June 15 Epistle Reading

Romans 2:28 – 3:18

[28] For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that
circumcision, which is outward in the flesh:[29] But he is a
Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in
the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of
God.[1] What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of
circumcision?[2] Much every way: chiefly, because that unto
them were committed the oracles of God.[3] For what if some
did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without
effect?[4] God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a
liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings,
and mightest overcome when thou art judged.[5] But if our
unrighteousness commend the righteousness of God, what shall we say? Is
God unrighteous who taketh vengeance? (I speak as a man)[6]
God forbid: for then how shall God judge the world?[7] For if
the truth of God hath more abounded through my lie unto his glory; why
yet am I also judged as a sinner?[8] And not rather, (as we
be slanderously reported, and as some affirm that we say,) Let us do
evil, that good may come? whose damnation is just.[9] What
then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved
both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin;[10] As
it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:[11]
There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.[12]
They are all gone out of the way, they are together become
unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.[13]
Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used
deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips:[14] Whose
mouth is full of cursing and bitterness:[15] Their feet are
swift to shed blood:[16] Destruction and misery are in their
ways:[17] And the way of peace have they not known:[18]
There is no fear of God before their eyes.

Apollinaris of Laodicea in his Commentary from the Greek Church said:

“Let it be agreed, Paul says, that God is faithful and true in every case, whereas men have been judged as unfaithful and untrue, so that God by his goodness may conquer the self-righteousness of men by bestowing his own righteousness upon them.”

Chrysostom in his Homilies on Romans 6 said:

“The unbelief of the Jews does not reflect badly on God but rather shows his honor and love of man to be all the greater, in that God is seen to have bestowed honor on people who would dishonor him. Look how he has revealed them to be guilty of misdeeds because of what they gloried in. The honor God showed to them was so great that even when he saw what the result of it would be, he did not withhold his good will toward them. But the Jews made the honors bestowed on them a means of insulting him who honored them.” 

Theodoret of Cyr wrote in his Interpretation of the Letter to the Romans:

“God knew in advance who would obey the law and who would break it. Therefore, those who did not believe were unable to stand in the way of his blessings.”

Referring to v4 “every man a liar”, Eusebius of Emesa wrote in his Pauline Commentary from the Greek Church:

“Even if all men loved a lie before the coming of the truth, the true God nevertheless remained just, holding fast to the things which were proper to God and fulfilling everything which was said that was fitting.”

Referring to v13 “their throat is an open sepulchre”, Origen wrote in his Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans:

“This comes from Psalm 5[:10]. It seems to me that Paul is using this text to describe different types of human sin. The analogy: Every grave contains the uncleanness of the dead body inside. This is why our Lord said in the Gospel that the scribes and Pharisees were whited sepulchres. On the outside they appear to be beautiful, but on the inside they are full of all sorts of uncleanness…Paul seems to be revealing something more…he says that they are an open grave, not one which is shut and covered up. Those who were called a closed sepulchre had enough sense of shame not to reveal their sins to the public. But these people are called an open grave because thye have their uncleanness and impurity on display, and they are so accustomed to evil that…whenever they open their throat and speak the word of death, the word of the devil, not from the heart but from the grave. Whenever you see a man cursing and swearing, you may be sure that he is one of this type.

“‘They use their tongues to deceive.’ To deceive means to say one thing and think another. I am not certain that even the justified and the elect are entirely free of sin. Some commit it more and others less. The only one who is perfect in this respect is the one of whom it is written: ‘He had committed no sin, and there was no deceit in his mouth.’ There may be someone who is careful and cautious enough to avoid major failings in this respect, but who is there who does not fall into this trap either from a sense of shame or from neglect? Occasionally things which should be done are overlooked because of forgetfulness, and in order for no blame to appear they are excused in a way which does not correspond to the facts. This is why Peter, realizing that these are all different types of deception, wrote this in his epistle: ‘Put away all malice and all guile and insincerity and envy and all slander. Like newborn babes, long for pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up to salvation.'”

“The bit of the serpent kills the body with its poison. Even a bit of a poisonous word may kill the soul by deception. This may be applied both to those who surround others with slanderous remarks and of those who, by heretical teaching tainted with the poison of the devil, deceive the souls of the simple.”

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