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Week 97

September 16th, 2017
Under Condemnation
Romans 3:1-8
Then what’s the advantage of being a Jew? Is there any value in the ceremony of circumcision? Yes, there are great benefits! First of all, the Jews were entrusted with the whole revelation of God.

True, some of them were unfaithful; but just because they were unfaithful, does that mean God will be unfaithful? Of course not! Even if everyone else is a liar, God is true. As the Scriptures say about him, “You will be proved right in what you say, and you will win your case in court.”

“But,” some might say, “our sinfulness serves a good purpose, for it helps people see how righteous God is. Isn’t it unfair, then, for him to punish us?” (This is merely a human point of view.) Of course not! If God were not entirely fair, how would he be qualified to judge the world? “But,” someone might still argue, “how can God condemn me as a sinner if my dishonesty highlights his truthfulness and brings him more glory?” And some people even slander us by claiming that we say, “The more we sin, the better it is!” Those who say such things deserve to be condemned. (Romans 3:1-8)
What a depressing picture Paul paints! All of us—Gentiles, humanitarians, and religious people—are condemned by our own actions. Some may think they don’t have to worry about sin because (1) it’s God’s job to forgive; (2) God is so loving that he won’t judge us; (3) sin isn’t so bad—it teaches us valuable lessons, or (4) we need to stay in touch with the culture around us. It is far too easy to take God’s grace for granted. But God cannot overlook sin. The law, which God gave to show the way to live, holds up our evil deeds to public view.

Is there any hope for us? Yes, says Paul. The law condemns us, it is true, but the law is not the basis of our hope. God himself is. He, in his righteousness and wonderful love, offers us eternal life. We receive our salvation not through law but through faith in Jesus Christ. We cannot earn it; we accept it as a gift from our loving heavenly Father.
Though we’ve repented and accepted God’s grace, sometimes we feel condemned out of a false sense of guilt or because of someone’s condemning opinion of us. (For example, “You’ll never change!”) If you have an unexplained sense of condemnation or feel condemned because someone lashed out at you, pray about it. Accept God’s mercy.
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