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This is the beginning of the series on Romans. This talk the Romans are introduced to Paul an apostle and slave of Jesus Christ. Pete looks how at rather how Paul doesn't describe himself but how he introduces himself to the church in Rome.
Romans Chapter 3 Verses 19 - 20 • So by now the Jews are in upheaval. Paul has broken down how the unrighteous heathen has a problem and that same problem is shared by the self-righteous Jew. And right before he gets into what true righteousness is, how a man truly can be restored to a right relationship with God the Father…he delivers the knockout punch. • “You see my friends,” Paul would say, “the law, the ten commandments, the Mishna, the hundreds of particular do’s and don’ts that the Jews had extrapolated from the ten commandments and the Torah, (the first Five Books of the Bible, or the Books of Moses), you’re not made right by them, you’re made wrong by them!” • Made wrong? Yea, made wrong and not only the contemporary to Paul Othrodox Jew that sought to follow the law but also contemporary to us religious…anyone who has established a false idea, a false righteousness based upon works. Well how’s that? I thought that if you lived your life well, were gracious to the poor, went to church and said your prayers before bed…you know stayed out of trouble and really tried to do well…I thought that is good. Well it is! There is certainly value in all of those things in that God is able to bring about His purpose and plan for your life. Through those types of things God orchestrates our moments to bless us and reveal more of Himself to us. • I mean if all you’re ever doing has been to ignore the poor and not attend church and not ever acknowledge God in prayer then how is God going to bring blessings in your life such as the pure tears of a hurting person as they eat the first meal they’ve had in weeks…or the shear priviledge of fellowshipping with other believers in church…He’s not…you’re boxing Him out by your lifestyle, you see…and so those things are good, they are wonderful, they are essential in your life as you seek the Lord…but those things don’t wash your sins away…that’s the issue. Following the law was never the purpose of the law and that is the heart of what Paul is saying here to us… • In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus made it clear that we may have the external regulations down pat but sin remains within us. Sin is not what we do…sin is who we are. Man is fallen and estranged from God and therefore the law was never to make a person right, that would actually trample the righteousness of Jesus under foot…don’t need Him…but rather the law was to reveal to us, all of us, that no matter our religiousity, no matter our pure intentions, no matter our self-generated and self-perceived goodness…we can’t do it. We can’t keep it. We all fall short and its interesting here Paul uses the phrase, “that the world may become guilty.” • Become? Better stated, that all eyes would be opened…opened to what? A specific and unique Greek word. Another one here in the Book of Romans that you will not find elsewhere in the entire Bible. It’s the word hypdikos (paa-di-kas). It literally means “one who has lost their suit.” We all as one have been weighed, we have been measured and we have been found wanting…the writing is on the wall man…what wall? The wall of our hearts. We all know don’t we…that we’re sinners and we fall short of perfection… • The law of what to do and what not to do would have God chasing us around all of the time like a wild dog off of a leach…I just witnessed this with the family a few days ago…we came around the corner on a street and we see this dog just running for it with a grown man sprinting after it yelling “Fifi nooooooo” as it got closer to the road that we were on…that is not God’s desire for His children! That is what religion teaches though. Paul would say to the Jew, that is what following the law will get you, a tight leash…but instead, His desire from the very beginning has been for us to not be in bondage to the law but alive unto Him! • But we have a problem don’t we? hypdikos (paa-di-kas). We know we have fallen short of perfection, we all even though we strive to be good, we strive to do well, we all still make mistakes and we all still have the disease of sin within us… • Well the Jew knew it too but they made their boast in circumcision, they boasted in the external keeping of the law…they were so meticulous and calculated in all that they did, in every move they made…to the point that they had fallen into self deception that fooled them into believing that when they stood before God they could demand entrance into heaven based on their own righteousness…Paul pretty much pukes here and he says, “shut up!” He does! It’s right there in verse 19, the translators have just been PC…he says, “pas stoma phrasso,” and the translators tell us that means “every mouth stopped,” but what he’s saying here is “shut yo mouth!” • Why? Because that insults the very goodness and love and grace of the Father that has saved him and us you see. That is to stand in front of the righteous King, and reject the loss of His Son for the sake of your own merit. No no no, I’d advise you to, well just as Paul said here, shut your mouth... • And that is the type of righteous indignation that Paul expresses elsewhere in his epistles of those who would take