What does Romans 3:7 mean?
ESV: But if through my lie God’s truth abounds to his glory, why am I still being condemned as a sinner?
NIV: Someone might argue, 'If my falsehood enhances God's truthfulness and so increases his glory, why am I still condemned as a sinner?'
NASB: But if through my lie the truth of God abounded to His glory, why am I also still being judged as a sinner?
CSB: But if by my lie God's truth abounds to his glory, why am I also still being judged as a sinner?
NLT: But,' someone might still argue, 'how can God condemn me as a sinner if my dishonesty highlights his truthfulness and brings him more glory?'
KJV: For if the truth of God hath more abounded through my lie unto his glory; why yet am I also judged as a sinner?
Paul returns again to the question raised in verse 5, somewhat re-phrasing it, using a more specific example. This challenge strikes at Paul's argument about God's judgment on human sinfulness. The basic claim is this: If telling a lie further displays God's truthfulness, leading to His glory, why should He condemn me for that lie? Paul has previously said that our sin does indeed result in proving God's righteous sinlessness. So if our sin brings glory to Him, in a sense, should He really condemn us for it?
Paul states in the following verse that some people were accusing him of teaching exactly this: that human sin leads to God's glory, so we might as well do more of it. Paul refutes the very idea of this in two directions. First, God's righteousness means, by definition, that He cannot be unrighteous. He is the standard of goodness and truth, so His judgment of our sin is by definition completely fair and justified. We deserve it.
Second, as Paul will write in the following verses, human sinfulness is inevitable. We do not sin, in any way, with an intent to bring glory to God. We sin because we are sinners. Later, Paul will more directly refute that salvation is a license to sin (Romans 6:1). For now, particularly in the next verse, he will brush aside this criticism as rank slander (Romans 3:8).
Romans 3:1–8 contains a series of questions which might have come from someone opposed to Paul's teaching in Romans 2. Using this challenge-response structure, Paul clarifies that being Jewish and circumcised still comes with great advantages. He also points out that God remains faithful to the Jewish people in spite of their sin. In fact, His faithfulness in the face of unfaithfulness increases His glory. That does not mean, however, that God wants human beings to continue to sin, as some were accusing Paul of teaching.
Romans 3 begins with a question-and-answer scheme. These are responses one might expect from someone opposed to what Paul wrote in Romans 2. Next, Paul quotes from a series of Old Testament passages. These Scriptures show that those writers also agreed that nobody, not one person, deserves to be called righteous. Paul declares emphatically that no one will be justified by following the works of the law. Finally, though, he arrives at the good news: righteousness before God is available apart from the law through faith in Christ's death for our sin on the cross.
The prior chapter explained that God's judgment on sin will come to all men, whether or not they understand the literal law. Faith in God, in the heart, matters more to God than rote obedience. At the start of this chapter, Paul answers a series of questions from an imagined objector to those teachings. Next, he quotes a series of Old Testament passages which support His teaching that human beings are by nature sinful. Each of us turns away from God. Nobody can be justified by the law, Paul insists. Fortunately, it is possible to attain God's righteousness: but only by His grace, through faith in Christ's atoning sacrifice for our sin on the cross. We must come to this by faith, and it is available to Jews and Gentiles alike.
The book of Romans is the New Testament's longest, most structured, and most detailed description of Christian theology. Paul lays out the core of the gospel message: salvation by grace alone through faith alone. His intent is to explain the good news of Jesus Christ in accurate and clear terms. As part of this effort, Paul addresses the conflicts between law and grace, between Jews and Gentiles, and between sin and righteousness. As is common in his writing, Paul closes out his letter with a series of practical applications.
Accessed 11/30/2023 6:48:58 AM
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