Summary: Let’s talk about various aspects of this courtroom drama and especially how this applies to us (Material adapted from Dr. Jack Cottrell's book, Set Free)


How many of us like Courtroom or Legal Drama shows? I used to watch Quincy with my mother. I started to watch Matlock and liked it. Then my mother began studying law. She eventually got her paralegal degree. However, throughout the course of this study, many of the professors would talk about TV legal dramas and how inaccurate they were. My mother would come home and talk about how this was wrong from Matlock and Perry Mason and Law and Order. Now, when I watch a legal drama, I am always asking myself, Is this how they do it? Did they get a deposition for that? ETc. Just ruined it for me.


The doctrine of justification, as talked about in Romans 3:21-26, can be explained in terms of a courtroom drama. Justification is a legal term.

Thesis: Let’s talk about various aspects of this courtroom drama and especially how this applies to us.

For instances:

The Crime- Vs. 23 shows our problem with the law.

“All have sinned”- Two aspects of this:

Transgression or breaking the law. 1 John 3:4 (KJV): Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.

Also, it is a state of the heart, an attitude of rebellion against and disrespect for the law like James Dean with Rebel Without a Cause. 1 John 3:4 (NIV): Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness.

“And fall short of the glory of God”

This means to lack, be deficient in, be wanting, fall behind.

This refers to the state in which we exist as a consequence of sin. Always running but losing the race, always behind in our debts.

1 Corinthians 10:31: Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. We fail to give God the glory due Him, in our words, thoughts and actions. We fail to qualify for, and thereby reject, the glory and reward that God gives faithful servants. We fail to properly reflect God’s glory, even though we were made in His image. We fail to obtain the final glory God will bestow on His people at the end of all history.

Because of our sinfulness we do not show forth that glory of God which we are supposed to do

All of this means that we are “in trouble with the law.” We have a legal problem.

We stand guilty before God the judge. Romans 3:19- Every mouth may be silenced

We are facing the maximum penalty, eternity in hell.

The evidence against us is overwhelming.

The Judge who will try our case is fair but very strict.

The Possibility of Acquittal: Is it possible for sinners to “beat the rap” and to be “right with the law” again

Being right with the law = being in a state of righteousness. Being righteous means satisfying the requirements of the law.

As sinners, we cannot be in a state of righteousness according to the law, unless we suffer the full penalty deserved by our sins, eternity in hell.

However, there is another kind of righteousness, another way to be right with the law, a way this is different from anything the law can provide. Romans 3:21- righteousness, apart from law. Here we have to go “outside the law.”

This other way allows us to be right with the law without having to suffer its penalty, even though we have sinned!

In other words, even though we have sinned, the Judge can still justify us. Romans 3:24. To be “justified” means having the Judge say “No penalty for you.” “To justify” is the opposite of “to condemn.”

The right lawyer: Every criminal’s dream

Matlock- Every year I look for the nastiest, hatefulest, meanest man to represent and this year you're it.

When we are in trouble with the law, we need a good lawyer, one who can “get us off the hook” even though we are guilty. Unlike Matlock where his clients are not guilty.

The only one who can do this is Jesus. Romans 3:22, 24. He is our defense advocate (attorney) . 1 John 2:1 (KJV): And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ.

The only way sinners can “beat the rap” of sin is to turn their case over completely to Jesus. Romans 3:22: through faith in Jesus Christ.

No matter how guilty we are, as our lawyer, Jesus absolutely guarantees acquittal, justification!

The Strategy: How does Jesus accomplish this? He has a strategy, a “gimmick,” an approach to the problem that is very different from the law system.

He has a surefire system of getting around the law, a way to “get us off” that works in a totally different way from the way law itself works. Romans 3:21: apart from law

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