The Teaser: All Hope is Lost: Romans 3:3-8
“3) What then? If some did not believe, their unbelief will not nullify the faithfulness of God, will it? 4) May it never be! Rather, let God be found true, though every man be found a liar, as it is written, “THAT YOU MAY BE JUSTIFIED IN YOUR WORDS, AND PREVAIL WHEN YOU ARE JUDGED.” 5) But if our unrighteousness demonstrates the righteousness of God, what shall we say? The God who inflicts wrath is not unrighteous, is He? (I am speaking in human terms.) 6) May it never be! For otherwise, how will God judge the world? 7) But if through my lie the truth of God abounded to His glory, why am I also still being judged as a sinner? 8) And why not say (as we are slanderously reported and as some claim that we say), “Let us do evil that good may come”? Their condemnation is just.” Romans‬ ‭3:3-8‬ ‭
Ok, let me begin with a short confession; “this is not my favorite passage of Scripture.” Let me also say that this is not an easy line of reasoning to follow. But for those willing to labor over these verses, they yield a significant insight.
Up to this point in his argument, Paul has shown that the whole world is lost and sinful before God. The end result is according to verse 6, God would be entirely vindicated if He judged and condemned the whole world. Why? Because not one person has been good enough to be accepted by God. Every people group, human effort and religious good will has fallen short of God’s holiness.
But wait, God’s righteousness is at stake. Here is the catch; If God’s justice demands that He judge everyone, how can He find a basis to be true to Himself and still forgive mankind? For certain, it will not be found in human effort or human merit, for all have sinned and left humanity utterly lost with no hope of salvation.
These passage now become “The Teaser.” Apart from something absolutely profound, we are at checkmate and humanity is forever lost. What Paul proposes is so simple a child can understand it and yet so profound scholars and philosophers have stumbled over it for centuries. Prepare to launch into the depth of the goodness and love of God for lost humanity.
Paul is about to transition into the most profound insight in human literature. If salvation cannot be found in human effort or human merit, then it must be found in God Himself. There must be a way for God to accommodate human salvation without reference to human effort and without violating His own righteousness. God had to find a way to do for people what they could not do for themselves.
He unpacks this plan in the next three chapters under the heading of “Justification by Faith.” The mystery of the Gospel is about to come into focus. In the process, the Apostle Paul writes the greatest Christian Apologetic found anywhere in the world.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global