suit even against eachother. Those that would be offended by a brother or a sister in Christ and then when offense is not considered in light of Jesus Christ and Him crucified, how you yourself are in need of much much much grace…you know what happens? Sin. And sin brings division, strife, death, regret and loss. Not innocence, sin never brings innocence. Accusation never brings innocence. It only always brings…guilt! Maybe not immediately, but it’s a coming… • You’re all upset at someone, maybe they corrected you (that’s typically how folks in a church get offended), maybe they didn’t open the door for you, maybe they sat in your seat (oh the horror!), do you think that bitterness you’re allowing will bring about innocence and life? You’ve forgotten bro, you’ve forgotten ‘lil sister that we are all sinners and that Christ showed us what it is to honor Him in that He laid down His life for His friends. You’re in sin…and death is at the door man. Time to love hard, serve for real, and let the Spirit live through you…let the Spirit lead you…lead you right on into victory! • That’s Paul’s plea here…they’re not guilty alone you see…they are godless heathens but you jews, you religious elite are self-righteous mirror worshippers! Circumcision, the law…its all good…but you’re not! • And then practical Paul delivers the smelling salts… Romans Chapter 3 Verses 21 – 23 (and into verse 24) • The Jew, the heathen, the Muslim, the Mormon, the Budhist, the deist, Paul says to all and on all…righteousness is within reach…justification has arrived but quit looking to the law, Paul would say to his Jewish brethren…quit looking to a man, Paul would say to the Muslim and to the Mormon and to the Budhist…look somewhere he would say to the heathen! And that somewhere, is a Someone…Paul delivers the answer to the fret of all mankind right here…righteousness of God, peace with God, justification and redemption…is apart from the law > all laws > and is through faith in Jesus Christ! • Justification man…just-as-if-I-never-sinned. No other name under heaven by which man must be saved. Why? No other name under heaven has ever even claimed to have that power! Judaism, goods outweigh the bads…Islam, goods outweigh the bads…Mormonism, keep to the doctrine and covenants, Catholocism, faith AND good works…all of them! Dealing with everything but the issue of man is utterly fallen and must be utterly redeemed…not by the work of fallen man but by the work of Perfection…or better said…Perfection Himself. • Being justified in through placing your hope, trust…your life in the hands of Jesus Christ does not only mean that your sins are forgiven…that is mercy…it doesn’t only mean that God just loves you and blesses you even though you are a mess…that is grace…it means much much more than that…it means your sins are forgotten! Satan brings accusation against you and God the Father opens the book and says, I have no record of that! That is only only only ONLY found…Paul says it here…quit trying to be good enough Jew, quit suppressing it heathen…you both know that deep down your hope is on wishy washy shifting sand…that clearing away of your sin just-as-if-you-never-had-sinned in the first place…only found in Jesus Christ! • Paul says no matter what, in all men there is no difference. Jew or gentile, black or white, male or female, young or Chin…no difference. Whether you keep to the law or whether you’re a rebel without a cause…all have sinned, all have fallen short of the glory of God…”but now” he says there in verse 21. NOW! Now what? Romans Chapter 3 Verse 24 • Did you catch that? Now what, Paul? What’s the price, what are the rules? If its not the law, if its not circumcision…then tell us, how can we have this justification? Paul says, “freely!” But that’s not just a price tag on our contribution…it is also the destination! What! • You can’t earn it! You can’t learn it! You can’t steal it and you can’t make a deal for it! Paul said back in verse 21 that this righteousness apart from the law is what? REVEALED! Bingo! • How can I grow in my understanding of you? One would awkwardly say it this way, “how is it that the secrets of you, the rhythm of you, the deep secrets of you, how is it that those things are able to revealed to me?” The answer? Relationship! Being with you, talking to you, watching you, staying tight with you…man I will learn the secrets…we will begin to know eachother…the deep truths of you, what makes you tick…all those things are revealed! • I cannot buy information about April. Information that’s worth anything. How can I know her, how can I love her, what does she love, what does she hate…I can buy information that tells me what she likes…but not what she loves you see!? That can only be revealed by my drawing near to her, seeking her…see that? And Paul says here that true, genuine righteousness is not for sale, but it is free…What’s the cost, what must we do, what are the do’s and don’ts they ask… • Paul says here in verse 24, this justification that doesn’t just deal with sin…it erases it…that doesn’t just procure the favor of God and the blessing of God…it restores it to all of its grandor and purity…its free by His grace through redemption…revelation…relationship with and in Christ Jesus. • But what did you mean by destination? We are freely justified by Jesus…all of the law, all of the prophets, all of the Old Testament heros and types were not meant to save us but rather to point