Justification by grace alone through faith. This is one of the pillars of the Lutheran faith, but is also a teaching of many Christian denominations. In today’s reading, Paul begins to outline the case for justification by God’s grace through our faith in Jesus Christ. Paul begins by explaining circumcision (a Jewish ritual that identified a male as being part of the Abrahamic Covenant), and goes on to explain how the Jews were entrusted with the Word of God and the Covenant first, but now it has been given to both Jews and Gentiles (people outside Judaism).
What is interesting to note here, however, is Paul’s exposition about being unfaithful. We are all, at times, unfaithful to God and the holy life He call us to. Paul explains that, “What if some were unfaithful? Will their faithlessness nullify the faithfulness of God?” (Romans 3:3, NRSV). This is important to note, because it shows how God is faithful even when we are unfaithful. We may struggle with a particular sin or vice (alcohol, drugs, pornography, excessive eating, gambling, etc.), but God is still faithful to us.
Paul goes on to explain how we are under the power of sin, but God is still faithful. He also explains that God is just and truthful, even when we are proven to be unjust and untruthful. This is Good News! This also shows that God doesn’t use justice and injustice to judge the world, as far as we would see judgement; rather, God judges the world with truth and justice. Sometimes that means unjust people get away with evil things, and sometimes people who are (in their own eyes) righteous are caught up in terrible circumstances. God has a unique way of ordering the universe, and we may not understand what or why He is doing something; but, He has a purpose in all that He does.
Scripture: Romans 3:1-8
We give thanks that you are ever-faithful and every-truthful, even when ourselves are not. Help us to understand your purpose and design in all of life, even our most darkest and troubling hours when it is hard to see your work. Help us to see that, while not always removing the circumstances of our lives, you are still present with us in all the we undertake. Amen.