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  • Romans Chapter Three

    Romans 3-21 Righteousnesss of God-pink

    Introduction to Chapter III of the Epistle to the Romans

    After having described the spiritual condition of the pagan human being in Chapter I and the spiritual condition of the religious Jew and the hypocrites in Chapter II Paul begins Chapter III

    Verses 1-8 continue to speak about the Jews and the privileges of being a Jew, the faithfulness of God to His promises and the righteous and just judgment of God. Paul after having spoken separately of the Gentiles and the Jews, now makes the point of the situation in regard to the human nature and unites Gentiles and Jews as he places them all in one category, they are ALL sinners and fall short of God’s glory.

    The rest of the Chapter is divided in the following way

    Verse 9 The Jew is not superior to the Gentile. Paul has already demonstrated this in the exposition of both preceding chapters, both the Gentiles (Pagans Chapter 1:18-32) as well as the Jews (Chapter 2) are under sin.

    Verses from 10 to 18 How God sees all of mankind, the Universality of sin- Fourteen Accusations of God against mankind. Total Corruption of man in Character-Conversation-Conduct

    The words that Paul uses are from the Old Testament Scriptures [Psalms 14:1-3] [Psalms 53:1-3] [Isaiah 59:7-8]

    Verses 19-20 The law condemns everybody, all are responsible to have transgressed God’s moral law. No one is justified before God by the works of the law, the law is the instrument God uses by which sin is known and the instrument with which mankind is condemned.

    Verses 21-31 The Gospel, God’s righteousness independent from the law is available for all people through faith in Jesus Christ, justification of God by faith for all, Jews and Gentiles. Jews and Gentiles are sinners and fallen short of God’s glory. No one can boast in the law, only faith in Christ through which one can obtain righteousness and justification. God is the God of the Jews as well as God of the Gentiles.

    Romans Chapter III Verses I e II

    1 What advantage then has the Jew, or what is the profit of circumcision? 2 Much in every way! Chiefly because to them were committed the oracles of God.

    For the Jews there is a certain privilege. Not that being a Jew was or is a fact of favoritism in itself, we had seen previously that God judges and will judge without partiality or favoritism.

    We have to admit that the subject of the Jew is a very long and complex subject to expose and we do not have the space here to enter deeply into the history of Israel, the Jew, etc.

    We need to understand however what Paul is saying in these two verses, that there is an advantage a privilege and a purpose as he says, in the circumcision. Why?

    Well, first of all we have to understand that the origin of Israel, of the Jews. They were born out of a people that originally was not circumcised, it was not yet a peculiar people. This is a people, a race originated and emerged from all the other nations by divine choice

    God chose a man, Abram and made him a father of many nations. Let us remember this fact, let’s pay close attention to the Bible, it is always God who chooses not man.

    Abram had his name changed to Abraham as he believed in the promises God made him and his descendants. The circumcision was the sign of the covenant, the pact God made between Himself and all those who would continue to have faith in the One and Only God and who would believe His promises Genesis 17:1-13, promises that would have included not only the Jews but elect from all the people of the world
    Genesis 12:1-3, John 3:16-17.

    Galatians 3:6-9 just as Abraham “believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” 7 Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham. 8 And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, “In you all the nations shall be blessed.” 9 So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham.

    In fact, God himself made these next declarations that help us understand better His grace and mercy to a people who did not deserve them, we understand the sovereignty of God upon His choices and His faithfulness regarding His promises.

    Paul will explain this in more detail in Chapters IX and XI of Romans.

    Deuteronomy 7:6-11 “For you are a holy people to the LORD your God; the LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples on the face of the earth. 7 The LORD did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any other people, for you were the least of all peoples; 8 but because the LORD loves you, and because He would keep the oath which He swore to your fathers, the LORD has brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you from the house of bondage, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. 9 Therefore know that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments; 10 and He repays those who hate Him to their face, to destroy them. He will not be slack with him who hates Him; He will repay him to his face.