us to the Savior and by Him, and Him alone are we made right, for ever in the sight of God the Father and all of eternity…and therefore the gift of God to man…man’s salvation is free…the free gift of God…BUT…by this redemption we also arrive at free! We call it freedom! • Freedom from what? Freedom from decay man, regret…loss…death, stack it up! There’s so much! And the reader would have perceived this readily by what Paul wrote. You see Paul used a specific word here for redemption. There are three words he could have used. • Agorazo means redemption in the Greek. It is a word that draws the picture of a transaction. This slave is $10,000, pay the $10,000 and you have paid the redemption, paid the price for this slave. Congratulations, you have redeemed a slave, bought a slave and now they are your slave. Not the word Paul used. • Exagorazo means redemption in the Greek. It is a word that draws the picture of a final transaction. Congratulations, you have bought a slave and you will never again sell him. Congrats on your new slave for life. Not the word Paul used. • Apolutrosis. Specific word. Odd word to the Jew and the Greek. Hardly ever used. It means redemption in the Greek but it speaks of a slave being bought with the sole purpose of elevation. The sole purpose of making that slave a part of the family and giving him a portion of inheritance. Buying a slave…without rights, without means, without hope, without family…simply to set him free…to give him or her all of those things…never to be sold again. That is the word Paul uses here. • Jesus said in John 15:15, “I no longer call you servants, but friends.” Redemption found in the law is redemption to the law, Jews. From one tyrant to another. Redemption found in self is redemption to self. From one tyrant to another. Redemption found in the cults is redemption to the cults. From one slave master to another. Redemption found in Jesus Christ is redemption unto absolute everlasting and eternal freedom and inheritance in the very house and family of the Father of all eternity. • Free to you because the price was paid already…by the precious blood of God Himself…His only Son…all He ever had that was just His…there in verse 25… Romans Chapter 3 Verse 25 • God set forth Paul says there….God gave Him to us…because that was the only way…God set forth Jesus as a propitiation by His blood…what is propitiation? Just what we’ve talked about! Beyond mercy, beyond grace, beyond any law…Jesus restored us man…Jesus has become our worthy sacrifice because He was and is and will always be the only One righteous so that Paul could say here that God has passed over our sins…Jesus has paid the full price, purchased us all for the purpose of setting us free… • Not covering the sin like the law did…not ignoring the sin like the heathen did…not outweighing the sin like all the religions try to do…erasing the sin man…God has moved on you see…that is the thought here…we use the word forgotten because that is all we have in the limitations of human understanding…but the idea is that Jesus has walked you into the courtroom of righteousness and although there is one who has kept a book of all the wrong that you have ever done…that book is not permitted as evidence…and the judge dismisses all charges due to a lack of evidence…and then He sits you right next to Him upon His wonderful bench…amazing. THAT is propitiation…and it is only by Jesus, God makes that clear in verse 26. Romans Chapter 3 Verses 26 – 31 • Paul places the “and so” upon the conversation for us…after shedding light on the state of fallen man, even in light of the laws they believed they were keeping, he comforts them…in Jesus Christ, God Himself, the Messiah…my brothers the law is established. • Galatians 3:24 says that the purpose of the law from the mountain top with Moses to the Book on your laps was always and forever will be to bring us to Jesus Christ. Therefore placing out trust in Jesus, exercising our free will of choice to commit our lives and plans and purposes to Him…to place our faith in only Him…the very purpose for which the law was given is utterly accomplished. How’s that? • The law was a debt. A debt that no man could pay…and so it stood. Mankind must accomplish all of these things perfectly, lest mankind be estranged from God. Because perfection cannot dwell with imperfection. And so God became a man, and just as through one man, sin entered…through One Man sin was defeated. The law was perfectly fulfilled in Jesus Christ. He humbled Himself, took on the form of man, walked as we walk, hungered as we hunger, suffered as we suffer, loved as we love…yet without sin. • You shall have no other Gods before Me. He didn’t. You shall not make for yourself any idols. He didn’t. You shall not take My name in vain. He didn’t. You shall remember the Sabbath day, and keep it holy. He did. You will honor your father and mother. He did. You will not murder, not commit adultery, not steal, not bear false witness, not covet…these things never even entered in His heart. And the law observed, the school master watched…and upon Jesus’ gift of His body and blood for all of mankind…the law looked upon creation and sighed with relief and rested… • Jesus said it is finished. Your slavery. Your separation from your father…it is finished. Walk with Him into the courtroom of your heart…your day…your life…your eternity…don’t go it alone…take His hand, walk with Him…and be free…NOW.
