Sermon:
Crossing the Line

Scripture: Romans 3:5-6
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 we are being slanderously reported as saying and as some claim that we say--" Let us do evil that good may result"? Their condemnation is deserved.

I think it’s quite staggering to think that God knows our thoughts. He knows our every move, our every inclination, and our every feeling. And, essentially, that’s what these first several verses of Romans chapter three represent. They represent those muddled and not well thought out what if questions that God knew would come up in the minds of these first century Jews.

In its context, verse five primarily refers to the wicked history of the people to whom the very words of God had been entrusted.

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.)

Notice Paul says our unrighteousness. He is referring to the unrighteousness of Israel throughout its sinful history. Abraham sought out Egypt and not God; Isaac wanted to give the birthright to Esau rather than Jacob, whom he had been directed to give it in the first place; Jacob was a crook. Yet, through all of this sin, God still says to Moses…

(Exodus 3:15) God also said to Moses, "Say to the Israelites, ’The LORD, the God of your fathers--the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob--has sent me to you.’ This is my name forever, the name by which I am to be remembered from generation to generation.

These very sins enslaved Israel in Egypt, and, when their redemption was near, they preferred to go back to slavery rather than accept God’s emancipation through grace.

Time and time again, Moses had to figuratively stand behind the wandering Israelites and push them to their next destination. As they progress through the years, through the promised land, they came to a place in their beliefs that, since they were the chosen people, they had certain inalienable rights with God and that, therefore, He must overlook anything that they did contrary to His will.

They were not very far from antinomianism [an•ti•no•mi•an•ism], which is the polar opposite of legalism, the belief that obedience to a code of religious law is necessary for salvation. They were not very far from this definition as they were but one step away from the idea that they were under no obligation to obey the laws of ethics or morality as presented by God.

You see all of this sin, all of this unrighteousness that was in the lives of the Israelites, the history of the Israelites…which in their sinful minds