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LETS WORSHIP TOGETHER

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Thursday, May 14 2020

Contributor: Alex Kokobili

INTRODUCTION
God's faithfulness is an expression of His continuous gift of grace on all who believe in Him. In today’s study we will discover the magnitude of God’s faithfulness on the Jews based on His unquestionable prerogative on the Abrahamic covenant. The coming of Christ opened the door for anyone who believes in Christ Jesus regardless of their origin to connect to God’s faithfulness. The covenant of circumcision was a physical sign for Abraham and his descendants, but God expects us to circumcise our hearts to partake of a new covenant in Christ. Our previous lesson focused on the complexities of understanding the law by the Jews (Romans 2:25 -29). The Jews were dogmatic in their approach to the law and lacked an understanding of God’s grace concerning the inward circumcision which is what Christ’s salvation represents. Indeed, the law was complex to understand because the Jews didn’t realize that Christ’s coming brought a new dispensation and a fulfilment of the law. Christ himself explained the significance of keeping God’s word as required than a physical claim to Abraham but the Jews rejected it - John 8:55-58

1. VERSES 1-4 (GOD REMAINS FAITHFUL TO HIS COVENANT)
"1 Then what’s the advantage of being a Jew? Is there any value in the ceremony of circumcision? 2 Yes, there are great benefits! First of all, the Jews were entrusted with the whole revelation of God.3 True, some of them were unfaithful; but just because they were unfaithful, does that mean God will be unfaithful? 4 Of course not! Even if everyone else is a liar, God is true. As the Scriptures say about him, “You will be proved right in what you say, and you will win your case in court.”

After being hard on the Jews in the preceeding lesson, in Romans 2:25 -29, Apostle Paul starts with a question on the advantage of being a Jew, and the tradition of the Abrahamic covenant through circumcision. This advantage was echoed in Rom 9:4, which referred to the Israelites as a people adopted by God and given both His promises, the service of God and the law. Regardless, we must realize that God on His part is faithful in keeping His covenant to the Jews as heirs of Abraham. This does not mean God is partial to how Jews or Gentiles relate to Him, but He is committed to His covenant with Abraham. Initially, to be connected to this covenant in the old testament, you had to do was to be circumcised Genesis 17:1-27. This was also a sign of preservation for the Jewish people. In Exodus 4:24-26, Zipporah had to circumsize their son to prevent God from killing Moses.
Also, the benefit of the circumcision was God’s covenant to bless Abraham and His descendants (Gen 17:7 “And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you”). Hence, the Bible often referred to God as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Exodus 3:6, Mathew 22: 32). We must also realize that Abraham believed God, obeyed His precepts and God counted it unto him as righteousness. So, it is not just about having ties to Abraham, but about faith and obedience to God just like Abraham. Paul noted the Jews placed more importance on the law than on having a relationship with God, because they didn’t reverence God from their heart. The unfaithfulness of the Jews as heirs of Abraham didn’t mean God will be unfaithful. This is because God swore to preserve the Abrahamic covenant, but now it is our faith that guarantees our eternity. God is faithful to covenants just as He also swore to keep David’s throne forever in Psalm 132:11, despite Rehoboam’s error in 1 Kings 12 which led to the division of Israel.

2. VERSES 5-8 (UNFOUNDED ARGUMENTS HANDLED)
"5 “But,” some might say, “our sinfulness serves a good purpose, for it helps people see how righteous God is. Isn’t it unfair, then, for him to punish us?” (This is merely a human point of view.) 6 Of course not! If God were not entirely fair, how would he be qualified to judge the world? 7 “But,” someone might still argue, “how can God condemn me as a sinner if my dishonesty highlights his truthfulness and brings him more glory?” 8 And some people even slander us by claiming that we say, “The more we sin, the better it is!” Those who say such things deserve to be condemned."

In verse 5, Paul anticipates what argument a Jew may put forward and frames the objection in light of a typical human argument. Someone might try to argue that “our sinfulness serves a good purpose, for it helps people see how righteous God is. Isn’t it unfair, then, for him to punish us?” The obvious answer to this argument—an emphatic denial of its conclusion—comes forcefully in verse 6. Of course not! If God were not entirely fair, how would he be qualified to judge the world? 7 “But,” someone might still argue, “how can God condemn me as a sinner if my dishonesty highlights his truthfulness and brings him more glory?” 8 And some people even slander us by claiming that we say, “The more we sin, the better it is!” Those who say such things deserve to be condemned.
It is important to note here, that Paul anticipated possible arguments of his audience and decisively addressed and silenced and debunked them because they can cause distraction and derailment.

