On Feb 22, 2015, Nate Feliciano preached a sermon from Rom 3:9-12; 19-28 entitled “It is Excluded.” The following things were noted in the introduction:
- Question: ‘Then” what becomes of our boasting? (3:27): We live to make a name for ourselves, to be recognized as great.
- The “Then” is the Gospel: Christians and unbelievers need the gospel.
- Rom. 1:1-3:8 sets the context of our passage: Conflict between Jews and Greeks. God isn’t impressed with either one. Paul then brings this out in Rom 3:9-12: Are the Jews any better off [than the Greeks]? Emphatic no. The gospel goes against our efforts to show we are different and better than everyone else—we’re all in need of God’s forgiveness.
- Main point of the text: the gospel shows us that God is great, and that only Christ has done the kind of work that can earn God’s approval. So we need to trust in Christ in order to be right with God. 5 key points to see that unpack this:
a. God is God: No one like him.
b. God is Just: Always does right.
c. God is Holy: Loves good, hates evil.
Key point: The gospel starts with and can only be understood in light of these truths about God.
a. Sin as Condition: we want to go against God.
b. Sin as Deed: we do go against God and break His law. RC Sproul says it best, “We’re not sinners because we sin; we sin because we’re sinners.”
Key point: The problem of sin is so much more serious than we thought. We not only do wrong; there is something about who we are that makes us want to go against God. We’re rebels.
3. The Law: Rom. 3:19-20
a. Law as Right: how God made life to work.
b. Law as Exposing Sin: it shows we break the rules.
c. Law as Picture of Christ: Christ keeps the law, Rom. 10:4.
d. Rom 3:21-22: The righteousness of God: corresponds to “justified in God’s sight”-- refers to how sinners are made right with God.
Key point: the law shows us what is right, that we don’t do all that is right, and that we have wronged God.
4. Sin: Rom. 3:21-23
a. Extent of Sin: everyone without exception sins
b. Nature of Sin: against “infinitely important” God.
c. Consequence of Sin: because against an infinite God, the punishment is infinite.
Key point: : So everyone has sinned, sin is against God whose value is without limit, and so the fair consequence of sin is punishment without limit. This is very bad news.
5. Jesus Christ: Rom. 3:24-25a
a. Redemption: Jesus repays what we took from God. Dig deeper: Jesus’ buys His people out of the slave market of sin and death through His shed blood.
b. Propitiation: Jesus satisfied God’s anger as He bears the curse due to us for our sin.
c. Doubt Questions:
1) Jesus Death—satisfied punishment without limit? Yes: Jesus is equal with God—“value” of his suffering is without limit, even if “time” was limited.
2) Why can’t we just do more good than wrong to make ourselves right with God? Answer: No good of ours can cancel our wrongs. God as just must address the wrong we’ve done. We can’t do any good work that would equal the value of the honor we denied God. Jesus as equal with God, had to do it for us.
d. Procedure Question: How does faith in Jesus make us right with God? Answer: How God feels about Jesus (accepts and approved) becomes how he feels toward us.
e. How does faith in Jesus make us right with God? God accepts and approves of Jesus because Jesus completely obeyed him. So when you have “faith in Jesus,” how God feels about Jesus becomes how he feels about you, because God looks at Jesus’ obedience as if it was done in your place. He sees you as “not guilty” because Jesus paid the penalty due to you, and He sees you as righteous because Jesus’ perfect obedience to the law is credited to you. Dig deeper: Westminster Shorter Catechism Q33: What is justification? A. Justification is an act of God's free grace, wherein He pardoneth all our sins, and accepteth us as righteous in His sight, only for the righteousness of Christ imputed to us, and received by faith alone.
Conclusion: Rom. 3:25a-28
Then what becomes of our boasting? IT IS EXCLUDED. God did all the work. We only benefit from his efforts. Only Christ can give us the approval that really matters—God’s. Only God’s approval should define us since he’s more important than everything. How do we receive? We must have faith in Christ. If not a believer, turn from your sin and trust Christ today. If you are a believer, by faith rest and live in light of Christ’s finished work on your behalf.