"For I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith, so that in me you may have ample cause to glory in Christ Jesus, because of my coming to you again." - Philippians 1:19-26
How important are other people to you? Do you see them with Christ's love? When given the opportunity, will you tell all about the love he's given you?
There were people who were traveling with Paul that the Bible says “heard the sound, but didn’t see Jesus.” In the same way there are people in every church who hear sermons every week, but have not yet seen Jesus. They haven’t yet seen that the tomb is empty. They haven’t seen the grave clothes laid aside and neatly folded. They haven’t yet seen the risen Lord.
What do Peter and the apostles, Paul, Martin Luther King Jr. and Saeed Abedini have in common? They all found themselves jailed for the sake of justice and the gospel.
In Chapter 1, Paul addressed the unrighteous heathen. The ungodly character trait of the carnal minded man that lives out his life suppressing the truth in unrighteousness and serving self…and in that we looked in depth at who indeed is being served. Just like Eve was not serving herself when she took of the apple, right? She was indeed serving the serpent, she was serving the enemy. Such is the condition of the heathen. In Chapter 2 Paul deals with the self-righteous hypocrite. Talking about hey you who condemn the heathen for stealing, yet you steal…and the hardness of your heart towards the things of God has led you into trusting in works rather than living a lifestyle of repentance…which is absolutely inevitable when one is cognizant of the goodness of God. So Paul has gone from zero-righteousness, to self-righteousness and now he will address in Chapter 3 genuine righteousness. And there’s only one kind of that…only one place that true righteousness is found…Paul calls it out in Chapter 3 verse 21, “the righteousness of God.” And what is it? This righteous of God? A most shocking statement to the Jew, a most shocking statement to the cults, a most shocking statement maybe even to some of you today, Paul says there in verses 21 and 22 that “the righteousness of God is revealed…apart from the law…which is through faith alone in Jesus Christ!” Paul declared in Chapter 1, “Creation condemns the unrighteous.” He proclaimed in Chapter 2, “Conscience within a man condemns the self-righteous.” And in Chapter 3, we will hear him say that the law itself even condemns the ultra-righteous Jew. One man living life worshipping evil, completely given over to the things of evil. One man living life worshipping self, and one man living life believing they are right by who they are, what they do…all of them, dead wrong…because the reality is, man is made right by who Jesus is and what Jesus has done! Paul is leading us in the fundamentals, man. And he continues that lesson for us here in Chapter 3. Romans Chapter 3 Verse 1 • Paul is one of the most practical guys we’ll find in scripture. He just told the Jews that having the law does not justify a person. It is in the keeping of the law that one may find justification. Ah, but he is leading us to an end isn’t he…because in just a couple of verses, in verse 20 he will say that no flesh is justified by the law. It’s an impossibility! • So what is he saying here to the Jew and to us? That physical circumcision really has no value in just the ritual itself. It is the circumcision of the heart…spiritual circumcision that is the real will of God in a person’s life…cutting away the things of the flesh. • Therefore, if a person is really walking after the Spirit, though he may not have had the physical rite of circumcision, still God counts what is in his heart. And so if circumcision doesn't really do anything for me, if having the law doesn't really do anything for me as far as giving me a righteous standing before God…if the Jew is on the same level as the gentile, then the question would naturally arise, and Paul brings it up in chapter 3, verse 1. What good is it? • So Paul answers there continuing in verse 2… Romans Chapter 3 Verse 2 • You gotta imagine how that any Jew reading this letter from Paul by now would be so messed up that their clothes are torn, ash is on their head and they’ve probably even plucked their beards out! Circumcision is useless now? Having and following the law is useless now? The gentile dogs have righteousness equal to mine? The sky is falling, man! • But Paul puts up an umbrella here, lest the Jew be drowned in sorrow…I mean their whole life, from birth even, they’ve been taught how to be quite different than their gentle neighbors…especially in Rome where gross idolatry is rampant, and now Paul is asking them to declare bankruptcy on who they are…who they have raised their children to be…who they have aspired to become…and that is precisely what being born of the Spirit is all about! • We are not right with God because we are good little boys and girls. We are not blessed of God and given an inheritance in heaven because we simply believe as fact that He is Jahovah, Yahweh, God of all the ages. We become the family of God when we are born again by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit… after not just believing that God is but by receiving the gospel of Jesus Christ. Jesus said, “who is My mother, who are My brothers?” and He