From Guilt of Humanity to the Righteousness of God
by Cindie York
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Romans 3:10-18 (NLT)
As the Scriptures say, “No one is righteous-not even one. No one is truly wise; no one is seeking God. All have turned away; all have become useless. No one does good, not a single one.” “Their talk is foul, like the stench from an open grave. Their tongues are filled with lies.” “Snake venom drips from their lips.” “Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.” “They rush to commit murder. Destruction and misery always follow them. They don’t know where to find peace.” “They have no fear of God at all.”
In the book of Romans, the Apostle Paul was addressing the Roman Christians by letter. In this particular portion of scripture, Paul is actually quoting Psalm 14:1-3 which explains the sinfulness of all people. Whether Jew or Gentile, all humanity is guilty of sin.
During the time period that this letter was written, the Jewish and Christian communities throughout Rome were in division in regard to the Old Testament law and the Good News message of Christ, of which Paul strongly believed and preached wherever he traveled.
As Paul continues further with his letter, Paul gives a powerful message about Jesus Christ being the sacrifice for the sins of all mankind. He will compare and contrast the Old Testament Law given to Moses and the Good News of Christ.
3:19-20 (NLT) Obviously, the law applies to those to whom it was given, for its purpose is to keep people from having excuses, and to show that the entire world is guilty before God. For no one can ever be made right with God by doing what the law commands. The law simply shows us how sinful we are.
The law given by Moses makes us accountable of sin. Paul is simply explaining that the law itself doesn’t make one righteous. Just because one knows the Law of Moses or even abides by the law or commandments does not remove the guilt of sin. It just allows the sin to be recognizable. There are many moral, law abiding individuals who uphold the commands of God, who can actually quote the scriptures but have NEVER known the pardon of sins.
Paul actually stated that the law showed him his sin and that he would have never known, for example that coveting was wrong, if it were not for the law. He later states that he wanted to do what is right but he ended up doing the wrong thing because of the power of sin made him a slave to sin. Paul explained that he loved God’s law but he wasn’t free from sin's clutch. He poses the question, who will free him from the life dominated by sin and death? He then exclaims, “The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Verse 20 explains that no one will ever be made right just by doing “good,” so to speak. Of course, by all means we should try to live as best we can and keep the commandments but that doesn’t make us a Christian. We must first be redeemed by and through God’s only Son Jesus Christ, which is the only way to be justified and made righteous with God. Christ is the only one who can pay the price for our sins.
Romans 3:22-26 (NLT) We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are. For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, with underserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty of our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past. For he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate his righteousness for he himself is fair and just, and he declares sinners to be right in his sight when they believe in Jesus.
Romans 3:27-28 again further reiterates that we cannot be made right simply by obeying the law but we must have faith in the Lord Jesus. We must be born again, dying to the old man and those sinful desires and ways of life associated with the old man. This can only be done by true repentance of sin and placing them under the blood of Jesus Christ, the risen Savior.
Verse 27 states, Can we boast, then, that we have done anything to be accepted by God? No, because our acquittal is not based on obeying the law. It is based on faith.
Romans 4:25 (NLT) He was handed over to die because of our sins, and he was raised to life to make us right with God.
Romans 8:1-4 (NLT) So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins. He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit.
Romans 7:4-6 (NLT) So, my dear brothers and sisters, this is the point: You died to the power of the law when you died with Christ. And now you are united with the one who was raised from the dead. As a result, we can produce a harvest of good deeds for God. When we were controlled by our old nature, sinful desires were at work within us, and the law aroused these evil desires that produced a harvest of sinful deeds, resulting in death. But now we have been released from the law, for we died to it and are no longer captive to its power. Now we can serve God, not in the old way of obeying the letter of the law, but in the new way of living in the Spirit.
Romans 5:1-2 (NLT) Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.
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