Classic Christianity – Book of Romans P12 (11-13-19)
We are now in the 3rd chapter of Romans. Paul had finished focusing on the Gentiles and has now focused his attention to the Jews. Both the Jew and the Gentile are both alike under sin. The apostle Paul explains why the law cannot make anyone righteous. Even though we today have never been given the law, we stole the law from the Jews and put ourselves under the demands of the law, by which no man can be saved. The purpose of the law was never to make anyone righteous. It is through the law we are conscious of sin. Paul is laying down the foundation for both the Jew and the Gentile to see their need of salvation, that they are a sinner already, dead spiritually at birth, and in need of new life.
Jesus also explained this when he walked the earth. He fulfilled the law for us not by what he did not do but by walking in love. Love is the fulfillment of the law. Jesus also spoke to the Jews, the Jewish leaders in his day on earth. They had turned the law as a means for attaining righteousness, for a right standing before God by their observance of the law.
Jesus pointed out the inner issues of the heart. To those who boasted of their righteousness by the law, he got underneath the skin and exposed the attitudes of the heart, through which all sin comes. He would say that if you look lustfully at a woman then you have already committed adultery in your heart. If you have hate in your heart for somebody then you have already committed murder. He exposed the condition of men’s heart so that they might recognize themselves as a sinner, doomed to eternal death, the wretched condition they are in, so that they might seek a savior. Jesus, having died to take away the consequences of sin, which is death, when he shed his blood on the cross, and has been raised to life, he appeals to all men to come to him for new life.
When Paul spoke, he explained that both the Jew and the Gentile were alike under sin, and come to Christ the same way, to receive that righteousness that is by faith. When he spoke of a righteous that is by faith, for both the Jew and the Gentile, he reduced the Jew as on the same level as the Gentile. So the Jew would ask what advantage is there in being a Jew. First of all, they were blessed in many ways. They were set apart from the rest of the world. They were entrusted with the very words of God. They had access to the word of the prophets. The word of God was written down by the Jewish scribes, and was meticulously copied. The scriptures we have today came as God spoke through the prophets and the apostles, who were all Jewish.
But no one can be saved by observing the law. Paul spends much time elaborating how there is not a single person, Jew or Gentile, who is righteous before God. Am I a righteous person because of what I am doing? Think about that? If you are righteous because of what you are doing, then how much do you have to do that thing to become righteous and how little do you have to do before you become unrighteous? There is not a man on the face of the earth that can answer those questions. It is like salvation. If my salvation is dependent on what I do, then you have to answer the question, how much do I have to do before I am saved and how little you have to do before you are lost? There is not a person on the face of the earth that can answer that question. Not a one.
The purpose of the law is to show you what God’s righteousness is and to show what your righteousness is not. You do not have any righteousness. You are using the law to make people think you are righteous. But God looks at the heart and tells you that there is no one righteous, no not one. The purpose of the law is for those under the law in order to shut your mouth, to realize that the whole world has now been made accountable to God, silenced, and the whole word accountable to God.
Let us turn to the 3rd chapter of the book of Romans. In the first chapter, he was talking to the Gentile world. When we pick up in chapter 2, and up to verse 20 in chapter 3, he is directing his conversation to the Jew. So he was talking about the Jews and the law. Now we pick up in chapter 3 where he is answering the question, “What advantage is there in being a Jew?–
Again, friends, we have to understand that this Jew and Gentile world, it is a different world today. Right now Rosh Hashanah is being celebrated by the Jewish world and the Jewish community, and it is a time called an atonement for sin. The Jews continue in this, in the midst of scripture, where it says “without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sin.” and “no sacrifice for sin remains”
22 In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.
27 Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself.
In the midst of that kind of thing, the sacrificial system kept going after the death of Christ even though he was the Messiah and even though recognized by a vast amount of Jewish people. The early Christians were all Jews. Not until about 18 years after the resurrection of Christ was the first convert in Christ in Cornelius. The whole world was Jewish. Yet there was a majority of people who rejected the Messiah. They said they would rather listen to the voice of Moses even though Jesus said if you believed in Moses you would believe in me for he wrote about me.
46 If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me.
40 yet you refuse to come to me to have life
Jesus told the Jewish leaders, “You refuse to come to me to have life”. All of these statements were made to the Jewish world. Even though there were a vast number of people who came to Christ, still the majority and the leadership, they would not accept Jesus as who he is and that is the promised Messiah, being God himself who visited this earth. So you have this continual conflict between the Jew and the Gentile world.
So Paul is dealing with this. He first talked about the Gentile. If you do not have the law, you will perish apart from the law, for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.
