Wednesday in the Fourteenth Week of Ordinary Time

Romans 3:1-8

Ugly Presumption

It’s one of those sins that afflicts every Christian at some point in their lives.  We spoke of it yesterday with regard to the Jews of Paul’s day, but it is quite universal in application.  The sin is called presumption, and it is the act whereby we presume upon God’s grace such that we treat sin as a trivial matter; after all, God forgives us our sins, so why worry?  Thus, presumption is impudence, audacity, insolence, and outrageous effrontery before the Lord our God who, unlike us, takes sin very seriously.

Paul has just finished speaking of how the Jews had boasted of their superior position before God as God’s own people to whom He had given the law and circumcision.  He doubles back now to agree that the Jews were indeed favored in that they were entrusted with the very oracles of God.  Surely having the law of God and a covenantal sign (circumcision) of being His people is better than not having any of these things at all!  But those in covenantal relation with God did not keep the covenant, and even the Gentiles recognized this (2:24).  So the question then comes: “Does their faithlessness nullify the faithfulness of God?”  In other words, will God now turn faithless to His side of the covenant since the Jews proved faithless to theirs?  And Paul answers in a strong Greek construction: μη γενοιτο!  “Far be it!” or “Let it not happen!” or “By no means!” or “God [implied] forbid!”  God remains true though we be false, which in turn gives Him every right to judge the world (as if He needed that in the first place).

Paul then goes on to recite the ridiculous arguments which some proposed then (and I suppose now) to justify their sin which may be paraphrased thus: “But if all this is so, then my faithlessness proves God’s faithfulness, my lie abounds to His glory, my sin magnifies God’s grace!”  Paul then quotes those who slandered the gospel proclamation of grace as teaching, “Why not do evil that good may come?”  He then closes with his own righteous judgment on such horrible hypocrisy: “Their condemnation is just.”

Paul is speaking of the sin of presumption as the Jews of his day took advantage of God’s gracious election of themselves as His people.  But please note, Paul will warn the Gentile Christians of the same sin in chapter eleven.  No one is above this particular sin.  It is sneaky.  No one would ever say: “I’m going to commit this sin and trample on the blood of Christ” (Hebrews 10:26-31).  We know when we’re stealing, but presumption comes in by the back door.  So be alert.  We stand only by grace; wallow in it.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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