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Romans 3:1-20

Romans  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Verse by verse study of Romans 3

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slide 3
Romans 3:1–3 ESV
Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the value of circumcision? Much in every way. To begin with, the Jews were entrusted with the oracles of God. What if some were unfaithful? Does their faithlessness nullify the faithfulness of God?
Rom 3:
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slide 4
Romans 3:4-
Romans 3:4–6 ESV
By no means! Let God be true though every one were a liar, as it is written, “That you may be justified in your words, and prevail when you are judged.” But if our unrighteousness serves to show the righteousness of God, what shall we say? That God is unrighteous to inflict wrath on us? (I speak in a human way.) By no means! For then how could God judge the world?
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slide 5
Romans 3:7–10 ESV
But if through my lie God’s truth abounds to his glory, why am I still being condemned as a sinner? And why not do evil that good may come?—as some people slanderously charge us with saying. Their condemnation is just. What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one;
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INTRODUCTION
In today’s study we are going to wrap up a very important message that Paul is presenting to introduce the book of Romans..
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That that message is this:
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NO MATTER WHO WE ARE, WHAT WE HAVE DONE, WHAT RELIGIOUS DEVOTION WE CLAIM, OR WHAT PERSONALLY CONCOCTED PHILOSOPHY WE ARE RELYING UPON… NO MATTER WHAT… WE ALL DESPERATELY NEED JESUS.

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Chapter one spoke, not only to the immoral person, but also to the human condition. To anyone who is truly honest about the sins they struggle with, or the corruptions we have been stained by… - chapter one is sufficient.
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Most of us would read about the means by which mankind walked away from God’s plan, God’s design, and God’s purpose… and see that we have become broken and corrupt as a result.. -AND WE WOULD DESPERATELY RECOGNIZE… we truly need Jesus.
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AS I SAID LAST WEEK… FOR MOST OF US… THE MESSAGE IS LOUD AND CLEAR IN CHAPTER ONE… we desperately need Jesus.
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However, no everyone receives that message… so Paul addressed a different crowd in chapter two.
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SOME PEOPLE RELY HEAVILY UPON THEIR RELIGION TRADITION AND THEIR RELIGIOUS DEVOTION.. They think that their record of religious activity accounts for something with God… as if, God has a scale, and He’s weighing one’s religious devotion against their sins…
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Paul says to this crowd… “You misunderstand the kindness of God.”
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It is not kindness that allows you to get away with the bad you do as you personally justify it by weighing it against your religious devotion.
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KINDNESS DOES NOT LEAD US TO ACCEPT AN ONGOING MORAL FAILURE. KINDNESS LEADS US TO REPENTANCE.

