Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the value of circumcision? 2 Much in every way. To begin with, the Jews were entrusted with the oracles of God. 3 What if some were unfaithful? Does their faithlessness nullify the faithfulness of God? 4 By no means! Let God be true though every one were a liar, as it is written,
“That you may be justified in your words,
and prevail when you are judged.”
Paul continues with one of the great themes of Romans – – Jews and Gentiles. He is reviewing and foreshadowing the main point – – we are all sinners and can all be saved by God’s grace in Christ. That helps me make sense of Romans 1 and reminds me that I am very much part of the they.
I recently read the book Nailed by David Fitzgerald. In balance I read Simply Jesus by NT Wright. Fitzgerald argued that Jesus did not exist. Wright argued that Jesus was a Jew. The first book helped me to understand an uncommon but important objection to faith. I may write more about it later answering with the scholarship of Will and Ariel Durant. The second book has had me thinking for a month and is more relevant to this passage of Romans.
If there is a God who reveals truth, then he chose the Jewish people to do so. If there is an incarnation of that God, then he was a Jew. I ascribe to the propositions and accept the conclusions. Where then is the Christian anti-semite? The same place as the Christian racist: in deep sin. I believe not just in a deist energy and order, but in a revelatory God who spoke into time and history to people with words. These people were the Jews.
Christian anti-semitism is a non-starter and needs to be answered with scripture. This passage in Romans is a good place to start. Romans 3:23 is coming. Just like Romans 1 we realize that all humans are in the same boat before a holy God and are in need of rescue. God keeps promises, even when we don’t. The original promise to Abraham recorded in Genesis was that the world would be blessed by him.
The Jewish people and promise were not abolished by the coming of Jesus Christ. If you are a Christian, remember the context of your faith and ethnicity of your savior. Do not tolerate anti-semitism. You cannot do so and honor the scripture. Likewise, remember that God disciplines those he loves. When the Hebrews scriptures (Christian Old Testament) record the Jews turning from him, suffering in captivity followed. Do not endorse anything Jewish or Christian only because it bears the name – – use the same lenses that God grinds in scripture: justice and mercy.