Summary: God’s judgment on all men
May 16, 2010
Tonight we continue through the book of Romans. So far we’ve seen God’s judgment on the pagan man, and for three weeks we’ve looked at His judgment on the religious man. I suppose spending four weeks is appropriate for an American congregation because our national brand of Christianity is one of good works, morality, and theological agreement. In reality, we could probably preach on this topic for an entire year.
This section of chapter three is Paul’s conclusion of God’s judgment on all men.
The pagan Gentiles were easy to smash because they were idolaters, homosexuals, and insolent rebels. Revealing the sins of the self-righteous Jews to the Jews has been somewhat harder. In this last major effort Paul appeals to Old Testament Scripture to help the self-righteous Jews see that possession of the Law only condemns a man and doesn’t justify him.
If you think this text is too hard, then I encourage you to remember what’s at stake.
Before we were married, Jenny and I were walking along a trail in a forest. I was in front, and I noticed that she had stopped walking. When I turned around I saw that she was frozen in her tracks and not even breathing. When I asked what was wrong she said, “You almost stepped on that snake.” I looked and not three feet away a very large snake was slithering off.
I would much have preferred that she told me about the danger I was in before it was too late! But fear kept her from speaking, and I never saw it coming. Thankfully, God spared me from the snake bite, but He will not spare those who die in their sins. They will slip into eternity to face the God, of which the writer of Hebrews says,
“It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” (Hebrews 10:31)
I’m going to stop right here for just a few seconds. Look at those words carefully and commit them to memory.
If the text of Romans three bothers you, just know that the terrifying future of the unsaved will be much more troublesome.
With that, let’s look now at…
God’s Judgment on All Men
What then? Are we better than they? Not at all; for we have already charged that both Jews and Greeks are all under sin;
The justification in the Jew’s mind went something like this: “You see those Gentiles there? They worship idols; they practice homosexuality; they are murderers, thieves and gossips; they practice every kind of iniquity and have broken every one of God’s laws, and they don’t even care! Thank God we’re nothing like them. We have the precepts and ordinances of God; we know exactly what God wants, and we’re much better for it.”
Then Paul says, “Yes, I see those Gentiles there. I see their wickedness and their sin. I see that they care nothing for God, but do you know what? When I see you, I see the same thing! You are both law-breakers; you have both transgressed against God.”
The self-righteous Jew just can’t seem to see his own predicament; he can’t see the snake at his own feet ready to strike at any moment. Instead he holds up the Law of God as a shield from the wrath of God. He believes, as do all men who are merely religious, that his morality and his theological agreement will earn him favor with God.
Instead of acting as a shield though, the Law of God is an x-ray which when held up against a man (no matter how good he seems to be) only shows him for what he really is.
1. Man’s entire state of being is ruined by sin. (:10-12)
10as it is written, "THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NOT EVEN ONE; 11THERE IS NONE WHO UNDERSTANDS, THERE IS NONE WHO SEEKS FOR GOD; 12ALL HAVE TURNED ASIDE, TOGETHER THEY HAVE BECOME USELESS; THERE IS NONE WHO DOES GOOD, THERE IS NOT EVEN ONE."
These verses are a quote from Psalm 14:1-3 and 53:1-4.
First, notice who is excluded from total depravity: none. If this isn’t clear enough, he says twice, “Not even one.”
Look also at the tense of the verbs; everything is in the present. It’s not as though men are slowly ruined through culture or through their surroundings. A man born on an island and raised by virtuous parents away from the sinful world is still corrupted by sin.
Look at how Paul describes the state of being of man—
#1- his standing before God is ruined.
"THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NOT EVEN ONE”
#2- his mind is ruined.
"THERE IS NONE WHO UNDERSTANDS”
#3- his desires are ruined.
"THERE IS NONE WHO SEEKS FOR GOD”