Summary: How can I face the righteous Judge? God's convicts me. I'm guilty. But take heart. God has revealed a different righteousness apart from law, the righteousness that's through faith in Christ Jesus. Parts: A. Condemned by your works. B. A different righteo

Text: Romans 3:19-28

Theme: You're Justified Only through Faith in Christ Alone

A. Condemned by your works

B. A different righteousness revealed for you

C. True justice only in Christ's redemption

Season: End Times 1 -- Reformation

Date: October 31, 2010

Web page:

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen. The Word from God through which the Holy Spirit strengthens our saving faith in Christ is Romans 3.

"We know that whatever the law says it speaks to those under the law, in order that every mouth is shut and all the world stands accountable to God. Therefore, no one at all is justified before him by works of law. For through law comes awareness of sin.

"But now righteousness from God without law has been revealed as the Law and the Prophets testify -- righteousness from God through faith in Jesus Christ for all and to all who believe. For there is no difference, since all have sinned and keep falling short of God's approval, being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that's in Christ Jesus. He's the one that God presented as the atonement through faith, in his blood, to prove his righteousness because the sins committed previously were passed over in God's forbearance, to prove his righteousness in the present time, so that he is just and the Justifier of the one who lives by faith in Jesus.

"Where then is boasting? It is excluded. On what kind of principle? On that of works? No! But on the principle of faith. For we maintain that by faith a man is justified without works of law." (Romans 3:19-28)

Dear friends in Christ, fellow saints washed clean in the blood of our risen Savior:

A. Condemned by your works

1. Why did the young law student cry out?

"Help me, St. Anne, and I will become a monk!" Such a cry from the terrified conscience of a young law student. Was he ready to face the righteous Judge of the universe from whom no sin is hidden? Death had been on his mind. Death had already taken a close college friend of his. Death had knocked on his door as well. During his school days he had accidentally cut a vein in his leg and nearly bled to death except that the friend he was with was able to run to the nearby town and bring back a doctor in time.

So now in the year 1505 as he walked toward the city of Erfurt and a thunderbolt strikes so close by, the terror of his sin and facing death unprepared overwhelms him. He cries out, "Help me, St. Anne, and I will become a monk!" Yes, the young Martin Luther was well aware of his sin. And it terrified him

2. What's a purpose of God's law?

That, dear friends, is God's purpose in giving us his Law to make us aware of our sinfulness. Do we still use it for that purpose? "Through the law we become conscious of sin" (Romans 3:20 NIV), the Apostle Paul writes. God gave his law "so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to [him]" (Romans 3:19 NIV).

How often don't we hear about being accountable to yourself or maybe even having an accountability partner, but what about being accountable to God? How terrifying that thought! We don't like to think that through, do we? But the law marches out God's righteous requirements before our eyes. It holds us acountable for every thought, word, and action. How you have failed, and I as well! Hear the Law's condemnation against you and me. We could close our eyes and cover our ears. We could make our own noise trying to drown out the testimony of our conscience against our conscience. But you will be called to account. No one can escape death.

3. What sin's are you accountable to God for?

When was the last time you seriously contemplated God's commandments and their explanation in the Catechism? Don't brush over them thinking, "I haven't been that bad. No murders, adulteries, or robberies on my record." But God's law penetrates deep into your heart. What about your anger, lust, bitterness, greed, rage, envy, hatred, discontent, worry? Your accountable to God for every one of those thoughts, feelings, and attitudes. And what about all the running after the things of this world we do rather than seeking first him and his kingdom and his righteousness? How many idols have we set up in our hearts? How many prayers have are left unsaid? How many opportunities to gladly hear and learn his Word have you despised? You will be called to account. No one can escape.

And as you stand before the judge, what will you plead? None of your works measure up to the law's requirements. They all fall short of God's approval. For as the Scriptures declare; "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 (Romans 3:10-12 NIV). No exceptions, not even you. There is no difference. God's law silences all our claims to being good enough, or having done enough, or having been better than some, or having tried our best. It all falls short. God's law leaves us no excuse, no defense, no righteousness -- only sin, condemnation, and death.

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