General Idea:The same theme is continued that God does not care about our pedigree, and no one is immune from our responsibility or His judgment! Yet the Jews thought they were, Paul has some startling news for them! Because of our fallen reasoning we think we are better than others. Because if we are a Jew or for us Christians, we think we can rest in our heritage, but this is not the case, especially for the Jew. The same goes for the person who grew up in the church. They place their faith in their membership and duty to the church, but has it affected them deep in their heart of who they are. So the faith is personal and real, not because what my parents or family is or does, but what Christ did for me? If not, then church membership is of no value as being a Jew and rejecting Christ is meaningless. Church membership is good, but the church does not save, its purpose is to gather, worship, train, teach, preach, and reach. It is not a place for meaningless meetings of no avail, nor is it a club for perfect people. It is a gathering of His children called to do His will. The Jews were supposed to be the teachers of the Lord to make Him known, and they negated their primary call to each other and the world.
1. The law will not protect us. God judges honestly and rightly, and without partiality.
a. The Jews placed their comfort in the fact they where children of Abraham and the Law was their protection. They did not see what was written by Moses that the Law pointed to their need for a Savior.
i. When we rest on who we are as Christians and then do nothing with our faith, we are like the Jews who reject Christ. We may have our salvation, which they do not, but what good is it.
ii. This is also the theme of James, faith w/o works is dead. You are saved, but big deal if you do nothing with it!
b. When you are teaching others, your first primary task is to be instructed yourself!
i. You cannot teach what you do not know and have not experienced.
ii. Hypocrisy is heinous before our loving Lord; teaching one thing and doing the opposite. Hypocrisy is also one of the main reasons that drive people away from the church, as it was then as it is now: vs. 24.
iii. The job of the Jews in the OT and of the church NT is to make known the Lord, not blaspheme Him by our self righteous inclinations and double standards.
c. The Reformation and the Protestant church were founded on Grace, and a lot of Christians think the 'Law' has been voided. However this is not the teaching of Scripture (Psalm 19; 119: 9-16; Rom. 7:7-25; 8:3-4; I Cor. 7:19; Gal. 3:24).
i. We are under the curse of our sin, which the law points to. Christ removes that curse of sin, but not the law.
2. Having a relationship with Christ has nothing to do with ethnicity or who you are in the world, yet people still to this day will fight with each other. There are even denominations that split between race and exclude those they feel are improper to their church.
a. Having a race exclusive church is a travesty before the grace of our Lord, a slap in His face. Being a member of a church and not allowing people to come you are 'uncomfortable' with is pure shame. As is negating the neighborhood where God placed your church.
b. Rituals, baptism, liturgy, church membership, being on a committee or in leadership will not save you. If we are not walking in/ with God with trust and obedience and relying on outward expressions, you are in deep trouble.
c. Circumcision was an ornamental comfort to the Jews, which was not as God intended. We are to show our faith outwardly from having it inwardly!
i. Moses and the prophets complained that the Jews were uncircumcised in their hearts by being hypocritical (Lev. 26:42; Jer. 4:4; 9:25-26; Isa. 51:7).
ii. The people have the duty to be inwardly circumcised, that is devoted to God. It is not an external thing, it has to come from God's work within us (Duet. 10:16; 30:6; Eze. 36:27; Rom. 8:2)!
iii. The OT theme is to do what God thinks not what others think!
d. Jewish Sages considered humility essential and you could not boast about yourself only about the Nation of Israel, the Law and God.
e. Paul's theme and language comes from the OT (Ex. 20:4-15; Isaiah 42:6-7; 18-20), he shows his mastery of the Scriptures and current Stoic philosophical thinking who loved to point out inconsistencies.
f. Rob Temples means not necessary the act of thievery but to value there contents (Acts 19:35-41)!
g. Public sin as a Jew /Christian profanes God's Name (Eze. 36:20-23)! Sin to gentiles profaned the community! That is why we have laws and a penal system to protect the community.
