“Wrestling With Romans”
Learning to Live and Die Right (Chapter 3 Verses 1-8)
The previous chapter perhaps leaves you wondering, well what is the benefit of being a Jew, or the performance of religious rites (v1)? A great deal, says the Apostle (v2). It was to them the Jews, God communicated the clearest, giving them more than the light of creation and providence, but the actual, the very words of God. In those communications, which came through the law and the prophets, God gave them certain promises and not least of all concerning Jesus Christ and his coming into the world. The Jews were given the privilege of being the guardians of God’s truth until the time when they would be fulfilled and communicated to the world (Isaiah 2.3). They were given to the Jews to profit them, for their blessing also. What use did they make of them? The Jews were the ones who ought to have been able, because of the given Scriptures, to identify the Messiah when he came. There were one or two who did, Philip (John 1.45), John the Baptist (John 1.29), but the majority of them did not, they hunted, harassed and crucified him, as was predicted (Matthew 21.33-38). They did it in pride and obduracy stemming from unbelief. What good is it if we have all manner of Bible versions, the ministry of the pulpit? If we don’t profit from the word of God that is given to us (Hebrews 2.1-4; Hebrews 4.1-2)?
Another reason those Scriptures were given was to stand as a testimony to God’s salvation. They authenticate the saving work of Christ. It is all there in the Old Testament, when Jesus would come, what he would do, down to some of the smallest details, and fulfilled in his life and ministry. Now whether all the Jews believed or not (v3), that does not negate God’s truth (v4), it still stands, God’s truth is, and will be vindicated, whatever men may say, or do. To know the truth is the greatest privilege people can have, it is such a treasure. Our response to it ought to be one of implicit obedience, for that is what it demands. If you are to learn to live right, and die right, it will only be from the Bible, applied by the Spirit, and lived out in his power. It is only being conformed to the truth, loving the truth that will bring us to a peaceful end. The world in the meantime will cause you many a heartache and sorrow for your obedience to the Bible, the question, what will obedience to this truth cost me, is not even on the agenda. Rather, the statement God help me to walk in it, come what may.
(© James R Hamilton, written September, 1997)