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Chapter one was for everyone… but some of those who were prideful in their religious ways didn’t receive it… So, in chapter two, Paul makes it abundantly clear…
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THAT THEY TOO… NEED JESUS.
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Paul knew that some would make a rebuttal to his message in chapter two.
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He just told the religious Jew, that their outward deeds do no affirm their inward reality.
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So, of course, the philosophically minded one would say… - Then our deeds and our heritage as Jews means’ nothing.
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And if our deeds and our heritage mean nothing, then the God who called us to do these deeds must not be true.
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So Paul answers that rebuttal.. by saying God is true and righteous no matter what men think.
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TO WHICH… THE PHILOSOPHER WOULD SAY…
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If our unrighteousness declares God’s righteousness.. well, then it’s a good thing that we are sinners… we are doing God a favor by our unrighteousness… because it inadvertently declares God’s righteousness.
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We know, by the structure of Paul’s argument, that he is anticipating the responses of his audience.
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-Obviously, he has faced these rebuttals before.
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_He has spent many years explaining and defending the Gospel to many different people....
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-Paul knows every potential response that might come his way in regards to the Gospel.
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He is covering every base… and he wants his audience in Rome to know… That every single one of them, DESPERATELY NEEDS JESUS.
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SO, THIS GIVES US AN IDEA OF WHAT WE ARE GOING TO LOOK AT TODAY… WITH THAT, LET’S LOOK AGAIN AT
slide 8
Romans 3:1–2 ESV
Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the value of circumcision? Much in every way. To begin with, the Jews were entrusted with the oracles of God.
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In so many words, Paul has just told the religious Jew who is not living a morally faithful life to God…
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That they are in a worse place, than an uncircumcised Gentile who is living a morally faithful life to God.
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And so, the Jewish person might say… Well then, what’s the advantage or the value of my heritage?
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And Paul tells them… you’re advantage is huge… - Our people, the Jews, have been entrusted with the oracles of God.
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Basically… -this is kind of a slap in the face… - The Jews have always possessed the truth. The Jews have always had the opportunity to learn from and grow in the teachings of God.
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Here’s what Paul is saying in an underhanded way…
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You who think that your Judaism is simply a matter of outward expression… of circumcision, or of diet..
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you have had the truth for generations… AND YOU DON’T GET IT!!!!
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let’s read on...
slide 9
So
Romans 3:3–4 ESV
What if some were unfaithful? Does their faithlessness nullify the faithfulness of God? By no means! Let God be true though every one were a liar, as it is written, “That you may be justified in your words, and prevail when you are judged.”
Rom 3.
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How often do we see people pointing fingers at the actions of people, and decrying blame to God?
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reminds us that God’s invisible attributes are clearly seen, even His eternal Godhead, so that men are without excuse..
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What that means is… the reality of God is something that people need to come to terms with in their life… Somehow, in some way, God reveals Himself to people…
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And then, people need to deal with that revelation… some wrestle with it and come to terms with it… responding to the conviction that the HS puts in their hearts… they give their lives to Jesus and receive His eternal gift of salvation..
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Some, immediately push it away. They are hard, bitter, and opposed to having a higher power that they themselves haven’t created.. in their lives..
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Some divert that conviction, and find comfort in traditions and religious practices. Their devotion to works and ceremony distracts them from the revelation of God in their life…
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PEOPLE ARE WIRED TO LOOK FOR AN EXCUSE TO NOT BELIEVE IN GOD… -that corrupt wiring is explained also in chapter one…
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So it’s a common thing, that they would point at the bad behavior of a religious person… a Christian… a pastor… and say, “See, God can’t be real if His own followers are acting like this.”
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Even people who want to follow God sometimes subscribe to this kind of thinking… “They want to be in church and learn about God… but they are bad people, and there are only good people in church.”
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NOT TRUE!!! There are all kinds of people who are wrestling with all kinds of struggles. The people who greet you at the door.... the people who take care of the property… the people who stand up on stage and play music, or who preach… the people who run the sound board and teach your children… - all of us only wish that we could live the kind of lives that you think Christians should live.
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Like you, we wrestle day in and day out to live obedient lives that honor God. It’s a constant battle… and we don’t always win.
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Yes, it’s true that our lives are supposed to serve as a testimony of God to others… and we should strive to do this..
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But we mess up… probably a lot.
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People struggle with their humanity… Non Christians struggle… and Christians struggle..
We all struggle.
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Our behavior… does not validate or disprove God.
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GOD DOES NOT WANT TO BE JUDGED ON THE BASIS OF OUR BEHAVIOR.
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Paul says in vs. 4… even if every man in the world… believer and unbeliever… were a liar… GOD WOULD STILL BE TRUE...
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Gramatically: HE IS SAYING THIS… -LET GOD BE REVEALED AS BEING TRUE… -
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He is true, and that truth will continue to be revealed.
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It doesn’t matter what men do… what men think… what men believe… GOD IS STILL GOING TO BE REVEALED AS BEING TRUE.
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Then, Paul quotes from … that Psalm of repentance that David wrote after being confronted by the prophet Nathan for his affair with Bathsheba and the murder of her husband..
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David is wide open to the Lord about His guilt.. and in vs. four..
slide 10
Psalm 51:4 ESV
Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment.
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The portion that Paul quotes looks different, because he is quoting from the Lexicon, which is a Greek translation of the OT.
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The overall meaning here is this.. “I have sinned… I have done evil… BUT YOU LORD… you are not like me… YOU ARE JUSTIFIED IN YOUR WORDS… your words are true!!!
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And the verb rendered “judged” could go either way…
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it either says… “get judgment for yourself” or “when you are judged”… - Either way, in the judgment that God makes… or in man’s attempts to judge God… the outcome is the same.
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slide 11

