Introduction: Have you ever thought about how much a belief in
righteousness by faith shapes your entire view of God? Consider that
righteousness by faith (grace) means that all human effort is flawed.
Only God is perfect. This not only says something about how I am
saved, but it says something about how I should view others. It says
something about how I should view God’s role in the universe. Our
study this week about the “human condition” starts us down this road
of considering the larger view of grace. Let’s dive in and learn what
the Bible has to teach us!

  1. No Excuse

    1. Read Romans 1:18-20. Paul describes two things. First, he
      describes truth suppressors. Second, he describes why the
      truth cannot be suppressed. How do humans attempt to
      suppress the truth? (By their godlessness and wickedness.)

      1. Do you see this in society today? (I worry that
        wickedness is gaining the upper hand. Not only are
        Biblical principles dealing with life and sexual
        relations scorned, but there is a growing movement to
        suppress the speech of those who believe in Biblical

        1. Do you see a rise in “godlessness?” (This has
          been surveyed. The number of people who do not
          believe in God is on the rise.)

      2. What do these verses say that gives us hope? (The
        truth about God cannot be successfully suppressed.
        The existence of God and His divine nature are clear
        in His creation. The idea that the heavens and earth
        came about by chance and natural selection is
        ludicrous. For the most part, humans can simply
        observe and describe the laws of nature, they cannot
        explain how they work. It defies logic to think that
        such incredibly complex laws came about by chance. If
        they did come about by chance, what a stupid group we
        humans are if we cannot figure out how they work.)

      3. Does any human have an excuse for not believing in
        God? (No. The Bible says that there are no excuses.)

    2. Read Romans 1:21-23. What have illogical humans refused to
      do? (They did not thank God or give glory to Him.)

      1. What is the result of not acknowledging God as the
        Creator of the Universe? (This muddles the mind of
        the atheist. Smart people do stupid things like
        creating images that look like humans or animals and
        then they worship them.)

        1. In my neighborhood, I don’t see any one bowing
          down to an idol. Have humans become smart
          enough to at least not do that? (The atheist’s
          failure of logic is not recognizing God. I
          think human logic, human theories, have become
          the new idols. We don’t create an image that
          looks like a person or animal, we create an
          image on paper or electronically in the form of
          an argument against God.)

      2. Consider how the idea of grace fits in here. If we
        think our works have something to do with our
        salvation, are we like those who make idols with
        their own hands?

    3. Read Romans 1:24-25. What is the result of rejecting the
      Creator God? (God “gave them over” to sexual impurity.)

    4. Read Romans 1:26-27. What specific sexual sin is mentioned
      that arises from rejecting God? (Homosexuality.)

      1. Why do you think that Paul mentions homosexual sex as
        the natural result of rejecting God? Why does it
        follow worshiping images that look like animals and
        humans? (Paul argues for common sense. How can you
        look at the creation and not believe that there is a
        God? How can a human worship something that he made?
        How can humans look at the way males and females were
        designed and conclude that homosexual sex is normal?)

      2. What do you think Paul means when he says that those
        who engage in homosexual sex “receive in themselves
        the due penalty?” Is there some automatic punishment
        that is inherent in this sin?

    5. Read Romans 1:28. What does this tell us is at the bottom
      of a “depraved mind?” (A mind that does not “think it
      worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God.” If you do not
      know God, if you do not want to know and understand God’s
      will for you, then your mind becomes depraved.)

    6. Read Romans 1:29-31. As you look over this list, do you
      see any of your sins mentioned?

      1. Paul seems to be describing a slide into evil. First,
        rejecting God and replacing Him with idols. Next,
        homosexual sex. Next, this long list of sins. Does
        this mean that the sins in the long list are worse
        than homosexuality? (There is a world-wide debate
        over normalizing homosexual sex under secular law. If
        Paul is telling us that homosexual sex is no worse
        than being “insolent, arrogant and boastful,” then
        the question of what the law should prohibit becomes
        a lot more complex.)

    7. Read Romans 1:32. What sin is described here? (It is also
      a sin to “approve of those who practice” sin. We cannot be
      in a position of approving the practice of sin.)

  2. No Judgment

    1. Read Romans 2:1. When I asked you if you recognized one of
      your sins in that long list of sins, what would Paul
      expect you to answer? (Paul says we have some of those
      sins in our life.)

      1. Can we call sin by its right name? Or, is that the
        same as “passing judgment?” (We can call sin by its
        right name. Indeed, Paul just did. What we cannot do
        is “pass judgment on someone else.”)

        1. Why not? (Because we do the same things.)

      2. Remember in the introduction we talked about a larger
        view of grace? How does a true understanding of grace
        help us in dealing with sin in others? (When we
        clearly understand the grandeur of God, and the
        pitiful nature of humans, we have “no excuse” for
        passing judgment on others because we are then
        “condemning” our sinful self!)

    2. Read Romans 2:2-3. What should those who pass judgment on
      others expect? (That God will judge them for their sins.
      We must acknowledge that we are sinful humans.)

    3. Read Romans 2:4. For a very long time I’ve been a part of
      local church leadership. In the “old days” we disciplined
      those engaged in adultery. I recall reading the church
      handbook which said that the purpose of the discipline was
      to shock the sinner into repenting and returning to right
      behavior. What does this verse say is God’s approach? (It
      appears to say just the opposite: “God’s kindness leads
      you toward repentance.”)

      1. Notice the hard line here: if we do not understand
        that grace reflects God’s “kindness, tolerance and
        patience” towards us, we are showing “contempt” for

    4. Read Romans 2:5. What stubborn and unrepentant attitude is
      Paul referring to? (The last few verses refer to passing
      judgment on others. Have you ever thought that passing
      judgment on others when you are a sinner makes you
      “unrepentant” and one who “stores up wrath?”)

      1. Some may answer that Paul previously wrote about
        those who deny the existence of God. Is Paul writing
        about them when he promises a coming wrath? (Notice
        the common core here. Those who refuse to acknowledge
        God are similar to those who refuse to acknowledge
        the grace of God. Both positions show contempt for
        His power.)

  3. How Big is Grace?

    1. Read Romans 2:6-11. Now read Romans 3:21-24. Has Paul
      forgotten in chapter 3 what he wrote in chapter 2? Are
      these not diametrically opposed statements? Is Paul now
      showing contempt for the power of God?

      1. Let’s see if we can reconcile Paul’s statements.
        Assume that you do not have a “grace” attitude and
        you think you are better than others. Will you feel
        the need to repent? (No.)

      2. Instead, if you realize that you are mired in sin
        just like these others, will you repent? (I think so.
        Grace drives us to our knees and causes us to want to
        bring glory to God.)

    2. Read Romans 3:10-12. If God’s judgment is based on good
      works, where do we stand? (This proves that Paul cannot be
      arguing for righteousness by works in Romans 2:6-10.)

    3. Read Romans 3:19-20. How does this fit into the “do not
      judge” section of the previous chapter? (This shows us
      that grace is not simply a method of salvation, it is an
      attitude that permeates everything we do. Grace teaches us
      not to judge others because we cannot survive a true
    4. Read Romans 3:27-28. What place is there for an attitude
      of superiority for our righteous life? What place is there
      for an attitude of judgment? (There is no place for this.
      We are justified by grace alone. We are all terrible
      people. Grace teaches us gratitude for what Jesus has done
      for us.)

    5. Friend, will you examine your heart for a judgmental
      attitude? I confess that as I was writing this lesson, I
      had to stop and ask for forgiveness as I recalled times
      when I was judgmental towards others.

  4. Next week: Justification by Faith.