Romans 3:1-31

Romans 3:1-31

Romans 3:1-4 – If both Jews and Gentiles are under God’s condemnation what is the point in being religious or following the Laws of God?  If following my religion does not assure me of heaven why bother?  This is a question that concerns every man. If a man is born a Jew or a Christian (the right nationality), if a man is born into a Jewish or Christian family (the right heritage), if a man claims to be Jewish or Christian and he is still not acceptable to God, what good is it?

Paul’s response is that the advantages are great. The Jew and Christian are highly privileged, especially in that God has committed His Word to them (Romans 3:2;9:4-5). They have the privilege of possessing God’s Word and living within a society that has been affected by God’s Word.

These are enormous privileges. A man born within a nation and a family that has God’s Word has every advantage in coming to God and in living for God. In fact, such a man could have no greater privilege. His privileges are so great that he is left without excuse if he fails to live for God. (Psalm 119:105 NIV)  Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.

Romans 3:3-4 – The next question is “If you say some Jews do not believe and are condemned, doesn’t that void God’s promises and make God a liar?”  God forbid. God will be faithful. His Word and promise of salvation will stand even if every man lies about believing and lies about giving his heart to serve Jesus. God has proven and will prove His Word: He will be justified and proven faithful in what He has said. He will still save any person who gives his heart to Jesus and obeys Him.

King David said that God would judge the unfaithful or disobedient man (Psalm 51:4). David had sinned greatly, not keeping the commandments of God, so God judged David and charged him with sin. David did the right thing: he confessed his sin and repented and began to live righteously.

But David did something else: he declared that God’s charge and judgment against him were just, that God was perfectly justified.  God is always just, and He is always justified in what He says and does.  God is not unfaithful. He never breaks His Word, It is righteousness God is after, not religion. God is not after an outward religion, but an inward righteousness.

God wants a heart that will not only possess the Bible, but will keep His commandments. God wants a heart and life that are focused upon Messiah Jesus and that keep the commandments of Jesus. The only man who is acceptable to God is the man who has given his heart and life to the Messiah and who lives righteously by submitting His will to God’s will.

God demands that men give their hearts and lives to His Son, Jesus Christ.  But this is too hard for men. They want an easier salvation. They want to be able to do something, get it over with, and then be free to live as they wish, giving God some attention here and there.

Therefore, men prefer to be saved by being religious: being baptized, joining a church, buying a Bible, and then being free to go about their own lives. But this is not enough for God, He wants control and authority over every area of our lives.

Romans 3:5-8 Is God unjust if He takes vengeance? If my unbelief and sin give God a chance to overcome Romans 3:4 and to show His justice, then my sin brings greater glory to Him. It gives Him a chance to fulfill His Word. How can He punish me for that? Doesn’t that make God unjust, if He does? God forbid!

God is moral; therefore, He must judge the world. He would not be moral and just if He didn’t judge the world. When I say that my sin has resulted in demonstrating the goodness of God by His provision of forgiveness through Christ how can I be condemned for doing something that results in good?

Men have suggested “A God of love cannot take vengeance. He is too good and loving. He will be denying His very nature of love if He judges me.” What this argument fails to see is that genuine love is just. It is not license and indulgence God’s love demands justice. God’s justice is the demonstration of perfect love. The cross was where God exacted His perfect justice upon His Son, it is the perfect example and demonstration of both the love and the justice of God.

(Romans 5:8 NIV)  But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (2 Corinthians 5:21 NIV)  God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.  The reality is that men shall be judged and condemned because they have rejected the love and salvation of God provided in His Son, Jesus Christ.

Romans 3:9 – In Romans 3:1-8 Paul demonstrated that, in spite of everything, the Jewish people have a special position in God’s plan of redemption for the world.  But lest the Jewish reader think that he is better than others Paul demonstrates Jew and Gentile alike, so long as they are without the atonement of the Messiah are under the dominion of sin.  Paul does here what Jewish Rabbis customarily did.  In Romans 3:10-18 he has strung together a collection of Old Testament texts.

He is not quoting accurately, because he is quoting from memory, but he includes quotations from Psalm 5:9;10:7;14:1-3;36:1;140:3;Isaiah 59:7-8.  It was a very common method of Rabbinic teaching to string texts together like this.  It was called charaz, which literally means stringing pearls.

Paul saw clearly the evil of human nature, but the evil of human nature to him, was not a call to hopelessness, but a challenge to hope.  Paul never underrated the sin of man and he never underrated the redeeming power of Jesus the Messiah.

Men like to believe they are basically good and that belief is continually reinforced by psychologists, counselors, and a great many religious leaders. But deep in his heart man knows there is a problem with the way he is, that something is wrong. No matter whom or what he may try to blame for that feeling, he cannot escape it.

He feels guilt, not only about things he has done that he knows are wrong but also about the kind of person he is on the inside. Guilt drives people to alcohol, drugs, despair, insanity, and more and more frequently to suicide. After playing psychological games about blaming his environment or other people or society in general, man still cannot escape the feeling of his own guilt.

People want to get rid of their guilty feelings but they do not know how. Men feel guilty because they are guilty. The guilt feeling is only the symptom of the real problem, which is sin.

All of the psychological counseling in the world cannot relieve a person of his guilt. At best it can only make him feel better, superficially and temporarily, by placing the blame on someone else or something else. That, of course, only intensifies the guilt, because it adds dishonesty to the sin that caused the guilt feeling in the first place.

Man’s guilt has only one cause—his own sin—and unless his sin is removed, his guilt cannot be. That is why the first element of the gospel is confronting men with the reality of their sin. The word gospel means “good news.”

But the good news it offers is the way of salvation from sin, and until a person is convicted of his sin, the gospel has nothing to offer. The gospel therefore begins by declaring that all men are fundamentally sinful and that the greatest need of their lives is to have that sin removed through trust in the atonement provided by Jesus.

Romans 3:10-12 – The sinful nature is unrighteous.  Not a single person is righteous, this is not just a New Testament thought but one spoken of in the Older Testament as well, (Ecclesiastes 7:20)  Indeed, there is not a righteous man on earth who continually does good and who never sins. Not only is the sinful nature unrighteous but it is also ignorant and does not understand the things of God.

We tend to be intolerant of ignorance, but the reality is that unless the Spirit of God touches a person he cannot understand the truth’s of God and His Word. The word here literally means to put things together. Another reason why man does not come to God is because He does not seek Him.

Why don’t we seek Him because we want gods that allow us to do our own thing. Some of us want gods that will allow us to glory in ourselves by demonstrating our self-discipline and sacrifice. Others of us want gods who demand less and allow us to live as we like in the pleasures and possessions of this world.  By nature we are sinful, indifferent, and selfish.

Romans 3:13-14 – The unregenerate man has a tongue that is foul and corrupt this may range from off-color humor, dirty jokes, suggestive language and other words that are not edifying or profitable. A man with a foul mouth stinks just like an open grave; his filthiness causes corruption, and decay of character, his and that of his listeners so that he becomes as offensive as that of a corpse.

(Matthew 12:34)  You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. (James 3:6)  The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.

The tongue of an unbeliever is deceitful.  The word “deceit” in the Greek denotes continuous action, is not only guilty of deceiving, but of constantly deceiving. The unbeliever continually hides his true thoughts, feelings and behavior, to protect himself or to get whatever he is after (Jeremiah 9:5).

Friend deceives friend, and no one speaks the truth. They have taught their tongues to lie; they weary themselves with sinning.  The tongue of an unbeliever is poisonous as the tongue of the deadly cobra. A poisonous tongue talks and gossips about others it strikes out seeking to hurt and destroy causing suffering by poisoning a persons character and reputation.

What we say of the unbeliever can also be said about the carnal or worldly Christian.. (Colossians 3:8 NIV)  But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. (1 Peter 2:1 NIV)  Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. It should be noted that a man’s cursing will fall upon him (Psalm 109:17-18).

Romans 3:15-18 The unbeliever and carnal Christian because of their produce actions that are murderous in the eyes of God, “Their feet are swift to shed blood”; (1 John 3:15 NIV)  Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life in him.

