After telling the brethren of the Roman church in chapter 2 that the Gentiles are now true Jews by way of the Spirit, Paul then addresses the question that would naturally come from the Jews. Was there no advantage or value of being a Jew, or of being circumcised? Paul says that indeed there was. The Jews had been the keepers of the “oracles of God” (verse 2) – the Scriptures; and in that capacity at least, they had remained faithful. God’s word, as He would make certain, had been preserved; and just as importantly, God had remained faithful to His promises to them, despite the unfaithfulness they had shown to Him.
In verses 10-18, Paul says that “it is written…” and follows that with quotations from several passages. Verses 10-12 are from Psalm 14:1-3 and Ecclesiastes 7:20. Verses 13-14 are from Psalm 5:9 and Psalm 10:7. Verses 15-17 are from Isaiah 59:7-8, and verse 18 is from Psalm 36:1. He is making it clear that the Jews among them are no better off than the Gentiles (verse 9) because all are “under sin.” The phrase “…no one does good, not even one…” in verse 12 can be understood by the first part of the verse “All have turned aside.” Nobody is without sin. And verse 18 finishes with the reason for it all – “there is no fear of God before their eyes.” That brings to the mind of this blogger the words of the wisest man (Solomon) in Ecclesiastes 12:13-14:
“The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.”
Paul illustrates again the old with the new, and provides a good summary of God’s plan for salvation – the Law and the Prophets bear witness to “the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe” (verses 21-22) – “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (verse 23). The word “propitiation” in verse 25 means that the sacrifice Jesus made was an offering to appease God’s wrath and turn it to favor. This was necessary for the forgiveness of sins, and it is what now gives favor to Jews and Gentiles alike, making no distinction between them.
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers
Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog. All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility. When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com. For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.