stretched His hand out towards His disciples and He said, “here they are, for whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother.” (Matthew 12) That’s family talk. • And what is the will of the Father in heaven? Or maybe better said this way, what kind of person is on the finger end of Jesus’ outstretched hand as He identifies His disciples? John 8:31-32, Jesus said, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed,” and the kicker, “you will know the truth and the truth will make you free.” • We must declare bankruptcy on self. On selfish ambition, self-filled concessions we have made with sin thinking we are covered by some “special grace, some sort of grace that says even though sin continues, so too does closeness with God.” When the Bible is so very clear that submission to God’s plan and repentance of sin, turning away from it and turning on to the things of God, is our only path to relationship with Him. • But you see, so many find that so difficult that they miss relationship and settle for religion. But that breaks the heart of God because just as I desire to know my children, even more so, eternally more so, God the Father desires to know His. • His will was never for the Jew to be a battery powered law-abiding robot…no. His plan was to bless them by revealing Himself through them…you see it was never about them. It was never about Abraham…it was always, in all ways, about Jesus Christ. The Word made flesh. And Paul is pulling out all of the stops to lead the Jew, and even us today, in utter bankruptcy out of our own righteousness which is filth in the presence of a holy God and into the righteousness that is only to be found in Jesus Christ…that’s called brokenness in Biblical terms…so that we might simply place our hearts in the hands of the One who bears the scars of our freedom. • And so Paul here pops open his umbrella and comforts the confused Jew. What advantage? Much! And in every way…but chiefly, or most importantly, the oracles of God, or better said, the Word of God, the truth of God was committed unto them and that is a tremendous advantage! Never underestimate the advantage of having the Word of God! • The entire race of mankind actually owes a great debt to the Jewish people, why? Because not only was it through them that the Oracles of God were given to the world, but it was also through their painstaking effort that the Word of God has been preserved for centuries upon centuries…what is their profit them? Much Paul says! Romans Chapter 3 Verses 3 – 4 • Paul is saying here that the oracles of God, the Word of God is just that…God’s Word, man, and really, in the reality of it, even if someone, anyone, anytime, anywhere doesn’t believe God’s Word…their unbelief, or maybe even your own unbelief, doesn’t make God’s Word less true at all! Man will still reap what he sows always in accordance with God’s Word, believer and non-believer alike. • That is one of the things that has strengthened my faith over and over again as the years have passed because no matter who the person is, no matter even what my own personal situation or circumstance is, God’s Word is always true. What God’s word says will come to pass. Consistently, every time. Why? Paul tells us here, “the faithfulness of God is effective, man!” Nothing changes that. It has never changed and never will change. Not for one moment through the entire history of time has God been unfaithful. He keeps His promises and His Word, in every situation, is true! • And that is why when there are issues in my life or in yours’, I turn to the faithfulness of God. What does the Word say? Your marriage struggling? Ephesians says “wives, come under the covering and leadership of your own husbands as unto the Lord, and husbands, love your wives just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her.” There it is. The answer for every marriage! • Your young children misbehaving and disobedient? Proverbs 29 says to discipline your child and he will give you rest; he will give delight to your heart. Hebrews 12:11 tells us how, with pain. Hebrews 12 says for the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness. Proverbs 13 says whoever spares the rod hates his child but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him. And while that diligence in discipline persists physically, the Bible says spiritual discipline must also be there. Proverbs 22 says to train your child in the way he should go and when he grows old, that will be his way. Invest in your children, man. Discipline, Bible reading, prayer, that is all investment…and it is non-negotiable if you desire your children to not only delight your heart but make it in a terribly darkening world… • Hey but if you’re not willing to love her husband, if you’re not willing to respect him wife, if you’re not willing to spank them dad, if you’re not willing to read the Bible with them mom…then guess what, even so…God’s Word will be true…and your marriage will be a mess and your children will be a mess. • Oh but submission to God’s Word, God’s faithfulness will produce what Paul says here in the end of verse 4, you will overcome…the only only only question is are you going to follow man (which last I checked we are all of the order of man) which Paul says here everyone is a liar, or are you going to choose to follow God, who Paul