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Romans 3



Do y\’all understand Paul’s argument thus far? If so, please put it into your own words.

Paul is saying that the Jews had a great advantage over the Gentiles because they had the truth of God and the shadows of the Gospel with them. But, even though some physical descendants of Abraham were not repentant or faithful God is yet still faithful to those that believe inwardly rather than those that are merely outwardly faithful. See 2:28-29. 

IE God will fulfill all His promises He made to the true Jew even if individual Jews are not able to receive them because of their unbelief. 


IE if everyone believed God was a lair it would make no difference because it would only prove that they are lairs and that God is true; regardless of their opinion. 


So if God is going to get glory through my sin, or if my unrighteousness shows off His righteousness, then why should I change my ways?

The wrath of God is revealed against all ungodliness, its an abuse of His love/goodness towards us. 

What a great love Christ has for His people. Let us not be like the foolish heathen who disregard this great love from God but rather treasure and protect it from any worldly stain. 


Why does God have the right to judge the world?

He is holy and perfectly moral. 

If God Himself winked at sin or condoned it, then He Himself is not righteous and therefore has no righteous basis for judgment on the world. 


How is their condemnation just (3:8)? 

It would seem that some detractors of the faith accused Paul’s gospel message of salvation by grace through faith alone as a license to sin. The gospel is by no means a license to sin but a privilege of joyful holiness to those that believe. Those that preach that we can go on in sin dishonor God and abuse the gospel; thus their condemnation is indeed just. 


This section is one of two of the most challenging texts that I will ever teach y\’all tonight. Simply because I have to outright step on the line that I’m not supposed to cross. Where exactly we go with this text is 100% up to y\’all tonight. I will explain more on that in a moment. 


So both Jew and Gentile are under the control and power of sin. And Paul is about to show us the depth of that enslavement to sin. See chapter 1 and 2 for further explanation of mankind’s condemnation. 


What are yall\’s thoughts on man? Mostly good, all good, mostly bad, etc?

In 3:10-18 Paul strings together a series of OT quotes that how us the evil, or depravity, of man. He uses “all” and “none” to show the universality of our sin and rebellion against God. 

Fair warning: I will be using some of my own sect’s language to teach this portion of scripture; because, frankly, I don\’t know any other words to describe the condition of man. In the interest of fair play, you are all welcome to challenge me at any point and all further discussion at this point will totally rely on you as well as your definitions of what will be taught here tonight. 

Which that said, I introduce the theology term to y\’all called “total depravity”. 

The total depth of this doctrine will not be explored here (unless yall request otherwise). 

I use my doctrine tonight because if we want to love God, we must know God and know Him accurately. I use this term for the purpose of accuracy (and the fact that my vocabulary is far too limited to use any other word anyhow). Again, we’re going for accuracy not necessary depth tonight.  

So let\’s define our “big word” for tonight: 

What do yall think of when I say “total depravity”/what is yall’s definition of it?

For our purposes, our definition will be: the complete, or rather, total sinfulness of man in our hearts and minds. 

One could also refer to this doctrine as “complete corruption” of sinful man. 

While I’m on the topic of the sinful nature of man: tell me how did man become sinful/how did he get his sin nature?

Original sin. The sin of our first parents. We are sinners, by nature, and therefore sin. This is why we must be “born anew (John 3). 

What is yall\’s understanding of this teaching? Definition? Do you think you understand it well?

I ask because Romans 5 deals with the sin of Adam, his federal headship, and our sin. I was just curious about y’alls thoughts before I begin my prep work shortly. 

Paul will further teach this definition of the doctrine of total depravity for us tonight. 


These set of verses, out of all the verses we’ve ever gone through, are perhaps the most damning verses to mankind. 

Let\’s focus on the “seeking” part of this verse. We’ve discussed “seeker-sensitive” worship in prior studies; given this verse what are yall\’s thoughts on such worship?

My opinion, I am actually pro seeker-sensitive worship. Christ says, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him” (John 6:44). Worship is exclusively for those who seek God; AKA Christians. God is our God and Father and we have the right and privilege to worship Him as such. Our worship is just that *our* worship that is designed and directed by God in accordance with the word. 

