Sunday: Romans 3:5-8
vs5-8 (continued): In effect a Jew has said, How can God condemn us for having hard hearts if He uses our resistance to the gospel to bring others to know Him. If thats the case then our unbelief is actually a good thing and God has no right to punish us for it. Admittedly this is an example of someones weak attempt to defend themselves, yet this tortured logic must have persuaded some group because Paul feels the need to refute it. Once again (vs3, 4) he forcefully reacts to the suggestion that God might be unrighteous with the words, May it never be!, and then adds that if God werent righteous He would be disqualified as our judge (v6). And then he re-words the question he reported in verse five choosing terms that strip away any veneer of respectability in order to expose its underlying cause which is hard hearts toward Christ. He wants these Jews to see that the unbelief that drove the gospel to the Gentiles isnt a small matter. They were believing and proclaiming a lie, and by lie he means deep spiritual deception, not common dishonesty, in particular deception concerning Israels true Messiah Jesus (Ro 1:25; 2Th 2:10-12; 1Jn 2:21, 22).
Monday: Romans 3:8
v8: Paul says this type of twisted logic is similar to claims made by some of his opponents against the righteousness of faith. In their minds this principle of the gospel implies that God doesnt care anymore if people keep on sinning, in fact, the more the better. Afterall, they would charge if God covers sinners with the gift of righteousness then every sin means God has one more opportunity to forgive, and doesnt that magnify His mercy. In the Greek Paul uses the word blasphemy to describe this accusation. He says his opponents intentionally pervert the gospel and make Gods mercy appear ridiculous. He warns them they will be condemned for this because they are causing others to stumble (Mt 18:6-9).
Tuesday: Romans 3:9
v9: In verses 5-8 Paul uses first person singular and plural pronouns (I, my, we, our) because he is speaking from the point of a Jew. And in this verse (v9) he speaks once more from this perspective to ask the questions, Are we better than they? In other words, do the Jews have an advantage over the Gentiles? His full answer has been: yes and no. Yes, in that the Jews have much more revelation and have been sent the Messiah, but no with respect to righteousness before God. None have fully obeyed Gods Law and many rejected the Messiah, so Jews are sinners in need of mercy just as much as Gentiles. The verdict that Paul wants us to reach is that every person on earth whether Jew or Gentile, needs to be saved.
Wednesday: Romans 3:10-12
In verses 10-18 Paul reinforces his conclusion that Jews and Greeks (Gentiles) are all hopelessly sinful by quoting and paraphrasing passages from the Psalms and the prophet Isaiah. Each vividly portrays a particular aspect of human sinfulness and when all are placed side by side they reveal how the human heart appears when viewed from heaven. vs10-12: The statements in these three verses are drawn from Psalm 14 (or Psalm 53 which is identical to Psalm 14 except for slight changes in verses 5 and 6). The Psalm is a warning to all who think God does not exist and therefore assume they will not be punished for their wicked deeds. David says the exact opposite is the truth. Not only does God exist, but He looks down from heaven to examine the spiritual condition of every human, and His verdict is that we are all corrupt and no one does good.
Thursday: Romans 3:13
v13: From Psalms 5 and 140 Paul draws together three powerful images concerning the evil of human speech. In Psalm 5 David says he begins each day by calling on God for mercy because he knows how much God hates violence and deceit and that those who practice such things will be judged. Then he asks God to guide him because he knows that those who watch him (his enemies?) will try to lead him astray. Nothing they say should be trusted. Their flattering words lure him to unrighteousness and spiritual death. Psalm 140 is similar. David again calls on God to deliver him from human corruption which he describes as flowing from the evil devised in their hearts.
Friday: Romans 3:14
v14: Paul paraphrases a portion of Psalm 10 verse 7 to reinforce the idea that the speech of ungodly people is filled with deceit and fraud. He focuses on what they say because their words reveal the true character of their hearts. Jesus said that the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart and then warned us that for this reason we will all account to God for our words (Mt 12:34-37). Those who speak deceit and fraud do so because they are essentially deceitful and fraudulent inside. This means the universality of human sin can be observed by noting how dishonest people are in what they say.
Saturday: Romans 3:15-17
vs15-17: These three verses are drawn from Isaiah 59:7, 8 in which the prophet tells Israel that God withheld His help from them because they had become cruel, selfish and deceitful. The portions Paul selects emphasize their willingness to commit violence. Isaiah went on to conclude that the sinfulness in Israel was so universal no one was qualified to be their mediator (Isa 59:16-21). Thankfully, he also said that in spite of this God decided to send the Messiah to redeem those who repent (Isa 59:20). Paul quotes from this passage to support his contention that all humans are sinful. He wants us to reflect on the hopelessness found in Gods assessment of Israel: Not one person was free from corruption. No one, and Isaiah included himself in this group (Isa 59:9-13), was righteous enough to stand before God to appeal to Him for mercy on behalf of His people. If that was the condition of Israel then, Paul would argue, it was surely no better during his time, or any other.