12 All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law
23 or all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God
So he needs now to talk to the Jewish world. He is going to acknowledge to the Jews to the fact that there is an advantage of being a Jew. It is not that God has put you out of circulation, so to speak. There is an advantage to being a Jew. So he deals with that.
1 What advantage, then, is there in being a Jew, or what value is there in circumcision?
Again, what we have to understand there is that circumcision was a seal of the covenant God had made with Israel, and it also pertained to the fulfillment of the promises God had made. That was the reason for circumcision.
2 Much in every way! First of all, the Jews have been entrusted with the very words of God.
Again, you have the Old Testament that was given to the Jew. And you have the New Testament that was, of course, was written by the vast majority of the writers of the New Testament, who were Jewish, especially the apostle Paul who was called the Pharisee of Pharisees at one time, and probably one of the leading teachers of the world at that time, and was Jewish. First of all, he says to the Jews, “you have been entrusted with the very words of God.“ Not only did God give the Jews the word written down that we call scripture today but he entrusted them with it. They were faithful to carry it out and faithful to copy it. The manuscripts we have today were taken from the originals which were meticulously copied, letter by letter, to the point that at the end of the book, they would count the number and if it was wrong, they would start all over again in the copying. That is how meticulous they were in the creation of the manuscripts in which scriptures are translated today off of the original manuscripts. So they were entrusted with the very words of God and they were very responsible to uphold that trust God gave them.
3 What if some were unfaithful? Will their unfaithfulness nullify God’s faithfulness? 4 Not at all!
God is going to be faithful, whether you are or not.
Let God be true, and every human being a liar. As it is written:
Every man sooner or later, we may think we are honest, and we may think we are honest that it is so unbelievable. It is amazing people encamp on that and God says, “No, you are not.” God is the only one who is true. He is the only one who is not a liar. We all lie. We call then white lies. Those we say are okay. We say, “It is just the dark ones we don’t want”. But the truth of the matter is no one is totally honest. That is why someone asks you if you are okay, and your guts are hanging out, and you say you are fine. You just lied. But we will say that, will we not? So no man is true, but only God alone.
“So that you may be proved right when you speak
and prevail when you judge.”[Psalm 51:4]
5 But if our unrighteousness
Here is the argument. “You are saying we are unrighteous.”
brings out God’s righteousness more clearly, what shall we say?
In other words, our sinfulness, makes God looks better.
That God is unjust in bringing his wrath on us? (I am using a human argument.)
What he is dealing with here is no one is righteous. God alone is righteous. Then my unrighteousness makes God look better. That is some line of reasoning isn’t it? But that is what was taking place.
6 Certainly not! If that were so, how could God judge the world? 7 Someone might argue, “If my falsehood
You are saying we are not honest. Only he is.
enhances God’s truthfulness and so increases his glory, why am I still condemned as a sinner?”
Again, what is this? This is just like the old comedian, W. C. Fields, an atheist. In his latter days he was in the hospital. Someone walked into his hospital room, and he was an old codger from the word go. He walked in and he was reading the bible and he said to him, “what are you doing?” Mr. Fields replied, “I am looking for loopholes.” That is what is going on here, looking for loopholes. “If all of us have sinned, and all of us unrighteous, how can He condemn that?” So they are asking these questions.
8 Why not say – as some slanderously claim that we say
That is where truth is presented to the world. You will always have people saying, and misrepresenting those who are communicating truth. That is the way it is. Get used to it. If you are communicating truth, then you will be accused of reporting something different than what you are saying. So this is what they said Paul was saying.
– “Let us do evil that good may result”?
In other words, the worse you are the better God looks.
Their condemnation is just [deserved]!
9 What shall we conclude then?
Are we as Jews, for Paul who is writing this is a Jew, are we any better than anybody else? Are we better than the Gentile world?
Do we have any advantage? Not at all! For we have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under the power of sin.
Again, the thing that separated the Jewish world from the Gentile world was that God gave them the word of God. And He gave them the law. God never gave the law to the Gentile world. If you are sitting there as a Gentile, who has been under the law, you were under something God never gave you. He gave the law to the Jew for one purpose and one purpose only, to set them apart, which we call sanctified, set apart from the entirety of the Gentile world. That Gentile world is anybody that is not Jewish. God only had three categories of people he had in mind; Jew, Gentile and Ecclesia, the church made up of the born again Jews and the born again Gentiles, nothing more and nothing less.
