Partial outline: FULL PDF HERE
Romans 3:23-28 (text v. 26) [Theme of Romans is SALVATION.]
The first 3 chapters of Romans establishes the fact that man is a sinner.
1. Man is a sinner by CONCEPTION (Ps. 51:5—“Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me”; Eph. 2:3—“…were by nature the children of wrath…”). Alligators, crocodiles, sea turtles are all hatched on dry land. After they hatch they immediately gravitate to water. The water appeals to their nature. Likewise, there is something about sin that appeals to our nature.
2. Man is a sinner by CHOICE (John 3:19). There is some point in every person’s life when they come to a crossroad and must make a choice between light or darkness. And without fail, at some point every person has chosen darkness.
3. Man is a sinner by CONDUCT (3:23). “Sin” is a term that originated in archery. It means to miss the “bull’s eye.” It doesn’t matter how close you get if you still miss it (Rom. 3:23 cf. James 2:10).
Isaiah 64:6 says, “all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags…” Lepers would bind up their putrefying sores with pieces of cloth. These rags would get filled with puss and rotting flesh and be discarded as rags. The best your and I can produce, as far as God is concerned, is nothing more than a stinking pile of putrid, rotten, vile, filthy rags.
Most word processors have a function called “justify text.” When the text is first typed, all the lines on the right margin are uneven. Some lines are longer than others. With the push of a button, the word processor automatically adjusts the space between the words so all the lines are the same length. The right margin is perfectly even and lined up, just as if they were never jagged in the first place. This is called justification.
Before I was saved, the lines of my life was totally out of line with God’s Law. But, when Jesus saved me, He aligned my life against the Law. Now, in the sight of God, the lines of my life are perfectly “in line” within the margins of God’s law, just as if they were never out of alignment in the first place. Hallelujah!
Three essential truths of justification:
I. God’s ESSENCE–God is JUST
A. We make much of the love of God—“God is love.” If it were not for the love of God, I would not be here.
B. BUT, God is also JUST and HOLY.
II. God’s ENIGMA–How could He Be the JUSTIFIER
A. God’s holiness demands a PAYMENT for sin (Rom. 6:23).
- God could not remain JUST and overlook sin.
- The payment for sin had to be a MAN—not a goat or bullock (Heb. 10:4). Why? Because we were not made sinners by a bull or goat. We were made sinners by a man (Rom. 5:12). Therefore, only a man could buy us back.
B. God’s holiness demands PERFECTION in the payment for sin.
C. God’s holiness demands PUNISHMENT. Sin must be punished. The penalty for sin had to be paid.