    So it was, for grace, divine choice and no merit at all of this particular people, in fact quite the opposite, all the same God chose to entrust them with His revelations.

    Israel, the Jewish race is to this day in existence as a people, as a nation, in spite of the many attempts made to annihilate them, this has through the thousands of years demonstrated God’s faithfulness to His chosen people and has proven that God has maintained and will continue to keep all of His promises He made to this people.

    However this will occur after a great number of these people will undergo God’s severe judgment
    (2/3 of the people) but there will be a remnant (1/3 of the people) Jeremiah 30:4-11, Zechariah 13:7-9 that will obtain God’s salvation and all of God’s promises God made them, including the Palestinian Covenant, the covenant that includes all the promised land Romans 11:25-2.

    We have to understand at all costs that the institution of the church did not in any way annul God’s promises to Israel and did not exclude this nation from receiving the promised earthly Kingdom and land. All this will come to pass when the remnant of the nation will all convert in faith to Messiah Yeshua.

    This will all come to pass at the moment of Jesus’ second coming, see passages Zechariah 12:10; Zechariah 13:1-2; Zechariah 14:1-9

    This is also confirmed in the answer that Jesus gave His disciples before His ascension

    Acts 1: 6-7 Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority.

    There will be times and seasons for the restoration of the Kingdom to Israel, future times and seasons that God has put into place by His own authority.

    This answer Jesus gave them however is not ambiguous, it is a yes, a yes with a delay, this space of time, of waiting time is the period Paul describes in Romans 11:25-27.

    This parenthesis period in the redemptive history of Israel is the age of the church in which the Gentiles will be added into the Kingdom of God, then after the second advent of Jesus, He will himself restore the kingdom promised and the land to Israel, He will be the King, this time He will be accepted by His people and will sit and reign from David’s throne for 1000 years and will reign upon all nations of the earth and after that for eternity in the new earth.

    Psalms 89:34-37 My covenant I will not break, Nor alter the word that has gone out of My lips. 35 Once I have sworn by My holiness; I will not lie to David: 36 His seed shall endure forever, And his throne as the sun before Me; 37 It shall be established forever like the moon, Even like the faithful witness in the sky.”

    Luke 1:31-33

    Jesus also made the Jews a promise that will come to pass exactly how He said and it is confirmed by the prophecy we read in Zechariah.

    Matt 23:37-39 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! 38 See! Your house is left to you desolate; 39 for I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!’ “

    To this day Israel did not acclaimed and accepted Jesus as Messiah and this prophecy Jesus gave has to come to pass and it will,as well as all the true and real prophecies of God.

    So, getting back to what Paul was saying, what advantage is there of being a Jew? What profit has the circumcision?

    Much in every way! So says Paul, but much in the historical sense and because through the history of Israel and the promises and prophecies given by God to this nation we recognize and see God’s truthfulness and His faithfulness.

    In addition, the whole world is blessed through this nation that God chose, because God’s choice was that of wanting to reveal Himself trough this people, to bless all the nations of the world through this people and to have given ALL His word to the Jewish people, except two books, the Gospel according to Luke and the book of Acts who are written by a Greek namely Luke.

    So that the revelations and the promises of God and His word are 98% entrusted to the circumcision.

    Salvation has been provided and accomplished through a Jew in the flesh, Jesus Christ, the son of David of the tribe of Judah.

    John 4:22 You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews.

    So to belong to this people, this race would be of value, much, it is a privilege and an honor. However, it does not profit at all in the end without faith in Jesus Christ.

    The Jew has an honorable history and tradition and it is also a blessed one, but as Paul explained in Chapter II it is of no effect if it is not expressed in a new spiritual birth, the famous circumcision of the heart rather than the flesh, the regeneration that proceeds from God.

