Thoughts on the Epistle to the Romans (52)

Moses with the Ten Commandments, by Rembrandt (1659)

For what if some did not believe? Will their unbelief make the faithfulness of God without effect?

Romans 3:3.

God’s oracles had been entrusted to the Jews in the writings of the Old Testament (v.2). But what profit had they from them? By no means all had accepted the Word of God by faith and been loyal to God. Biblical vocabulary does not differentiate between faith and loyalty. Generally the people of Israel had proved to be totally unfaithful towards God and His goodness. But man’s lack of faith and loyalty stand face to face with God’s faithfulness. This leads to two complementary thoughts.

First, God is faithful. Man’s unfaithfulness cannot alter that in any way. Secondly, man’s lack of faith cannot invalidate the doctrine, that body of faith initiated and revealed by God. Verse 2 speaks of the “oracles of God”. The Jews had received God’s Word in order to rest on it by faith. This valuable body of faith given by God cannot be annulled or revoked. God stands by His Word.

This means that God upholds the promises of the Old Testament despite Israel’s unfaithfulness. Every individual who believes God and His Word receives a blessing. And Israel will experience this blessing promised in the Old Testament in the future as a nation, when it turns back to God (cf. Romans 11). The threats of judgment in the Old Testament will equally be upheld. Our holy God remains faithful to Himself and His Word also in that He will judge and punish every sinner, unless he turns to Him, believing in Christ, the Saviour.

Image: By Rembrandt – The Yorck Project (2002) 10.000 Meisterwerke der Malerei (DVD-ROM), distributed by DIRECTMEDIA Publishing GmbH. ISBN: 3936122202., Public Domain,