Lesson 31 - Chapter 3 verses 5-8

Lesson 31 - Chapter 3 verses 5-8

Verse 5

But if our unrighteousness begins with the Greek word “de” used to make a transition into one of the most common attacks on the integrity of God. Paul uses this as a supposition from the viewpoint of reality or assumed reality. This is a debater’s technique. The Greek word for unrighteousness is “adikia,” meaning wrongdoing, wickedness or injustice. In the New Testament “adikia” means legal injustice, partiality in judgment, man’s unrighteousness in contrast to the righteousness of God. Here it means dishonesty, lack of integrity of the Jewish unbeliever. But remember that by application it could be any born-again believer maladjusted to the justice of God at rebound and maladjusted with regard to the intake and application of Bible doctrine. So the Jewish unbeliever possesses an unrighteousness or lack of integrity and therefore is maladjusted to the integrity of God.

Demonstrates the righteousness of God is the Greek verb sunisthmi for demonstrates, which means to bring together, to unite, to show or to recommend. Here it means to demonstrate or promote. Using a little debater’s technique, Paul simply assumes the position of the self-righteous Jewish unbeliever in order to destroy that position. He sets up a straw man and then knocks him over. The assumption comes from his arrogant self-righteousness. The unbeliever Jew in his arrogant self-righteousness is going to say that his unrighteousness or sinfulness actually promotes or demonstrates the integrity of God.

It is blasphemous to assume that human righteousness promotes divine integrity. Divine integrity has always existed in eternity past, long before there was any unrighteousness in the human race. Neither man’s self-righteousness nor unrighteousness can add anything to the integrity of God. In fact, God’s righteousness totally rejects man’s self-righteousness, as well as man’s sinfulness. The self-righteous Jew uses debater’s technique by implying that God would be wrong and unjust to judge or punish anyone who was promoting His glory or integrity. The self-righteous Jewish unbeliever erroneously contends that his unrighteousness (which he believes is righteousness) promotes the righteousness and integrity of God. Therefore the self-righteous Jew concludes that God could not condemn him.

Since holiness demands holiness, integrity demands integrity, righteousness demands equivalent righteousness, justice demands justice, God must condemn all members of the human race from His perfect integrity. This is why adjustment to the justice of God is so important and the key to understanding our great relationship with God.

What shall we say? This rhetorical question is actually used seven times in the book of Romans and in each case Paul is using logic in connection with debater’s technique in order to refute a false position. (Romans 3:5; 4:1; 6:1; 7:7; 8:31; 9:14, 30) Paul assumes the distortion of the self-righteous Jew as a part of debater’s technique. It is a Greek idiom in debater’s technique and it should be translated, “to what conclusion are we forced?”

Now the false conclusion is stated, and then refuted. The God Who inflicts wrath is not unrighteous, is He? It should be translated, “to what conclusion are we forced? Is the God who inflicts wrathful punishment unrighteous? No.” The Greek word “adikos” means unrighteousness. The Greek word for inflicts is “orge” and means to inflict wrathful punishment. Paul is using debater’s technique at this point to teach the concept of doctrine. The last judgment is also in view here.

Paul has assumed an erroneous position in order to refute a position. The conclusion is unthinkable and blasphemous. It is impossible for the perfect integrity of God to be unrighteous. The holiness/integrity of God was intact in eternity past before man was created and nothing can change it, nothing ever will. There is nothing man can do to destroy, to neutralize or to cancel the integrity of God. There is nothing that man can do to compromise the integrity of God. Man’s unrighteousness does not glorify God. There is no point in either angelic or human history where the integrity of God is compromised or gains anything from man’s unrighteousness or self-righteousness. No one establishes God’s righteousness and no one adds anything to God’s integrity. This is a fundamental principle of grace and separates grace from legalism. God’s righteousness, along with the rest of His integrity, which is justice, has always existed and is not subject to change or promotion by man. God’s essence or character stands without help from man or angel. In other words, God does not need our help; we need His help. We need the benefit of God’s integrity which begins at salvation.

I speaking in human terms is a Greek idiom. Paul as a part of debater’s technique assumes the attitude of the self-righteous unbeliever in order to refute that position. Paul assumes human viewpoint to refute it.

