In the third chapter of the book of Romans, the Apostle Paul engages in some; forgive the term, “devil’s advocacy”. He takes on the role of a critic and asks the questions that he knows are on people’s minds after reading the first two chapters. He then proceeds to answer them with the rhetorical skill for which the Apostle is so well known.
The argument of chapter one reveals the hopeless condition of the most notoriously sinful…understood. The first part of chapter two delivers the same bad news to those “really good people” relying on their moral deeds to spare them from condemnation. That’s a tough pill for some to swallow, but the point is well made. However if the Jews, God’s chosen nation, the very people whom He visited and gave instructions written by His own hand, cannot merit His favor then what was the point in choosing them?
What advantage does the Jew have? They were given the privilege of being God’s first emissaries. The rest of the world had creation and their consciences but the Jewish people had the very words of God so that the whole world could know His will and His righteousness. They had the advantage of the promises of a coming messiah so when he came they would recognize him. Although many, if not most, would reject him when he came, it doesn’t change the message and it doesn’t make it God’s fault.
Next, if God’s righteousness is demonstrated by all those who cannot measure up to it, then why should we be subject to His condemnation and shouldn’t more sin give God more glory? Only a man looking to excuse his own behavior would ask such questions. It brings no pleasure to God that His righteousness is validated by the sinful behavior of His children. God’s preferred method is through the sinless life of His Son.
The plan all along was that the path to righteousness would be through faith in Jesus Christ whom God set forth as a propitiation by his blood through faith The revelation of that path would only be possible once all other paths were ruled out. It is only through the disclosure that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God that we can be justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.