Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The God of Everyone

Romans 3:29 Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, 30 since God is one--who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith.

29 ἢ Ἰουδαίων ὁ θεὸς μόνον; οὐχὶ καὶ ἐθνῶν; ναὶ καὶ ἐθνῶν, 30  εἴπερ εἷς ὁ θεὸς ὃς δικαιώσει περιτομὴν ἐκ πίστεως καὶ ἀκροβυστίαν διὰ τῆς πίστεως.

This is how Paul ends a pretty lengthy and difficult argument. Frankly, I don't get a ton out of this when I read it in Greek because it is difficult to follow his arguments. But a quick read in English clears things up.

Paul begins chapter 3 by asking if there is any advantage to being a Jew. It seems that they do have an advantage in that God chose them to speak His Word. We call that the Old Testament. He also used the Jews to bring the Savior of the world in Jesus. In that sense there is a huge significance to being an ethnic Jew.

However, he ends the argument with these rhetorical questions. When he uses the construction οὐχὶ καὶ ἐθνῶν he is basically saying, "isn't that so?" That's what the particle οὐχὶ does. It's sort of like the French phrase "n'est-ce pas" that is tacked on to the end of a sentence when you expect a positive answer.

The point is that Paul is leveling the playing field between Jews and Gentiles. When Paul refers to the "circumcised" or the "uncircumcised" he is referring to Jew and Gentile. Basically, he is dividing the world into two classes of people - Jews and non-Jews. That includes everyone. And he says that God will justify everyone by faith. 

In other words, genetics will not save anyone. Removal of foreskin on the 8th day will not save anyone. Only faith will save people. That faith needs to be in Christ. If you are reading this and are Jewish I entreat you along with Paul to trust in Christ as Messiah. If you are reading this and are not Jewish I entreat you along with Paul to trust in Christ as the one will justify you before the Lord. In other words, I don't care who you are -- you need Christ. Will you trust Him?

No comments: