Summary: Paul is progressing in his description of the sin of both Jews and Gentiles

The nature of sin Romans 3:1-18

An old man got his wallet stolen while on a bus. When he realized, he started warning everyone: "Whoever stole my wallet better give it back or I’m warning you that what happened in 1983 is going to be repeated."

The old man kept ranting this warning every minute until the bus got to the next city. A young man jumped off the bus, threw the wallet in the window and started running away. The old man picked the wallet.

Stunned by the incident, a small kid walked to the man and asked, "What happened in 1983." The old man said, "In 1983, someone stole my wallet and I had to go hungry for three days."

“What advantage then has the Jew, or what is the profit of circumcision? 2 Much in every way! Chiefly because to them were committed the oracles of God. 3 For what if some did not believe? Will their unbelief make the faithfulness of God without effect? 4 Certainly not! Indeed, let God be true but every man a liar. As it is written: “That You may be justified in Your words, and may overcome when You are judged.”

“5 But if our unrighteousness demonstrates the righteousness of God, what shall we say? Is God unjust who inflicts wrath? (I speak as a man.) 6 Certainly not! For then how will God judge the world? 7 For if the truth of God has increased through my lie to His glory, why am I also still judged as a sinner? 8 And why not say, “Let us do evil that good may come”? As we are slanderously reported and as some affirm that we say. Their condemnation is just.”

“9 What then? Are we better than they? Not at all. For we have previously charged both Jews and Greeks that they are all under sin.

10 As it is written: “There is none righteous, no, not one; 11 There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God. 12 They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one.” 13 “Their throat is an open tomb; With their tongues they have practiced deceit”; “The poison of asps is under their lips”; 14 “Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness.” 15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood; 16 Destruction and misery are in their ways; 17 And the way of peace they have not known.” 18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

Paul continues to argue that the Jews are the same as anyone else when it comes to the issues of sin and righteousness and this is the progression of my message today.

I The advantage and disadvantage of the Jew v 1-4

II The righteousness of God v 5-8

III The sinfulness of all mankind v 9-18

I The advantage and disadvantage of the Jew v 1-4

A Paul begins by asking and then answering his own question when he says, “What advantage then has the Jew, or what is the profit of circumcision? 2 Much in every way! Chiefly because to them were committed the oracles of God.”

The Jews were blessed beyond belief because they had been entrusted with the word of God and they took this responsibility very seriously. They had a group who were known as the scribes and the scribe’s responsibility was to copy, transcribe, translate and protect the scriptures. Most of them may have been priests and in Jesus day they were often associated with both the Pharisees and the High Priests.

The responsibility of the scribes was to translate the biblical texts and they quickly became the authorities on what the scripture said and what it was supposed to mean. In the Old Testament the best-known scribe was Ezra; and he was not only a scribe but also a priest, and in his day, he was considered to be a very powerful religious leader.

In Jesus day, the scribes seemed to have lost any spiritual authority and they simply became puppets of the religious establishment. Many of them had depended on the wealthy for both their training and their positions.

Jesus said of them in Matthew 23:23, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others.” In other words, they were people who were more pre-occupied with the little things than they were with the major doctrines of the faith.

In the news a few years ago there was a couple whose baby had starved to death and when the authorities had searched their home, they found several thousand dollars. When they were asked, “Why didn’t you buy some baby food?” They answered, “That money was our tithe.” They had majored in the minors.

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