Winning a huge lottery payout is a good thing, right? It makes for a wonderful opportunity for a person to do and enjoy pretty much everything imaginable, correct?
Apparently not! A simple search of articles on large lottery winners reveals that a sizeable majority end up with lives that are more miserable, if not completely ruined. An amazing number end up losing everything. Poor choices abound. Most are completely unequipped to manage their new situation in a positive way.
At the same time, a minority of winners report of the great blessing that it was for them. They speak of hiring professional accountants and investment advisors, being disciplined to use their newfound wealth in wise and productive ways.
From this we can say that it was not the mere fact of wealth that ruined peoples’ lives, it was the lack of faithful and disciplined execution of attention to the details that made for a mess.
We have read in recent paragraphs in Romans chapters 1 and 2 of the Jewish people who were condemned by God for their sinful lives. If being given the “blessings” of status as God’s Chosen People resulted in so many of them ending up in judgment, what good therefore was such a “blessing?” And Paul says that there indeed was great blessing and advantage. It was not a matter that God’s goodness set them up for failure; they simply failed to be faithful with the riches to which they were entrusted, particularly having the very words of God given to them.
So there is no way that God should be blamed for their bad situation and God’s necessary judgment. He was good; they messed up all by themselves.
The argumentative objections (of which there were many) raised by Paul’s adversaries (of which there were many) as seen in verses 5-8 are admittedly a bit crazy. But arguments against God’s goodness are exactly that. Illogical is another word. Let’s add senseless to the mix.
God is good. People fail. All have sinned, Chosen People or not. That God thereby is required by His holy character to necessarily judge them is not a mark against Him.
But talk about people with great advantage! Has there ever been those with a better advantage to be people of faith than we are in our day? I suppose it could be argued that to be a first century follower who happened to be among the hundreds who saw the post-resurrection Jesus would make faith easier. Even so, I’m not sure I’d trade for that. For one thing, we possess the completed record of Scripture. Think of all the resources we have in our day to stand on the shoulders of two millennia of Christians who have gone before us. Consider the resources literally at our fingertips electronically. By any standard, we are uniquely blessed. We are people of advantage.
3:1 – What advantage, then, is there in being a Jew, or what value is there in circumcision? 2 Much in every way! First of all, the Jews have been entrusted with the very words of God.
3 What if some were unfaithful? Will their unfaithfulness nullify God’s faithfulness? 4 Not at all! Let God be true, and every human being a liar. As it is written:
“So that you may be proved right when you speak and prevail when you judge.”
5 But if our unrighteousness brings out God’s righteousness more clearly, what shall we say? That God is unjust in bringing his wrath on us? (I am using a human argument.) 6 Certainly not! If that were so, how could God judge the world? 7 Someone might argue, “If my falsehood enhances God’s truthfulness and so increases his glory, why am I still condemned as a sinner?” 8 Why not say—as some slanderously claim that we say—“Let us do evil that good may result”? Their condemnation is just!