    However the advantages are these, if today in the church we have the written word of the living God, His revelations to us His church let’s not forget that God has gifted them to us through the circumcision. If today we can rejoice and we can glory in Jesus Christ and His salvation, let’s not forget that besides His deity, in the flesh God chose Him to be born a Jew.

    Let’s not despise this people, it would be a very grievous error and an affront to God to do so, to Him who chose and declared this people His chosen people and that He did not fully reject. In fact, this is exactly what Paul is waring us about not to do in Romans XI.

    Let’s pay close attention to the promise of God made to Abraham regarding Israel in

    Genesis 12:2-3 I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; And you shall be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

    Romans Chapter III Verses III-IV

    3 For what if some did not believe? Will their unbelief make the faithfulness of God without effect? 4 Certainly not! Indeed, let God be true but every man a liar. As it is written: “That You may be justified in Your words, And may overcome when You are judged.”

    Paul continues now in verse III to speak of the Jews, in fact making reference to them says a great and deep truth regarding God, Paul comments asking a question. A question that is the confirmation of the truthfulness and faithfulness of God.

    If in fact, he says some Jews, however we know that examining the history of this people the majority of them did not believe God, so if some then are unbelieving and unfaithful, will this unbelief make God’s faithfulness of no effect? Certainly not!

    Reading the Bible we do notice that the great unbelief and unfaithfulness of God’s people began immediately after the great deliverance of God from Egypt and this unbelief caused them to wander in the desert for 40 years.

    Their continuous unbelief demonstrated itself in idolatry and apostasy characterized the history of this people and their unbelief reached it’s most devastating climax when they refused Messiah Yeshua and the kingdom that God was offering them.

    The Biblical references would be too many so we will limit ourselves to look what is said of this subject by the author of the epistle to the Hebrews so that we will remain in this context and that the author uses many references of the OT Scriptures, see Hebrews 3:7-19 and Hebrews 4:1-11

    As a manner of fact after these very serious and alarming demonstrations of unbelief by the Jews, the answer to Paul’s question is Certainly not!

    Even so, God is always faithful to His promises and He fulfills what He says, because He Himself chooses a remnant by grace in accord with His faithfulness and truthfulness as well as His mercy and sovereignty, so that His promises come to pass Romans 9:27-29, Romans 11:1-7.

    God certainly makes use of people, however it is God Himself that brings to completion and fulfillment His promises, no one and nothing can ever thwart God’s will, no one and nothing can stop the project and design of God see also Philippians 2:13 in regard to man.

    Paul confirmed this also in Romans 9:27-33, Romans 11:1-12 and Romans 11:25-32.

    God is always faithful and truthful in spite of the unfaithfulness of some,

    2 Timothy 2:13 If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself.

    He will bring to pass everything He has purposed and planned in His benevolent design.

    So we see that the unbelief and unfaithfulness of some Jews, actually the majority of the Jewish people, has not at all annulled the faithfulness and truthfulness of God to the promises He made to the patriarchs of Israel through their history, specifically Abraham.

    God’s faithfulness and truthfulness in regard to the promises made He fulfilled and will through Jesus Christ and the Eternal Covenant, however the unbelief of the Jews and the rejection of the Messiah only delayed God’s promises to Israel as a nation and people, it did not annul them.

    Many unfortunately and erroneously interpret the church as the fulfillment of all of God’s promises and they believe that the actual nation or people of Israel today is only the church.

    It is not at all what the Scriptures teach us as far as Israel is concerned as well as the promised Kingdom and land. The church is not Israel and Israel is not the church. Israel as a people and nation yet has not been redeemed, the period that separates the fulfillment of all the promises God made to the nation Israel is the church age, which is the inclusion of the Gentiles in the Kingdom of God. In fact, this is the theme of the entire Chapter XI of Romans, let’s take a look at what a few verses tell us.

    Romans 11:25-29 For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.

    26 And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written:
    “The Deliverer will come out of Zion,
    And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob;
    27 For this is My covenant with them,
    When I take away their sins.”

