One of the apostle’s consistent methods throughout the epistle to the Romans, particularly in the doctrinal portion, is to take up an objection he knows some of his readers will make to what he has been teaching, and answer that question.  This is an excellent and very necessary way of teaching, particularly when such vital stakes are involved as the justification of sinners before God.  The apostle, by this time in his life a very experienced teacher, was familiar with every argument that men made against his cherished doctrine of salvation by the free grace of Christ.  He knew how indignant his doctrine of spiritual circumcision, and of the equality of the Jew with the Gentiles in their condemnation before God, made his Jewish brethren.  Doubtless every one of the many objections he mentions and disposes of throughout this entire epistle were ones he had dealt with many times throughout the course of his ministry.  We should thank the Lord for the wisdom he gave this mighty apostle, to answer many of the arguments still being made against the doctrines of free grace by the enemies of the Gospel, and sometimes too by honest inquirers, to this very day.

Having heard the apostle make the astounding argument that circumcision in the flesh was by itself useless, and that the true Jew is one who is a Jew inwardly, the Jewish hearer would quite naturally demand whether there was any advantage at all in being a Jew, since it gave them no inside track to the kingdom of God.  They delighted much in the covenant promises, the land of Canaan, and their natural descent from Abraham, and were sure this gave them advantages none of the rest of the world possessed.  To hear such arguments as Paul was making must have confounded them, and of necessity have raised this question which the apostle here poses: “What advantage then hath the Jew?  Or what profit is there of circumcision?”  This is, we must admit, a very legitimate question.  Since nearly the whole Old Testament deals with the people of Israel, and often praises God for dealing with them in marvelous ways that He had not done with any other people, was the apostle’s argument a valid one?  He will show that it is.

 

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