Translation: “But if our unrighteousness promotes the integrity of God [and we assume it does], to what conclusion are we forced? The God who inflicts wrathful punishment is not unrighteous, is he? No, of course not. I am presenting the human viewpoint.”

Is God who inflicts wrathful judgment on the unbeliever unrighteous? Is divine integrity compromised by judging man? Does the temporal and eternal judgment of the unbeliever in any way compromise the attributes of God? The answer is no. On the contrary, the function of divine justice in condemning the unbeliever confirms the integrity of God.


Verse 6

May it never be! Lest some of Paul’s hearers become nervous, he makes a full denial of the false assertion. He begins with the strongest of the negative idioms: “Emphatically not.”

For otherwise how will God judge the world. This refers to Jesus Christ Who is the presiding Judge of the Supreme Court of Heaven and has been so appointed by God the Father according to John 5:22, 27. The Last Judgment is anticipated as reality under the future tense. Translation: “Emphatically not. Otherwise if it were true how shall God judge the world?” God cannot render righteous judgment if He is not righteous (but of course He is).


Verse 7

But if through my lie. Here we have the first class condition (if and its true or in this case we will assume it is true) is used as debater’s technique. Paul uses this premise in order to refute the premise. Paul assumes something to be true in order to refute it. He states a premise of legalism. Under this first class condition Paul assumes that doctrine or the truth of God is advanced by telling a lie. He assumes the role of a liar in order to state his rationalization to those who are maladjusted to the justice of God. His rationalization is: the liar should not be condemned if he advances the justice of God. The truth of God is the Greek word “aletheia” for truth. It is used for the body of truth that we believe or Bible doctrine. The word “aletheia” describes integrity in terms of truthfulness, dependability and reliability as opposed to the appearance of things on the surface.

Abounded to His glory is the Greek verb “perisseuo,” which means to show to be extremely great, to make very rich or to be prominent. Here it means to become more prominent or to become extremely great. So, Paul is assuming the position that he lies to advance the glory of God. Paul assumes this heresy in order to refute it.

Why am I also being judged as a sinner. “As a sinner” is literally “as sinful.” Lies and falsehood are sins. All lies, all falsehoods were poured out on Christ on the Cross and judged. Therefore, sinfulness does not advance the glory of God and cannot advance the glory of God. Anything that was judged on the Cross doesn’t glorify the justice of God, the glory is in the judging agent, not in the recipient of the judgment (which would be like saying all criminals are glorious). Divine integrity advances the glory of God. That which is the recipient of judgment does not glorify God. It is the justice of God which is glorified in condemning that which is sinful and evil. Man does not advance the glory of God, only God can advance the glory of God. He may use man or angels, but only God has the power to advance the glory of God. Man can glorify God but man cannot advance the glory of God. We glorify God with maximum doctrine resident in the soul so that the justice of God is free to bless us. Man can glorify God by the use of grace and by the adjustments to the justice of God, but man cannot advance the glory of God.


Verse 8

And why not say (as we are slanderously reported and as some affirm that we say). Slanderously means to injure the reputation of someone, to revile in relationship to man, or to blaspheme in relationship to God. Arrogant self-righteousness is always critical of grace-oriented doctrinal teaching. But all the slander and maligning in the world cannot destroy the ministry of anyone who communicates Bible doctrine. The word “affirm” here means to allege. Paul, the greatest Bible teacher who ever lived, was being maligned and slandered.

Let us do evil that good may come is what they contend Paul is saying. They contend that every day Paul teaches this. Paul does not contend that the means justifies the end, nor the end justifies the means. If the means is evil, the end is evil. The means determines the quality of the end. The end can never be any better than the means by which the end was achieved. Consequently, God never uses evil to accomplish good.

Their condemnation is just is the Greek word “krima” for condemnation meaning a judicial verdict, a sentence of condemnation and punishment. Whenever doctrinal teaching is maligned it is sure that the integrity of God will deal with those who do so.

Translation: “In fact, not true (as we have been slandered and certain arrogant ones keep alleging that we say) Let us do evil things that good things may come. Their condemnation and punishment is deserved.”