The Advantage of the Jews
The Big Idea: The Jews had an advantage over the Gentiles, but not enough to be righteous without Christ.
I. The Jews had an advantage (1-4).
A. They had much advantage in every way (1, 2).
B. First of all (protos–primarily or above all), they had been entrusted with the word of God (2).
C. Man’s lack of faith will not cause God to be unfaithful and go back on his promise (3, 4).
D. God is true, and every man who disagrees with His word is a liar (4).
II. God is not unjust in condemning sinners whose sins make the goodness of God stand out (5-8; cf. 21-26).
A. Man’s unrighteousness highlights God’s righteousness 1) by comparison and 2) by giving the occasion for him to give his Son to pay the demanded penalty (cf. 25, 26).
B. Some Jews must have reasoned, “If it was our sins that brought about God’s plan and provision for salvation, we should do more evil that more good might come (6-8; cf. 5:20-6:1).
1. Paul was being accused of teaching this (8).
2. If such were so, there would be no basis for judgment (6).
3. For the unbelieving there is condemnation for sin, and it is deserved (8b).
III. Jews are not better than Gentiles morally nor in their relationship to God (9-18).
A. Jew and Gentile are alike under sin (9).
B. The lost state of all men is described in the law (10-18).
1. No one is righteous (10; cf. Psa. 14:1-3; 53:1-3; Eccl. 7:20).
2. No one understands (11).
3. No one seeks God first (11).
4. All have turned away and become worthless (12).
5. No one does good (12).
6. They have treacherous mouths (13, 14; cf. Psa. 5:9; 10:7; 40:3).
7. They are eager to hurt others (15, 16).
8. They are not peaceful (17; cf. Isa. 59:7, 8).
9. No one fears God (18; cf. Psa. 36:1).
C. The law says this to those under the law and should stop the mouth of those who claim righteousness because they are Jews and under the law (19).
D. The law doesn’t make us righteous, but makes us conscious of sin (20).
IV. The only righteousness available, an advantage that is available to all, is from God, apart from the law, and through faith to all who believe, Jew and Gentile alike (21-26).
A. All have sinned and come short of the glory of God (23).
B. Believers are justified through redemption that comes through Christ (24).
1. It is free, not earned (24).
2. It is by grace, not by merit (cf. 4:1-5).
C. God gave Jesus as a satisfactory payment for the sins of the believers (5-26; cf. 1:32; 6:23).
1. He did this to show his justice.
2. He did it to show his justice in passing over the sins committed in the period before the cross (25; cf. Heb. 9:15).
3. He did it to show his present justice in justifying the believer (26).
V. When we look at the advantage of the believer under the system of grace, there is no boasting in racial origin nor in meritorious deeds (27-31).
A. The boasting isn’t excluded by law, but by faith (27).
B. Man is justified by faith apart from law (28).
C. God is God of both Jew and Gentile (29).
D. The law is not nullified by this faith, but it is upheld (30, 31).
Conclusion: Therefore, the only advantage for Jew or Gentile is the righteousness of God that comes through faith that obeys God.
© 2004, Dr. Wm. T. (Bill) Lambert
Professor Emeritus – NT Literature and Interpretation
College of Bible and Religion