Romans 3:3 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.

Doctors Barry Marshall and Robin Warren of Australia won the 2005 Nobel Prize in Medicine for discovering the cause of ulcers and many stomach cancers. However, it took them years to publish their findings because most of their colleagues did not believe them. For years the conventional wisdom held that ulcers were caused by stress and diet, but Marshall and Warren discovered that the Helicobacter Pylori (H. Pylori) bacteria was the actual cause, and that people could be fully cured through a course of antibiotics. For years Marshall was an object of ridicule, but he was so convinced of his findings that he infected himself with H. Pylori and then cured himself with antibiotics. (Because lab animals did not develop ulcers when infected with H. Pylori, a human subject was required. Ethically, Marshall could only infect himself.) As a result, people no longer suffer from debilitating ulcers and in the West stomach cancer has been nearly eradicated. Sometimes when we are right, we stand alone.

Paul wrote Romans 3:3-4 because many of the Roman Jews objected to Paul’s gospel because it had not been received by the bulk of Jews in Palestine and Samaria. That is, they had rejected Jesus Christ as the resurrected Messiah, and so if they did not believe, how could Paul’s contention that Jesus was the Messiah be true? If Jesus was truly the Messiah, wouldn’t the message be received by the Palestinian Jews and wouldn’t that message be blessed by God? Paul’s response was similar to Marshall’s and Warren’s — the entire world may reject my message but I’m convinced that God is true and his gospel is true. Later in the letter, Paul says that Isaiah prophesied that most of the Jews would reject Christ, but the Gentiles would receive him (Romans 10:16-21).

We live in a time of unbelief and a time when the Church is in decline. It is sometimes difficult to witness for Jesus Christ because although we will not face death, we will face ridicule and ostracism. Nevertheless, God is still true, right, and just — it doesn’t matter that no one else believes (as it did not matter to Marshall and Warren), God will be vindicated, just as Christ was vindicated by the resurrection.

Prayer: Lord, give me the courage to stand up for my beliefs despite the opposition of others.

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