God remains blameless

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Romans 3:5-
slide 12
Romans 3:5–8 ESV
But if our unrighteousness serves to show the righteousness of God, what shall we say? That God is unrighteous to inflict wrath on us? (I speak in a human way.) By no means! For then how could God judge the world? But if through my lie God’s truth abounds to his glory, why am I still being condemned as a sinner? And why not do evil that good may come?—as some people slanderously charge us with saying. Their condemnation is just.
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Here, Paul anticipates another rebuttal from yet another group looking to philosophically excuse their unrighteous lives.
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They might say: If our unrighteousness serves to show the righteousness of God… then, it would be wrong for God to punish us or judge us..
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They might also say, “Why am I being condemned as a sinner, if through my lie, God’s truth abounds?”
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-These arguments are so ridiculous that Paul doesn’t even entertain a rebuttal..
+ + + he just says: ‘Their condemnation is just.’
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Some arguments are so dumb… some propped up charades of logic are so weak… that it’s simply enough, to declare openly what people are thinking.
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Paul is not refuting this argument. It’s just dumb. He simply says… their condemnation is just.
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The actor, Sylvester Stalone’s mom is a rumpologist. She believes that a reading of your rump has psychic significance, and she can tell your future if you send her a picture of your butt and $125. - Do we really need to say anything to refute that? Isn’t saying it out loud enough?
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There is really a society of people who still believe that the earth is flat. All those space photos and space travel are a hoax, and the visual curvature of the earth that is visible to the eye… is an illusion.
Do we really need to say anything to refute that?
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Some people believe that urine is a magical cure all… drink it, rub it on your skin, put it in your hair… it can cure the flu and cancer, and better yet, it will lead to a higher level of enlightenment by opening your third eye. Do we need to respond to that with medical fact? Isn’t saying it enough?
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Paul doesn’t refute the argument… IF YOU THINK THAT YOUR UNRIGHTEOUS BEHAVIOR IS DOING GOD A FAVOR… then… your condemnation is just..
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In verse 8… Paul throws a little statement in there… “as some people slanderously charge us with saying.”
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Paul was accused by the jews of teaching the Gentiles that they didn’t need to follow the law..
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That accusation grew from there… and Paul’s preaching on grace was opposed by many who believed that many aspects of the law were necessary for salvation.
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As in Paul’s day… even now, a misunderstanding of grace almost always leads to a doctrine that is contrary to liberty.
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Limited grace leads to legalism and a dependence upon behavior and works to earn favor with God..
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Some teach a form of “cheap grace” which leads the believer to think that they can do whatever they want without consequence or remorse because God will always forgive them.
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Paul taught of a grace that inspire devotion and love towards God… not a grace that inspired rebellion and immorality.
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moving on..
slide 13
Romans 3:9-13
Romans 3:9–13 ESV
What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” “Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.” “The venom of asps is under their lips.”
Romans 3:9–18 ESV
What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” “Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.” “The venom of asps is under their lips.” “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.” “Their feet are swift to shed blood; in their paths are ruin and misery, and the way of peace they have not known.” “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
Romans 3:9-
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slide 14
Romans 3:14–18 ESV
“Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.” “Their feet are swift to shed blood; in their paths are ruin and misery, and the way of peace they have not known.” “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
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Are the Jews better off? We have already learned that they had an advantage… but here, we find out, in spite of that advantage… that they are not at all better off.
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And Paul goes back to the Psalms for his proof text.
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AND THESE WORDS FROM THE PSALMS DON’T SPEAK OF SPECIFIC INDIVIDUALS… they speak of humanity in general.. -They speak of the manner by which every part of our being… has been infected in some way, by the fall of man.
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this is, basically, the Psalmist’s version of . - this is a confession of what exists in the hearts of humanity..
