Thoughts on the Epistle to the Romans (56)

Baptism of Jesus

What then? Are we better than they? Not at all. For we have previously charged both Jews and Greeks that they are all under sin.

Romans 3:9-11.

At the beginning of the chapter Paul had demonstrated that the Jews definitely had an advantage over the heathen nations: “the oracles of God” had been entrusted to them. In chapter 9, vv. 4 & 5 he names other advantages that have to do with the Jews’ privileged position as God’s earthly people.

This however, certainly does not mean that the Jews were any better than the heathen. They may not have lived generally in such coarse sins as the heathen nations, but they had, on the other hand, brought shame on the Name of the true God before the whole world by transgressing His commandments (cf. ch. 2:23.24). That made them equally guilty before Him. They, too, were “under sin” and could only expect God’s wrath. If being a Jew and knowing the revelation of God in the Old Testament was an advantage then, so today it is an advantage to grow up in a Christian family and have the ability to read the Bible. Before God, however, that makes no-one any better.

Since man’s fall through the sin of the first human couple everyone is “under sin” and its consequences. Membership of a Christian church or fellowship or being one of a Christian family cannot free us from this state. Our parents may be believing Christians and children of God. But God has no “grandchildren”. Everyone must be “born again” personally by turning to God and believing in Jesus Christ. Only then are we no longer “under sin” but “under grace” (cf. John 3:3; Romans 6:14).

Image: By Andrea del Verrocchio – This file was derived from: Verrocchio, Leonardo da Vinci – Battesimo di Cristo – Google Art Project.jpg:, Public Domain,