What advantage, then, is there in being a Jew, or what value is there in circumcision? Much in every way! First of all, the Jews have been entrusted with the very words of God.
What if some were unfaithful? Will their unfaithfulness nullify God’s faithfulness? Not at all! Let God be true, and every human being a liar. As it is written: “So that you may be proved right when you speak and prevail when you judge.” But if our unrighteousness brings out God’s righteousness more clearly, what shall we say? That God is unjust in bringing his wrath on us? (I am using a human argument.) Certainly not! If that were so, how could God judge the world? Someone might argue, “If my falsehood enhances God’s truthfulness and so increases his glory, why am I still condemned as a sinner?” Why not say—as some slanderously claim that we say—“Let us do evil that good may result”? Their condemnation is just!
What crazy questions and suggestions, huh? According to Paul, people were actually saying or suggesting this! Man, it’s like a child saying that if he disobeys and looks bad, then the goodness of his dad will be revealed to others, thus bringing glory to his dad. So why then would the child be punished? Seriously?
The child would be punished because he disobeyed his father. A disobedient child doesn’t bring glory to the father, he brings shame and embarrassment. For example, remember the last screaming kid you saw in a store? What were some first thoughts that came to your mind?
- “Spoiled kid!”
- “What terrible parents!”
- “If that was MY kid, I would…”
- “Why don’t they do something?”
Are any of these thoughts bringing glory to the parents? Definitely not! Instead, the kid’s bad behaviors are being reflected onto the parents, making them look like bad parents. So then, if God’s people misbehave (disobey, sin), what then do you suppose they’re doing to God’s image in the eyes of others?
A good parent would exact discipline on the kid immediately. In fact, kids of a good parent would be well-behaved, and thus THEN bring honor to their father.
Now, granted, Paul’s talking at the moment about the Jews. But one of the most common arguments (and oldest arguments) that I continue to hear and read about is that Christians don’t do a good job of representing God/Jesus. God is all holy, but His people/children (Christians) portray themselves as:
- unable to get along with each other
- Being against non-Christians
- Sexually immoral
- Stay in their cliques
- People who like to argue
- No different from everybody else.
You know, I’ll get behind state troopers and police vehicles all the time who don’t use their turn signals, roll through stop signs, practice improper lane usage, are using their cellphones while driving in Chicago, tapping away on their computers while driving, or whose tail lights are burnt out. Isn’t it interesting how they can get away with this, but if we were guilty of the same, we would get pulled over and given a ticket? What sort of image does this give our traffic authorities?
Or, I’ll get cut off by somebody with one of those signs on their cars that says “Caution, Child on Board.” Really? Are they on board now? Because by the way you’re driving…
Who’s being glorified by all this sinning? Not God…
- The police who are never around when people break the laws?
- The police department for not putting a phone number on the back of their cars to report how they’re driving?
Jesus once said though that when we (Christians) do something that represents Him, even non-believers will give praises to God for our behaviors and actions. Our DIS-obedience, however, is not what glorifies God. It’s our obedience that brings glory to God, our Father in Heaven. ‘Hallowed by your Name! Let your name be glorified by all we are, say and do!’
Just as with the Jews, Christians are also entrusted with the Word of God. If we’re unfaithful, God continues to be faithful, for otherwise, how could He judge? Can a sinful judge seriously judge righteously? For even if every human being and all creation continues to sin against God, God will remain faithful to His promise, for God is Holy and there is none like Him.
There was a time in my life when I did not have Jesus as my Lord and friend. I was all broken and numb inside due to a bad breakup with a previous girlfriend, and so I had no respect for others in committed relationships. So anyway, there was this girl who was part of our group of friends who was in a committed relationship. I would still try to persuade her to sway, but she wouldn’t budge (good girl!). And I remember asking her once, “Well, what if it turns out or you find out later that your boyfriend cheated on you?” My hopes were to knock down her faith in the relationship and her trust in his faithfulness. But instead, she replied, “Then at least I could say that I was faithful.”
If God’s people…let me change that, WHEN God’s people are unfaithful towards Him, God remains faithful to us. Because if He didn’t, or if He allowed Himself to be swayed, then His judgment would not, could not, be just. But God remains faithful even towards the unfaithful “so that (He) may be proved right when (He) speaks and prevail when (He) judges.”
But again, God is not glorified in judging sinners. He’s glorified in the righteous who obey His commandments…His Word, which we, His People, have been entrusted with! When somebody gives you something of special value, do you throw it to the ground and trample on it? No, of course not! You take special care of it. How much more, then, should we respect God’s Word?