MAN’S NEEDS AND GOD’S ANSWERS
ROMANS 3:19-26 PRINCETON CHRISTIAN CHURCH 17 OCTOBER 2021
Paul, as he writes to the Christians in Rome speaks of the fact that no man is righteous. All of mankind, whether Jews or Gentiles are under sin. And, when people are under sin, there is no fear of God in them as he points out in Romans 3:18.
As we look into Romans 3 this morning we will learn what sin is. We will also learn how man’s most glaring needs is, and how that need is met.
The first question we must answer is “What is sin?” The Bible uses several words to define and describe sin's nature. These are either negative or positive.
Negatively, sin is shortcomings, l mental or physical lapse in judgment or action, a slip, or a blunder. Also, it is seen as a failure to hit a designated mark or target. Then, it is pictured as an inward degree of badness. Or, a disposition that falls short of what is known as right and good.
And, then, positively, sin is transgression, trespassing beyond a stated boundary, lawlessness, and acts that violate justice. Sin is also a matter of doing – or not doing or an act of commission or omission.
Underlying both of those clusters of words is the assumption of an existence of a moral standard; for sin is either a failure to reach an ideal, or behavior that violated law and order. Verse 19 in Romans 3 tells us that “the whole world is held accountable to God. And, in verse 23 Paul says that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and that we are justified by the grace of God.
To further recognize man’s sinful nature look at Psalm 130:3 where we find that “If you, O god, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand?” 1 John 1:8 says: “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.”; daily the radical wrongness of man in every nation on earth.
Of course, they do not label it as sin – merely an event which catches our interest. That wrongness (sin) is not confined to one geographical area of the world. It is in every nation on earth. Sin is evident in our marriages and our family life; in the marketplace, in our schools, in all workplaces. Law and order are apparently not adequate to curtail it. We must have locks on our doors to attempt to deter someone of committing sin. We must have signed and witnessed contracts in our dealings with people to prevent one of the parties from violating an agreement.
So, what do we have as a result of all this? We have the revelation of sin confirmed in human experience.
George A Buttrick said, “We shall not waste time to argue that we need for repentance. If we do not sense that need, no argument will help us. Indeed, we are must of us too conscious of our own sins to dream that we have must right to talk to other people about theirs.”
Man’s most glaring need is some way to rid himself of the mess he has made of life; the relationships he has bungled, the hearts he has broken, and the lives he has damaged and defaced.
How is this need met? Through the gracious work of God in Jesus Christ as Savior, and it is an implication for life and behavior.
The very heart of the Gospel is that god has taken the initiative to make right man’s wrongs. How has God righted man’s wrongs? Romans 5:8 gives us one very important way – “But God demonstrated His love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Likewise, in 2 Corinthians 5:21 – “God made Him (Jesus) who had no sin to be sin for us. So that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.”
Here, then, is God’s gracious initiative, His unconditional love, being offered to rectify man’s radical wrongness; and we are told that it is ours for the accepting.
Now we may ask how God’s forgiveness meets man’s needs. How does it affect man’s sinful predicament? The benefits are multitude. We will look, now, at a few of these benefits.
1. Upon being forgiven, man enters into a new personal relationship with God in the person of Jesus Christ. Paul states It better than anyone else could for this reason we find in Galatians 2:20: “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.”
This new very personal relationship is characterized by a Spirit filled life, with the fruit of the Spirit as evidence of this new relationship.
God is no longer perceived as dealing with man on a basis of law and lawkeeping, but rather in terms of a father-son relationship. Christ has done for man what He could not do for Himself.
Forgiven, man now has come into a new and vital union with the Eternal and Living Christ.
2. God’s forgiveness provides both divine acceptance and consequently, the obligations and the ability to accept one another. No longer are we required to perform perfectly the law of the fathers to be acceptable to God. Now, in Christ, we are both forgiven and accepted.
Even where there are differences in people – free or slave, Jew or Gentile, black or white, male or female – the weak and the strong can now lovingly accept each other.
3. The recipient of the Gospel of forgiveness is characterized by an inward peace of soul which passes all understanding, as Paul teaches in Philippians 4:7 and Romans 5:1.
To that striving, restless, aching and divided heart comes God’s peace.
He settles the raging conflicts within and brings us to victory over sin. This peace, though, is more than stillness of the heart. It has an objective capacity to bring alienation and hostility to an end, and to make persons who were formerly enemies, brothers and sisters. God’s peace in Christ reconciles “us both to god in one body through the cross, thereby bring hostility to an end.
Forgiveness, through the graciousness of God, man is now at peace with God the Father, reconciled and at home (as was the Prodigal Son. So, the forgiven ones. With hostility banished and alienation washed away in the blood of the cross.
There is harmony sung when a sinner repents and experiences forgiveness, acceptance, and reconciliation by the Father.
4. Forgiveness produces a forgiving person.
When one experiences the genuine love demonstrated on Calvary, and knows that God in such love and mercy has forgiven and accepted him, he can then even in all of his own hurt and bitterness, extend the same forgiveness to another. Our prayer in that situation should be: “Father, forgive him/her/ Help me to forgive him/her, because of what you have done for me in Christ.”
5. The church, the body of Christ, exists as a fellowship of forgiven sinners, now made saints in the blood of the cross.
This is the unity of the church, the oneness made possible by a common experience of forgiveness.
Since God has forgiven and accepted me in His fellowship, how can I not forgive and accept another?
That new body of believers we read of in Acts were enjoying the apostles’ teaching and fellowship. The breaking of bread and prayers and we are told they had everything in common. That in-commonness might have referred to the community of goods, but it is obvious too that what they had in common was also the forgiveness of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Out of His eternal purposes and infinite love our Father God acted to grant us the greatest of all gifts --- the removal of all the barriers of sin through forgiveness, and our reconciliation to Himself.
Being inadequate to describe God’s great gift of love and forgiveness t us, even Paul groped for appropriate words. But, he stated it this way found in 2 Corinthians 9:15: “O, the depths of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God!...Thanks be to God for his unspeakable gift