What advantage, then, is there in being a Jew? (Rom. 3:1)
AT FIRST GLANCE, PAUL’S WORDS to the Roman church seem a bit awkward and hard to understand. However, if you consider this passage in light of what is written at the end of Romans 2, you will see that it makes perfect sense. In order to show God’s grand plan for salvation for the whole world, Paul had to build a bridge between the children of the Jewish (circumcised) people, and everyone else (the non-circumcised). Paul did that by asking the series of questions found in Romans 3:1–8.
By asking these questions, Paul first exposed the sinful human heart for what it really is—partial. God never intended the Jewish people to be exclusive. The purpose of choosing them was to show the world that there is a God who is real and is firmly committed to all of His people.
The second thing Paul did was show that anyone can become a Jew. Or, to say it another way, anyone can become chosen simply by believing in Christ in his or her heart. For being a Jew is not a matter of outward signs but of inward faith lived out in the world (see Rom. 2:29). God’s grand plan of salvation was never meant to be exclusive. Anyone can join if they seek God with his or her whole heart, soul, mind, and strength.
Look in the mirror and say, “I am chosen by God.”
Devon Smith is currently the director of the masters’ program in theology and apologetics at Oklahoma Wesleyan University. He and his wife have pastored for fourteen years.
© 2018 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission.