Thoughts on the Epistle to the Romans (53)

King David in Prayer, by Pieter de Grebber (c. 1640)

Certainly not! Indeed, let God be true but every man a liar. As it is written, That you may be justified in your words, and may overcome when you are judged.

Romans 3:4.

Man’s unfaithfulness cannot annul God’s faithfulness nor invalidate His sayings. Paul refutes such thoughts categorically. However deceitful people may be, God’s truth must be firmly held. Many other passages in the Bible confirm this important fact: “In hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised”, and “If we are faithless, he remains faithful” (Titus 1:2; 2 Timothy 2:13).

Then Paul quotes from the Psalms. David had committed adultery and murder, and God had announced His punitive judgment on him. Then David did what Paul demands of everyone: David recognized God’s verdict as just. He acknowledged that he had sinned grievously and accepted God’s judgment. If God were to appear in judgment, then he would overcome. David’s words (his acceptance of the verdict) justified him.

Today’s verse shows that the guilty sinner must acknowledge God’s judgment as justified and submit to it. When Christ judges the world, no-one will escape (cf. Philippians 2:11). Conscience struck, David had readily submitted when he turned to God. This is precisely what the word “repentance” means: recognizing God to be right and accepting His judgment on us and our life. Whoever does so sincerely, trusting in God’s grace in Jesus Christ, receives the forgiveness of his life’s guilt. Read the words of David in psalm 51!

Image: By Pieter de Grebber – Web Gallery of Art:   Image  Info about artwork, Public Domain,