Monday, May 28

Romans 3:19-20 (First, the bad news)

Romans 3:19-20 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.

The law speaks to all who are under the law and gives them knowledge of sin that renders them without excuse. Since the performance standard that God requires for keeping the law is perfection, it is painfully obvious to everyone that nobody can keep every point perfectly. In this passage Paul warns that all who attempt to justify themselves before God by their own effort of law keeping will fail. This failure places them squarely under the wrath of God. Experts who attempt class 6 whitewater rapids (photo above) with the latest safety gear face a possibility of death. However, even non-experts with physical limitations would have a better chance in these rapids than they would have trying to justify themselves by perfect law keeping.

Since he began this section in Romans 1:18, Paul has shown that all human beings are totally depraved, ungodly, and unrighteous. He has shown that God’s wrath is set upon all that are unrighteous and ungodly. This is a serious problem that humans face. As a matter of fact it is the most serious problem they will ever encounter. After a lengthy explanation of this problem, in these two verses Paul is basically telling us that men are powerless to do anything about the problem. Man is under God’s wrath because of a debt that he cannot pay. God is holy and has sworn to execute His justice for the sins of man. Therefore, He will not just wink and make everything O.K.

While this is a tremendous problem that man cannot solve, praise God that it is a problem that He can and, in fact, does solve for many. Paul, in verse 21, begins the great fantastic good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ that saves sinners. Sadly, there are millions of people who think that on judgment day they will have salvation because they have tried to be a good person. Instead of relying on Jesus Christ, they are relying on the very thing that Paul says in this verse has no chance of success.

We will begin the good news in our next post.

7 comments:

Even So... said...

Good news is very good if we know why....

HALFMOM said...

I like knowing that, in and of myself, I can do nothing good but that I can depend on a God who can do and does nothing wrong.

donsands said...

Once we come to this knowledge, that the law condemns us, then we are ready to knee at the foot of the Cross.

Luther said the greatest commandment of God is to love God with all your heart, soul, and mind. And the greatest sin is when we disobey this charge.
Jesus was the only one to fulfill this command.

Thanks for another good post.

jazzycat said...

halfmom,
thanks for stopping by. Come again.

J.D. and donsands,
Thanks. I do believe a good understanding of the bad news brings conviction of sin which leads to repentance.

mark pierson said...

absolute and utter helplessness. If Christ were not my righteousness I would be lost forever.

Great post!

Char said...

Hello there! I must admit I was intrigued when I saw the text on that beautiful pic, saying The Law Kills (I found your blog as a link from Journey of the Heart) and then I read the post and understood where you were coming from. Way to get someone reading with relish! :o) Yes, keeping the law from a sense of obligation and therefore trying to justify themselves by perfect law keeping, will not render the person saved. It is Jesus, and Jesus only, who does the saving. Sadly, for those who have kept the law out of a sense of obligation or in an attempt to redeem themselves, they will find themselves standing with the lost on that last day, for "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." (Romans 3 v 23) That makes me as "bad" as the murderer or thief. Remembering of course, that Jesus extended His hands of mercy (literally) to that thief on the cross too, and Jesus promised him salvation! SOOO exciting! That means that even I could be in Heaven one day, because of what Jesus has done for me! And that is the reason why I will still keep the law. Because Jesus said "If you love me, keep my commandments!" John 14 v 15, and reiterated it in verse 21. My willingness to keep His commandments eminates from a love for Him! Isn't it amazing how the WHOLE Bible is there for teaching and instruction? I love it! And then of course Jesus said Himself "For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled." Matthew 5 v 18. The law still stands. Not until heaven and earth pass away will the law change. It makes for an interesting conundrum. "But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!" Joshua 24 v 15.

jazzycat said...

Char,
Thanks for the visit and for your great comment. Grace does give us a desire and enable us to obey the commandments of Jesus (though not perfectly). Gayla over at Journey of the Heart has a great site. She is a fellow team member with me over at Bluecollar Blog.