says here, and we know, is true? • Now, how on earth are you going to choose God’s Word and truth over the lies of this world if you yourself have no idea those verses that we just covered even exist? So be in the Word of God, devouring it, investing in your family and your children and God Himself…that’s what time in the Word is man…it is investment, storing your treasures where they cannot be stolen…and when the time of judgment comes, just like it says there in verse 4, you will overcome. Romans Chapter 3 Verses 5 - 8 • Paul anticipates the question…he understands his audience and the Jews reasoning would have been then why not do as we please since God’s righteousness will prevail? This is just the kind of counter-intuitive, ridiculous and outright silly type of arguments that you will encounter when you are sharing the wonderful faithfulness of God and His abundant grace. • You know, you give a truth of God to someone, and that person maybe on the street, maybe in the office, maybe even in the mirror begins to give hypothetical cases or they begin to try to reason out with the human intellect. No, doesn’t work that way. God is bigger than our intellect. It’s a heart connection He desires, not a connection of agreement, He wants hearts cause the heart drives us…and so God’s truths…they are understood in the heart, not the mind. But the carnal heart of a person living after their own affections always tries to mold God into their own image rather than allowing God to transform them into His image… • This is the particular argument that Paul is saying. Here I am. God declares that all men are sinners and that the grace of God abounds to sinners, and God loves to show His grace in the forgiveness of sinful man. Therefore, by my going out and sinning, I am giving God an opportunity to show His righteousness through faith and His glorious grace. Or by my ignoring my wife and being a calloused towards her, I’m giving her an opportunity to grow…pastor said growth only comes through difficulty! And so my unrighteousness really is magnifying the righteousness of God, therefore, why would God judge me for being unrighteous? I am just showing how good He is when He forgives. And Paul says, man you have got it all wrong and you’re condemning yourself… • In fact Paul speaks in a particularly serious tone here and he says something that is found nowhere else in all of scripture. He uses the phrase, “condemnation that is just.” Wow! Twisting scriptures man, taking the truth of God and manipulating it for personal justification of sinful indulgence and lifestyle…results in condemnation. It’s actually the word krina in the Greek, which could also be translated, damnation…and that condemnation, that destruction…is just. That’s scary. Why? • Because Jesus said in Matthew Chapter 12, “every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but one…you see one will receive what we could call just condemnation…and that is the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.” This is it. Rejection of the Word of God man. Rejection of Jesus Himself as it says there in John Chapter 1 that the Word became flesh and dwelt amongst men. Twisting the word, wrapping human postulation around God’s Word and justifying why we are the way we are…man this is the only place you find this language in the entire Bible…that business will bring about just damnation. • Upon our marriages. Upon our families. Upon our careers. Upon our churches…because we have rejected the truth for the lie and we sleep well at night having justified in our minds why we are not following Jesus…let that be not so here, amongst this body of Christ. In Jesus name. • But it is our natural bent. To defend our sinful nature and to justify our independence from God. When He has created us wonderfully to need Him…and to depend upon Him…but we condemn ourselves as we run…and here Paul tells us God’s indictment against all men…look at verses 9 – 20. God is hereby declaring the condition of man apart from God… Romans Chapter 3 Verses 9 – 18 • Did you catch the details of that indictment? First of all that it includes all men…Verse 9 started out that whether Jew or gentile we are all under sin man…and we would be swift to defend ourselves against these charges…that all of man, all of us, are void of righteousness…that none of us understand or seek after God…that we have all turned aside to error. Our hearts are deceitful and we are bent, we have a bad habit, and its called destruction…we collect misery like baseball cards and peace flees…why? Because we do not heed God’s Word…we have not the capability to… • So what are we to do? The Jew would ask this of Paul, we would ask the same…what are we to do…we’ll see this in depth next week, as Paul answers that question for us…but the answer is found in the second half of Chapter 3…through faith in Jesus Christ…justification freely enters and redemption arrives… • Through Jesus man, knowing Him, loving Him, trusting Him, drawing near to Him, accepting His truth and rejecting our own rational lie…we CAN be righteous and intimate with a holy God…we CAN understand and see His salvation…we CAN seek God…We WILL not be destroyed by misery but rather WE WILL destroy IT! And peace will be the after taste of our days…as we by His indwelling Spirit, trust in His Word and follow hard after Him…