Sermon Study Guide
Text: Romans 3:5-8
Introduction: As Paul pressed the Jews on the difference between inward and outward righteousness and their need for the gospel, they started immediately raising objections. They started in chapter 2 and are continuing in chapter 3. We looked at the first two objections in chapter 3 last week as well as Paul’s counter arguments.
OBJECTION 1: Rom. 3:1-2
The Jews’ first objection was: “If a person needs to have inward righteousness rather than outward righteousness in order to have a saving relationship with God, then all of the privileges God gave to us in the O.T. are worthless.”
Paul counters with: “God has made you the custodians of His oracles; you have God’s revelation of Himself to mankind in His written word. This proves the value of the privileges God gave you under the O.T. covenant.”
Paul adds: “You must not reject the promise on which all of our hopes are based – the Messiah, Jesus Christ.”
OBJECTION 2: Rom. 3:2-4
The Jews’ next objection was: “Doesn’t it call God’s faithfulness into question when you say that some, even many, of the Jewish people have rejected the Messiah and refused to believe in Him?”
Paul counters with: “No, because God’s faithfulness can be manifested in two ways. It can be manifested in blessings on those who embrace His promises, or God can faithfully judge and punish those who reject His promises. God is faithful either way.”
KEY CONCEPT 1: You should be able to notice that as the objections in Romans 3 proceed, they become weaker and weaker. If fact the arguments of the religious Jews, don’t even argue against Paul’s main point anymore, which was their need for the gospel.
KEY CONCEPT 2: Paul’s answers to their objections have convicted them, and their response is to try to change the subject; because the last thing an unbeliever wants to do is to deal with his or her sin.
I. GOD IS RIGHTEOUS IN HIS JUDGMENT (Rom. 3:5-6)
OBJECTION 3: Rom. 3:5-6
The Jew’s Argument: “If God’s justice is magnified by the wickedness of human beings, is it really right for God to pour out His wrath on them?”
To put it another way: “If God glorifies Himself through my sin, isn’t it unfair for Him to judge me for that sin?”
Paul’s Two-fold Response: Once again Paul uses the Greek phrase “” which means “not at all” or “God forbid,” by which he rejects their suggestion that God is unjust outright.
Next, Paul gives a positive argument based upon God’s judgment. While the ultimate point of his argument can be understood in a couple of ways, his basic point is crystal clear: “The one true God of the Bible is beyond questioning in the righteousness of His just judgment.”
Paul’s Ultimate Point:
Perhaps Paul is telling them: “If you think that God is unjust in His judgment now, how can you think that He’s going to be just in His final judgment, which we all agree is going to occur?”
Or, Paul may be saying something like this: “What you are saying then, is that no sin can be punished.”
When faced with the judgment of God for their sin, these people immediately want to ask an abstract question, “Is it right for God to judge?” rather than asking the obvious concrete question, “I am a sinner; I deserve God’s judgment; so how do I deal with that?”
Sin is willing to accept anything else other than repentance. It will do anything to stay alive. So a favorite strategy for the unrepentant is to run away from the question at hand, their sin, and hide behind some abstract theological question.
The main way this happens in today’s world is when someone makes the statement, “Well, that’s what Paul said, Jesus didn’t say that.”
This is a “no-man’s land” kind of argument.
This argument ignores Paul’s own unshakeable beliefs. (See 1 Cor. 1:1; 7:12, 17; 14:37-38; 1 Thes. 2:13; 2 Thes. 3:14)
This argument ignores the claims of Scripture about itself and the nature of inspiration. (See 2 Tim. 3:14-17; 2 Pet. 1:19-21; Heb. 4:12)
This argument contradicts what Jesus taught about the Bible. (See Mt. 5:17-18; Jn. 10:35; 17:17)
This argument creates an enormous, unsolvable problem – “the pick-n-choose dilemma.”
This argument negates the historic view of the canon of Scripture.
This argument fails to appreciate the correlation between Jesus’ and Paul’s teachings.
This argument plays right into the hands of liberal theologians who have been trying to “de-mythologize” Christianity.
For all of these reasons, when someone makes this argument you know that you are dealing with someone who
has become uncomfortable with a particular Scriptural teaching and are trying to obscure it.
II. JUST BECAUSE GOD IS FAIR & JUST DOESN’T MEAN
WE CAN CONTINUE TO SIN & HE MUST FORGIVE US (Rom. 3:7-8)
OBJECTION 4: Rom. 3:7-8
The Jew’s Argument: “If our lying, if our unfaithfulness highlights God’s truthfulness, then why should we be condemned? Why not do evil so that good may come of it?”
To put it another way: “Paul, your teaching leads us to the idea that we ought to do evil in order that good might come from it?”
To put it YET another way: “Paul, your view of salvation means we should go ahead and sin to our heart’s content, so that grace may have the opportunity to do its work.”
Paul’s Response: Paul considers even the suggestion that we do evil in order that grace may have a chance to do its work, blasphemous. And he announces the justice of condemning those who would dare say it.
Paul wouldn’t let them off the hook because there is no excuse for sin; and there’s no escape from its guilt, its power, or its penalty except through the gospel.
The dumbest thought anyone has ever had was to think that they could gain anything by sinning.
At every turn, Paul has cut off all false assurances, securities, and saviors from the religious Jews and from us, because he loved us so.