*Below is Pastor Andrew’s teaching outline from Sunday’s sermon, not a word for word manuscript. This is meant as aid in seeing the thought and direction of the sermon.
Self-Esteem & Confidence
The society we have created today in the west is one where pride and confidence are central.
We teach our children from a young age that they are special and that their happiness is all that matters
But what is it that makes them special…? Is there something that. So, we make a society where we have to appear special, appear confident
We as a society seek confidence over humility
Thus, social media and its lies are born:
Social media by its nature connects people, but it doesn’t at the end of the day tend to connect real people.
The people we create are lies of our selves
The best of us is put forward for the world to judge us as worthy of attention and acclaim
On twitter people create some of the most outlandish post to get followers to be heard
What is it that defines you, what is it that you bank you identify on,
Now maybe you are asking what this has to do with Romans.
In today’s text we dive into the reality that nothing of this life will make you eternally special.
All the acclaims and confidence you create in this world will be nothing before and eternal God.
For as Isaiah said I am a man if unclean lips form a people of unclean lips.
So, our text Begins:
Question 1: What about our righteousness?
Romans 3:27–28 ESV
Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith. For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law.
The Questions then that lay before us are the result of all that Paul has argued up to this point.
These three questions are the direct result of his declaration that all of humanity is under the curse of sin: from the worst of Gentile sinners to the Holiest of Jewish observer. There is no one apart from Christ who can stand before God and declare I have achieved salvation; I have done of my own merit all that God has required of me.
This idea of boasting may seem foreign to us, but this is what Paul has been arguing against with those who are pursuing righteousness through the Law. He is laying out for them that they cannot bring anything to the table when it comes to being justified before God.
A. It is Cast Aside
Paul’s own words play this thought out for us in Phil.
Philippians 3:2–9 ESV
Look out for the dogs, look out for the evildoers, look out for those who mutilate the flesh. For we are the circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh— though I myself have reason for confidence in the flesh also. If anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless. But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith—
Romans 3:27 Romans (PNTC)
If the cross has done all that is needed (Michel), if God has revealed in the Old Testament that human effort is futile (Cranfield), there is no place for man’s effort and accordingly for man’s extolling of his own effort. In any religion of law, the worshipper may legitimately feel satisfaction in his personal achievement, but this is a satisfaction that can lead to pride. For those saved by grace, however, that is impossible.
B. By Faith Alone our true Righteousness is Found
Here we see Martin Luther’s famous text come into view:
Romans 3:28 ESV
For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law.
In verse 28 Luther will add the tag alone (Much as Aquinas did before him)
Luther’s understanding of the text shaped the reformation and gave us one of our famous solas:
Also, what we see in this opening text is Paul appealing to their own understanding of God from the OT:
Jeremiah 9:23–24 ESV
Thus says the Lord: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord.”
Paul isn’t doing anything new or radical
Ryle States: Beside this faith nothing whatever is needed for a man’s justification. Beyond doubt, repentance, holiness, love, humility, prayerfulness, will always be seen in the justified man. But they do not in the smallest degree justify him in the sight of God. Nothing joins a man to Christ, —nothing justifies, but simple faith. “To him that worketh not, but believeth on Him that justified the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.” “We conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.” (Rom. 4:5; 3:28.)
Question 2: Whose God is God?
Romans 3:29–30 ESV
Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, since God is one—who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith.
Paul is proving that God is not the God of a single people:
He is not the God of the Jews to the exclusion of all others:
Not Universalism or a form of extreme Ecumenicalism:
God is not Allah, he is not the Hindu pantheon, He is not Gandhi, He is not the Buddha, he is not Baal. God is the God overall, but he is not the God worship by all.
Paul here is once again appealing to the Jewish understanding of God to prove His point:
Deuteronomy 6:4–9 ESV
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
The only distinction he seems to allude to is their experience of the faith comes through different means. (Hear what I am saying not what I am saying)
The faith is the same for both Jew and Greek, how they come to experience that faith though int heir time and place was different so to for us today it is different:
Ill: By & Through: We experience the faith differently seems to be the gist.
Jews-Had all the law and prophets They knew the faith but that did not mean they had the faith
Gentiles had no knowledge of these things and thus the coming to faith was a new endeavor:
I’ll use Adam and I as examples:
Me-Life in Christ from an early age
Adam-Came to faith in College
The faith we share is the same, the experience of God’s justification is the same, the only difference between or experiences is the proximity to the gospel we had in life.
-And as with this text Proximity is no guarantee of salvation in either direction
Question 3: What then of the Law?
Romans 3:31 ESV
Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law.
This is a theme Paul will bring up time and again. Those who are in Christ do not nullify the law, but rather uphold it in full.
When it comes to the truth of the law, we understand it is more than a set of pure religious ethical standards. The Law is more than moral precepts. It is the whole counsel of God pointing to Jesus and lived out in kind. In
Galatians Paul Puts it like this:
Galatians 3:24–29 ESV
So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.
What Paul is doing here as elsewhere is pointing out that those who are in Christ have no desire to tear down the law, but rather to point to the true fulfillment of it.
Paul in the first two questions doesn’t create new categories or new theology, but applies the teaching of the OT to the current situation the church found itself in.
And from this we see that:
We of our own accord in our own moral fortitude will fail, we know this. But in Christ it is fulfilled in full. Not just for the Jews but for all who would be heirs of Abraham.
Beginning next week in Chapter 4 this is exactly what Paul will unpack as he shows through Abraham and David that faith is the means of righteousness. The true law is being fulfilled in lived out through faith.
What then do we do with such a text:
First: We are reminded that our salvation and sanctification is not of us:
God is the source of our good works not our selves. We may be content with God’s work in us, but that contentment should never produce a sense of Selfish Pride as if you have achieved anything of your own merit.
Paul was often confident in the ministry God had given him and knew the work the Lord was doing. He never saw himself though as achieving anything apart from the Spirit of God who called him and sent him forth. The value of his ministry was connected directly to the work of God not his own merit.
Second: We don’t own God
Now by this I mean we of our own accord do not make decisions for God he is not an American deity. He does not work and function solely for the good of America or for Florida or for any one given region. His kingdom is not of this world, and is made up of people from every tribe, tongue, and nation, and he is the one who sets the standard of faith as the means of knowing him and living out the Gospel.
Thirdly: For those in Christ their whole lives are to His glory.
Those in Christ are not workings to ear salvation through a set of moral laws or ethical standards. They are those who have placed their faith in the one who has fulfilled the promises of God. By this we have the fullness of the law reveled and experienced, because we have Christ.
Everyone faces the same predicament regarding sin. There is no use for pride and boasting in exclusion from the world. There is no amount of covenant faithfulness to earn anyone a special position before God. There is only salvation by grace through faith (3:28)—salvation available to Jews and Gentiles alike. In 3:30 Paul provides a thematically loaded characterization of God, describing Him as the One who justifies sinners on the basis of faith alone, not circumcision or law-keeping.