Message: In Romans 3 Paul uses a lot of compare and contrast to
explain the righteousness of God. He poses the question: who is better off?
Jews or Gentiles? He answers his own question and many others by explaining
that the law was never meant to bring salvation. I have always understood that
the law was intended to show us what sin is. But reading today, I also see that
the law was also intended to show the perfect righteousness of God. If we don’t
understand that God is perfect, we will struggle to accept that he is also
perfect in his judgment. I believe this is where the majority of people
struggle with God. It isn’t that they don’t believe he exists. The problem is
that most people (including Christians) don’t trust that his judgment is righteous.
We like to decide for ourselves what seems fair and right but we don’t have the
mind of God. Test this theory by reading jut a chapter of the old testament and
seeing how many times you cringe when you read about some of the punishments. We
all struggle when we hear that people dropped dead just by accidentally
entering somewhere that was unauthorized, or touching something that was set
apart as holy for God. Everything inside us screams because our view of fair
and righteous is flawed by our human sin nature. We don’t really see ourselves as
filthy as we are under sin, so we don’t understand just how contrasting our sin
nature is to the perfect nature of God. We don’t understand that we are under
sin simply by existing, so we don’t appreciate why we so desperately need the righteousness
of God. These contrasts help us understand that there is no justification for
our actions. We can’t excuse our way out of anything. We are justified only by
the blood of Jesus.
Command: Obey God because I was made
righteous, not in an attempt to become righteous.
Promise: We were equally doomed, so we are
also equally made righteous.
Warning: We will never understand the judgment
of God if we don’t first understand the perfection of God.
Application: The law was given to not only show us
how sinful we are, but to show us a reflection of how perfect God is. As I read
this I realized that we all get offended at God because of his judgment.In
our flawed human eyes we see it as harsh and because of this we often take a
few giant steps back. We want a God we can relate to when it comes to our sin,
but we also want a God that is all powerful and mighty when it comes to
miracles and blessings. God is who he is without apology and his righteousness
exposes our sinfulness. We don’t like the way that feels so we want God to tone
it down and accept us with our sin. Instead he used his perfection to justify
us. He accepts us in spite of our sin and accepts us because
of his righteousness on us. It really sunk in that even on my best
behavior, I could never even come close to pleasing God on my own because without
the blood of Jesus I am under sin just by existing. Sometimes we get a
self-righteous attitude after a while of serving God under obedience because we
feel like we have eliminated most of the ”big sin” in our lives. This also
feeds our offense at God when we see his judgment because we forget just how
sinful we were before he saved us. This is a reminder that working out our
known sin issues is a response to salvation. It’s not what makes
us saved. Even on our best day ever, we are just as filthy and just as
deserving of death as a murderer. The law shows us that we never stood a chance
on our own, and the law shows that only Jesus ever could. Nobody is “more lost”
than anyone else no matter what kind of sin they are into, just like nobody is
any closer to salvation just because they do things that are morally good. Reading
this reminded me that we can’t fully understand his judgment because we can’t
fully understand his righteousness. When I am tempted to feel angry or afraid
of God for his judgment, I need to remind myself that we were all doomed and he
used his judgment to punish his son in our place, and he also used that same
judgment to make us righteous in his sight.