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Intro: In the concluding verses of the last chapter, Paul tells his Jewish readers that they, like all other men, are sinners in the sight of God. He reminds them that what they need is not the outward expression of religion, but an inward work of grace that converts the soul and makes the sinner right with God. These verses are a logical continuation of the thoughts mentioned in chapter 2. We must remember that Paul was a traveling evangelist-missionary. In nearly every city he visited, he went to the Jewish synagogue and shared the message of salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ. In doing so, Paul surely must have encountered many arguments to his message. It would seem that these verses which we have read this evening give us four of those arguments. Paul is asking and answering questions that the Jews, themselves, were asking. They were raising objections to the message of salvation "by grace through faith", and these objections needed to be answered.

As we think about these objections and the answers to them, there is a message for us here as well. You see, many in our day, and even some in the church are asking essentially the same questions! I believe that these verses hold the answers they, and maybe even some of you, seek this evening. Let's take a few minutes and ponder these Objections That Demand Answers.


A. V. 1 Is It Vain To Be A Jew? - Since being circumcised, 2:25-29; and knowing the law, 2:17-18; and teaching others about the Law, 2:19-20, cannot save the soul, what is the point in being religious? The Jews want to know why they have to go through all they have to go through if it does them no good. You see, that felt that because they were Jewish, they had a special relationship with God. They were God's chosen people, but even though they were special to the Lord, even though He had a plan for them then and He still does tonight, that does not change the fact that they were still guilty sinners before the Lord.

(Ill. Considering the fact that good works cannot save the soul, and that church attendance does not take one to Heaven, and that clean living does not guarantee you a home in glory, then what is the point in being a Baptist? Why join the church? Why attend? Why bother with being a religious person, if being religious will do you no good? Many seem to be asking that question in our day. Gratefully, God has an answer for the Jews and He has an answer for folks in our day as well.)

B. V. 2 There Is Value In Being A Jew! - Paul responds by reminding the Jews that they were blessed in every way, but perhaps the greatest evidence of their blessing was that they had been given the Word of God. When God gave man His Word, He gave it through a Jewish pen. In fact, only the books of Luke and Acts were written by a non-Jew! Yes, God had blessed them in that He had given them His Word. He had given the Jewish people the revelation of Himself and of His will for mankind. However, instead of this bringing them into a place where they walked in a special relationship with the Lord, it placed them in a position of greater responsibility! Because they had the truth, they were responsible before the Lord to live the truth!

(Ill. Imagine that there was a remote island which was permanently shrouded in darkness. There is only one way off the island of darkness - by means of a narrow footbridge that stretches across a deep chasm. Let us further suppose that everyone on the island is given a tiny penlight, so small that it can illuminate the darkness for one foot in any direction. But one group is given a powerful searchlight, with a beam so strong it can cut through the darkness for miles and miles. Although the searchlight was given to this group in order to help them find the bridge and so that they then could help others find the bridge, they use it instead to search for needles in haystacks. This exactly what the Jews were guilty of before the Lord! They argued about such things as whether or not it was against the law to spit on the Sabbath. If you spit on a rock it was alright. If, however, you spit in the dirt, it was a sin, because you made mud. Instead of using the word of God to lead men out of darkness, they used it as a means of sending men deeper still into spiritual darkness!)

(Ill. The same is true in our day as well, men need not think that their good deeds, their religious living, their activities, etc will by them favor with the Lord. It just isn't true! The opposite becomes true. Because the more exposure we have to the truth, the more responsible we are before the Lord. You see, if you plan to live a sub-standard life as a child of God, you would be far better off to go to a liberal church! If you are exposed to the truth on a regular basis, you are responsible before the Lord to live that truth, James 1:22. You see, we have been given a very bright searchlight. It is called the Bible. It tells us how to find the bridge and that we are to show the way to others. If we do not do just that, we will be held accountable before the Lord. And, if you plan to go to Hell, please do it from a church where the Gospel is not preached. You will answer for the light you have received!)

(Ill. How are we using the privileges the Lord has given to us? Are we guilty of doing the same foolish things the Jews were guilty of? God help us to realize that multitudes perish while we sit around and split hairs with the brethren!)

