Ask God to orient or reorient you to Himself. Confess any known sin. Thank Him for His forgiveness. Be still and reflect on Jesus and His sacrifice for you. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart and mind to God’s Word. Pray for others in your life that they, too, would know and love God today.
“9 What shall we conclude then? Do we have any advantage? Not at all! For we have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under the power of sin.”
You may be thinking here that Paul was contradicting himself because back in verse one of chapter three he already asked the question as to what advantage there was in being a Jew. He said, “Much in every way.” But in verse 9 he said there is no advantage. In fact, his words were a forceful “Not at all”. What gives?
He wanted his fellow Jews to know that the advantages they had didn’t protect them from God’s judgement. To fully understand this passage, we’ve got to clarify what benefit Paul had in mind. If he meant privilege and responsibility, then the Jews had much because God entrusted His revelation of Himself to them. If Paul meant favoritism, then the Jews had none because God would not exempt them from judgment. We have already made the charge (i.e. in 1: 18– 2: 29) that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under sin.
Paul was essentially saying: They (the Gentiles) have sinned, it is true; but then, so have we (the Jews). I can only imagine how well this would have gone over with the Jewish audience. I’m sure it would not have gone well. All, Jews and Gentiles alike, are bound to plead guilty before God. The situation was summed up well.
The reality is that sin is universal; Paul just gave proof in the previous verses 1:18-2:29. All Jews and Gentiles, which includes me and you, all of us are under the same power of sin. We can’t escape it.
Yes, we are marred because of original sin and left to ourselves there is no hope. But thankfully, God has not left us without hope. He has made a way back for us and it is found in Christ Jesus. All we need do is place our faith in Christ. Romans 10:9 is a promise we can bank on, “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” It doesn’t say “…and do all 600 plus laws that are written in the Torah.” No, it simply says, “Believe in your heart” and you will be saved. Friends, this is good news!
We need to embrace this truth of the gospel. Our sin problem is only fixable in Christ. Personally, I think we’re hard wired to want to fix things on our own, that’s why we think some how we can earn God’s favor by the things we do. “If I only read my bible more, if I memorize scripture, pray for an hour a day, serve people, go on mission trips” and the list goes on and on. In a sense, we think this makes us a better Christian; it somehow earns God’s favor. This is just not the case; we can only find favor by believing in Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection…that’s it.
As we grow in our walk, we’ve got to make sure we keep the truth of the gospel before us at all times. All of the things I mentioned in the previous paragraph are good things. They are things that help us grow into the likeness of Christ and that are involved in the sanctification process, but they should never be confused with our salvation that is found in Christ alone. If we’re doing things to earn favor with God, then we’re wrong in our approach.
Remember that God is opposed to earning, but He’s not opposed to effort. Let’s you and me strive to be all God has called us to be as we rest secure in Him, knowing that nothing will ever be able to separate us from Him.
*From what you have just read and considered: What is a personal implication/application for your life today?
(Personalize this prayer today; make it specific to the circumstances that face you.)
Ask God to lead you through His Spirit as you go through your day. Ask Him to bring to mind the truth of the gospel and its implications for what you will encounter today. Tell Him “Yes” to His will and ask Him for His power and protection to live this “yes.” Ask God to create and reveal opportunities to proclaim the good news today. KEEP PRAYING THROUGHOUT YOUR DAY.
Inspiration and insight for the devotionals came from the following books: Reading Romans with John Stott; The Message of Romans: God’s Good News for the World (The Bible Speaks Today Series), Stott, John; Romans (The NIV Application Commentary Book 6) Moo, Douglas J.; Encountering the Book of Romans: A Theological Survey (Encountering Biblical Studies) Moo, Douglas J.; Believers Bible Commentary; The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, with the New International Version, Romans through Galatians; NIV Life Application Bible.