Man destroys and causes misery wherever he goes, because of pride, selfishness, and greed.  Self-willed people pollute the land and destroy. We do this even in our own families, neighborhoods, and cities, whether by simple arguments or by war.

“The way of peace have they not known” The idea is that men don’t experience peace within themselves or with others. They don’t know how to find peace and how to keep peace not only within themselves, but among others.  Wherever men are, they bring factions and wars to others.

All this is summarized in Paul’s words, There is no fear of God before their eyes. To fear God is not just to be afraid of Him but knowing His power and sovereignty we fear God by our reverence, worship, trust, obedience, and service. This the essence of a godly person (Job 28:28; Proverbs 1:7; 9:10; Ecclesiastes 12:13). So for a believer not to fear God was the height of sin and foolishness.

Romans 3:19-20:

1) The law speaks to all “we know”, Paul means that this is an obvious clear truth that all are guilty before God, both Jew and Gentile. No one escapes the charge of God’s law.

2) The law stops all boasting, and every one who tries to be self-sufficient, or from those who believe in the goodness of men. The Scripture declares that no man is good, leaving only One who could be good, and that is God. (Romans 10:3 NIV)  Since they did not know the righteousness that comes from God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness.

3) The law  makes all the world guilty before God. (Galatians 3:10 NIV).

4) The law justifies no one.

5) The law shows man that he is sinful. The purpose of the law is not to justify, but to point out sin, to tell a man that he is a sinner,Why? So that man would know he is sinful and that he needs to seek God for forgiveness and salvation. When Paul says that “God justifies the ungodly,” he means that God treats the ungodly as if he had been a good man.  That is what shocked the Jews to the core of their being.

To them to treat the bad man as if he was good was the sign of a wicked judge.  “He who justifies the wicked is an abomination to the Lord” (Proverbs 17:15).  “I will not acquit the wicked” (Exodus 23:7).  But Paul says that is precisely what God does. Jesus came to tell us that God loves us, bad as we are.

When we discover that and believe it, it changes our whole relationship to God. Repentant and brokenhearted we come to God, like a sorry child coming to his mother, and we know that when we come in that attitude that God forgives and restores us. That is what justification by faith in Jesus Christ means.  It means that we are in a right relationship with God because we believe what Jesus told us about God is true.

Romans 3:21-22 – Paul uses the sacrificial system to illustrate this truth.  Under the Torah, when a man broke the law, he brought to God a sacrifice.  The sacrifice was an exchange of life, the lamb in the place of the man, the punishment that should fall upon him now falls on the sacrifice. The fact that it had to be done over and over brought serious doubts of its effectiveness this is spoken of in the Scriptures. (Psalm 51:16 NIV).

(Micah 6:6-7 NIV)  With what shall I come before the LORD and bow down before the exalted God? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? {7} Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? So Paul says, “(Romans 3:21-22 NIV).

He tells us that what happened on the Cross opens the door back to a right relationship with God, a door which every other sacrifice is powerless to open.  Then Paul uses a metaphor from slavery.  In which man was in the power of sin, and that Jesus Christ alone could free him from it.

Finally, Paul says of God that he did all this because he is just, and accepts as just all who believe in Jesus. What is the difference between the new and the old way?  The basic difference is that the way of obedience to the law is concerned with what a man can do for himself; the way of the New Covenant is through what God has done for us.

Romans 3:23-26 – All that Paul has written thus far demonstrates that all are under sin.  The biblical background for our understanding of this verse is Genesis 1:26ff. Adam was created in the image of God, but lost that image when he disobeyed God.  The Rabbis taught this as well and refer to the image that was lost as the glory of God.  The term “glory” refers to the brightness and majesty which is the Shekinah mentioned frequently in the Old Testament (Exodus 16:10;24:16;29:43;33:18,22). This same glory was upon Jesus (John 1:14;2 Corinthians 3:18;4:6).