I. Why Bother With Religion?


A. V. 3 Has God Forsaken Us Because Of Sin? - In this second question, the Jews are basically saying that they have failed to live up to their end of the covenant. Since that is true, and some Jews have failed, does that mean that God has written off the entire Jewish nation? What they are asking is, "Has the failure of some ruined it for all? Has the God of all grace indeed forsaken His chosen people because they sinned? And, if He has, then why should we bother to serve Him any longer?" They are appealing to the greatness of the nature of the Lord. Paul's answer gives us hope as well. After all, who hasn't failed the Lord at some time or the other?

B. V. 4 God Is Faithful In Spite Of Your Sin! - Notice the vehemence of Paul's response, "God forbid!" Literally, this phrase reads, "May it never be!" It is a strong statement, made even stronger by the words, "let God be true and every men a liar!" Paul meaning here is that in spite of what man does, God will honor His promise. Regardless of how wicked a man may become, the Lord will never give up on him. Even all the sins and failures of Israel could not make the Lord give up on them!

(Ill. What a blessing! Think with me for a moment about all the times you have sinned against the Lord just since you have been saved. If we all were to stand up tonight and testify, we would all have to admit that we were guilty of many, many instances of sin. However, that does not chance the fact of God's promise, John 6:37. God is faithful in spite of our sins! I say "hallelujah" to that! Remember David? He was an adulterer, a liar and ultimately a murderer, but God forgave him and used David in a wonderful manner. Remember Rahab? She was a wretched sinner before the Lord, but God forgave her and used her for His glory! Remember Simon Peter? He sinned against the Lord in an open manner, yet the Lord loved him and forgave him and used him in a great way. The point is, God will judge your sins, this proves that He is righteous, Gal. 6:7. However, after sin has been judged, God will forgive your sins, proving that He is bigger than your sin! God is always ready to forgive, all He waits for is for man to get to that same place of readiness, 1 John 1:9; Pro. 28:13.)

(Ill. You see, regardless of where the road of life has taken you, and regardless of the sins you may have committed, there is forgiveness and restoration in the Lord Jesus Christ! I sure am glad that He doesn't throw the clay away, Jer. 18:4.)

I. Why Bother With Religion?

II. Why Bother With Responsibility?


(In these next four verses, Paul deals with an objection raised by the Jews related to the issue of sin. He has just revealed to them that God is glorified through the forgiveness of sin. Therefore, some have reached the conclusion that they should sin more so that God can get more glory. Notice their line of thinking and the response of the wise Apostle.)

A. V. 5 Does God Condone My Sin? - The argument here goes like this, "Since God was glorified through the sin of David, (ref. Verse 4; Psa. 51:4), in that David's sin gave the Lord a chance to demonstrate both His justice and His grace, it stands to reason that David was helping the Lord out when he sinned. After all, God would have never gotten a change to show His justice or His grace if David hadn't sinned. Therefore, when I sin, I am really helping God out. Then, it is unfair for the Lord to judge men when I sin, if I am giving Him a chance to prove His justice and grace."

(Ill. This is a slick argument, but at the same time it is a sick argument, because it accuses God of using sin for His own advantage. The whole idea is one of promoting sin so that God would be glorified when He forgave. Even though this is an idea contrary to everything God is, people still live by this philosophy. They profess Jesus, and then they run out to sin. When judgment comes, they run back to God. They ask for forgiveness and testify that God has forgiven them. The church praises the Lord and the cycle begins again. We need for some people to make up their minds that they had rather just be steady for Jesus. I think God is far more glorified when a person gets saved, then lives for Jesus until the end of their lives. That is Gods ideal plan for each of us. Now, don't misunderstand me, God will for give you if you fall. However, He has equipped us with everything we need to prevent us from falling, 1 Cor. 10:13; Rom. 6:14.)

B. V. 6 God Condemns All Sin! - Again, Paul answers their argument by saying, "May it never be! If God winks at your sin, then He has no right to judge the world!" The idea here is that all sin will be judged by the Lord. Nobody gets out of this thing without having his sins judged by the Lord. There is a price on sin, and that price is death, Rom. 6:23. However, for those who have their faith in Jesus, our sins have already been judged and we are saved from the wrath of God, Rom. 5:9. My friend, just because you haven't been caught, or judged yet, don't get too confident! God knows what's in your life and He knows just when, where and how to take care of it. "Be not deceived, God is not mocked....."

