Summary: This message examines the fact that although we are condemned for our sins there is still hope.
Paul has made quite a case against us up to this point. However, it is easy for us to sit back and look for those who we think are a lot worse than we are. We have a hard time accepting since we have not really done anything that bad, we are in danger of being condemned for our sins. Perhaps this will help us understand the concept a little better. Back in the 90’s a California research firm considered the advertising slogan for a popular soap that was 99.4% pure. And they asked themselves the question: “What if everything in the world operated at 99% efficiency?” These are the findings this study:
• Drinking water would be unsafe one hour out of each month.
• Two planes would crash land - each day - at Chicago’s O’Hare airport.
• Five hundred surgeries would be botched each week.
• 20,000 prescriptions would be improperly filled each year.
I wouldn’t want to drink that water. I wouldn’t want to fly on those planes. And I wouldn’t want to have those pharmacists and surgeons anywhere near me or my family. 99% efficiency is NOT acceptable in these matters, because missing these things by just “that much” (just 1%) can many times be deadly. This is the case with sin missing the mark by just a little is the same as missing by a mile. As we open this section Paul makes it clear by reminding us that all have sinned, but he doesn’t leave us hopeless. Today let’s discover how God through His grace allows us to become righteous although we do not deserve it.
I. Understanding where we stand before God.
A. Another look at Paul’s drastic but correct indictment against mankind.
1. Paul has skillfully proven the fact that sin is universal and that every human being is in need of salvation.
2. Regardless of what we may try there is nothing that we can do to change our condition before God.
3. It was not within man’s capacity to obtain the necessary perfection through the Law.
4. Paul wanted everyone that read his words to come to the reality that there is only one way to put us into right standing with God.
5. God through His saving activity has made it possible for us to be proclaimed righteous apart from the Law.
B. The new covenant radically changed how God dealt with mankind as well as their relationship to the Law.
1. As we have already learned, the Law made us aware of sin and how messed up we really are.
2. The Law was how God dealt with Israel under the old covenant so Christians are no longer under the Law, God now deals with mankind through Jesus Christ.
3. The last half of chapter 3 represents a very noticeable change of tone for Paul but it is the next logical step in his argument.
4. Paul showed that under the old covenant both Gentile and Jew were condemned for the sins but that radically changes under the new covenant inaugurated by Jesus Christ.
II. Understanding all the facts in regard to Salvation.
A. God’s plan for the salvation of the human race was nothing short of radical.
1. God’s plan left out everything that man might do to attain righteousness.
2. The righteousness that God made available to man is totally dependent upon what He has accomplished through Christ’s sacrifice.
3. Salvation is not earned, it is not for the well-intentioned, it is a free gift accepted through faith and intended for those who are lost in sin.
4. To a skeptical culture such as ours, it is hard to accept the idea that God’s righteousness is extended freely and it is not based on the effort we put forth trying to earn it.
B. Salvation is possible because Christ has satisfied all the requirements of the Law.
1. The Law demanded that mankind be punished for their sin and Jesus fulfilled this requirement on the cross.
2. Why does everyone have to take this route to obtain salvation? Because all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.
3. To the Jew we lost our share in God’s glory because we had broken our relationship with God and it would all be restored in the future.
4. Paul announces the Good News that the future is now and that this relationship cannot be restored apart from Jesus Christ.
5. The Gospel message of salvation is based entirely on the atoning work of God’s one and only Son, Jesus Christ.
C. Through Jesus’ sacrificial death God effectively erased all the damage that had been done by sin.
1. Once again Paul erases are the difference between Jew and Gentile by showing that everyone is made righteous the same way, through faith in Jesus Christ.