So, given this verse as well as all that we have previously discussed in John and Ephesians, I ask an atomic bomb level question in which you are all in complete control of the forthcoming discussion: 

If none seek after God then how does anyone ever come to God? 

Ultimately it is the result of God working in man’s heart that man seeks Him. 

I encourage y’all to dive deeper into such matters in your own study. But I am always happy to discuss such matters at your convince. 


“no one does good” Whats Paul mean here? How does man never do good when we see charities and good works readily in the world?

You’ll recall last weeks big term of “common grace” meaning God’s goodness to all men. One aspect of this goodness of God is His enabling of the Heathen to do “good deeds” for some end purpose of God. 

Moreover, good deeds must also include correct motivate for the deed to actually be good. No heathen is able to have proper motive by themselves; IE they’ll do good to puff themselves up and not SOLEY for the benefit of others. 


Do y\’all know the story of the prophet of Isaiah in the OT?

In brief, Isaiah was a prophet of God for Israel right before Israel was to be conquered by the Babylonians and went into exile and slavery from their homeland. This was foreordained by God as punishment for Israel’s sins and unrepentant hearts. 

Do y\’all know the story of how Isaiah was called to his prophetic ministry?

Turn briefly to Isaiah chapter 6:1-7

A curious episode in the OT no doubt. 

What do yall notice in this passage? Characters? Actions/reactions? 

After Isaiah was shown the holiness of God his reaction is a lament with a focus on his lips. 

Why, out of all his sin/uncleanness, would Isaiah lament his unclean lips?

In short, the Lord teaches in Matthew 12:33-37,” Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit. 34You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. 35The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil. 36 I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, 37 for by your words you will be justified, and by your words, you will be condemned.\”

All that to say, Isaiah laments over his unclean lips because his lips reveal his clean heart which reveals his lack of knowing or fearing God. Paul, here in Romans 3, teaches the same thing; their lips are venomous/destructive because they have hearted hearts that don\’t know/fear God. 

Moreover, notice the words Paul uses to describe their speech, “open grave”. IE gross, smelly, useless. And later, “full of curses and bitterness”. 

I think one of the best methods of witnessing to the world is to 

1) not partake in their hideous discussion on things of the flesh and 

2) If you cannot physically walk away from such discussion give to laughter and pay little attention as possible to such talk of theirs. 

That was outwardly focused, on I speak inwardly: We, as kinsman in the faith, must be mindful of our speech towards ourselves in particular. As an explicit reminder, if you need encourage/exhortation or rebuke you are welcome to say so to any of us. If we are to love our neighbor as Christ commanded, let us also be mindful in loving our own family as Christ commanded. 


IE we rush to sin


We will never build a utopia. Everything natural man does comes to ruin. Or to quote one great man, \”Christ did not die for us to rebuild the tower of babel” (VD).


Do you have peace? If so, how?

Through Christ. He is the peace offering between man and God. An internal and eternal peace.

I think one of the best evangelist mentions is to simply ask: where is your peace? For the heathen have none. 

It’s been said that since the start of history man, anywhere in the world, as never been at peace with one another. Whether this is true I don\’t know but the idea is true. We always lack inward, true peace. This is peace is given to us by God via the removal of our guilt; as Paul will explain in a bit. 


How do yall define the “fear of God”?

Awe of His greatness and dread of His holy wrath. 

Have y’all ever heard of someone explaining the “fear of God” as a literal fear?

I have. Only once though.

It’s just confusing to me; if “fear” is just high reverence then why not just say “high reverence” in the text. 


This verse is a kind of summary of chapter 1-3 where Paul reiterates that Jews received the written law through Moses (3:2) and the Gentiles have the works of the law written on their hearts (2:15) so that both are accountable before God. 

And there is no defense against the guilty verdict that God pronounces on mankind.

I’d also recommend marking this verse down and noting it when Jacob leads us in Romans 9:14-18 as well as Romans 11:26-27; because here is the idea of silence before a holy God and I bet you I’ll reference this again for one of those two chapters.


And here we have something like a thesis for the new paragraph of Paul’s writing.

Tell me, why would God want us to have a knowledge of sin? 

