Summary: A short study of six very important terms that help us to understand the core of the gospel.

TEXT: ROMANS 3:21-31


INTRODUCTION: A. Bill was lonely and decided

his life would be more interesting

if he had a pet.

He went to the pet store and

told the owner he wanted a pet but

he didn’t want the standard pet.

He wanted something unusual.

After some discussion, he

finally decided on a centipede and

took his new pet home in a little

white box shaped like a tiny


After a day talking to his pet

and getting to know him, Bill

decided that he wanted to go out to


He leaned over the little

white house and said, “Hey, would

you like to go out to eat with

me?” But his new pet didn’t


Bill waited a few minutes and

leaned over again. “I said, ‘Do

you want to go out to

eat with me?’” Still no

answer. Bill figured that maybe

his new little friend was hard of

hearing, so he leaned in real close

and shouted, “Hey! Do you want to

go out to eat with

me?” A little voice replied, “I

heard you the first time! I’m still

putting on my shoes!"

B. Paul has been painting a very vivid picture in Romans. It’s a picture of

our condition: we are separated from God by sin.

1. He’s letting us know that no matter what we do, we’re going to be

frustrated by our own efforts. We have an impossible job (almost

like the little centipede)

2. We are utterly and hopelessly lost.

--3:11-12 – “As it is written: ‘There is no one righteous, not even

one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All

have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is

no one who does good, not even one.’”

3. Our “spiritual autopsy” has been conducted in 3:13-17 – “ ‘Their

throats are empty graves; their tongues practice deceit.’ ‘The poison

of vipers is on their lips.’ ‘Their mouths are full of cursing and

bitterness.’ ‘Their feet are swift to shed blood; ruin and misery mark

their ways, and the way of peace they do not know’ ”

a. Our physical autopsy presents a sickening anatomical study:

throats like open graves; lips like poisonous snake; mouths full of

rudeness and indecency; feet like speeding chariots to destruction.

b. Our psychological autopsy is no better: our lives are full of ruin

and misery (both in our lives and in the intent to cause ruin and

misery in others’ lives) and we have no peace.

c. The Bible says that sin is like yeast. It takes very little to infect

our whole person.

(1). Max Lucado: “Not only does sin contaminate every human

being, it contaminates the being of every human.”

(2). Sin is fatal: Paul states it succinctly a little later in Rom. 6:23

– “The wages of sin is death…”

C. Paul has left us dangling over the pit of Hell. We can feel the flames

and torment as we read what he wrote.

1. But…here’s the Good News (vv. 21): “But now a

righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known…”

2. We couldn’t do it on our own so God did it for us!

--That is truly the core of the Gospel!!!

3. The essence of that singular statement says:

a. I was dying but now I can live.

b. I was blind, but now I can see.

c. I was lost, but now I am found.

D. This morning, I want to briefly discuss six terms that we need to

understand; six terms that are crucial to our understanding of the core

of the gospel.


A. “To miss the mark”

1. Archery term – “to fire at a target and miss.”

2. God designed us in His image but we have fired at that target and missed

--Satan’s temptation – “you will be like God”

B. V. 23 – “For all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God

1. Grk. construction –

a. "sinned" - past tense.

b. "fall short" - present tense. Continual

2. Everyone – me, you, the most spiritual person you’ve ever met. Doesn’t matter



A. “Doing what is right”

1. Older English it was “rightwiseness”

2. Lit. “knowing what is right and doing it”

B. Notice that Paul says we are not capable of the righteousness required by God.

1. V. 21 – “But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known…”

2. V. 22 – “This righteousness from God…”


A. “The act of pronouncing acquittal or exoneration”

1. Recognition of guilt but acknowledgment of extenuating circumstances

2. Extenuating circumstances are not our circumstances or excuses

--Rather the work of Jesus Christ on our behalf

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