Sunday, August 16, 2015

The Righteous Judgment of God (Part 9)

SERMON: GM15-069

SERIES: Renewal Through Romans: The Gospel Defined, Explained & Applied

SETTING: North Kelso Baptist Church

SERVICE: Sunday AM (August 16, 2015)

SECTION: The Perversion of Righteousness (Romans 1:18-3:20)

SUBTITLE: The Righteous Judgment of God (Part 9)

SCRIPTURE: Romans 3:19-20

SUBJECT: The universality of sin …
…is seen by the design and deficiency of the law

SUMMARY: Paul drives home his point that all of humanity is guilty of sin by explaining the purpose of the law and the limitation of the law

SCHEME: To prove the guilt of humanity

TITLE: The Righteous Judgment of God (Part 9)
TEXT: Romans 3:19-20


“But we have known that what the law says to those in the law, it speaks that all mouths may be silenced and all the world may become under judgment. Because out of works of the law, no flesh shall be justified in His sight, for through the law comes the knowledge of sin” (GDM, from Majority Greek Text)

THEME: The universality of sin …
THRUST: …is seen by the design and deficiency of the law

TRUTH: Paul drives home his point that all of humanity is guilty of sin by explaining the purpose of the law and the limitation of the law.


1A The Sinful Heathen (1:18-32)

2A The Sinful Hebrew (2:1-3:8)

1B The Judgment of God Declared (2:1-16)
1C The Jews deserved the judgment of God (2:1-5)
2C The Jews determined the judgment of God (2:6-10)
3C The Jews doomed by the judgment of God (2:12-16)

2B The Judgment of God Discussed (2:17-29)
1C The Jews Misunderstood their status (2:17-24)
2C The Jews Misunderstood their symbol (2:25-29)

3B The Judgment of God Defended (3:1-8)
1C The Favor by the Judge is not nullified (1-2)
2C The Faithfulness of the Judge is not nullified (3-4)
3C The Fame of the Judge is not nullified (5-8)

3A The Sinful Humanity (3: 9-20)

1B Humanities Sinfulness Is Presented by Paul’s Exclamation (9)
2B Humanities Sinfulness Is Proved by Paul’s Evidence (10-18)

1C Proved by the evidence of their condition (10-11)
2C Proved by the evidence of their character (12)
3C Proved by the evidence of their conduct (13-18)

3B Humanities Sinfulness is Provided by Paul’s Explanation (19-20)

1C Paul Explains the Design of the Law (19)

1D The Law is designed to prevent the right to gloat
2D The Law is designed to provide the road to guilt

2C Paul Explains the Duty of the Law (20)

1D The duty of the law is to resist salvation
2D The duty of the law is to reveal sin
The Righteous Judgment of God

Romans 3:19-20 * (Part 9)

Today we are concluding the second section of Paul’s historical and monumental letter to the Church at Rome which he wrote in the Spring of AD 57. Paul did not plant this church nor had he ever been to this church. He wants to visit them, he wants to enlist their help and support and so he decides to write them this letter.

We are concluding this section I call “The Perversion of Righteousness.” This section runs from 1:18-3:20. The theme of this section is the universal sinfulness of the human race which includes the Jews and the Gentiles.

In this section we have looked at The Sinful Heathen (Gentiles), The Sinful Hebrew (The Jews), and now we are looking at The Sinful Humanity, (Jews and Gentiles together.) Last week we looked at the evidence of the sinful character and conduct of humanity.

Last week we saw the character of humanity characterized as…

1D Disoriented (12a)

“They have all turned aside…” The Greek verb gives the primary meaning of leaning in the wrong direction. In a military setting it refers to a soldier who running the wrong way. We call this soldier a deserter.

The natural and overriding inclination of the human nature is to against God. Our nature is driven to do everything contrary to the will of God.

[Secondly, we saw the character of humanity characterized as …]

2D Depreciated (12b)

“…They have together become unprofitable…”

Humanity is spiritually worthless. They are useless.

This verb was used of milk that had turned sour and rancid and was useless or worthless to drink or to be used for butter or cheese. The milk was no good for any use. Man’s character had depreciated from being part of creation that God had called “good” to now being worthless or useless.

[Thirdly, we saw the character of humanity characterized as…]

3D Damaged (12c)

“…There is none who does good, no not one.”

Here Paul rips apart all of man’s ideas about his goodness.

First of all, this seems to be a repeat of the first thing Paul said against humanity and seems to be a bit of a summary of what he has said.

Second, the verb refers to what is upright, especially what is morally upright. Against God’s perfect righteousness the unsaved man has no ability or desire to do anything upright and good by God’s standards. Man is damaged and can no longer function the way he was designed to function.

[So, man’s character is disoriented, depreciated, and damaged. Paul also proved the sinfulness of humanity evidenced by their conduct… (13-18)

Their conduct is seen in their wicked words (13-14)

Paul is very descriptive of their wicked words, first he says that their speech or their…

Words are likened to the vileness of a sepulcher
Words which are likened to the venom of a snake

Their conduct is seen in their wicked ways (15-18)

…their murderous ways
…their miserable ways
…their mutinous ways
[Now, let’s dig into our…]


Paul is going to conclude this section by providing an explanation. This section is really very simple. It is direct and to the point. It deals with the fact that all of humanity is guilty of sin and therefore rightfully under the judgment of God. It also deals with the fact that no one can be saved or justified by any self-effort or works that are prescribed in the law or in the OT for that matter.

[So, we will now examine the fact that…]

3B Humanities Sinfulness is Proclaimed by Paul’s Explanation (19-20)

Paul is going to draw out the implications and conclusions that naturally come from the collection of the OT scriptures that he quoted in verses 10-18.

[So, first of all…]

1C Paul Explains the Design of the Law (19)

“But we know…”

With this verb Paul introduces a circumstance that both he and his readers would actually acknowledge. The circumstance in front of us is the knowledge or the awareness of the applicability of “whatever the law says” to those who are obligated to or are under the law.

First of all, you need to note that this first use of the word “law” is more than or addresses more than the Mosaic Law. Since this phrase is connected to the list of OT quotations that precedes it, it must refer to the entire Old Testament Scriptures.

Paul did not limit his citing’s of Scripture from the Torah or the first five books of the OT. He included scriptures from the Psalms, the Prophets, and from the wisdom writings.

Second of all, the next or second usage of the word “law” does restrict itself and refer to the Mosaic Law that the Jews were familiar with.

So, we have to ask ourselves, “What is the big deal?” What is Paul doing? Well Paul is going to explain two very important things to his readers about the design of the law.


1D The Law is designed to prevent the right to gloat

“…that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law that every mouth may be stopped…”

There is only one reason why human courts permit a defendant to put on or make a defense. It is to protect against a mistake. It is to protect the innocent from being wrongly convicted. So to protect the innocent, our culture says, “You have an opportunity to make your defense. But when God brings the charges against humanity He never makes a mistake. There will be no defense at the great white throne judgment.

So this is why Paul, “…says every mouth maybe stopped.”

A better word would be “silenced.” The law speaks to those who are under the law, the Jews, in order to stop or silence the boasting associated with works of self-righteousness.

“Silencing the mouth” gives us the idea of the defendant who has no more to say in response to the charges brought against him or her.

The law declares all men to unrighteous. Why? So that through this judgment of being unrighteous men would no longer think that they are righteous or have any righteousness at all and acknowledge themselves to be guilty before God.

Is this necessary? Yes…

Men need to be and will one day be silenced.

The French philosopher Jacques Rousseau, who refused to marry and even sent his illegitimate children to orphanages rather than care for them once said, “I will stand before God and defend my conduct.”
Men think that they will be able to stand before God at the Great White Throne Judgement and make a defense for their wicked and sinful behavior during their life time. This the utmost height of arrogance and foolishness!

Imagine this scene for just a moment would you? All of unsaved or lost humanity is standing before God. All are accountable to God. All are charged with sin.

The books have been opened, secrets have been revealed, sin has been exposed, and individual and personal wickedness has been displayed in front of humanity.

Can you imagine those who are lost and judged as guilty having seen their deepest, darkest, most wicked words and ways put on display; they attempt to answer back. They are saying “not guilty, not fair, not me.” “Look at the good things I did.”

Then it gets quiet, deathly quiet. Why, because the law testifies to their sin and guilt and they become silent. Their mouth, their words, and their protests have ceased and they are brought to silence. There is no more boasting, no more attempts at answering the judge’s charge or challenging His verdict.

Why? Because there is nothing to say. There is nothing to boast or to brag about. There is nothing that says, “Hey, look what I did, surely this deserves reward or salvation.”

Men are hoping that as God weighs the good and the bad that He will put His thumb on the scale, tipping the scale to their favor.

Humanity is silent because they have no defense against the charges of sin.

There are at least three (3) things that are involved in this type of consciousness or awareness of sin:

• There is a sense of moral turpitude

Turpitude comes from the Latin word “turpitudo”, which means "repulsiveness." Turpitude is a word that represents depraved behavior.

So, when the awareness of sin is realized there is an awareness or a sense of the personal depraved behavior.

• There is a sense of just desert

An individual who truly understands sin, their own sin, will realize that the punishment or penalty received is deserved. Sinners will come to finally realize they deserve the wrath and the judgment of God.

• There is a sense of a conviction that the sinner needs to be punished

This is opposite of human nature right now in this life. No one wants to admit their sin. No one wants to own up to anything today, let alone sin and wickedness.

One day, before God the sinner will have a sense that not only are they depraved or wicked, not only deserve the penalty or judgment of God, but they will have a sense of knowing they need to be punished.

Do you grasp just how eerie this really is? No wonder sinful humanity will be brought to absolute silence. There is nothing for them to say. There is no place to boast or to gloat. These things will silence mankind.

[Well, not only does Paul explain that the design of the law is to prevent the right to gloat, Paul also explains that…]

2D The Law is designed to provide the road to guilt

“…and all the world may become guilty before God.”

First of all, the verb translated as “become guilty” is not such a good translation. It is better as “may become under judgment.”

Second, the verb for may become under judgment is not used anywhere else in the Bible.

It was used in Greek culture however and was used in the sense of “answerable to” or “liable to prosecution.”

Paul pictures God as the one who was offended and as the judge who weighs the evidence and pronounces the verdict of guilty.

The image that you should be seeing is of all unredeemed humanity is standing before God, they are accountable to him for willful and unpardonable sinful violations of His will, and they are waiting for the sentence of condemnation that their sinful actions deserve.

Now, let’s stop here for a second. Let’s think about something. If you read this carefully you should be wondering right now how Paul can take charges or accusations that are clearly against the Jews – “what the law says it says to those under the law” – and bring those same charges against of all humanity, namely the Gentiles?

Does this seem right? Does it seem fair? There are some scholars who do try to limit these charges and judgment to the Jews and the Jews alone. But look again at the words, “…all the world.”

It seems that Paul, according to guys a whole lot smarter than me, and is using what is called “from the greater to the lesser” argument. What does this mean?

Well, essentially, it means that Paul is saying that if the Jews, who are God’s chosen people cannot be excused from the full scope of sin’s bondage, then surely what must follow logically is that the Gentiles, who by the way, have no claim on God are guilty too!

You have to remember Paul’s purpose in 1:18-3:20. He main purpose isn’t to simply show that the Gentiles are sinful and under God’s judgment – but he did – it was to show that the Jews are also and equally as sinful and under the same wrath and judgment of God.

So, while all of humanity is included in the scope of vss. 19-20, the particular reference is to the Jews and their law. Does that make sense?

If the Jews who are God’s elect and chosen people and have some advantages over the Gentiles are sinners and under judgment, then the Gentiles who are not God’s chosen people nor possess any advantages are surely sinners and under God’s judgment.

So Paul argues from the greater – the Jews – to the lesser – the Gentiles and explains that the design of the law is to prevent the right to gloat and to provide the road to guilt.

Paul drives home his point that all of humanity is guilty of sin by explaining the design of the law.

[So, second of all…]

2C Paul Explains the Duty of the Law (20)

Verse 20 may have been written by Paul to explain why the whole world, why all of humanity is accountable to God. It could also have used by Paul to confirm humanities accountability to God.

Paul seems to be “heading off at the pass” any Jewish opposition or attempt at evading the truth he just zapped them with. Paul will take hope that the law can provide a defense for sin.

Paul seems to do this in at least two (2) ways:

[First, we see that…]

1D The duty of the law is to resist salvation

“Because by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight…”

First, the choice of therefore in vs. 20 is not the best choice. “Because” makes a much better choice. It gives a clearer meaning.

Second, don’t forget what Paul had written earlier from Psalm 143 – “no one living is righteous before you.”

In all honesty there has been and still is a tremendous amount of argument about Paul’s words: “deeds of the law.”

Many bible scholars think it refers to anything done in obedience to the law, especially the good deeds. But the implication from this line of thinking opens the door to the idea that maybe a person could get a good standing with God by doing the deeds of the law.

It seems clear, and I think this is the idea Paul wanted to get across is that the “works of the law” refers to things that are done in obedience to the law.

