Introduction: We left off last week in the midst of confusion! Paul
told us in Romans 2:13 that “those who obey the law … will be
declared righteous.” Then Paul quickly added in Romans 3:12 “there
is no one who does good, not even one.” Are we all lost? Are we
doomed by our nature? Whatever happened to the idea of the inherent
goodness of humans? Can we live a good life? Let’s dive into Romans
and see if we can follow Paul’s line of reasoning and continue our
exploration of God’s plan for our salvation!
- The Judgment Problem
- Recall that in Romans 1:18 we learned that God was angry
with those who suppressed the truth by their wickedness?
We learned next that those wicked people had no excuse
for their behavior because, Romans 1:20, nature alerted
them to the existence of God. Finally, we looked sadly in
Romans 1:24-32 at the terrible sins that resulted from
rejecting God. Paul concluded ( Romans 1:32) that those
people deserved death. Do you agree that wicked people
are without an excuse?
- Read Romans 1:32. Do you approve of the sins listed in
- Did you know that there is a push today to get the
public to approve of homosexuality – a sin Paul
specifically describes in Romans 1:26-27?
- Do we have an obligation to publically pass judgment
on the sin of homosexuality and the other sins
listed in Romans 1:24-32?
- Read Romans 2:1. This is embarrassing! Is there a
typographical error here? Was this mistranslated? I am
not a homosexual! I don’t hate God and I’m not a
murderer! Why can’t I pass judgment on those people who
are so grossly out of step with God’s law? (Paul let us
fall into a trap. We have been nodding our heads in
agreement that these are pretty terrible sins, deserving
death, and we should pass judgment on them. Then Paul
says “you are just like them!”)
- How are we just like them if we do not do those
terrible sins? Or, are we in trouble only if we
“pass judgment” on those sinners? Must I keep my
mouth shut about the sin of homosexuality? How
about being quiet about murder? What about abortion?
Can’t I condemn those who openly hate God?
- Didn’t Paul “pass judgment” on those sinners
when he said they ( Romans 1:32) deserve death?
I say those sins are wrong, but I’m not someone
who runs around saying that these sinners
- Read Romans 2:2-4. Let’s see if we can dissect these
verses. Is it true and just that such sins deserve death?
(God’s judgment is true.)
- So, what is the problem with speaking the truth?
(The problem is that I am a “mere man” who is
sinful. God is not sinful, so God can pass judgment.
But, I do not have the status of God, I have the
status of a sinner. I am not entitled to pass
judgment on those sins.)
- Just because I am a sinner, does not mean that
I cannot correctly identify sin, right? (The
truth is that as a sinner, I deserve death just
as much as any other sinner. If I suggest that
you deserve death for your sins, and I do not,
then I’m not being truthful.)
- How are we supposed to preach the gospel if we
cannot call sin by its right name?
- Re-read Romans 2:4. What approach does God
take towards us when it comes to our sins?
(God is rich in kindness, tolerance and
patience. These sinners are just like us.
We all have the opportunity to repent
because of the kindness of God. Thus, the
gospel message is that we should repent
and take advantage of God’s kindness.)
- How can you tell someone to repent if you
cannot pass judgment on their sin? (We
must learn the difference between calling
sin by its right name and passing judgment
on other sinners.)
- Romans 1:32 teaches us that both the sin
and the approval of the sin are wrong.
Both passing judgment on sin and approving
of sin are wrong. How should we draw the
line between passing judgment and
approving of sin?
- The Sin Problem
- Okay. God tells me that I must be careful about how I
call other people to repentance. I cannot be judgmental.
That does not change the fact that I am basically a good
person, right? At least I’m better than some of those
gross sinners, and I just need to be careful about how I
talk about the differences between us. Agree?
- Would I be right to say the real problem area is if
I am a hypocrite. For example, if I condemn adultery
when I’m committing adultery? Or, condemn
homosexuality if I’m a homosexual?
- Read Romans 2:5. Who deserves God’s wrath?
- Is Paul saying that you and I deserve God’s wrath? I
repent of sins all the time. Why am I thrown in the
same “wrath bag” as all of those gross sinners? Or
is it just the hypocrites that deserve wrath? (Paul
seems to cast a pretty wide net with his
- If we believe that we are better than those “gross”
sinners, are we are showing that we are “stubborn”
and have an “unrepentant heart?”
- Read Romans 2:6-10. Now we are on the right track! Some
people do what is right and some people do what is wrong.
The people who do right get saved and those who do wrong
suffer “wrath and fury.” Does this show that you and I
are, after all, not like those gross sinners – as long as
we avoid being hypocrites?
- Let’s move down to Romans chapter 3. Read Romans 3:10-18.
Is this you? Or, is Paul writing about someone else?
- Read Romans 3:19-20. What must we all admit? (Just like
those sinners described above, we have nothing to brag
about. Romans 3:19 says “every mouth” will be silenced.
Every mouth includes yours and mine. We have been
bouncing back and forth in this lesson on the issue of
whether we are better than others – those “others” with
gross sins. But, this text tells us that our mouths must
be silent on the topic of being better. As sinners, we
are all accountable to God – and we cannot pass the test
through our works.)
- How important is it to admit we are sinners – like
those who do the most vile stuff? (This is just like
every addiction problem. The road to recovery is to
admit we have a problem. Sin is sin, and we are all
sinners. We have no hope of salvation based on the
law. We only deserve death – just like those other
evil people. We learn to our horror, that we are
just like them.)
- Friend, are you willing to admit your sin problem? Are
you willing to put away your pride of feeling that you
are better than those gross sinners? The question is,
“what can we do about this?” We take that up next week.
- Next week: Justified by Faith.