Read Romans 3:1-8
It seems that the Jews in Rome and Paul had some conflict. The Jews in Rome seemed to think Paul didn’t take God’s law serious enough and that his talk of grace meant he was condoning people to sin whenever they wanted. Paul seemed to think that the Jews in Rome didn’t understand grace and were placing their trust in things other than Christ (Heritage, circumcision, privilege). In the end, I think what the Word shows us is we all have a tendency to either trust in our good behavior as a means for justification, or we swing the other way and treat God’s grace cheaply. True love and faithfulness comes through humility before God. A humble heart leads us to an understanding of the unimaginable cost of grace, and what it took for God to forgive our sin.
- In verse 4 (a quote from Psalm 51:1-4) Paul leaves us with an example of what it looks like to be humble before God. Why is this example so powerful, and why do you think it would have spoken to the religious Jewish crowd specifically?
- In the passage Paul is accusing the Jews of misplaced privilege before God and legalism and the Jews are accusing Paul of promoting cheap grace. What is the difference between the two and why does it matter?
- Which way do you think you have a tendency to lean if you aren’t careful – legalism or cheap grace? How does that affect you and play out in your life?
4. How do you fight the tendency to lean either way? What are ways you can stay lovingly humble before the Lord and pursue his holiness and grace meaningfully?