more clearly, what shall we say? That God is unjust in bringing his wrath on us? (I am using a human argument.)

6) [NIV] Certainly not! If that were so, how could God judge the world?

7) [NIV] Someone might argue, “If my falsehood enhances God’s truthfulness and so increases his glory, why am I still condemned as a sinner?”

8) [NIV] Why not say-as we are being slanderously reported as saying and as some claim that we say, “Let us do evil that good may result”? Their condemnation is deserved.

QUESTION: Why is the above argument ridiculous?

ANSWER: God doesn’t need my sinfulness to show His holiness. He’s holy regardless of what I do.

9) [NIV] What shall we conclude then? Are we any better? Not at all! We have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under sin.

QUESTION: What’s the Apostle getting ready to do here?

ANSWER: He’s getting ready to show us what he was alluding to in Chapter 2.

10) [NIV] As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one;

11) [NIV] there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God.

12) [NIV] All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.” [Psalm 14:1-3] [Psalm 53:1-3] note: Ps. 14:1-6 & Ps. 53:1-7 are mostly the same.         

13) [NIV] “Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit.” “The poison of vipers is on their lips.” [Psalm 5:9] [Psalm 140:3]

14) [NIV] “Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.”   

15) [NIV] “Their feet are swift to shed blood; [Psalm 10:7]  

16) [NIV] ruin and misery mark their ways, [Isaiah 59:7]  

17) [NIV] and the way of peace they do not know.” [Isaiah 59:8]     

18) [NIV] “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” [Psalm 36:1]     

QUESTION: What are these verses telling us?

ANSWER: Mankind has never been a ‘righteous’ people. We’ve always been deceitful, full of curses and bitterness, swift to kill, swift to go to war, and unfearful of God.

QUESTION: Where does Paul find all these verses?

ANSWER: He finds them in the Jewish Old Testament.

QUESTION: What does that mean?

ANSWER: It means that the very Word of God that they took comfort in having condemned them. This is what Paul was alluding to in Chapter 2.

19) [NIV] Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God.

QUESTION: What’s the conclusion the Apostle comes to here?

ANSWER: The Law of Moses condemns the Jews as sinners.

NOTE: The Jews knew that the Gentiles were sinners; now Paul tells them that they are sinners as well. He uses their Law to prove it. He tells them, what they already knew, that the Law was speaking to Jews. The Jews needed to listen to it. It told them they were sinners, just as much as the non-Jews were. The real purpose of the Law was not to bring justification to the Jews, but to bring condemnation to them so that “every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God.”

Walk of Grace Chapel, Council Bluffs Church