C. V. 7-8a Does My Sin Exalt God? - Again, they try to justify their sins on the basis that God is glorified through the forgiveness of sin. The questions is, "If my sins exalt God, then why does God judge me? If forgiveness glorifies the Lord, then why not sin a bunch so that God can get a bunch of glory?" It goes without saying that this is a foolish question! However, we still see this kind of attitude in the church. This is a doctrine know as "antinomianism". It holds the idea that we can do as we please sin we are saved by grace. It says that morality and lifestyle doesn't matter, since we are saved by faith. Nothing could be farther from the truth!

(Ill. People will go through a time of sin in their lives and then come back to the Lord for forgiveness and they will testify that "it was the best thing that could have happened, because it brought them back to the Lord." Well, my friend, I don't want to offend you if you hold that philosophy, but that is just plain stupid! Would it not have been better for you to have not committed those sins to begin with? Would it have not been better for you to have walked faithfully with the Lord? Is not God more glorified by the life that proves the power of God is sufficient to keep that person out of sin? Even though God is exalted by the forgiveness of sin, He is never exalted by sin itself. In truth, sin in the lives of God's children can do irreparable harm in the lives of those around them. Yes, God was glorified when He forgave, but that sinner who followed your example and went to Hell...well, God didn't get any glory from that did He? You know those children who watch you live for the Lord, then for the world, then for the Lord, then for the world? Well, they will probably grow up to be just like you and how much glory will God get from that?)

D. V. 8b God Will Exempt No Sinner! - The last statement Paul makes is revealing! He simple says that those who hold this kind of philosophy of life will be damned and that they are simply getting what they deserve! Sin cannot glorify the Lord. He cannot condone sin. Since He is holy, God must judge sin, and since that is true, the sinner can rest assured that if he lives his life without a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, he will die and go to Hell. The Christian can rest assured that a life lived half in and half out will result in a life filled with the consequences of his foolish choices. The fact of the matter is that all sinners will be held accountable by the Lord, Eze. 18:4.

Conc: When a man is revealed to be a sinner, he can come up with some pretty creative way to try and justify his sins. Several years ago, the House of Representatives voted 426-0 to reveal the names of all past and present members who have bounced checks at the House bank, an act that one commentator likened to committing "mass political suicide."

They tell us that when the list was finally released it contained 355 names. Some of our elected officials evidently never bothered to balance their checkbooks. One wrote 972 bad checks; another wrote 716. The man who wrote 716 rubber checks is from the Chicago area. He held an indignant press conference at which he loudly proclaimed that since no public money was involved, it was nobody else's business. With an air of extreme anger, he proclaimed, "It's personal."

But he wasn't the best one. The best performer so far is a man named Charles Wilson from Texas. As I took notes, he seemed to be making five different excuses for his overdrawn checks.

1. "It's not a crime like child abuse." (Translation: "It's not so bad.")

2. "My people knew I was sloppy when they elected me." (Translation: "They knew I was stupid when they elected me.")

3. "If you've ever bounced a check, vote for me. If not, vote for my opponent." (Translation: "Everybody does it.")

4. "The system was all fouled up." (Translation: "It's not my fault.")

5. "It's no big deal." (Translation: "It's no big deal.")

Tonight, we need to stop trying to justify our sins and do exactly what the Lord Himself said to do with them. Simply, confess them, 1 John 1:9. The word "confess" is a word that means "to say the same thing about something." God says that my sins are wretched and filthy. He says that they harm His Kingdom and rob Him of His glory. He says that my sins hurt me in ways that I have never even thought about. He wants me to say the same thing about my sins that He is saying about them. He just wants me to come clean, and when I do, He has promised to make me clean.

Are there some here tonight who need to come and confess some sin to the Lord? Folks, being religious will not save your soul and it will not buy you favor with the Lord. The only thing that brings us near to Him is when we put our sins behind us. Do you need to work on some things in your life right now? If so, this altar is open for that purpose. You come as the Lord has already lead you to do.

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