Summary: Romans is about the good news but Paul begins with the bad news, the dark side, the universal problem of human depravity. How can anyone understand the value of the good news unless we first understand the bad news about each one of us?
Years ago when I became the new pastor at Holly Brook Baptist church in Texas my first sermon was entitled , ‘What Sin Looks Like’. They used the sign out in front of the church to [put my name and the sermon title. The sign read, ‘Dr. Guy McGraw, What Sin Looks Like’. The sign could not have been more correct.
Every one of us who looks at ourselves in God’s mirror will see nothing but sin.
In 1886, Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson wrote The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. It’s the story of a respected physician and medical researcher who embodied the very best ideals of morality and decency. When Dr. Jekyll experiments on himself he releases a murderous savage from within who because of murders in nearby Hyde Park is given the name Mr. Hyde. This story fascinates us because—at some level—we see ourselves in Dr. Jekyll and we fear the Mr. Hyde we try to keep hidden.
Mark Twain once said, “Everyone is a moon and has a dark side which he never shows to anybody.” That dark side is usually where we are grossly losing the battle to our sin nature. Apart from God’s Power we are hopeless against it.
The central theme of Paul’s letter to the Romans is the gospel, the good news but he begins with the bad news, the dark side, the universal problem of human depravity.
How can anyone understand the need for the good news offered to us unless we first understand the bad news about each one of us?
SIN- Interesting word that has ‘I’ at it’s middle.
When God created the world He looked around and said, ‘That is good’.
Paul reflects on the world/mankind through the eyes of God now, ‘This is bad’.
Picture: When we look at ourselves we almost always feel it is a bad picture. Someone else looks and says, ‘It looks like you’.
The Ultimate opinion of us is what God says about mankind. Romans 1-3 is a stark revelation of what God’s holy eyes see when He looks at sinful man.
DEPRAVITY: The word bothers us. We may feel that there are a lot of worse people than us. And we could also be a lot worse than we are.
DEPRAVED DOES NOT MEAN THAT WE ARE AS BAD AS WE CAN BE BUT THAT WE ARE AS BAD OFF AS WE CAN BE.
Every part of our nature is TAINTED BY SIN. It runs through us at every level. Effects everything we do and every thought we think.
DEPRAVITY has more to do with our vertical relationship with God than with our horizontal relationships with others. We may look pretty upstanding to others but to God’s eyes there is a great separation caused by our sin. The only way to address it is not to improve ourselves but to find God’s pardon thru Christ.
Imagine a man on DEATH ROW. He is condemned because of his crime and simply waiting for justice to be carried out. What if on the day of his schedules execution he tries to make the case:’ I kept my jail cell spotless and clean, I never complained about the food I was given, I was kind to others on death row and I even helped them in many different ways”.
The response would be something like, ‘All of that was nice for you to do but your problem is much greater than that, the only thing that can save a man on death row is a pardon regardless of all the good things he might try to do. His problem is not his present conduct but his past condemnation’.
We are all on death row. The schedule date of justice is whatever day we die. Hebrews 9:27 says, ‘There is appointed unto each man once to die and after this comes judgment’. People don’t like hearing this and many pastors or Christians don’t like telling this to people. But the good news is that we can be saved from the bad news and the bad news is not that my life is messed up or I can be happier by going to church but that I will face eternal judgment unless my sin is confronted and forgiven.
God’s Diagnosis of Man: Great Physician speaks! No cure without an accurate diagnosis. A doctor is not cruel who tells you the truth:
He might use words we hate like stroke, pneumonia, cancer, disease but we need to hear them to treat the problem. Many today don’t want to hear the diagnosis God gives of the disease that is destroying many lives.
R.C. Sproul is a great theologian/pastor who was also trained in the medical field regarding the brain.(advanced Harvard degree in Neurological studies) He said that our brains are so amazing that they record every even of every moment of our lives.