Romans 3:5-8(New International Version – NIV)
5 But if our unrighteousness brings out God’s righteousness more clearly, what shall we say? That God is unjust in bringing his wrath on us? (I am using a human argument.)
6 Certainly not! If that were so, how could God judge the world?
7 Someone might argue, “If my falsehood enhances God’s truthfulness and so increases his glory, why am I still condemned as a sinner?”
8 Why not say—as we are being slanderously reported as saying and as some claim that we say—”Let us do evil that good may result”? Their condemnation is deserved.
Being a Christian in our modern culture is very, very difficult. It is a seemingly impossible job to stand firmly on the truth of the Bible and yet manifest the love and grace of our wonderful God. Almost all of the epistle to Romans that we have looked at so far, talks about the reality of sin in very candid and open ways. Up to this point, Paul has made clear statements about wilful acts of rebellion and sin against God. In recent verses, he seems to be detailing questions that have been or are being asked of him. All of this makes difficult reading. The four verses in our reading today aren’t the easiest to understand but I believe that they have particular relevance to us today.
Firstly, if we cast our mind back to chapter 1, Paul says that our sin is highlighted by God’s righteousness. If there is no righteousness, then sin becomes ‘normality’. In our verses today, the argument being made is that if God’s righteousness becomes clearer because of sin, then surely God is happy with that and therefore is unjust in punishing the sinner. The underlying accusation here is that God does not deal with us in a fair manner.
Secondly, it is argued that by sinning, God’s Glory is seen and therefore we should sin all the more! Paul will return to this theme later in the epistle but suffice to say for now that this is a false argument and has no place in our churches today. I believe that we should accept everyone who steps foot in any of our churches and that we should love them as Christ commands. However, we should never encourage them to continue a life of sin. I want God’s glory to be seen as His Holy Spirit convicts of sin and leads sinners to repentance.
I’m going to ask you to do something today that I don’t think I’ve ever asked previously. Please take some time today to pray for your church leaders. They have an incredibly difficult task of balancing love and acceptance against righteousness and holiness. Ask God to give wisdom and courage to stand on His Word and lead under the direction of the Holy Spirit.