So we are saying here is that God gave His word to the Jews. He gave the law to the Jews. He gave the dietary laws to the Jews. When they exercise those laws, it separated them from the entire Gentile world. What man did was to take those laws that God gave him, which was for the purpose of separating you from the world so a person can see that these are the representatives of God on this earth. The only people on the face of the earth prior to the time of Christ that represented the one true God, God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, was the Jews. The rest of the world were heathen, idol worshiping people. The Jews were set apart, totally from the rest of the world.
As a result of that, they used the law as a means of righteousness. In other words, not as a means of being separate from the world, but this is making me righteous. Their righteousness came from what they said came from obedience to the law even though they were no more obedient to those who never were entrusted to be obedient to the law.
Again, when you are trying to live up to the law, the best that you can do is try, or pick and choose what you will or think you can obey. Well, if there are ten commandments, I will obey at least six of them. I will at least get over the 60% mark. You think God grades on a curve. You have to think that way. You cannot think any other way, then you would have to think the bible way. Which is to say, if you violate the least of my commandments, you have violated all of them. That neutralized the Jew down to what is no different than a Gentile.
God says He is going to reduce you, Jew, down to the place of the Gentile so that the Jew and the Gentile in the eyes of God are identically the same. I gave the law to the Jews and they could not obey it. You were not given the law and you did not obey anything. I will neutralize all of you to the point of spiritual death so that you can come to Christ the same way, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. That is what he did. So he says, “Are we any better? Not at all. We already made the charge that the Jew and the Gentile alike are all under sin.
10 As it is written:
“There is no one righteous, not even one;
This is an offense to a person who thinks they are righteous in the sight of God because of what they are doing. Some of you have probably been in that situation. You have been under the law and what usually happens, so you find one that you can obey and you get under that one. That is the focal point of your entire being. If you are a Seventh Day Adventist, it is that Sabbath day, that is the one you keep. If it something else, that is the one you keep. No one talks about obeying all of them. They just focus on the one. So that is where man thinks he is righteous.
If a man was sitting around saying, “I do not commit adultery. I do not steal.“ Then when Jesus entered the scene, he had to get underneath the skin where people lived. So Jesus says, “You are clean on the outside, but I look at the heart.” This is the same thing we have such confusion today in regard to prayer. People think God is listening to what we say. If that is true, that the only time God listens to us is when we are speaking out loud, why would we ever pray quietly and why would we ever say, “let us have a round of silent prayer” if the only thing He listens to is what we verbalize?
Now God does not care whether we speak in English, German or Japanese or Indonesian. He is not listening to what you are talking about anyways. He is too smart to listen to what we say. What we say is very seldom a reflection of what is going on underneath the skin. That is why when someone is asking how you are when your guts are hanging out, you are saying “great”. Your words are not expressing truth. You are expressing a lie. God does not listen to our words. He is listening to our heart. God does not need an interpreter to find out what somebody said. So it does not matter whether someone is speaking in English, German or a Babylonian tongue, He is not listening to what you are saying anyway. He is listening at your heart. Biblical prayer is from your heart, from my heart to Him. That is it period. He is not listening to what we are saying. He is listening to our hearts. Do we understand the truth of that?
How many of you have ever said in your heart you are talking to God but never opening your mouth? How many of you have done that? Isn’t that stupid if He is only listening to you when you are talking? We are so contradictory in our belief system. We are talking out of both sides of our mouth. What God is listening to is the attitude of a man’s heart. How does He do that? I do not know. I do not know what is going on in your heart. I cannot tell but God can. That is what we are depending on, that type of situation.
All of that comes down to is righteousness. Am I a righteous person because of what I am doing? Think about that? If you are righteous because of what you are doing, then how much do you have to do that thing to become righteous and how little do you have to do before you become unrighteous? There is not a man on the face of the earth that can answer those questions. It is like salvation. If my salvation is dependent on what I do, then you have to answer the question, how much do I have to do before I am saved and how little you have to do before you are lost? There is not a person on the face of the earth that can answer that question. Not a one.
Man has tried to, desperately, because he does not understand that salvation, righteousness, justification, and all of those things have to come from God. They are initiated from God to man. They come from God to me. No man is righteous. Do we understand that? The Gentile, all of you out there that are Gentiles, none of you were ever righteous. Any of you out there that are a Jew, you were not righteous either. You thought you were because you kept the law. You say, “I am doing good therefore I am righteous. I give to the poor therefore I am righteous.” Nothing wrong about those things. Right to do but just does not make you righteous before God. If it did, then the question has to be answered, “How much do you have to do to be made righteous? I gave $1000 to the poor and you gave only $2 so I am more righteous than you.” So you cannot answer those questions. So he is sayin there is no one who is righteous.
there is no one who understands;
there is no one who seeks God.
