Paul here turned to a brief discussion of certain objections. First, "What advantage, then, hath the Jew?" He replied, "Much, every way." He then mentioned only one, which he spoke of as being "first of all," meaning of supreme importance, "that they were entrusted with the oracles of God." Therein lay the supreme advantage of the Jew.
Then arises a new question. If man's faith fails, will God be unfaithful? To this the apostle replied that is it impossible for God to be unfaithful. The faithfulness of God is demonstrated by His unchanging attitude toward man. If man sins, God judges him; if man repents, God forgives him.
And yet still another question logically follows. If sin is the means of glorifying God by demonstrating His faithfulness, is it righteous to punish the sinner? The reply is that unless God punishes sin He has no basis on which to judge the world at all.
So far, the whole argument presents a picture of humanity from the divine viewpoint. It is so terrible in itself as to create a sense of hopelessness in us.
With the words, "but now," the apostle began the declaration of the Gospel. The whole is summarized in the statement that "a righteousness of God ha& been manifested." This righteousness of God is at the disposal of those who believe.
The apostle then told of the great provision of grace by first naming the foundation blessing, or justification, "by His grace"; and then announcing the medium through which grace has operated to that end, "the redemption," a word fraught with infinite meaning, to be more fully unfolded as the argument proceeds; and finally naming the Person, "Christ Jesus," who has accomplished the work of redemption, which issues in the justification of the sinner.
The work of the Cross is set at the heart of this Evangel of salvation, and is seen to be a fulfilment of God's purpose, by God's Son, for the vindication of God's righteousness, in the action of God's forbearance.
The result is now set forth in a statement that is as startling as it is gracious: "That He might Himself be just," or righteous; "and the Justifier," or the One who accounts as righteous "him that hath faith in Jesus." This is the glorious Evangel.
the Third Week after Epiphany