This chapter can be divided into three parts: (1) Verses 1-8 answer objections to the things stated in Chapter Two. (2) Verses 9-19 prove Jew and Gentile are guilty of sin and cannot be justified by the Law. (3) The remaining verses state the true and only way of justificationby the righteousness and death of the Lord Jesus.
(Vs. 1) We must read Romans 2:28-29. If a person is not truly a Jew who is born of Jewish parents and is brought up in the customs, ceremonies, and religion of the Jews; but anyone of any nation who is born of the Word and the Spirit of God is of true Israelif being circumcised profits nothing unless the whole Law is keptTHEN OF WHAT PROFIT IS CIRCUMCISION? If having the Law, the prophets, and the ceremonies adds to the condemnation of Abraham's natural sons and increases their responsibility, what advantage or profit is there in being a Jew? Better to be a heathen, one might think.
It might be asked today in the same vein. Why preach the gospel to the heathen if the majority of them will reject it and be held MORE ACCOUNTABLE for their unbelief because of the light of the preached Word?
(Vs. 2) The Old Testament Jews had great advantage over the Gentile nations. They had the ORACLES OF GOD. The word is used four times in the New Testament. In Acts 7:38 it means the Law of Moses. In Hebrews 5:12 and I Peter 4:11 it embraces the truths of the gospel. In this verse it includes all the scriptures of the Old Testament, especially as they regarded the Messiah, Christ Jesus! While the Gentile must discover what he could of God through the light of creation, conscience, and providence, the Jew had the prophesies of the coming Messiah, pictures and types of His sacrifice and atonement in the ceremonies, and the promises of redemption and forgiveness through faith in Him. Instead of believing on Him, confessing their guilt revealed by the Law, and resting by faith in the mercy of God and righteousness imputed, they took the Law, circumcision, ceremonies, and Jewish heritage and went about to establish their own righteousness based on imperfect, hypocritical obedience to the form! All laws, rituals, morality, ceremonies, scriptures, and outward form are of no value, but rather are devastating if they do not lead a person to Christ.
(Vs. 3) What if most of the Jews disregarded the promises of God, did not believe the prophecies of the Messiah, despised and rejected Him when He came, and sought acceptance through their heritage and rituals? Does this make void the promises of God concerning the Messiah? Does this neutralize the promises of God in Christ? Does this make void God's covenant with Abraham? Does the rebellion and unbelief of the favored nation make of none effect redemption by grace through faith in Christ?
(Vs. 4) God forbid! Let no such thought enter your mind. God's truth can never be changed by want of faith in men. God is true and faithful to His Word, to His promises, to His attributes, and to His covenants. On the other hand man is false, not only because he often violates his word, but his nature is to lie and shun the truth (Romans 8:7; Genesis 6:5).
Paul quotes David (Psalm 116:11; Psalm 51:4). God is just in His Judgments, upright in all that He does, and will prevail regardless of what sinful men say or do!
(Vs. 5-6) A man may say, "If my unrighteousness establishes, illustrates, and commends the righteousness of God, then God would be unjust to inflict His wrath on me." This is not Paul's opinion, but it is an objection raised by foolish men. The answer is that all unrighteousness is sin and DOES NOT BY ITSELF COMMEND or illustrate the righteousness of God! We do not preach that man's evil and sin glorifies God or IN ITSELF makes the grace of God glorious. If God used the evil of believers to glorify Himself, he could not judge evil in unbelievers. God's mercy to the miserable, grace to the guilty, and pardon of the most unrighteous glorify Him. The black background does NOT GIVE BEAUTY TO THE DIAMOND ON DISPLAY, but only lets us see the diamond's beauty by contrast.
(Vs. 7-8) Nothing is more opposite to truth than a lie. A lie can never be of any advantage to truth or to the God of truth. A lie is of the devil and punishable by death. The truth of God could never abound through a lie. If this were true, then men could say, "Let us do evil that good may come." But evil cannot of itself produce anything but evil. The fact that God's glory is manifested through grace to the chief of sinners is not the work of men but the work of God, Who, through the righteousness of His Son, turns even our sins to the promotion of His own glory.