3. VERSES 9-20 (NO ONE IS RIGHTEOUS):

"9 Well then, should we conclude that we Jews are better than others? No, not at all, for we have already shown that all people, whether Jews or Gentiles,  are under the power of sin. 10 As the Scriptures say, “No one is righteous—not even one. 11 No one is truly wise; no one is seeking God. 12 All have turned away; all have become useless. No one does good, not a single one.”

From this point, we notice that Apostle Paul‘s “rhetorics” changes to “caution” about the human nature of sin. This further strengthened Paul’s previous emphasis on God’s faithfulness on the Jews and Grace to all men. Paul explained how the Jews were neither exempted from sin nor was different from the Gentiles because all men manifested the nature of sin; which means all men have sinned and cannot claim righteousness by the law. This was important for Paul’s audience which some Bible scholars’ believed to be a combination of Jewish and Gentile Christians living in Rome. The admonition for the community of believers in Rome was for them to have the right understanding of the law and the righteousness of God.

• Verses 9-12: Paul made reference to Psalm 53:1b-3 (“there is none who does good. 2 God looks down from heaven on the children of man to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God. 3 They have all fallen away; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one”). Paul’s aim at the point was not to castigate the Jews, because they claimed to believe in God (Yahweh); but like in previous times, He took his argument back to the Old Testament. This made it obvious that the Jews didn’t pay attention to the law which they claim to have received from in the Old Testament. This was in their observance of the law at that various points in time and despite this, the law made provision for the atonement of sin which meant even obedience to the law didn’t guarantee power over the nature of sin.

"13 “Their talk is foul, like the stench from an open grave. Their tongues are filled with lies.”“Snake venom drips from their lips.”14  Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.”
 

• Verses 13-14: The nature of sin is observed in the conversation of sinners; expressed in these verses; “Their talk is foul......and their tongue filled with lies”, “their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness”. Sinners talk without spiritual discretion because the nature of sin in man does not connect with the edifying word to God.

15 “They rush to commit murder.16  Destruction and misery always follow them.17 They don’t know where to find peace.”18 They have no fear of God at all.”
 

• Verses 15-17: The nature of sin here is revealed not only in utterances, but also in the actions of as many who try to please God in their human nature prone to sin because they lacked His righteousness in their hearts. Their unguided words have now found roots manifesting as actions and as well, the consequences “they rush to commit murder. Destruction and misery always follow them. They don’t know where to find peace”.

• Verse 18: This verse reveals to us how the sinful action of man further leads to a situation where the fear of God becomes alien to all men who are trapped in sin. “They have no fear of God at all”

4. VERSES 19-20 (THE LAW EXPOSES SIN):

"19 Obviously, the law applies to those to whom it was given, for its purpose is to keep people from having excuses, and to show that the entire world is guilty before God. 20 For no one can ever be made right with God by doing what the law commands. The law simply shows us how sinful we are."
 

We will notice here that the law was given previously to guide lives and keep people aligned to God but it didn’t prevent the Jews from sinning. However, a new dispensation of grace through Christ for both the Jews and Gentiles unto righteousness before God.


CONCLUSION
Today's nation of Israel can recount their ancestral linage as true Jews from the 12 tribes of Jacob which is their symbolic identity. The Israeli Prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu for instance, believes his paternal and maternal tribes are Levi and Judah respectively. Several other people in Europe, Ethiopia also claim their Jewish ancestry. Regardless of this, we all must not take for granted God’s faithfulness as an excuse to sin. The Jewish nation are a special people of God; this has been proven by historians in their victories in wars and how they reclaimed their land in 1948. However, God remains faithful to all men who believe in Him and He is still faithful to His promise made to all the heirs of Abraham on earth both physically or by adoption as spiritual Jews through faith in Christ.To this end, believers should realize that the gospel is not just for those people from countries or cultures that are predominately Christians but for all people worldwide. We should also be aware that being born into a Christian family, or attending church for decades does automatically mean that we are born again; but that, we are born again by accepting the gift of salvation God offers through Christ by faith. And this new life is maintained and groomed by adherence to God’s Word.

Posted by: Isekhua Evborokhai AT 06:54 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
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