Summary: This sermon seeks to challenge people who have not come to a conclusion about their relationship with God to do so in the face of Paul’s conclusion that all alike are guilty of sin.
Do you ever come to any conclusions about any matters? Do you ever come to any conclusion about things that matter? I mean, do you ever come to any meaningful conclusions about anything that really matters? When I look out at you from my perspective this morning, I honestly have to ask you this series of questions because I know some of you sitting here have never come to an appropriate conclusion about the matters to which Paul is speaking here in the Book of Romans.
Paul wanted to bring to a logical conclusion his accusation concerning the sinfulness of Gentiles and Jews alike. That’s why he asked in verse 9a, “What shall we conclude then?” His argument is that all men alike are under sin, equally meriting God’s wrath and that neither has an out of any kind – not even ignorance in the case of Gentiles or supposed obedience to the law in the case of the Jews. So, Paul purposes here to drive his point home powerfully and energetically.
Likewise, this morning I want to bring this matter of the sinfulness, guiltiness and condemnation of every person before God to a conclusion. In doing so, I want to ask a couple of questions that arise out of the text as I’ve read and studied it. My point and purpose in asking these two questions is to see if you can come to any meaningful conclusions to these spiritual and eternal matters as well as temporal and lifestyle matters. So I ask as Paul asked in verse 9b, “Are we any better? My point is:
I. Are You Any Better Than Anyone Else? verse 9
This verse asks whether, in view of the dismal picture just painted, the Jew was in any way better off than the Gentile. The Jews of course would want to say, as many of them believed in their mind, – “Yes, by all means!” However, Paul’s answer was, emphatically, “Not at all!”
My question to you this morning is: Are you any better than anyone else? Are you so much better than someone else that you don’t have to admit that you’re guilty before God? Are you any better than someone else that you don’t have to admit that something is wrong with you, that you’re not right with God? You see, the only way to believe is to admit that you haven’t truly believed, you haven’t truly trusted Jesus to save you, to change you, to regenerate you and to convert you from unbelief to belief, from apistia to pistis – non acknowledgement to faith.
The truth is you can’t believe that just because your mom and dad went to church, took you to church or just because your papa got saved or you’re mama got saved and you went to church with them until you were grown, that you somehow inherited their belief, their faith, their salvation. No! You’re not any better than anyone else, as it’s written in this collection of quotations that Paul borrows from the OT in verses 10-18. These selected verses underscore the charge and conclusion that Jews and Gentiles are all under the power of sin.
10 “There is none righteous, no not one;” there is no one in and of themselves right and guiltless before God. 11 “There is none that understandeth;” God is a god of self-revelation, you don’t discover God – He reveals Himself to you. “There is none that seeketh after God;” God initially initiates a relationship with you, He puts the desire in you to seek Him. 12 “All have gone out of the way,” turned away, turned to their own way; you turn to you own way to make life work, to get your needs met your way. “And altogether become unprofitable,” worthless – your birth “in Adam” renders you worthless, but your being born again “in Christ” give you worth. “There is none that doeth good.” No one! No sinner, no one born “in Adam,” apart from God, spiritually dead can do good. A sinner can only sin, can only do good and evil acts of sin.
Are you any better off than anyone else? Absolutely not! So change your mind about that – your sinfulness and need for God. Change your emotions - cry out to God for forgiveness and life. Change your will, repent - turn back to God now! Then you can come to a conclusion about the matter of a second question:
II. What Does The Law Say To You? verses 19-20
Well, whatever it says it says to those who are under the law. So who are those that are under the law? Sinners first and Jews second. Now when we think of the law we first think of the foundation of the law which is the 10 Commandments. The codified law was given to Moses at Mt. Sinai, but the system of law itself began when man ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the Garden of Eden. Man became a law unto himself. So we could define law as the system of performance or behavior which God set up to bless those who fulfill its requirements and to curse those who do not live up to its requirements (Deuteronomy 28:1ff.). Of course, there were other statutes and ordinances which followed the 10 Commandments.