Paul’s Letter to the Romans Part 19

This entry is part 19 of 35 in the series Paul's Letter to the Romans

“What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we
have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under
sin” (Romans 3:9). Proving that all were under sin had been the
object of all that Paul had said from early in chapter one. This he
had done to prove that all were condemned and in need of the
gospel of God to save them. “What then? Are we better than they?”
These are the types of questions a Jew would ask after hearing
Paul’s reasoning in the preceding verses. The Jew had so many
advantages he would naturally think himself better than others. But
he had such poor use of these advantages that Paul swiftly
answers “No, in no wise: for we before laid to the charge both of
Jews and Greeks, that they are all under sin.” The Jew had not
lived up to the law, and therefore was not justified, the Gentle had
also failed of justification, for he had not lived up to the light he had.
Neither was superior to the other; for they were all sinners.
“As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There
is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God”
(vs. 10,11). Paul gives a number of quotations from the Old
Testament scriptures to prove from their own profits the sinfulness
of the Jews. After making the general statement that none of them
were righteous, Paul shows how they were sinful. The Jews were
great students of the scriptures, and yet they did not understand.
They had an accurate understanding of the requirements of the
law, however, they failed to understand the significance of the
things required. They did not understand that their whole system
was temporary. In their estimation, the whole system of Judaism
was God’s permanent order of things, and they were always to be
God’s special people. But Jesus used language about them more
emphatic than the language Paul used, He said: “blind guides”,
“fools and blind”. To those who were supposed to be especially
skilled in the law Jesus said, “Woe unto you lawyers! For you took
away the key of knowledge”. Even the key to a correct
understanding of their scriptures had been hidden in the rubbish of
their notions or traditions. Let those who think the Jews had such
an accurate understanding of Kingdom matters consider what
Jesus and his inspired apostles set about them. “There is none that
seeketh after God”. Perhaps no people ever studied the scriptures
more than did the Jews, yet they were not seeking after God. To
seek after God is to seek to know and to do his will, to make

his thoughts our thoughts and his ways our ways. Pharisees,
lawyers, and scribes studied that they might be informed and
formally correct; so that they might stand well with their fellow Jews.
Instead of seeking to be justified in the sight of God, they sought to
justify themselves in the sight of men. Jesus said to them, “And he
said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men;
but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed
among men is abomination in the sight of God” (Luke 16:15). “They
loved the praise of men more than the praise of God” (John 12:43).
Such a frame of mind was contradictory to them for heart seeking
after God. “How can ye believe, which receive honour one of
another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only?
(John 5:44) When a person studied the scriptures for any other
purpose than to know God

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