It seems that Paul uses these words to deny the Jews any avenue of escape and to show them that the law prevents and actually resists any effort of providing a means of salvation.

It also seems that in the context Paul is also implying a principle that nothing a person does, no matter what the object or motivation of obedience is can provide salvation. IOW, nothing a person, Jew or Gentile can do can merit or warrant salvation.

There is no justification for the sinning soul by any type or kind of good works. The law, the works of the law resist any and all efforts at salvation by self-righteousness.

And so, the heart and soul of this section of Paul’s letter is that no one, no Jew, no Gentile, no member of humanity is capable of doing anything to gain acceptance with God resulting in the nullification of God’s wrath and judgment already upon them.

And of course this is why for everyone, for Jews and for Gentiles faith in Christ is the only possible way to God. No one can gain acceptance by their own efforts, or by some imagined means of cooperation with God in hopes of gaining acceptance.

[Well, as awkward as it may seem or sound to you, it is the duty of the aw to resist self-efforts of salvation]

[But also…]

2D The duty of the law is to reveal sin

“…for by the law is the knowledge of sin.”

This is the last line or phrase in this great section, 1:18-3:20. Don’t let that cause you to let your guard down. There is a lot of truth packed in to this little phrase.

First of all, this particular duty of the law supports Paul’s argument in the first part of this verse by explaining what the duty of the law is as opposed to the things that the law cannot do.

The law does not justify, but through the laws comes the knowledge of sin. He doesn’t mean that the law simply “defines” sin.

What’s the purpose or design of the law? It is to make a man aware of sin. See, it’s only when a man knows the law and tries to satisfy it that he realizes he can never satisfy it. The law is designed to show man his own inability and his own sinfulness.

What Paul is saying is that the law gives to people, both Jews and Gentiles understanding of sin (singular) as a power that holds everyone in bondage and brings guilt and condemnation.

This is an important principle and distinction. With things like the “Romans Road” it has been my experience that we make an attempt is made to get people to understand that things like lying, stealing, lust, pride, greed, or murder are sins.

Really, we need, by the way, it is by the power of the HS we need to help people see that sin is a powerful slaveholder that has them locked in its power and that as a result they are guilty, condemned, and deserving God’s wrath and judgment.
There is a difference in understand the definition of sins and actually owning up to the awareness of bondage, personal guilt and judgment.

Paul explains that a duty of the law is to present people with the demand of God. When we realize we cannot satisfy that demand, we recognize ourselves to be sinners and justly condemned for our sin by God.

The duty of the law is clear. The law resists salvation by self-efforts or self-righteous works or deeds. The law reveals sin. It reveals not just the definition of individual and particular sins but the law reveals the power of the bondage of sin, the personal guilt of the sinner, and the justly deserved wrath and condemnation of God.

Paul drives home his point that all of humanity is guilty of sin by explaining the duty of the law.

[What do you say that we wrap this up?]


Paul has declared and demonstrated that the Gentiles are guilty as sinners and are rightfully under the condemnation and judgment of God. Paul has also declared and demonstrated that the Jews are also guilty as sinners and are also rightfully under the condemnation and judgment of God.
Paul drives home his point that all of humanity is guilty of sin by explaining the purpose of the law and the limitation of the law.
Paul has demonstrated this truth by skillful exclamation of his point, and by skillfully offering up evidence, and by a skillful explanation.
All men, all of humanity are guilty

SUMMARY: Paul proves all men are guilty of sin since there is no difference between the Greek and the Jew by using the OT Scriptures which prevents anyone from relying on their own efforts for salvation.

Today I wanted to prove to you that all men, both Jews and Gentiles are sinners, justly deserving the wrath and judgment of God.

What Should You Do?

You should fully understand the power of the bondage of sin that unsaved man is bound by in order to use 1:18-3:20 to demonstrate to a lost individual that he is guilty of sin and justly under the wrath and judgment of God.

You should consistently give thanks and praise to God for delivering you from both the penalty and the power of sin.

You should long for and look for the day when you are finally delivered from the presence of sin.

You should daily mortify or put to the death the deeds of the flesh; i.e. the sin in your members (body)

Let’s pray! 

1 comment:

nashvillecats2 said...

It took me ages to read this Gregg as my medication is not agreeing with me again,,,,,have to wait over 2 weeks to see doctor.

As always I do get some comfort from reading your post. I thank you for putting them on /