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This is the summation of chapters one, two and three up to this point..
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All are guilty. All have the same need. All come to Jesus with no merit of their own.
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slide 15
Romans 3:19–20 ESV
Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.
Romans 3:
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Many of Paul’s Jewish readers would have though that they were safe under the law.. while the gentile world was out there in the open… deserving of God’s judgment and wrath.
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Paul opposes this… Paul puts, both Jew and Gentile on equal footing before the cross of Jesus.
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Verse 19 reveals something very important about the law… this is something we NEED to understand. - if we seek righteousness before God, outside of Christ… our only path, is by the law.
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WHY? Because the law lays out all of the things that a person needs to know, do, believe and think… without fail… to please God and enter into God’s presence on their own merit.
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The law shows us how to be righteous… and in the attempts of our humanity, it reveals… it teaches us… that we can’t be righteous.
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This is why Paul can so confidently say in verse ten… there is none righteous… and then, as if we were going to make a rebuttal about someone who is really nice like our grandma, or like Eleanor Rosevelt, or Aunt Bea from Andy Griffith.. .. - PUAL GOES ON TO SAY.. - NO! NOT ONE.
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So… in verse 19.... if we truly understand the lesson of the law… that is… it is impossible of our own merit to stand as being righteous before God… then we will also learn..
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That the law… leaves us w/o a rebuttal. -Every mouth may be stopped. The whole world may be held accountable to God.
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Now, just in case we are feeling a little hopeless about the law… which, by the way.. apart from Jesus.. THE LAW SHOULD MAKE US FEEL HOPELESS.
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We know… as believers in Jesus… we stand upright and true… justified… and righteous before God… Not because we have obeyed every single part of the law.. BECAUSE WE HAVENT!!! - But rather: Because Jesus fulfilled the law -
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HE MET ALL THOSE RIGHTEOUS REQUIREMENTS PERFECTLY… AND HE MET THEM ON OUR BEHALF.
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Now… that’s just a preview of what’s to come… but the exciting stuff about our justification in and through Jesus doesn’t come till next week’s study… However… we should talk about this stuff every week.
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now.. last verse for today…
VERSE 20 IS VERY IMPORTANT… It sets the stage for the beautiful message that is to follow.
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This is the summation to Paul’s argument with the religious and the philosophical person..
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BY THE WORKS OF THE LAW NO HUMAN BEING WILL BE JUSTIFIED IN HIS SIGHT. SINCE IN THE LAW COMES THE KNOWLEDGE OF SIN.
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If you came to me, and said: I don’t know what is wrong. I COULD THEN TELL YOU, WHAT IS RIGHT… -do these ten things perfectly and without fail, every day of your life..
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Well, very soon, you would learn… that you can’t do those ten things perfectly every day of your life… somewhere along the lines… you forgot.. our you had bad thoughts… or you responded in anger.. or with emotion.. or with pride.. or with lust..
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By failing in the ten right things… you learn what is wrong..
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So.. through the law… comes knowledge of sin.
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slide 17
Romans 3:23 ESV
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
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GUESS WHAT THE KNOWLEDGE OF SIN AFFIRMS FOR US? -THE VERY LESSON THAT PAUL HAS BEEN TEACHING US IN CHAPTERS ONE, TWO AND THE BEGINNING OF THREE.
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We need Jesus!!!
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We fall short of perfection… God wants perfection.. we can’t do that.. JESUS DID THAT.. And Jesus wants to give it to us… freely.
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how? through faith… AND THAT IS THE LESSON WE MOVE INTO NEXT WEEK.
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WITH VERSE 20… WE LEAVE THE DOOM AND GLOOM BEHIND.. - But it is necessary doom and gloom… it is gloriously important… -
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--We can’t be perfect as the law calls us to be.
--When we fail, we learn that we are falling short of perfection… and thus, we have been given the knowledge of sin.
—the knowledge of sin gives us understanding… that we have been broken and corrupted over many generations...
..the knowledge of sin shows us… that our good religious deeds do not cover, or out weigh.. our excuse our bad deeds.
..the knowledge of sin shows us one important truth:
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slide 19

WE NEED JESUS.

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invitation.
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