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!

  1. The Judgment Problem

    1. 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?

    2. Read Romans 1:32. Do you approve of the sins listed in
      Romans 1:24-32?

      1. 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?

      2. Do we have an obligation to publically pass judgment
        on the sin of homosexuality and the other sins
        listed in Romans 1:24-32?

    3. 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!”)

      1. 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?

        1. 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
          should die!

    4. 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.)

      1. 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.)

        1. 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.)

        2. How are we supposed to preach the gospel if we
          cannot call sin by its right name?

          1. 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.)

          2. 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.)

          3. 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?

  2. The Sin Problem

    1. 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?

      1. 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?

    2. Read Romans 2:5. Who deserves God’s wrath?

      1. 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

      2. If we believe that we are better than those “gross”
        sinners, are we are showing that we are “stubborn”
        and have an “unrepentant heart?”

    3. 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?

    4. Let’s move down to Romans chapter 3. Read Romans 3:10-18.
      Is this you? Or, is Paul writing about someone else?

    5. 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.)

      1. 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.)

    6. 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.

  3. Next week: Justified by Faith.