(Romans 3:1-8) (Remember the chapter divisions are not divinely inspired, the publisher put them in. The KJV was the first Bible to have chapters and verses. The previous 1600 years Christians had to 'hunt and peck'.) This is an example of the passage theme overflowing between chapters.
3. God's Word was given to the Jews for the purpose to evangelize the world, there responsibility is to reach all the people groups on earth; because all people and cultures traveled through Israel from up north and east into Egypt for trading (Gen 12:1-3). Hence why it was the most valuable peace of real estate in history, and why people today still fight over it.
a. The Jews responsibility, especially the Levites was to be teachers of God to there fellow Jews and also the gentiles. Hence the gentile court in the temple, and all the passages in the Bible relating to gentiles. However the Bible rarely records the Levites adherence to there call. So the people were not properly instructed and they fell into idolatry easy, because they did not know better. The Jewish leadership failed in their responsibility in education.
b. Today a lot of churches fail at truly discipling its members. Most Christians who go to church on Sunday will only and get a few minutes of preaching with just a little Biblical instruction. And some churches do not teach at all. Makes you wonder how God feels about that!
c. Christian education is a priority not just for children, but adults as well. People who are not grounded in the Word are not prepared to deal with life and grow in maturity.
d. Profit / Advantage was a philosophical term referring to the value of a person or idea.
i. What then is a rhetorical question.
ii. May it never be is another rhetorical expression to refer to the absurdity of the idea or conduct.
iii. Philosophers spent a significant amount of their time clearing up misunderstandings of their teachings. Paul seeks to prevent this, but nonetheless needs to root out the illogical thinking!
4. The Jews, as with many Christians today, place faith in ritual and tradition, boasting in their privileges and neglecting their responsibility and call.
a. There are no secrets from God, so are you prepared to face Him (Cor. 5:10)?
b. God will not save us until we admit our guilt and shut our mouth!
c. God will be glorified and His justice will be vindicated to all!
i. Never make up stories or testimonies, or use sin to please God and to reach people, this is dead wrong!
We cannot hide behind our faith thinking; "hey I am a good Christian because I go to a church" or perform a certain task there. Nor can we think we are a mature growing Christian if we do some sort of ritual. Such thinking cannot place us in God's good graces. We may think we are a real practicing Christian, but in reality these mindsets bring misunderstanding and confusion about Christ to the world. Your pedigrees or church status cannot make you a Christian or a changed person impacting the world. Perhaps you are, perhaps you are not, God's grace will save you if you have accepted by faith; however, it does not stop there. Christ must have impacted your whole being so you are a completely changed and revitalized person from your old self to Himself! More often than not, most Christians only think they are, but their faith has not transformed them. Their faith is only an external showing when it is convenient such as on Sundays at 10am, but on Monday, the faith is absent and the faith that should be internal is withered and dry. So their mindset, attitudes and how they relate Christ to the world tends to be more carnal than Biblical. This was Paul's message to the Romans; does it need to be God's message to you? I know I needed it to be for me at times. What about you? If so what are you going to do about it?
1. When did you first become a member of a church, if you ever did? Were you ever discipled by someone?
2. If not, have you ever taken catechism classes or been confirmed in your church?
3. Why do you think the 'Law' of God will or will not protect us?
4. Knowing that God judges honestly and rightly, and without partiality how does this affect the way you size up other people?
5. Have you or have you known people who placed their comfort and faith in the fact that they were a member of a particular church or movement?
6. When did you first realize your need for a Savior?
7. "When we rest on who we are as Christians and then do nothing with our faith, we are like the Jews who reject Christ." What do you think of that statement? (We may have our salvation, which they do not, but what good is it?)
8. Do you teach others such as in Sunday school? If so, do you realize that your first priority when you are teaching others is that you need to be instructed yourself?
