Thoughts on the Epistle to the Romans (51)

The Conversion of Saint Paul on the Way to Damascus (c. 1889), by José Ferraz de Almeida Júnior

What advantage then has the Jew, or what is the profit of circumcision? Much in every way! Chiefly because to them were committed the oracles of God.

Romans 3:1.2.

The apostle Paul, the writer of the epistle to the Romans, had set out the essence of his message in chapter 1, verse 16: “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone needs this good message of salvation through Jesus Christ. First Paul demonstrated that heathen nations must expect God’s judgment because of their sins. But the same thing applied to the Jews. Simply belonging to the people of God did not undo their sins. They, too, were guilty before God. Now Paul deals with the Jews’ objections. Didn’t they have an advantage over other nations? Wasn’t their rite of circumcision profitable for them? After all, it had been instigated by God!

They did, indeed, have their advantages. The greatest consisted in their being entrusted with the Old Testament scriptures. Other peoples had been able to recognize something of God’s greatness in creation, but they had succumbed to idolatry (ch.1, vv 20-23). The people of Israel had the revelation of the living God in His statements recorded in the Old Testament. That was a significant advantage.

Nowadays Christianity has this advantage. The Bible, both the Old and the New Testaments, has been entrusted to us as the revelation of God for the blessing of ourselves and other people and nations. What profit have we derived from this advantage?

Image: By José Ferraz de Almeida Júnior – José Rosael/Hélio Nobre/Museu Paulista da USP, Public Domain,