Romans 3:24 – Justification is God’s declaration that all the demands of the law are met through the righteousness of Jesus. It is a legal, transaction that changes the judicial standing of the sinner before God. In justification, God imputes the righteousness of Christ to the believer’s account, and declares the redeemed one fully righteous. When a person trust in Christ he is regarded and treated as if they had kept the Law. The law reveals God’s righteousness and exposes man’s unrighteousness.

Grace reveals God’s righteousness and gives righteousness to those who trust in His Son. This gift came not only through the death of Jesus but through the perfect life He lived as well.  The word redemption used here occurs only 10 times in the New Testament. It refers to the price which is paid for a prisoner of war when paid sets the captive is set free.

In the next verse we see that a price which has been paid by which this redemption has been effected.

Romans 3:25-26 – Propitiation essentially means to satisfy.  In the New Covenant this satisfaction is accomplished only by God.  Man is incapable of satisfying God’s justice except by spending eternity in hell.  Only God could pay the price as Scripture tells us (Psalm 49:7-8 NIV).

Peter wrote, “You were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ” (1 Peter 1:18-19).

The Hebrew equivalent of propitiation is used in the Old Testament in reference to the Mercy Seat in the Holy of Holies, where the high priest went once a year, on the Day of Atonement, to make a sacrifice on behalf of his people. On that occasion he sprinkled blood on the Mercy Seat, symbolizing the payment of the penalty for his own sins and the sins of the people.

But that yearly act, although divinely prescribed and honored, had no power to remove sin it just covered it for a season. It pointed to the perfect, everlasting offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.  For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified” (Hebrews 10:10, 14).

God’s purpose in Christ’s death was to demonstrate His justice, and as Romans 3:25 tells us He left the sins of man unpunished, and His justice demanded that they be punished.  God’s purpose in the redemptive death of Christ was so that God could be seen to be just and the One who justifies the man who has faith in Jesus.

Romans 3:27-31  Because the power of salvation is in the cross of Christ alone, man has no cause to boast  The greatest lie in the world common to all false religions is that, by certain works of their own men are able to make themselves acceptable to God. The greatest evil of that belief is that it robs God of His glory.  One of the most powerful forces in all the world is faith. This passage discusses the power of faith and four things that faith does.

1) Faith excludes boasting (Romans 3:27). No man can boast in his own righteousness, goodness, merit, or virtue.  What is it, then, that forbids man to boast in himself? What kind of law prohibits man from glorying in his ability and achievements?  The law of works does not exclude boasting; it promotes boasting.  A religion of works causes men to focus on themselves.  Man has to boast in God when man believes what Scripture declares:

That God is, that God is the creator and can be known by man, that man falls short of God’s glory and righteousness, that God has provided righteousness for man through faith. Therefore, man has to boast in God and not in self, for God is the One who has given man all that he has, both his natural ability and his eternal salvation. It is the law of faith, not the law of works that eliminates boasting. (Jeremiah 9:24 NIV). This kind of  faith reveals only one God who deals with all equally.

God created everyone and so He is the God of all. There is not one God of the Jew and another God of the Gentile. God treats all men equally. This faith upholds and establishes the law. This means at least three things:

1) That Jesus  established the law. He was the ideal of all that God wants man to be. Therefore, Jesus fulfilled the law perfectly.  Jesus not only fulfilled the statutes of the law; He fulfilled the penalty of the law. He took the penalty and the punishment of man upon Himself and died for man. Man as a result is absolved from the penalty and punishment exacted by the law. Therefore, Jesus established the law by fulfilling both the statutes and penalty demanded by the law.

2) The believer establishes the law when he admits he is a law breaker or a sinner. In so doing, he admits that the law is good. The law is good because it points out his sin. It makes him guilty and it leads him to confess his need for help outside of himself. But the law is also good because it points man to the Messiah.  It forces him to believe in God and to honor God. Therefore, the believer’s faith establishes the law.

3) The believer establishes the law because in understanding  what Christ has done for him, he is motivated to please God.  It is love and adoration that is our motive for Godly living.  The believer tries to be good, not to earn or to win righteousness, but to serve God. (2 Corinthians 5:14-15 NIV).

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