So that we might know sin and thus know of our inability to save ourselves from it and flee to Christ. 


And now we get to the Gospel. After 3 hard-hitting chapters of Paul systematically dismantling any hope for the salvation for the sinner apart from Christ. Paul now fleshes out the gospel by showing us how God is just while justifying the unjust through Jesus’ blood. We also we the design of the sacrifice of Christ but that\’s another matter. 


So what’s Paul saying here? Put this verse in your own words

God’s justice is shown through an extraordinary means through one who fulfills the law and the law testifies to this “one”. It is a sufficient and efficient fulfillment for salvation. 


What are we to have faith in?

Christ as the substitutionary sacrifice for our sin. God bestows His righteousness on all who believe, be that Jew or gentile. 


What does it mean to “fall short of the glory of God”?

Like trying to jump across the grand canyon; some get closer than others sure but no one made it; all failed to achieve such glory.


What are some implications as to this gift of grace?

It\’s a gift, therefore unearned or un-merited; it cannot be added to nor taken away by the receiver. 

And what is the result of this unearned gift of grace?

Justification. A legal term meaning to “declare righteous/in right stating”. 

This verdict includes: pardon from the guilt and penalty of sin and a transference/imputation of the believers sin to Christ’s account in His death and imputation of Christ’s perfect obedience to us Christians. 

And to whom is this justifying gift of grace given to?

Those who have faith in Christ alone; the only hope of justification before a holy God. 


For whom did Christ die?

In one way, Christians. In another sense, God because He was the sacrifice toward God. 

“whole God put forward” God planned and executed our salvation through the sin of the Jews. 

What’s “propitiation” mean?

Appeasement or satisfaction. IE Christ’s violent death satisfied the offended holiness of God against those for who Christ died. 

“forbearance” see 2:4-5. 

“passed over” God is not indifferent toward sin; He merely withholds judgment for a certain period of time. Also, keep this “passed over” idea in mind for Romans 9; we’ll need it then. 


How does God maintain His perfect justice while pardoning the condemned?

Through Christ. God is both just and justifier in that the wisdom of God’s plan allowed Him to punish Jesus in the place of sinners and thereby justify those who are guilt without compromising His justice. God is both just and justifier so that the saved sinner can be Simul Justus et Peccator: Simultaneously just and sinner. IE in one sense we are just in another we are sinners. We are sinners but Jesus’ imputed righteousness to us makes us just with God and we are reconciled to God. 



How do we remind humble in the faith?

We remember we contribute nothing to our salvation but look to God and be thankful that He provided all things necessary for our salvation for us in the sacrifice of Christ. 


I’m curious does anyone’s bible render this as “faith alone”?

Sola Fide. Faith alone is the main point of this chapter, if not all of Romans, it just further underscores Paul’s point. Our faith received Jesus and all He has done for us and it looks away from ourselves and toward God. 


IE God justifies all who believe. We must always remember the simplicity of salvation, it is immeasurably rich, but simple. Do you believe in Jesus Christ the only begotten Son of God? Yes? Then God is for you and you for God; be at ease and enjoy Him for all He is to you. 


Why does Paul want us to uphold the law?

Paul knew that he would be accused of antinomianism (being against the law) for arguing that a man was justified apart from keeping the law. Paul is merely introducing his defense to that accusation here and will develop it in ch. 6-7. 

This salvation by grace through faith does not denigrate the law but rather underscores it importance 

1)by providing a payment for the penalty of death which the law required for failing to keep it 

2) by fulfilling the law’s original purpose which is to serve as a teacher to show man’s utter inability to obey God’s righteous demands and to drive us to Christ 

3) by giving believers the capacity to obey it (Romans 8:1-4). 

Thus far, Paul has shown us our sin and inability to save ourselves and has just introduced us to the instrument by which we’re saved, faith, and who that faith is placed in, Jesus and all that He has done for His people. Paul will further show us how this works by looking to Abraham in the OT next week. 


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Questions: “Therefore” if you could summarize Romans thus far in a sentence or two what would you say? Why is there no condemnation for those in Christ? Is there condemnation for those outside Christ?

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