Grab your Bible, and let’s go deeper into Romans 2-6.
The Book of Romans is so good and so necessary for us to study! It is so necessary because our current society is drowning in a love affair with a semi-Pelagianism view of sin. Semi-Pelagianism teaches man is not so totally depraved that he cannot take the initiative in faith to seek God. This heresy is rampant in our culture that all too often has a low a view of sin that emboldens man and robs God of His sovereignty.
Charles Spurgeon rightly said, "He that thinks lightly of sin, thinks lightly of the savior."
So, today we must look back over the text that we have lived in this week, Romans 2-6, in an effort to grab hold of a biblical view of our sin, its deserving judgment, and therefore the power of God’s amazing, saving grace. It is only when the bad news of our sin is seen clearly that the good news of Jesus is trusted in as our only saving grace.
When we look at Romans 3:10-12, we see Paul quote Psalm 14 and Psalm 53 and say, “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.’"
From this small sample, we are given clear view of what God’s word says about the state of mankind!
Let’s look into this further.
1. No one is righteous
We have NO righteousness of our own that is satisfactory in light of God’s utter holiness! The Bible says everything we do apart from Christ is evil (Genesis 6:5; Romans 14:23), that our best efforts at good deeds or righteous living are like fifthly menstrual rags apart from Christ (Isaiah 64:6), and that every one of us fall short of the glory of God apart from Christ’s atoning work on our behalf (Romans 3:23).
2. No one seeks God
Someone might reply, “But I do seek Him,” or “I have been seeking Him all my life.”
Our culture has taught us that for mankind “all things are possible.” Mankind falsely believes that it will always be possible for us to mend our relationship with the Almighty. If it is necessary, we will take care of it ourselves in due time. The problem with this view is it is not what the Bible says.
Romans 3:11 “… no one seeks for God”
Romans 8:7-8 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
The Bible-revealed reality is what man seeks on his own is not God, but a man-made self-salvation based on self-merit. Essentially, it’s a pursuit of a lifestyle that attempts to put God in debt to man.
In this, the good deeds of man are ultimately not true worship or honor to God but are self-glorifying or self-satisfying.
3. No one understands
This is not in regards to our ability to think or reason or understand many things in this life; it is in regard to our spiritual blindness—our utter lack of spiritual perception.
Ephesians 4:17b-18 in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart.
This doesn’t mean we don’t know about Him. The Bible says that even the demons understand who God is and can talk about Him (James 2:19; Matthew 8:29). But the spiritual discernment required to know Him personally is not in them or us in our sin.
1 Corinthians 1:18 (NIV) The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
1 Corinthians 2:14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.
So, what does this mean for mankind who remains in sin apart from God’s saving grace?
The Bible proclaims the sentence for sinners in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death …”
Jesus declared it in Matthew 7:13: “… For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction …” (NIV).
Hebrews 10:26-27 tells us that if we keep on sinning there is only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.
It is imperative that we note that none of our excuses will have any weight before God.
As we read Matthew 25, we find that the people who were confronted by the Lord’s return made manifold excuses for themselves, just as people make excuses for their wickedness today.
You might be able to get away with giving excuses to other people—your boss, your spouse, your pastor. But you cannot excuse yourself before God. The apostle Paul wrote in Romans 3:19 that in the day of judgment “every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God.” When the Judge takes the bench, there will not be a single protest.
In our current day, man is in love with human “rights.” Most people wrongly assume that God owes us something—salvation or at least a chance at salvation. But if we have a right view of our sin and God’s perfect and righteous judgment, we will see that what we are truly owed is eternal wrath.
What we must understand is if God were obliged to be gracious, grace would no longer be grace, and salvation would be based on human merit rather than God’s grace alone to the glory of God alone. To add anything we do to grace is to misapply grace.
All this said, how is it possible that any be saved?
Turn with me to John 11. When Jesus returned to Bethany at the request of the dead man’s sisters, he was told that Lazarus had been dead for four days and that he was already putrefying:
John 11:39 (NIV) … “But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.”
What a graphic description of the state of our moral and spiritual decay because of sin!
Dead, decaying, stinking, hopeless. There was nothing anyone could do for Lazarus in this dead condition. His situation was not merely serious or grim; it was hopeless for man—but not for God!
The good news is Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
The good news is Matthew 19:26: “… with God all things are possible.”
Therefore, having prayed, Jesus called, “Lazarus, come out!” (John 11:43), and the call of Jesus brought life to the dead man.
Simply stated, if the Scriptures are clear that men and women are sinful by nature and cannot do anything to save themselves or even prepare themselves to be saved, the Scriptures are equally clear that it is God who saves by grace alone through faith alone on account of Christ alone.
This means that it is God who acts first, upon the sinner, while the sinner is dead in sin. But the good news is that while sinners do not seek God, God in His grace saves sinners (Ephesians 2:1-10).
Grace defined: Grace is an undeserved gift from an unobligated giver
Today, large numbers of evangelicals undermine and effectively destroy the doctrine of grace by supposing or speaking that human beings are basically good and capable of pursuing God apart from God’s gracious intervention.
As soon as we introduce the doctrine of fairness, we introduce a standard of right by which God has to save all or at least give everyone an equal chance of being saved. And this is simply not grace!
We must understand the only thing that is fair, the only thing we deserve, is judgment and condemnation for sin.
This is what is so amazing about grace. This is why we need not make light of sin or our position in sin or God’s attitude towards those in sin. Oh, how desperate man is for God’s saving grace.
So, what is the gospel of grace?
-It is the truth that God reigns supreme over all created things—everything that is from Him, through Him, and to Him. It is for His glory forever and ever. – That’s Romans 11
- It is the truth that man has turned away from God’s glory in sin to make their lives about their own glory—to worship the idol of creation instead of God. – That’s Romans 1 and 3
- It’s the truth that because of our sin, we deserve the righteous eternal wrath of God. — That’s Romans 6
- But in God’s amazing grace, He saves sinners by the perfect shed blood of His Son. — That’s Romans 3
- Those whom God gives ears to hear and eyes to see, who repent of sin and self and trust completely in Jesus Christ alone for salvation and lordship, He justifies, adopts, and secures as His own for eternity. — That’s Romans 8
Romans 8:30 those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
The problem is we want to respond to this amazing grace with the question, “Why didn’t He call everybody?”
When we truly begin to understand our SIN, we should humbly ask, “Why did He call ANYBODY?”
As Charles Spurgeon put it, "There is no reason to be given for grace, but grace."
God is the Creator and we the creation. It is not ours to ask why.
But for those who He has given grace, we have much to praise Him for. AMEN!
This weekend, may we meditate on the depth of our depravity in sin, thereby fueling our celebration and worship of His glorious grace that has set us free when all we deserved was wrath. As we gather with the redeemed in the church house, may these truths cause us to lift on high His worthy and holy name!
Go back and really meditate on Romans 6 again. Let if define you. Embrace the joyful truth and privilege it is to no longer be slaves to sin but slaves to Jesus in righteousness. Then, may we set out this week, unto purposeful, devoted, sacrificial, obedient living and bold testimony of the gospel of Jesus. All the while, may we be trusting that our sovereign God will open dead hearts with His saving grace as He purposes and wills, for His eternal glory and their eternal good.