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0208 TheWorld of Humanism

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Encounter Radio Outline #0208                                                                   

Air date: 2/24/02

The World of Humanism

Romans 3:9-20

by Dr. Stephen F. Olford



Introduction: Paul has dealt with the worlds of paganism (1:18-32), moralism (2:1-16), and Judaism (2:17-3:8). Now he turns to the world of humanism. The word “humanism” has many meanings, but its essential connotation suggests the quality of “being human” or just the entity of “human nature.”

I. The World of Humanism is Charged Before God (v. 9)

In these solemn words Paul declares the human race to be under the guilt and power of sin without distinction and without disputation. He then proceeds to amplify and apply the details:

A. The Human Race is Charged Without Distinction

The apostle takes pains to show that all men are on the same footing before God, when it comes to sin. Jew and Gentile, Greeks and barbarians, wise and unwise are all sinners in the sight of God. There is no nation, people, or race that can claim special favors or demand priority treatment.

B. The Human Race is Charged Without Disputation

In the language of the legal profession, and with the authority of the divine pronouncement, the charge is stated with resounding finality. The phrase “under sin” is very suggestive. The Christless man is under the authority of sin, and is therefore under arrest and guilty before God.

II. The World of Humanism is Convicted Before God  (vv. 10-18)

Having expressed the charge, Paul now spells out the terms of the conviction. The treatment is both thorough and frightening. He draws attention to:

A. Humanity’s Sinful Depravity (vv. 10-12)

The Bible reveals that man has been affected and infected by sin in the whole of his being. He is: radically wrong in life (v. 10), seriously warped in mind (v. 11), desperately wicked in heart (3:11), and hopelessly wayward in will (v. 12).

B. Humanity’s Sinful Activity  (vv. 13-15)

Paul marshals the sinful activity of humanity under vile thoughts (v. 13), a venomous tongue (vv. 13-14), and a violent temper (v. 15).

C. Humanity’s Sinful Capacity  (vv. 16-18)

Even though the Holy Spirit is in the world and is a restraining influence, man still has a sinful capacity for unbelievable atrocities. Paul shows that man is capable of destroying man (vv. 16-17) and disregarding God (v. 18).

III. The World of Humanism is Condemned Before God  (vv. 19-20)

A solemn picture is portrayed in these two verses as the Judge opens His mouth to pronounce sentence and condemnation. This means that:

A. Guilty Man is Sentenced Without Excuse  (v. 19)

When the law discharges its convicting function, the justice of God becomes so apparent, and the guilt of man becomes so evident that sinners are incapable of complaint or excuse.

B. Guilty Man is Sentenced Without Exception  (v. 19)

The sweep of this sentence is all-embracing. It includes man universally and individually, whether he is a pagan, a moralist, a Jew, or a humanist.

C. Guilty Man is Sentenced Without Escape  (v. 19)

Man is held for judgment without any means of escape. His only hope is the grace of God, which is about to be declared and disclosed.

Conclusion:  The picture Paul has painted is so true and terrible that it would create a sense of utter hopelessness, were it not for what is to follow in the rest of the epistle. The evil of human nature did not leave Paul hopeless, for the  redeeming power of Jesus Christ gave him hope.

Assignment for Home Study

1. Memorize Romans 3:9-20

2. Give a full list of the Old Testament references to which the apostle draws attention in

    verses 9-20 of chapter 3.

3. What parts of the human body are referred to in Paul’s characterization of sin? Why do you

    think that Scripture lays such heavy emphasis on these particular parts of the human body?

Stephen Olford Center for Biblical Preaching
P.O. Box 757800
Memphis, TN 38175-7800
Phone: (901) 757-7977 or (800) 843-2241 Fax: (901) 757-1372

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