Living in Grace and Faith
Introduction – In this Session, we will continue in Romans chapter 3, and explore verses 9-20. In these verses Paul brings the hopelessness of the human condition that stands before God wanting and bankrupt to a crescendo so that all people would realize God’s immense love for humanity in sacrificing His Son, Jesus Christ on the cross for the sins of humanity, so that we would be reconciled to Him, not by religious works, but by His grace.
In Romans 3:9-20, there are 4 movements in the text.
1 – Everyone is under the dominion of sin.
2 – Paul strings together a mix tape of Old Covenant Scriptures that accurately diagnose our need of God’s grace, forgiveness and mercy.
3 – All humanity is accountable to the Law
4 – The Law releases a revelation of our sin or makes us conscience/self aware of our sin.
a) When Paul makes the statement, “Do we have any advantage”; he is speaking for Jews, and Paul himself was a Jewish Pharisee who could have been proud of his pedigree, as well as taking pride that he was a disciple of the great Gamaliel before his encounter with Jesus Christ on the Damascus road.
b) Philippians 3:4-6 – though I myself have reasons for such confidence. If someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless. But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ.
c) The truth of the matter is that all of us are in need of God’s grace, mercy, love and forgiveness for our sins. The point of Romans chapter 3, is that the hearer would realize that the only way to be accepted in the Father is by His great grace and mercy in the face of Jesus Christ and His death on a cross and His resurrection.
d) All people are under the power of sin. Greek – pas hypo hamartia – all under sin; i.e. to miss the mark, to err, to be without a share in, to wander from the path of righteousness, honor, or go wrong, to wander from God ways, to violate God’s laws, personal sin, or the sin of a collective group of people. The use of the word under implies being ruled over, dominated, or subjugated to. This accurately describes the Fall of humanity from God’s grace in Genesis 3.
e) Just as faith is the great equalizer of all people, so we are all equal in our condition before God as sinners needing His grace. The good news is that after we have been reconciled to God, we are no longer orphan sinners, but children of God being Fathered by Him, a Bride in waiting, disciples who are learning His ways, salt, light, and His New Covenant saints who have been sanctified by the blood of Christ.
a) Paul uses the Old Covenant Scriptures as a witness to the truth that all people need God’s grace. We could say that as Paul, led by the Holy Spirit, strings these Old Covenant quotes together, he performs a “spiritual MRI” from the top of head to the toes of collective humanity and has found us wanting.
b) Paul quotes Psalm 14:1-3, Psalm 53:1-3, Ecclesiastes 7:20, Psalm 5:9, Psalm 104:3, Psalm 10:7 (Septuagint), Isaiah 59:7-8, and Psalm 36:1.
c) Notice the progression away from God as we follow the movements in the text and metaphors used to point to the intensity by which humanity has moved away from God.
d) No one righteous or understands – A fitting description of humanity that is under the Adam’s inheritance of the Fall.
e) No one seeks God – We must remember that He loved us first and seeks our hearts and we simply respond to Him. If we seek God in the unredeemed condition, we end up with idols. 1 John 4:19 – We love because he first loved us.
f) Worthless – Greek – achreioō – render unserviceable – broken.
g) Having no fear of God is by far the farthest point from His presence. Psalm 111:10 – The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding. To him belongs eternal praise. Proverbs 1:7 – The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools (morally deficient) despise wisdom and instruction.
h) As Paul moves through these quotes we see the corruption of the throat, tongue, mouth, feet, and eyes. This may sound hopeless, but a realization of the human condition before God gives an appreciation and humility for His grace, mercy and love for us. It helps us understand the magnitude of His love for humanity.
a) NKJV – Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. – No one escapes accountability to God for the course of their lives. This is a motivation for us to share Jesus with the world around us because eternal destiny depends on us sharing the love of God that saves us from the guilt of sin.
a) NKJV – Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin. – The purpose of the Law is the revelation of our sin unto salvation. See Galatians 3:24 – So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith.