1 Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the value of circumcision?
2 Much, in every way. For in the first place the Jews were entrusted with the oracles of God.
Paul is walking a fine line here, on one hand he must not tolerate a Jewish view of self that was exaggerated – Jews were not saved merely because they were Jew. On the other hand, Paul can’t let the Gentiles think that God had forsaken His chosen people. So in chapters 3 and 4 and we’ll see again in chapter 9-11, Paul will deal with the question of the Jewish nations place and purpose in God’s plan to redemption. For right now Paul will address a question of advantage. First, Jews were entrusted with the Word of God. This was a privilege that the Jewish nation was granted, which led to many Jews knowing God’s mercy. But what about those who didn’t believe and weren’t faithful to God?
3 What if some were unfaithful? Will their faithlessness nullify the faithfulness of God?
4 By no means! Although everyone is a liar, let God be proved true, as it is written,
‘So that you may be justified in your words, and prevail in your judging.’
Since there are some who turn against Him does it mean that God was unfaithful? Paul says of course not, every man is a liar, but God remains true. Paul is essentially saying the same thing here that he says in 2 Timothy later.
2 Timothy 2:13
13 if we are faithless, he remains faithful — for he cannot deny himself.
God had made promises to the nation of Israel that He would keep. To prove the point Paul quotes from a great case study of unfaithfulness. A man to whom God made great promises of a future kingdom and an eternal throne and yet this man was unfaithful at times to God.
2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.
3 For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.
4 Against you, you alone, have I sinned, and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are justified in your sentence and blameless when you pass judgement.
Paul quotes David’s words to point out that even this great Jew had to acknowledge his unfaithfulness before God. So we can’t claim that God is unfaithful simply because an individual Jew is unbelieving or unfaithful.
Romans 3: 5-6
5 But if our injustice serves to confirm the justice of God, what should we say? That God is unjust to inflict wrath on us? (I speak in a human way.)
6 By no means! For then how could God judge the world?
So there are advantage to being Jew, they have the Word of God. And in that word were promises to the nation of Israel, even though the Jews were unrighteous, His righteousness shines through as He keeps His promises. Like David … we can see God’s mercy and grace and faithfulness all the more because of David’s failings. So shouldn’t we expect God to overlook the sins of all Jews so that God’s righteousness might be magnified all the more? And of course Paul gives us the logical answer. First, he makes sure that no one thinks he agrees with this line of reasoning by making a by the way comment, this is a human argument, not something a godly person would suggest. Then Paul deals with it, if God were to overlook the sins of the Jewish people without cause, how could He judge the world? If He were to ignore the sins of Jewish men, God would be showing partiality. So God will judge the sinning Jew without partiality.
Romans 3: 7-8
7 But if through my falsehood God’s truthfulness abounds to his glory, why am I still being condemned as a sinner?
8 And why not say (as some people slander us by saying that we say), ‘Let us do evil so that good may come’? Their condemnation is deserved!
So … isn’t the sinning of a Jew actually helping God by giving Him more opportunity to show His glory in mercy? Paul answers their question with a sarcastic question of his own. If you’re going to say that, then why not live according to the motto that some have accused Paul of teaching elsewhere. In other words, if you really believe this kind of absurd logic, then why are you striving to do anything good. And Paul leaves the argument sitting there unaddressed so as not to dignify it. So now the Jewish reader comes to the same point as before; though there are promise made to the Jewish nation, individual Jews must stand the same judgment that all men face.