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Bible Gem 147 - What is the advantage in being a Jew? (Rom 3:1-9)

March 19, 2019

Rom 3:1  Then what's the advantage of being a Jew? Is there any value in the ceremony of circumcision? 

Rom 3:2  Yes, there are great benefits! First of all, the Jews were entrusted with the whole revelation of God. 

Rom 3:3  True, some of them were unfaithful; but just because they were unfaithful, does that mean God will be unfaithful? 

Rom 3:4  Of course not! Even if everyone else is a liar, God is true. As the Scriptures say about Him, "You will be proved right in what you say, and You will win Your case in court." 

Rom 3:5  "But," some might say, "our sinfulness serves a good purpose, for it helps people see how righteous God is. Isn't it unfair, then, for Him to punish us?" (This is merely a human point of view.) 

Rom 3:6  Of course not! If God were not entirely fair, how would He be qualified to judge the world? 

Rom 3:7  "But," someone might still argue, "how can God condemn me as a sinner if my dishonesty highlights His truthfulness and brings Him more glory?" 

Rom 3:8  And some people even slander us by claiming that we say, "The more we sin, the better it is!" Those who say such things deserve to be condemned. 

Rom 3:9  Well then, should we conclude that we Jews are better than others? No, not at all, for we have already shown that all people, whether Jews or Gentiles, are under the power of sin. 

 

In Roman times the Jews stood out as being different. They were given special privileges. They were exempt from certain taxes and excused military (Roman) service because they wouldn’t fight on Sabbath. But this was not the reason why Paul is making this a point. The Jews were proud of the fact they were different to the point of having feelings of superiority. After all, they were the chosen nation by God Himself. 

 

Indeed what is the advantage in being a Jew? Paul’s answer – Great benefits. Much in every way! 

 

1. They had the Law. They wrote the Book of God (God spoke to us direct)

Imagine if the Bible were written in your language at the beginning and in your cultural context [3:2]. Imagine how much easier it would be to read and understand. You would not have to go to great lengths to work out the meaning. You would know the meaning because it is in your language. That is a huge advantage. 

 

2. Theirs was the culture of the Old Testament 

So their understanding of the cultural background of the events were so much richer: the temple, the Feasts, the priesthood etc. all very familiar and easily understood. Furthermore the story of the Bible is the story of Israel and so it strikes so much closer to the heart of every Jew. It is something that is cherished and held in high regard. It is something you would want to do or to know about because you are one of the people for whom and by whom the Bible was written. Now that is pretty special and a huge advantage. Jesus was a Jew. Much of what Jesus thought, said and did was Jewish through and through. That also has to be an advantage for getting the inside track. This is their history and they are proud of it. 

 

3.. Physical badge of circumcision. By birth they had the badge of circumcision. But was that an advantage or not? If reality is not there; the symbol is of no use!   Like wearing a Christian cross, if the life does not match the symbol best not to wear it. Knowledge of Bible counts for nothing if it is not put into practice. 

 

So that leads to another question: why did God choose the Jews? Did He choose them because they were the best business people? He could have because in fact they are skilled businessmen. Have they been chosen because they are smarter than the rest? It could be, because more Jews have won the Nobel prize for whatever field of endeavour than any other race of people proportionally in history. Were they chosen because they are the prettiest or for some other reason? A man in a seminar objected and listed out the qualities of the Jews for me. He told me how they were stubborn, pig-headed, arrogant. etc. and then he stood looking at me – challenging me and waiting for my response. I agreed with him. I told him yes, the Jew is stubborn, pig-headed, arrogant, all those things and more. In fact God states that clearly in the Bible. The LORD also said to me, 'I have seen how stubborn and rebellious these people are’. Deuteronomy 9:13  

 

Why did God choose the Jew? He chose them as one example of a race of humanity to demonstrate his powers and make it clearly evident to people that he is God and he is faithful to his Word. My hand is upon this people – watch them. For good and for bad. Do you want to know how I work with human kind – then watch my people and beware. When they obey My word things will go well for them. When they rebel they will be cursed. The Jew is an example of humanity. Look at the Jews; look at all of us. The Jews are not more arrogant than me, not more pig-headed than me, not more stubborn than me.  They mirror humanity. We are all like that. God wants us to see that and realise we need His help.

 

God effectively says “My hand is on this people group – watch them and learn how I deal with people.” He chose them to be His people to demonstrate how God deals with humans, all of us not just one cultural group. The whole human race is in the same boat. 

 

 

Live out of your imagination, not your history. Stephen Covey

 

 

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