For if the truth of God
The "truth of God" is the same with "the righteousness of God", ( Romans 3:5 ) , and means his faithfulness; of which it is hypothetically said, it
hath more abounded;
or has been more illustrated,
through my lie to his glory:
nothing is more opposite to truth than a lie; a lie of itself can never be of any advantage to truth, or to the God of truth; nothing is more contrary to the nature of God, and more abominable to him; a lie is of the devil, and punishable with eternal death; wherefore it may seem strange, that the truth of God should abound through it to his glory: now let it be observed, that the apostle is not speaking of himself, nor of his lie of unbelief, in his state of unregeneracy; but in the person of a sinful man, "for every man is a liar", ( Romans 3:4 ) , as he says, "I speak as a man", ( Romans 3:5 ) ; representing a wicked man, who from what was before said, might collect this as the sense of it, that the truth of God is illustrated by the lies of men: and so much may be owned as the apostle's sense, that the truth of God is commended, illustrated, and made to abound, when it is asserted, that he is true and faithful, and every man is a liar, fallacious, and deceitful; "let God be true, and every man a liar", ( Romans 3:4 ) : moreover, the truth of God may be allowed to abound through the lies of men, in a comparative sense, the one being set against the other; and so as contraries do, illustrate each other: this may be assented to, as that sometimes a lie has been overruled by God, for the accomplishing of his purposes and promises, in which his truth and faithfulness have been displayed, as in the cases of Jacob and the Egyptian midwives; but then this does not arise from its nature and tendency, but from the overruling wisdom and providence of God, and therefore not to be excused hereby from sin; and consequently the inference from it is not just, that therefore "no man can, or ought to be, judged as a sinner"; since his sin turns to such account, as to make for the glory of God, which is intimated in the question:
why yet am I also judged as a sinner?
if this be the case, I ought not to be reckoned a sinner, or to be treated as such here, or judged and condemned as one hereafter, which is a most wicked, as well as weak consequence; for though God is true and faithful to his promises, notwithstanding the sins of his people, which are as a foil, to set off the lustre of his truth the more, yet their sins are nevertheless sins, and are taken notice of by him as such, and they are corrected for them; and however God may overrule, in a providential way, the sins of others for his glory, this is no excuse for their sins, nor will it be an exemption of them from punishment. This is the sense of the passage; unless by "the truth of God" should be meant, the Gospel, the word of truth, which is of God; and which through the apostle's "lie", as the Jews might call his ministration of it, "abounded to" the "glory" of God; being spread far and near, and made useful for the conversion of sinners, for turning men from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God; and for the planting of churches in the Gentile world, as well as in Judea; which much conduced to the honour of God, and the interest of true religion: and then the meaning of the last clause is, "why yet am I also judged as a sinner?" why am I accounted and condemned as an heretic? as an apostate from the faith? as he was by the Jews, and who are used to call heretics sinners: so "the sinner" in ( Ecclesiastes 7:26 ) is thus interpreted F16, (Mynymh wla) "these are the heretics": and elsewhere it F17 is observed, that concerning the heretics it is said, ( Proverbs 10:7 ) , "the name of the wicked shall rot": and I very much suspect this to be the sense of the word in ( John 9:24 ) , "we know that this man is a sinner"; an heretic, a man of bad principles; and in ( John 9:31 ) ; "now we know that God heareth not sinners"; men of corrupt minds; since this character stands opposed to a worshipper of the God of Israel.
F16 Midrash Kohelet, fol. 77. 1.
F17 Juchasin, fol. 130. 2.