You did not initiate salvation. You did not tell God how to save people. He said no one understands. He even said no one even really seeks God.
All have turned away,
What if we are not seeking God, what are we seeking? We are seeking mostly the approval of man. You are getting patted on the head by man, saying you are doing really good. But to really find approval in the sight of God, there is nobody really doing that.
they have together become worthless;
This is how man would respond: “Well, that is not being politically correct. He should not be saying that about us. He said we have become worthless.”
there is no one who does good,
not even one.”[Psalms 14:1-3; 53:1-3; Eccles. 7:20]
We think we are doing good. We think we are doing some good, but He says not even one. He goes on with his description of us. Even today, people are so sensitive and touchy. You know if a Jewish person says, “Bob, you are a voya.” That is what they call a Gentile. Would you be insulted? I made a statement on radio the other day. Someone called me about cremation. What would that matter if playing on the radio on 9-11 and you would be cremated. So what difference would it make to your body when you die anyway? You are going to the dust. It does not matter if burned up or ate away by a worm. You return to the dust. Some people get cremated because of the expense of it because funerals are expensive. That is all I said. Funerals are expensive. I also said. We have in our will that we donate parts of our body for research until you get so old they are not so good anyway so nobody wants them. So I am going to give up on that one. Our children, “Oh, man we cannot stand the thought of you being burned”, so we probably will not do that. I got a call from somebody who got insulted. He was insulted. He was in the business. You say funerals are expensive but ours aren’t. So there is no one who is good, not one.
“Their throats are open graves;
their tongues practice deceit.”[Psalm 5:9]
“The poison of vipers is on their lips.”[Psalm 140:3]
That is not a very good description, is it?
“Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.”[e]
“Their feet are swift to shed blood;
ruin and misery mark their ways,
and the way of peace they do not know.”[Isaiah 59:7,8]
The way of peace they do not know. One of the things that probably, we may not recognize it, we want in our hearts more than anything else is to have a peaceful heart, just to be able to live in peace. If you go over to Israel, you will find people over there. Our guides, when we took tours over there, a man had been in all of the wars, he was willing to compromise anything to just have peace and quiet. That is what we are looking for, and that is peace. When we do not have it, it is destructive to us. You are never going to have the peace of God until you experience the peace with God. You will never experience the peace of God until you have peace with God. So he is saying the peace they do not know anything about is this peace in the heart.
“There is no fear of God before their eyes.”[Psalm 36:1]
In other words, there is no respect. When you talk about fear in the bible, Paul says he did not come to you with brilliant ideas and lofty ideas but I came with fear and trembling because I wanted your faith to stand not on some man’s great ideas, but upon God and His word. It is a way of saying respect and fear. It is like the ocean. I love the ocean but I have great respect for it. I do not want to go out too deep but I love it. I love God but I also have great respect for Him and awe of Him. So he says there is no fear before their eyes.
19 Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law,
Now, who is he talking to here, folks? Is he talking to the lost or the saved? Who is under the law? The Jews were under the law. Were they lost or saved? He is talking to people that were under the law as lost. What was the purpose of the law? The purpose of the law was to show us our sinfulness so we may turn to God for salvation. Once we have turned to Him we are no longer under the supervision of the law. Who is the law for? The lost. So he is saying that to whoever the law says, it says to those under the law, how come? So that every mouth is silenced and the whole world held accountable to God.
so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God.
What is he saying here? The law is speaking to the lost, who are bragging that they are keeping the law. They are under the law and keeping the law. This is what it is speaking to in order for you to shut your mouth. I am going to show you that you have nothing to talk about. That is precisely what Jesus did. He came and showed us you do not have anything to talk about. The law says do not commit adultery. I say “I look on your heart” and if a man looks with lust at a girl with his heart and then a man says “uh oh”. The law says “do not commit murder” but I say unto you that if you are angry at somebody then you are already committed murder in your heart. Then I say “I had it” and he says “you got it”. When you had it, you got it.
The purpose of the law is to show you what God’s righteousness is and to show what your righteousness is not. Are we together? You do not have any righteousness. You are using the law to make people think you are righteous. But I look at the heart and I tell you that there is no one righteous, no not one. The purpose of the law is for those under the law in order to shut your mouth, to realize that the whole world has now been made accountable to God, silenced, and the whole word accountable to God, the Gentile world, the Jewish world, the religious world, the non-religious world, are all held accountable to God. In this day and age, Catholics, Baptists, Presbyterians, Pentecostals, you name it, you are all accountable to God. You have all been reduced to one level, dead.
20 Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.