Summary: Religious or non-religious, all men are in the same predicament before God. The law (rules) doesn’t fix the problem. It SHOWS us the problem and points us to Christ, the only solution.
Outline for CBF July 26, 2009
Intro: Give illustration of three men, all condemned for different kinds of murder (one kills someone in a fit of rage, one hires an assassin to kill his wife; another, having been involved in gangs, bumps off some of his competitors)
All three, being on death row, try to show how they are better than the others, and therefore shouldn’t have to face the death penalty.
? The point here, just as in our text today, is that all are guilty! Even if they should
TS. Review the point which Paul has been making, that, when it comes to right standing before God, no one is any better than anyone else!
1. Knowing and believing the law of God doesn’t even come close to doing it!
2. Human comparison is a completely different thing than divine/human
Paul especially dealt with this matter in chapter 2.
TS. The first part of chapter 3 deals with questions which would come to the mind of a Jewish person. After all, if all this is true, what advantage is there in being Jewish?!
1. There are plenty of advantages, but they don’t have to do with being somehow better than another person.
2. The questions raised in Rom 3:1-8 become increasingly bold, even perhaps a bit crass, as Paul gives examples of how a legalist will sometimes try to justify themselves, apart from the grace of God. (see v. 8)
3. Romans 3:9-20 summarizes & ties up Paul’s point.
a). Paul restates and "re-answers" the question in v. 9.
b). Let me restate the question more in our own context: Does being religious help one to become more accepted by God? Or, on the flip side, is the non-religious person at a disadvantage in gaining the acceptance of God? Are there, in fact, "classes" or "spiritual castes?"
- In our text today Paul re-answers this question, in a sense, but he takes a little different tact on it, and, he goes on to answer the question, "So what value, then, does the law have?" "What good is it anyway?!"
c) Did you know that vv. 10-18 are actually quoted from other parts of Scripture? Let me read some O.T. Texts for you. See:
Verses 10-12 - Psalm 14:1-3; 53:1-41
Verse 13 - Psalm 5:9; 140:32
Verse 14 - Psalm 10:7 3
Verse 15-17 - Isaiah 59:7ff.4
Verse 18 - Psalm 36:15
Paul’s first point is:
I. God has always told us that all of us are in equal need of His grace and mercy, 10-18.
A. Apart from a work of God in us, this is what we are like:
1. We really don’t care about God, our Creator, 11, 18.
(If concerned, we care more about "fire insurance" than Him Himself).
2. We’re not only ignorant, we willfully try not to recognize our God, 11.
3. "We’re rotten at the core." v. 12 (unprofitable)
4. No one does good, 12
(Explain that "good" refers to pure God honoring motives. Give illustration of the man who, wanting to avoid the wrath of his wife, buys her flowers.)
5. We do great harm with our speech, 13-14.
6. We are fundamentally violent, 15-16
7. Verse 14 notice: from head to toe, we’re no good!
TS. Remember all those O.T. Texts we read? Well, many of them already spoke of God’s intended remedy for our rottenness. Let’s take another, more in depth look at Psalm 36, vv. 1-7 (read)
B. God has always meant that our hope be in His mercy and grace.
1. "Lovingkindness" (chesed) is the closest word, in Hebrew, to the N.T. "Grace!"
2. Notice that there is no mention in either Romans or any other part of the Old or New Testament, about any sort of goodness in Man himself.
TS. So what good is it to know commandments?
There are many, as Paul stated in 8:2. But none of them have to do with using them to somehow draw nearer to God.
- The regular theme, heard in thousands of churches, on a regular basis; "Do good, or you’ll go to hell." is false!
- What good then, does the law serve?
Our second, and last point, is found in vv. 19-20.
II. When it comes to relationship with God, the Law’s only purpose is to kill any self confidence we might have, based on anything we might be or do.
- "But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe." Gal 3:22
Conclusion & Invitation