Summary: Sin is often watered down in our society yet Paul deemed it necessary to show that all men are sinners and in need of the Promise(Part 1). He does this by showing Sin as the common bond between Jew and Gentile.
SIN–A Common Bond
• In Romans 1:1–18 Paul tells us about the Promise of God.
• The Promise of God, Paul says, is the Power of Salvation.
• The Promise of God reveals God’s Righteousness.
• The Promise of God comes through the gospel of Jesus Christ.
• The Gospel was written to produce a faith that saves.
• Before Paul can tell us how we are saved, he needs to make sure that we understand one very important fact.
• All men are lost because of their sin and because of this all men are in need of God’s Promise.
• In telling his readers about this all important fact Paul focuses on two groups. The Gentiles, those who had been without God, and The Jews, God’s chosen people; he does this because he wants to, once and for all, set aside the bickering between the two as to who was greater in the church. If we follow carefully Paul’s line of thinking we are likely to recognize ourselves somewhere among one of these two groups.
• While addressing the two groups about the serious subject of sin, Paul is attempting to bring them together with a common bond. That bond, while not that appealing, is surely motivating.
The late president Calvin Coolidge returned home from church one Sunday afternoon and found his wife sitting in the chair. Unable to go that day, she was interested in what the preacher had to say. She asked her husband what the preacher spoke about and he said, “Sin.”
Like most women, a one word answer was just not satisfactory, so she pressed him for more details. Finally he responded to her by saying, “Well, I think he was against it.”
Illustration from Bill Prater
I don’t believe Paul’s readers had any doubt where he stands on Sin.
I. The Sins of the Gentiles. Those without God. Romans 1:18–32
A. Look at what terrible sins they were guilty of!
1. Ignoring God
2. Idiolatry–Worshiping things created rather that the creator.
3. Sexual Immorality.
10. They even went so far as to Invent ways of doing evil.
B. What brought on this terrible condition they were in?
1. They were “without excuse.” Romans 1:20
a. They could not claim ignorance of God.
b. At the very least, God had revealed himself in nature.
2. Rather, they chose:
a. Not to honor or thank God
b. To live their lives in pursuit of futile gain.
c. To worship images rather than God.
3. Because of these things “God gave them over” to their sinful ways. Romans 1:24, 26, 28
C. There are people in this world who need to be warned that there are some things, like those we talked about, that are wrong. That are always wrong and that will bring upon one the wrath of God.
1. Sin is a taboo topic in America today. The politically correct thing to talk about is TOLERANCE.
2. We don’t call ourselves sinners anymore.
3. We blame every fault we have on genetics or life circumstances.
4. No one wants to admit personal responsibility.
D. The sad reality though, is regardless how we rationalize sin, it is still sin, and it separates us from God.
II. The Sins of the Jews. Those who were believers. Romans 2
A. All the Christian Jews in Rome would have been in total agreement with Paul at this point in the letter.
1. It is likely that there could be heard many hearty “Amen’s” as the letter was read aloud to the congregation.
2. But then Paul turns from the concern of the Gentiles, who were probably squirming in their seats as he “got on their toes”, and focuses on the Jews.
3. Paul tells them, “You don’t have anything to be proud of either, you too are sinners.”
B. Paul makes His argument. Romans 2:1–16
1. “2Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth.” Romans 2:2
2. “God “will give to each person according to what he has done.” Romans 2:6
3. “13For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.” Romans 2:13
a. This meant that even Gentiles who lived without the law could be saved if they kept the requirements of the law.
b. Romans 2:14–16
4. God will reward or punish people according to the things they do.
5. God is therefore justified in his condemnation of sinners.
C. Paul then accuses the Jews of failing to keep the law that they boasted so much about. Romans 2:17–29
1. They were proud of their special standing with God.