9. If so what and how or how will you go about it?
10. A lot of people and Christians think to teach (adults or children) all they have to do is read out of a book. My experience in leading Sunday school teachers is a lot of them feel they do not have the time to put into the lesson and preparation. They want something quick that all they have to do is show up and spend 10 minutes going over. What do you thing about that?
11. What do you think about this statement: "You cannot teach what you do not know and have not experienced?"
12. How does your church train its leaders and teachers?
13. Do you realize that most churches place people in leadership that have not been trained or discipled for their position: what do you think about that?
14. How have you exhibited or experienced Hypocrisy?
15. How is Hypocrisy a heinous activity before our loving Lord?
16. Do you believe that Hypocrisy is one of the main reasons that drive people away from the church? Why or why not?
17. Can you think an example?
18. A lot of Christians think the 'Law' has been voided out by grace, what do you think? Can you back up your ideas with Scripture?
19. We are under the curse of our sin, which the law points to. Christ removes that curse of sin, but not the law. So what does the Law do? How would you explain to someone what the Law is?
20. Having a relationship with Christ has nothing to do with our ethnicity, yet people still to this day will fight with each other. So why do some Christians act prejudicially toward others?
21. Have you ever experienced a church that excluded people or have even split between races?
22. How would they rationalize excluding people they feel are improper to their church?
23. What about churches that neglect their neighborhood, who do not reach out where God placed them: how would they rationalize their actions before the Lord?
24. If we are honest we all feel uncomfortable at some point with others who are different or that we do not know. So what can we do specifically to be more reaching and accepting of others?
25. Why do some Christians hide behind their Rituals, baptism, liturgy, and church membership? These sacraments are important, but what is their focus, what is your focus?
26. Have you or have you known someone who was on a committee or in leadership at church thinking that the meeting is the ministry? That is being on an evangelism committee is doing evangelism? Is this correct Biblical thinking or not?
27. How would you argue the case that a committee is for planning and strategizing the ministry or event and is not the ministry in and of itself?
28. Why would just relying on outward expressions of your faith get you in deep trouble? With God? With your conscious?
29. How can you walk in/ with God with trust and obedience deeper and with more commitment?
30. What is a modern example of "Circumcision", a real mark of being His child?
31. The Jews saw Circumcision as an ornamental comfort, which was not as God intended. What do we Christians do today that is similar?
32. How can you show your faith outwardly from having it inwardly?
33. What happed when the Jews /Levites failed to be teachers of God to their fellow Jews and also the gentiles? (The Bible rarely records the Levites adherence to their call. So the people were not properly instructed and they fell into idolatry easy, because they did not know better.)
34. How do some churches today fail in their responsibility with education and discipleship?
35. Today a lot of churches fail at truly discipling their members. Most Christians who go to church on Sunday only will get a few minutes of preaching with just a little Biblical instruction. And some churches do not teach at all. How do you think God feels about that?
36. Can you think of any good excuses why we should not be discipled or disciple others?
37. Then why do so many Christians refuse to be discipled by othersor being disciples to others?
38. There are no secrets from God, so are you prepared to face Him?
39. What do you think about this statement: "people who are not grounded in the Word are not prepared to deal with life and grow in maturity?"
40. What are you going to do today, this week to walk closer to Christ and less with Hypocrisy?
41. What can you do to respect the sacraments of your church and not allow them to be your comfort so they are not worshiped themselves?
"The Jewish teaching" on Romans 3 is interesting: Rabbi Lipman ("Nizzachon", Num. 21, p. 19) states, that "faith does not consist in circumcision, but in the heart. He who has not genuine faith is not a partaker of the Jewish circumcision; but he who has genuine faith is a Jew, although not circumcised;" and the "Talmudists", "That the Jews sit in the inmost recesses of the heart" ("Nidda", fol. 20. 2).
In "Mere Christianity", C. S. Lewis has a skillful argument based mostly on this passage in Romans, proving the existence of God on the basis of man's sense of moral absolutes (his sense that he ought to do some things, and ought not do other things), for only God could be the source of such universal belief and conviction based upon them."