ALL UNDER SIN; Romans Part 14

justiceFor All Have Sinned (i) All Under Sin

Romans 3:9-20

In this final study of the first major section of his epistle Paul sums up his arguments relating to the sinfulness endemic in humanity. Having expounded the depravity of the Gentiles and having delineated the wickedness of the Jews, he brings all of his arguments together showing that mankind is a ruined corrupt race. In so doing he quotes constantly from the Old Testament; Psalm 5:9, 10:7, 14:1-3, 36:1, 140:3, Proverbs 1:16, Isaiah 53:1-4, 59:7. This highlights the scriptural basis of this exposition of sin. We are also taught that the message of sin must be emphasised constantly because this is the manner in which God deals with this subject.

1: The Commonality of Sin v9

No individual or group of persons is superior in God’s eyes because all people are “under sin”; “To be under sin means to be under the power of sin” (Charles Hodge).

2: The Characteristics in Sin v10-18God's law

    • Morality – unrighteous. Human righteousness has no currency in God’s sight.

    • Intellect – man does not understand God – 1 Corinthians 1:18-21, 2:14.

    • Will – bound being incapable of seeking after God. Pelagius, an early heretic, taught that the will is neutral and that sin consists only of voluntary and deliberate acts . Therefore simple errors of judgement are not sin as they are not deliberate. Arminius in the 17th Century followed a similar line of thinking that became embraced by the early Methodists. The true scriptural position is that man’s will is so depraved that he cannot do anything other than choose sin.

      • Worthless – without spiritual or moral value.

      • Tongues – deceitful and poisonous.

      • Feet – violent and destructive.

      • Eyes – that do not know the fear of God. Man has no recognition of God. He fears illness, poverty and death yet he will not fear the one whom he is accountable to; “To be destitute of the fear of God is to be godless, and no indictment could be more inclusive and decisive than the charge here made” (John Murray).

      3: The Condemnation for Sin v19-20

      While what man does is an important outcome of sin we must essentially recognise this condition as guilt before the law of God. Condemnation by the law has three consequences.

      1. The law renders all excuses to be without foundation. When man comprehends his guilt he is stunned into silence or conviction. In the day of wrath the whole world will stand in silence before Christ.

      1. As the law renders man guilty it is impossible for an individual to make himself innocent by the deeds of the law. Once the law has been transgressed there is no undoing of the wrong. No amount of good works can earn us merit.

      2. If the law cannot save then the only useful purpose it serves is to teach us that we are sinners.

      Having brought us to this point where we know that mankind is corrupt, we are now prepared for the teaching of Paul upon the matter of salvation which we will take up in the next study.

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