Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Murray on religious institutions

Romans 3:1-2

3:1 Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the value of circumcision? 2 Much in every way. To begin with, the Jews were entrusted with the oracles of God.

In his commentary on Romans(Murray, John. The Epistle to the Romans: the English Text with Introduction, Exposition and Notes. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1968.), John Murray makes an application to modern thinking on religious institutions that is based on Paul's comments on an ancient institution; namely, circumcision.

The direction of the apostle's thought here is relevant as rebuke to much that is current in the attitude of the present day, namely, neglect of, if not contempt for, institutions which God has established in the church, on the plausible plea that in many cases those who observe these institutions do not prove faithful to their intent and purpose and that many who are indifferent and perhaps hostile to these institutions exhibit more of the evangelical faith and fervor which ought to commend these institutions. The same answer must be given and given with even greater emphasis. For if Paul could say with reference to the advantage and profit of an institution that had been discontinued as to its observance "Much every way", how much more may we esteem the institutions that are permanent in the church of Christ and which regulate its life and devotion until Christ will come again. (92)

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