Did I find a Contradiction?

Romans 3
27 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith. 28 Therefore we conclude that a man is [i]justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law. 29 Or is He the God of the Jews only? Is He not also the God of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also, 30 since there is one God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith. 31 Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law.

Something interesting I read:
Doesn’t James contradict this in passages like James 2:14-26? How can we say that it is faith alone that saves, apart from the deeds of the law?
What James says, that man is not justified by faith alone, but also by works, does not at all militate against the preceding view [of justification by faith alone]. The reconciling of the two views depends chiefly on the drift of the argument pursued by James. For the question with him is not, how men attain righteousness before God, but how they prove it to others that they are justified;

Our works is how we prove to others that we are saved by grace. However, in God’s eyes, only faith will save us from an eternity apart from Him.

The Justifier

Romans 3
21 But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all [f]and on all who believe. For there is no difference; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified [g]freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God set forth as a [h]propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, 26 to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

The idea is that through the animal sacrifice of the Old Testament, those who looked in faith to the coming Messiah had their sins “covered” by a sort of an “IOU” or promissory note. That temporary covering was redeemed for full payment at the cross.

https://enduringword.com/bible-commentary/romans-3/

I find it interesting that God can tolerate sin so he can demonstrate his righteousness and show Himself just.
forbearance-tolerance, or restraint

Side thought:
Is the “law” a living breathing entity?
It says the righteousness of God is witnessed by the Law.

Paul Drops the Hammer

Roman 3
19 Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become [e]guilty before God. 20 Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

These notes sum this up perfectly:
· This means that the law, having been broken, now can only condemn us – it can never save us.

· This means that even if we could now begin to perfectly keep the law of God it could not make up for past disobedience, or remove present guilt.

· This means that keeping the law is NOT God’s way of salvation or of blessing under the New Covenant.

We are guilty. It is the reason we need a savior. It seems Paul is spending time correcting people that think they are above salvation, or they are already perfect because of the law. The law exists to show us that we need Jesus.

My Throat is an Open Grave

Romans 3
9 What then? Are we better than they? Not at all. For we have previously charged both Jews and Greeks that they are all under sin.

10 As it is written:

“There is none righteous, no, not one;
11 There is none who understands;
There is none who seeks after God.
12 They have all turned aside;
They have together become unprofitable;
There is none who does good, no, not one.”
13 “Their throat is an open [d]tomb;
With their tongues they have practiced deceit”;
“The poison of asps is under their lips”;
14 “Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness.”
15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood;
16 Destruction and misery are in their ways;
17 And the way of peace they have not known.”
18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

There has never been a truly righteous man apart from Jesus Christ. “Even Adam was not righteous: he was innocent – not knowing good and evil.” (Newell)

Without the saving power of Jesus Christ we are all evil at our core. This is why there is only one way to redemption. It is impossible on our own to create a path to salvation.

Control my evil?

Romans 3
5 But if our unrighteousness demonstrates the righteousness of God, what shall we say? Is God unjust who inflicts wrath? (I speak as a man.) 6 Certainly not! For then how will God judge the world?

7 For if the truth of God has increased through my lie to His glory, why am I also still judged as a sinner? 8 And why not say, “Let us do evil that good may come”?—as we are slanderously reported and as some affirm that we say. Their [c]condemnation is just.

In the commentary I have been studying I read this:

Paul was familiar with the line of thinking that says, “God is in control of everything. Even my evil will ultimately demonstrate His righteousness. Therefore God is unjust if He inflicts His wrath on me, because I’m just a pawn in His hand.”

i. In theory, the most dramatic example of someone who might ask this question is Judas. Can you hear Judas make his case? “Lord, I know that I betrayed Jesus, but You used it for good. In fact, if I hadn’t done what I did, Jesus wouldn’t have gone to the cross at all. What I did even fulfilled the Scriptures. How can You judge me at all?” The answer to Judas might go like this: “Yes, God used your wickedness but it was still your wickedness. There was no good or pure motive in your heart at all. It is no credit to you that God brought good out of your evil. You stand guilty before God.”

I want to break this down:
“God is in control of everything. Even my evil will ultimately demonstrate His righteousness.

I believe it is ridiculous to say God is in control of my evil. We as people have a free will. God can USE my evil to bring glory to Himself because He is amazing and deserving of our praise. However, he is not in control of my evil.
I believe the Lord knew what Judas would do before Judas ever did it. This brings on that age old question of predestination. If God already knows where I am going to end up, then what’s the point.

I know what my daughter is going to do MOST of the time. However, it is still her choice to make decisions. It just means as her father I have an understanding of the choices she has already made. God is like this times 1000!

God has given us free choice to make good decisions and bad decisions. He can use the bad in our life to bring glory to Himself and He certainly get’s glory from the good we do in His name.
We have a role to play. Our bad decisions will come with consequences.

What if some don’t believe?

