Summary: Bad News: Condemnation Under Sin (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request - email:

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Reading: Romans chapter 3 verses 1-20:


• Questions – The world’s easiest quiz.

• Simple questions with not so obvious answers!

Now the section before us this morning:

• Is a series of question and answers.

• That have come out of what Paul taught in chapter 2.

The Jewish people knew they were ‘the chosen people’:

• Not chosen because they were superior to other nations,

• But chosen as an example to other nations.

• Chosen by God to be a blessing to the other nations.

• Quote:

“They weren’t special and so that’s why they were chosen,

But because they were chosen, that’s what made them special.

God’s plan was to bless other nations through them:

• But instead of blessing other nations they became exclusive, self-obsessed.

• Instead of being an example to the other nations, they became a hindrance.

But as God’s ‘chosen’ or special people, they enjoyed certain privileges:

• God gave the Jewish people gracious gifts;

• Such as a covenant (sacred agreement) binding himself to them,

• He gave them laws to obey that reflected his character,

• And circumcision as a visible sign of the special relationship Israel enjoyed with God.

Now Paul’s teaching in this letter, posed a problem for his Jewish readers:

• It appears to them;

• That Paul is now saying they are no different to the Gentiles.

• Paul seems to be setting aside the differences between Jews and Gentiles;

• In chapter 2 verses 17&29; Paul seems to be saying that there is no advantage being Jewish.


Chapter 2 verse 29:

• Paul teaches that an obedient Gentile with no circumcision;

• Would be more acceptable to God than a disobedient Jew with circumcision.

It appears to Paul’s Jewish readers that:

• That the special relationship between God and Israel;

• And the gracious gifts he has given to the Jews, all now count for nothing!

So what Paul does (with the help of the Holy Spirit) as he writes this letter:

• Is to be aware of what objections, and what questions would arise from his hearers;

• And he then go on to answers them.


• A Father and his small son were out walking one day;

• When the lad asked his dad a question;

• “How can electricity could go through the wires stretched between the telephone poles?”

• His father replied; “I don’t know, I’ve never knew too much about electricity.”

• A few blocks farther on, the boy asked another question:

• “Dad, what caused lightning and thunder?”

• His dad replied.

• “I don’t know, that too has always puzzled me!”

• The youngster continued to inquire about many things,

• None of which the father could explain.

• Finally, as they were nearing home, the boy said,

• “Dad, I hope you don’t mind me asking all those questions.”

• “Not at all,” replied his father.

• “If you don’t ask, how else are you going to learn?”

Now in chapter 3 verses 1-19:

• Paul anticipates questions that will be in the minds of his readers,

• So he asks them for them, and he also answers them.

Note: Chapter 3 is really the seedbed for the rest of the book:

• Verses 1-4 deals with Israel’s unbelief;

• And this is his subject matter in chapters 9-11.

• In verse 8 he mentions the question of living in sin;

• And he deals with this in greater detail in chapters 6-8.

• Verse 21 brings up the topic of justification by faith;

• Again he will deal with this in greater detail in chapters 4-5.

• Finally in verse 32 he mentions establishing and obeying the law;

• This is his theme in chapters 12-16.

3 questions and 3 answers

Question 1: What is the advantage of being a circumcised Jew? (verse 1):

“Is there any advantage in being a Jew? Is there any value in being circumcised?”

The Jewish readers of Paul’s letter (or any converted Jew) would be thinking:

• If all you have said in chapter 2 verses 17-29 is true:

• What is the advantage of being a circumcised Jew?

• Surely Jews are different to Gentiles.

• If they are not, why did God give us bother with 1000’s of years of heritage?

• Why did God bother giving circumcision as a visible sign to all Jewish men,

• If both Jew and Gentile are the same


• We might say; “Is there an advantage in growing up in a Christian home?”

• By Christian home we don’t mean Dr Barnardoes but Christian parents.

• You may have been taught the value of both the Bible and prayer,

• You had a lifestyle example in your godly parents.

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