Thursday, October 12, 2017

Romans 3

Romans 3:1-18 – God’s Faithfulness

Paul says, what is the advantage in being a Jew?  There is much in every way.  They have been entrusted with the very word of God.  What if some did not have faith?  Is God unjust in bringing His wrath on us?  Is God just in bringing His wrath on us?  He judges the world.  If my falsehoods enhances God’s truthfulness and so increases His glory, why am I still condemned as a sinner?  Some might say let us do evil that good may result.  No one is righteous.  Jews are no better than Gentiles.  They are all under sin. “There is no one righteous, not even one.”Rom. 3:10.  All have turned away and have together become worthless.  There is no one who does good, not even one.  (Rom. 3:1-18)

Paul raises several questions that his Jewish critics would have probably have asked of him.  He responds that the Jews had many advantages.  After all, they have God’s Word and are His people.   They were honored by God.  They were entrusted with His message.  They are God’s chosen people so they have a big responsibility.  They should be the example for others to live by.  But the Jews didn’t obey God’s covenant and were not loyal to Him.  God’s Words are true even though people lie, but they thought God was unfair.  God is never unfair.  That is not His nature.

Christians today also have advantages and a huge responsibility.  We have God’s Word.  Without it we would be left with no answers.  What can we ever possess greater than the Scriptures?

How are you using the advantage of His Word?
Do you take it for granted?

The Jews didn’t realize that God’s judgment was on them, too.  God’s judgment was for them as well as the Gentiles.  We are all like a slave, because of the power that sin has over us.  Paul is saying that they can raise all the objections against God that they want, but they will lose and God will win.  They will be held more accountable under His righteous condemnation.

If you grew up in a Christian home, that is a privilege.  You were taught about God and His ways.  You went to church every Sunday.  You read your Bible.  But if you have not responded with faith in Jesus or repented of your sins, you will not be saved.  You will be held more accountable to God on judgment day.

Principle:  Spiritual privileges don’t give you any advantages with God, but increase your accountability. 

Like Paul’s message in this chapter, there are things in the Bible that are very hard to understand.  You can be a critic like these Jews demanding answers and argue with God or you can ask Him to give you more understanding and accept it on faith.

When have you argued with God?

Romans 3:19-20 – God's Law

The whole world is accountable to God.  No one will be declared righteous by observing the Law, rather through the law we become conscious of sin.  (Rom. 3:19-20)

What is the Law Paul is talking about?  It is the Ten Commandments (Ex. 20:1-17).  They are summed up in, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.  This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it; Love your neighbor as yourself.”Matt. 22:37-40. 

Maybe you think you live by the Ten Commandments, but can you even name them all?  Which one of God’s laws have you broken?  Have you ever fudged on your taxes?  That’s stealing.  Have you ever stretched the truth?  That’s lying.  Have you ever been angry with someone or gossiped?  That’s a form of murder.  No one is made righteous by observing the Law.  God gave the Law to reveal His standard of righteousness to live by.  Its purpose is to show us our sins and proves that everyone is guilty.  The Law makes us accountable to God.  Obeying the Law does not save you.  If you have broken one of God’s laws, you are guilty of breaking them all.

It is very clear.  The human race is guilty before God and the only way to be free from guilt and God’s wrath is to be justified before God by faith in Jesus.  No one can be saved by anything they can do.  God gave us the solution to sin and it was Jesus.  The only way is to have faith and belief in Jesus Christ, who paid the penalty for our sin.

Principle:  Keeping the Law does not save us, but makes us all accountable to God.

Romans 3:21-31 – God's Righteousness 

But now there is a righteousness from God that has been made known, to which the law and the prophets testify.  This righteousness comes through Jesus Christ to all who believe.  “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” Rom. 3:23-24.  God presented Jesus as a sacrifice of atonement through faith in His blood.  He did this to demonstrate justice.   Boasting in observing the law is excluded.  Man is justified by faith apart from observing the law.  God is the God of the Jews and the Gentiles. (Rom. 3:21-31).

“Righteous” means to be free from quilt or sin.  You are morally right or justified.  Now that we are condemned as sinners, how can we be made right?  We all can be made right with God through His free grace by trusting in Jesus, because of His sacrifice on the cross.  His death on the cross justified us to God.  Justify means we are declared righteous.  It’s a free gift given to us by His grace.  Grace is God’s favor shown to those who deserved His wrath.  It’s unmerited favor.  It’s a gift that no one deserves.  If you deserve it, it’s not grace.

“Justification” means you are declared innocent or acquitted.  That is done only through Jesus’ blood.  He was the last sacrificed needed.  He freed us from the guilt and the penalty of our sin.  We are now acceptable to God.

Why do you think God sacrificed His own Son?
How do you express His great love?

“Redemption” means to buy something back or to release someone with a payment of a ransom.  “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”Mark 10:45.  Through Jesus’ death He paid our ransom and we were redeemed. 

“Atonement” means to be reconciled with God through the sacrificial death of Jesus.  His death for our sins satisfied and made amends with God.  All our wrongs are paid in full.  Another word for atonement is “propitiation”, which means turning the wrath of God aside.

“Apart from the law” doesn’t mean the law has no value.  The law was given to point to and show us the need for Jesus.  To be saved is not through any human actions, but through belief and faith in Jesus.  The law makes us conscious of sin.

“No one can boast” means no one deserves to be righteous.  We don’t earn peace with God by our own good actions.  That’s pride.  We become righteous only when we accept God’s gift of Jesus.  There is only one God and faith is the same for everyone.  We are justified by our faith in Him alone.

Since I mentioned pride, let’s talk about it.  Pride was the very first sin.  Pride made Satan want to be like God.  Pride was the sin of Eve and Adam.  Pride of religion is the worst kind of pride.  Remember the Pharisee who boasted and thanked God that he was not like other men - robbers, evildoers, adulterers or the tax collector?  He boasted that he fasted twice a week and gave a tenth of his money.  He was seeking human approval and demanded approval from God.  His pride kept him from being justified by God.

People today boast about the good deeds they do, how many committees they’re on, how much money they give to the church and charities, how often they attend church, and their position in the church just to name a few.  When you brag about your righteousness and look down on others, you become proud, arrogant, and self-righteous.  You are just like the Jews in Paul’s time.  To guard yourself against self-righteousness do things for God in secret.  Ask God to help you not be self-righteous.  Be humble and give God the credit not yourself.

Where is there pride in your life?
What areas in your life do you tend to be self-righteous?
Do you give honor and glory to God or do take the credit for yourself?

Principle:  The only way we can become righteous is through faith in Jesus Christ.

“Faith” is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. (Heb. 11:1).  Faith begins with knowledge of the truth, then belief, and then trust and commitment to God.  Remember even demons have knowledge of God and believe who He is, but they don’t yield themselves or trust in His promises.  He is their enemy not their Savior.

If you have confessed faith in Jesus, know you are saved and will have eternal life with God.  He has given you the gift of grace.  Nothing you have earned or deserved can do this.  God created you and has redeemed you.  As you grow as a follower, you love what He loves and want what He wants and want others to know Him.

Who in your life is God calling you to be a witness?

Next time we will study Romans 4.  Have a blessed day and thanks for visiting my site.  Hope to see you here again.  --  I encourage you to trust in Jesus.

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