Romans 3
What advantage then has the Jew, or what is the profit of circumcision? 2 Much in every way! Chiefly because to them were committed the [a]oracles of God. 3 For what if some did not believe? Will their unbelief make the faithfulness of God without effect? 4 Certainly not! Indeed, let God be [b]true but every man a liar. As it is written:

“That You may be justified in Your words,
And may overcome when You are judged.”

The Jews are still God’s chosen people. Even though some people do not believe it does not change that God is true, and God is just.

Charles Spurgeon once said:
“I have to say, with Paul, ‘What if some did not believe?’ It is no new thing; for there have always been some who have rejected the revelation of God. What then? You and I had better go on believing, and testing for ourselves, and proving the faithfulness of God, and living upon Christ our Lord, even though we see another set of doubters, and another, and yet another ad infinitum. The gospel is no failure, as many of us know.”

Our job is to show Christ. That is why circumcision does not matter if you still choose to disobey God. The outwardly act must be followed by a lifestyle reflecting Christ. If we were to all reflect Christ, more people would come to the saving knowledge of our Lord Jesus. We would also live amazing lives where we would see the hand of God in our every day as we believe for amazing signs and wonders.

It’s a heart problem

Romans 2
25 For circumcision is indeed profitable if you keep the law; but if you are a breaker of the law, your circumcision has become uncircumcision. 26 Therefore, if an uncircumcised man keeps the righteous requirements of the law, will not his uncircumcision be counted as circumcision? 27 And will not the physically uncircumcised, if he fulfills the law, judge you who, even with your [f]written code and circumcision, are a transgressor of the law? 28 For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh; 29 but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose [g]praise is not from men but from God.

The Jew believed that his circumcision guaranteed his salvation. He might be punished in the world to come, but could never be lost.

Circumcision and baptism do about the same thing that a label on a can does. If the outer label doesn’t match with what is on the inside, something is wrong! If there are carrots inside the can, you can put a label that says “Peas” but it doesn’t change what is inside the can. Being born again changes what is inside the can, and then you can put the appropriate label on the outside.

Actions and Attitudes

Romans 2
17 [d]Indeed you are called a Jew, and rest[e] on the law, and make your boast in God, 18 and know His will, and approve the things that are excellent, being instructed out of the law, 19 and are confident that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, 20 an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, having the form of knowledge and truth in the law. 21 You, therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself? You who preach that a man should not steal, do you steal? 22 You who say, “Do not commit adultery,” do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? 23 You who make your boast in the law, do you dishonor God through breaking the law? 24 For “the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you,” as it is written.

commentary from: https://enduringword.com/bible-commentary/romans-2/

This.

 

God applies His law to both our actions and our attitudes. Sometimes we only want our attitudes evaluated, and sometimes only our actions. God will hold us accountable for both motives and actions.

AND this.

Paul reminds the Jew that God said in the Old Testament that the failure of the Jew to obey the law causes Gentiles to blaspheme God.

When we act terrible and blend in with the world, God is the one who suffers. The gentile will either curse God because He(God) fails the Christian and the gentile wants no part of this, or the gentile will think God is a fraud because “these Christians” are no different than the world.

This is why we must rise above. This is why we must believe for bigger things. We are a testimony to the lost. Are lives should be a light.

The need for a savior.

Romans 2:12 For as many as have sinned without law will also perish without law, and as many as have sinned in the law will be judged by the law 13 (for not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified; 14 for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, 15 who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them) 16 in the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel.

Paul explains why the Gentile can be condemned without the law. Their conscience (which is the work of the law written in their hearts) is enough to condemn them – or, theoretically this law on the heart is enough to justify them.

Many pagan authors of Paul’s day referred to the “unwritten law” within man. They thought of it as something that pointed man to the right way. Though it is not embodied in written laws, it is in some ways more important than the written law.

In theory, a man might be justified (“excused”) by obeying his conscience. Unfortunately, every man has violated his conscience (God’s internal revelation to man), just as every man has violated God’s written revelation.
This is why we need a savior.

The goodness of God leads to repentance

Romans 2
Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things. 2 But we know that the judgment of God is according to truth against those who practice such things. 3 And do you think this, O man, you who judge those practicing such things, and doing the same, that you will escape the judgment of God? 4 Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?

Here is some commentary I am reading:
Practice the same things:
Notice that the moralist is not condemned for judging others but for being guilty of the same things that he judges others for. This is something the moral man would object to (“I’m not like them at all!”), but Paul will demonstrate this is true.

Wuest, quoting Denney on for you who judge practice the same things: “Not, you do the identical actions, but your conduct is the same, i.e., you sin against light. The sin of the Jews was the same, but their sins were not.”

The last thing for today is the last portion of scripture:
“not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?”

i. Men should see the goodness of God and understand:

· God has been better to them than they deserve.

· God has shown them kindness when they have ignored Him.

· God has shown them kindness when they have mocked Him.

· God is not a cruel master and they may safely surrender to Him.

· God is perfectly willing to forgive them.

· God should be served out of simple gratitude.