Introduction: The cross has so much to teach us! It shows us the
depth of God’s intolerance towards sin and the depth of His love
towards us. Let’s dive in and see what we can learn!
- THE SIN PROBLEM
- How do you feel today? We recently took a church survey
and most people felt they were growing spiritually. Is
that the way you feel?
- Let’s look at some verses in Romans 3. Read Romans 3:10-12. Whoa! Is that us? Is that you?
- When I fail, I want to know where I went wrong. Let’s
list the problems here:
- Not righteous (v.10);
- Not understand (v.11);
- Not seek God (v.11 – a real problem if you don’t
- Turned away and become worthless(v.12 – this is
the same term used for milk going bad); and,
- Do not do good (v.12).
- Can you give me a one or two word summary for these
problems we just identified? (Bad attitude.)
- Let’s read on. Romans 3:13-14. What does it mean when it
says their “throat is an open grave?” (You have heard of
“speed kills.” This is “words kill.”)
- Does this sound right to you? A bad attitude is
manifest in bad speech?
- Let’s read on. Romans 3:15-17. What is the next step in
sin described here? (Bad actions.)
- Why does verse 17 talk about “the way of peace?” What
does it mean not to know the way of peace? (“A way”
would mean a path. Their daily life is headed in the
wrong direction. This means they have evil habits.)
- I am going to preach a sermon next month on this very
issue. The sermon says this:
- Thoughts -> Words
- Words -> Actions
- Actions -> Habits
- Habits -> Destiny.
- If you want to know where the sin battle is lost or found,
it is in the mind!
- Did you notice the NIV (and some other modern language
translations) put many of these verses we have just read
in quotations? Why is that? (Barclay’s commentary on
Romans (p.55) explains that Paul is stringing together a
number of rough quotations from the Old Testament. This
common rabbinic method of teaching is called “charaz,”
which means “stringing pearls.”)
- Is this description of the progression of sin a
description of us? How would you like someone to describe
you this way? Is this how God views us? Or is this what we
used to be? Let’s read on to see what Paul says. Read
- What would you say if you were taking a test and you
found that the person sitting next to you had been
given a much easier test? Assume this is a
competitive test for a job. Same job, just one
applicant had a much lower standard for judgment.
(You would be annoyed and angry if you had the harder
- Is that what is being described in verse 19?
That some are taking the harder test because
they are “under the law?”
- Can anyone pass the harder test? (No)
- Is Paul saying that we are all too dumb (evil,
actually) to pass this test, but some are not graded
by the normal standards? (I think that is exactly
what he is saying. Remember that sin is progressive.
I do not know where you are on this line of
progression. (I assume you are not at the “shedding
blood” part.) But wherever you are, the application
of the law shows you (we) are unrighteous. We need a
new test. Let’s explore that next.)
- THE SOLUTION
- Read Romans 3:22-24 to find out about this “righteousness
apart from law” – the easier test – that is described in
v. 21. What is the “way out?” How do you get the “easier
test?” (These verses again say that we have all sinned. We
have all fallen short. There is no difference in our
ability to pass the test of the law. The only way to pass
the test and to become righteous, is through faith in
- Tell me, in practical terms, what is described in verse
24? (Jesus redeemed us. He took the “hard test” for us.)
- Let’s read on to learn more about this redemption. Read
Romans 3:25-26. Harking back to the sacrificial system,
verse 25 says that “God presented [Jesus] as a sacrifice
of atonement,” and that (v.26) “demonstrate[d]” God’s
“justice at the present time.”
- How did this demonstrate God’s justice?
- It sounds like cheating to me. Somebody else took and
passed a test I could not pass! How is this
appropriate? (All of the progressive evil that we
discussed in verses 10-18 is more repulsive to God
than it is to us. (And I thought it sounded pretty
bad.) Someone had to pay the penalty for those sins,
and these verses tell us that Jesus paid that
penalty. It is not appropriate, it is a gift!)
- Would you do it? Would you give up your only son for the
kind of people described in vv. 10-18?
- Who would do that kind of thing and why? (Someone who
loved the people or hated His Son. Since we know
that the Son agreed ( John 10:17-18), it means God has
this unbelievable love for us.)
- After giving up your son for those kinds of people, would
you just abandon them? (Here is the heart of the proof
that our salvation logically requires the Second Coming.
Why would God give up His Son, why would the Son give up
His life, if they were not going to “complete the job?”)
- LIVING IN THE LIGHT OF THE SECOND COMING
- We get the easy test. We get “hired” (saved), what kind of
workers should we be? Should we act like we are not
really qualified for the job? Should we act like the law
has no bearing on us? Let’s read on: Romans 3:27-28 & 31.
- Should we say, “Na na na na, I passed the test?”
- What kind of boasting do you think Paul refers to in
v. 27? (The idea that you are more righteous than
some one else. You teach the class, therefore you
must be more righteous, right? Wrong!)
- How would you “uphold” the hard test if you did not
have to take it? How do we “uphold” (v.31) the law?
- Let’s move ahead a few chapters in Romans. Read Romans
8:1-3. What does it mean to be “set free from the law of
sin and death?”
- How was the law (v.3) weakened by sinful nature? The
law is the law, what do we have to do with the nature
of the law? (The purpose of the law is to reveal God
and His plan for better living. Because of our weak,
sinful nature, the law is not able to do its job.)
- Let’s finish this idea. Read Romans 8:4-6. We learned that
we cannot keep the law, we cannot pass the “hard test.” We
also learned that we must “uphold” the law. How do these
verses suggest that we uphold the law?
- What are we told to do – other than just casually
accept the gift of salvation? (We are told (v.4) to
“live … according to the Spirit” and not “according
to the sinful nature.”)
- How do we do that? Is this some sort of “trick” to
reintroduce the requirement of keeping the law?
(Verse 5 contains the answer: we set our minds on
what God desires and not on what our human nature
- Did I bring you back full-circle? Where is the
battle fought? (Your mind!)
- Jesus has paid the penalty for sin. He took the “hard
test” that we cannot pass. However, we must accept His
sacrifice and we must “uphold” the law. If this acceptance
and upholding is primarily a matter of our mind, list for
me what you think we should and should not be doing to
“set our minds on what the Spirit desires?”
- Read Romans 6:1-5. What is our relationship to sin after
we are saved? (Verse 1 tells us we died to sin, we no
longer “live in it.”)
- What do you think it means to “live” in sin?
- What do verses 4-5 suggest is the point of Jesus
taking the hard test for us? What is the point of His
death on our behalf?
- Is the resurrection, the Second Coming, the “point”
according to Paul?
- Friend, Jesus came to pass a test we cannot pass. His
death on our behalf is a gift. We cannot pride ourselves
in this gift. But we must determine to set our mind on
doing His will (as revealed in His law). If we believe all
this – that Jesus came and died in our place, and arose to
life eternal – then we can have confidence that He will
come again to “finish the job” of saving us. Praise God!
- Next week: The Sanctuary and the Second Coming.