Romans 3:1-20, "None Are Righteous."
Romans 3:1-2, “1 Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the benefit of circumcision? 2 Great in every respect. First of all, that they were entrusted with the oracles of God.”
- In Romans 1 we see there is brokenness in humanity, and the Christian Jew in the Roman church in the first century would have said, “Yes, all those Gentiles, non-Jewish people, are immoral” but in Romans 2 the Apostle Paul says, “Well, not just the Gentiles, because Jewish people also have a broken relationship with the God of Scripture.”
- Then, in Romans 3, we see the Apostle Paul is assuming the questions he might be receiving in his letters, and writes “Then what advantage has the Jew?”
- I know this is 2,000 years ago with a specific ethnicity, but we ask these kinds of questions today also. There are times I am talking to people about their relationship with God and the assumption is that showing up on Sunday morning allows us to gain favor with the God of Scripture, or getting baptized places us in better position with the God of Scripture, or praying over our children every night is going to somehow guarantee that God will bless our children, “If not, what’s the benefit?”
Romans 3:3-4, “3 What then? If some did not believe, their unbelief will not nullify the faithfulness of God, will it? 4 May it never be! Rather, let God be found true, though every man be found a liar, as it is written, “That You may be justified in Your words, and prevail when You are judged.”
- This might be hard to see, but the bigger question in verses 3 and 4 is the Jewish person is asking is, “Is our sin against the God of Scripture really that big of a deal?”
- The answer is, “Yes!” Our sin is that serious. The God of Scripture is that holy, and our sin is that devastating that we see a cosmic break between the God of Scripture and humanity.
Romans 3:5-8, “5 But if our unrighteousness demonstrates the righteousness of God, what shall we say? The God who inflicts wrath is not unrighteous, is He? (I am speaking in human terms.) 6 May it never be! For otherwise, how will God judge the world?” 7 But if through my lie the truth of God abounded to His glory, why am I also still being judged as a sinner? 8 And why not say (as we are slanderously reported and as some claim that we say), “Let us do evil that good may come”? Their condemnation is just.”
- Again, the Apostle Paul is writing to hypothetical Jewish people, assuming their questions, and in verses 5-8 their questions are almost snarky so as to say, “If my sin is really that offensive, and God is really that holy, then maybe we should sin all the more to make God look more holy and “demonstrates the righteousness of God.”
- It is a question we might here today like, “Well, if our sin is offensive, and God forgives us of that offense through Jesus, why not sin all the more to bring more glory to God?”
Romans 3:9-10, “9 What then? Are we better than they? Not at all; for we have already charged that both Jews and Greeks are all under sin; 10 as it is written, “There is none righteous, not even one”
- The phrase “under sin” is to capture the power and destruction of our sin. It is military language. It is a connotation of spiritual slavery.
- In John 8 Jesus says, “You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.” The people respond, “Were not enslaved.” Jesus responds, “Yes, everyone who has sinned is enslaved.” It is like those movies where people are held captive like Room, or Misery, except we don’t try to escape, but instead we try to improve our enslavement.
- We desperately try to make the world a better place. We desperately try to live as long as possible. We genuinely believe if we improve education, improve social structures, and improve better family dynamics we can make the world a better place.
- But, humanity does not have the power to get out from under the death of sin on our own. If you put the best people of our world on the moon, in the best possible circumstances, eventually you will see a people demonstrating the same brokenness we see in our world today, and it is because it all begins with all of humanity living under the death of sin.
Romans 3:11-12, “11 There is none who understands, there is none who seeks for God; 12 All have turned aside, together they have become useless; there is none who does good, there is not even one.”
- If you want a helpful acronym to remember the brokenness of humanity you can write down the word, “RUST.” There is none who are righteous (vs. 10), none understand, none seek, and all have turned aside. R.U.S.T. Humanity has rusted under the death of sin.
Romans 3:13-18, “13 “Their throat is an open grave, with their tongues they keep deceiving, 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 paths, 17 And the path of peace they have not known.” 18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
- Do you see the big picture of Romans up to this point? The Apostle Paul starts off Romans 1, “We need Jesus because our sin separates us from the holiness of God.” Romans 2 the people respond, “Really, is our sin that bad? Maybe it just people on social media?” Yes, our sin is more horrible then we can imagine. Romans 3, “Yes, it is much worse than we ever thought.”
Romans 3:19-20, “19 Now we know that whatever the Law says, it speaks to those who are under the Law, so that every mouth may be closed and all the world may become accountable to God; 20 because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin.”
- The word “accountable” means liable. It is a judicial word that means all of humanity is legally responsible for our offenses against the holy and righteous God of Scripture.
- We have all missed the mark of perfection. We have all abandoned Him to live under the death of sin, and Jesus comes to rescue us through His life, death, and resurrection to live under His reign and rule.
- Please don’t do that. Jesus has come to bring life. Jesus has come to take your death that you deserve. Jesus comes to lay down his life for you. Don’t you see how much He loves you?
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