All Are Guilty Before God, Romans 3:9-20

“Get it? Got it? Good!” If the apostle Paul were alive today he might use this blunt lingo with his emphatic questions to the Jewish congregation. For sure, he wasn’t afraid to use repetition as a tool to drill into his reader’s comprehension. This theme wasn’t easy to understand and accept by God’s chosen Jews.

Paul’s “Courtroom Scene”

This passage models a courtroom scene. Shepherd’s Notes identifies the nuts and bolts in the following caption.

The Accusation    (vs. 9)         "Jews and Gentiles alike are under sin." The Evidence     (vs. 10-18)    "There is no one righteous, not even one; . . . There is no fear of God before their eyes." The Setting           (vs. 19)       "Every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God." The Verdict           (vs. 20)       "Therefore no one will be declared righteous in His sight by observing the Law; rather, through                                                     the Law we became conscious of sin."

The Accusation (vs. 9): “Jews and Gentiles alike are under sin.”
The Evidence (vs. 10-18): “There is no one righteous, not even one; . . . There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
The Setting (vs. 19): “Every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God.”
The Verdict (vs. 20): “Therefore no one will be declared righteous in His sight by observing the Law; rather, through
the Law we became conscious of sin.”

Paul hammers his point: The Jews who were under the Law were neither better off nor disadvantaged. Both Jew and Gentile stand equally guilty before God.

Paul weaves several Old Testament passages together in verses 10-17 to create a seamless support for verse 18, his weightiest rebuke: “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

So What?

Knowledge abounds in our information age, but wisdom is rare. Proverbs 1:7 (NLT) says, “Fear of the LORD is the foundation of true knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.” To fear the Lord is to revere, respect, and honor Him. This plumb line of acknowledging and trusting God should gauge our attitudes, principles, and actions.

In respect to God’s Law, its purpose is to guide our conduct. God never intended for the Law to save us through our best efforts and/or goodness. It’s easy to get caught up in a performance mode. I know, I’ve been there. How about you? Are you trying to earn or gain God’s acceptance?

Why Study the Bible?

“If there is one terrible disease in the church of Christ, it is that we do not see God as great as He is. We’re too familiar with God.”  – A.W. Tozer, Worship: The Missing Jewel

Growing up and regularly attending a Bible based church has truly been a blessing. But I confess, there have been times when I allowed my relationship with God to become too casual–viewing Him more as my buddy rather than the infinite, omnipotent King of Kings. A peruse of Job 38-41, however, quickly put things into proper perspective. 🙂

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When we apply ourselves to Bible study we grow in knowledge, wisdom and truth (Proverbs 2:6).

The Bible–A Map to Guide Us

God knows we desperately need a map to point us in the right direction. On our own we are lost sinners. His inspired Word provides the guidance we need to acquire His perspective and principles for living (Psalm 119). No wonder King David penned, “you [Lord] have exalted above all things your name and your word”  (Psalm 138:1-2).

Knowing God’s Commands

Matthew 7:1-13 records Jesus scolding the Pharisees for claiming to know God’s will in every detail of life. They created much confusion amongst the people by adding hundreds of their own petty rules and regulations to God’s laws. Jesus said, “You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men,” (vs. 8).

Engaging Our Minds

Jesus used parables to explain spiritual truth, compelling listeners to think. He doesn’t want us to park our minds in neutral and follow Him in a blind free fall. He calls us to actively engage our minds in His Word (Matthew 22:37; 1 Thessalonians 5:21; 1 John 4:1; 1 Corinthians 10:15; 1 Peter 3:15).

Other Benefits From Bible Study

  • Knowing Jesus Christ and God the Father: His justice and mercy
  • Understanding how to receive eternal life
  • Knowledge of the beginning and the end (Genesis, Revelation)
  • Training in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16)
  • Combatting temptation and spiritual warfare (Matthew 4:1-4; Ephesians 6:10-18)
  • Understanding God’s purpose of spiritual gifts and the function of His church
  • Discernment of false teachers

The Take Away

God wants us to not only listen carefully to His instructions, but also obey (Hebrews 2:1; James 1:22-25).

ed81919a606f79fe2cf3cb280c73b462When we seek God through Bible study and prayer, He will come along beside us personally each day and help us carry out His principles. He will also grow our faith and bless our obedience.

Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.”  – 1 Timothy 4:16

Are you currently engaged in Bible study? Does a Christian ever reach a point when he/she doesn’t need God’s Word anymore?

Coming next—“Understanding Biblical Truth.”

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