    28 Concerning the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but concerning the election they are beloved for the sake of the fathers. 29 For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.

    The church for the Jews was a mystery, in other words something not present in the prophecies of the OT and only revealed by the Holy Spirit through the Apostles and prophets of the NT.

    Ephesians 3:3-9 how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already, 4 by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ), 5 which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets: 6 that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel, 7 of which I became a minister according to the gift of the grace of God given to me by the effective working of His power. 8 To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, 9 and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ;

    All the prophecies of the OT are given to Israel and not directly to the church. It s true that in the beginning the church was predominantly all Jewish, however we also see that in time it became more and more Gentile than Jewish.

    It is however evident that God has not finished with the Jewish people and has not rejected them completely, even as Jesus stated the time God has established will come Acts 1:6-7, the times and seasons in which God will fulfill ALL of which He has promised to Israel. All this as we did mention will occur only when Israel will convert as a people and nation and will accept the Messiah, this will happen at the return of Jesus Christ and not before, God has started to fulfill His promises but has not yet finished with Israel.
    Romans 11:11-15

    Psalms 89:34-37 My covenant I will not break, Nor alter the word that has gone out of My lips. 35 Once I have sworn by My holiness; I will not lie to David: 36 His seed shall endure forever, And his throne as the sun before Me; 37 It shall be established forever like the moon,
    Even like the faithful witness in the sky.”

    The redemption of Israel, the Kingdom promises was the hope that even the Apostles has in the beginning, the fulfillment of all of God’s promises to Israel. We find in fact this appeal to the nation in

    Acts 3:17-26 Yet now, brethren, I know that you did it in ignorance, as did also your rulers. 18 But those things which God foretold by the mouth of all His prophets, that the Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled. 19 Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, 20 and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before, 21 whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began. 22 For Moses truly said to the fathers, ‘The LORD your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your brethren. Him you shall hear in all things, whatever He says to you. 23’And it shall be that every soul who will not hear that Prophet shall be utterly destroyed from among the people.’ 24 Yes, and all the prophets, from Samuel and those who follow, as many as have spoken, have also foretold these days. 25 You are sons of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying to Abraham, ‘And in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed.’ 26 To you first, God, having raised up His Servant Jesus, sent Him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from your iniquities.”

    Unfortunately for them again there was unbelief and the times of refreshing from the presence of the Lord and the second coming of Jesus as described in verses 19-21 we just read did not occur at that time and still it did not occur so that the promises made to Israel are not fulfilled. However God is faithful and His zeal will accomplish the promises prophesies to His people. This future event we find promised also in

    Isaiah 9:6-7 For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of His government and peace There will be no end, Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, To order it and establish it with judgment and justice From that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.

    A time will come and a season in which God will purge Israel and will lead this people to salvation and the fulfillment of His promises, see also

    Revelation 7:3-8, here we are not talking about the church rather Israel, 144000 Jews, 12000 from each tribe of Israel will be called to serve the Lord and to evangelize the nation.

    However, before we go on to the next verses let’s stop here for a moment longer. I believe it is of vital importance for us to study awhile the faithfulness and truthfulness of God.

    This will hopefully help us obtain a more firm, rich, strong and deep faith. If we have doubts upon the faithfulness of God we will also have doubts in regard to everything else, we will doubt our position as children of God, we will have doubts about the assurance of our salvation and this will lead us to live a spiritual life that is an emotional roller coaster, a life that wavers between two opinions, between ine doubt and another without having certainty of much. This is not at all how God wants His children to live. Doubts about the faithfulness of God will lead a person into fear and anxiety, and these things are not of God.

    Scripture warns us in many instances that anxiety and fear are signs that our faith is weak and we are not confiding in God’s faithfulness, see and compare Matthew 6:25-34,Philippians 4:4-7,2 Timothy 1:7.

    If e are firm and certain in the love that God has for us, which includes His faithfulness, we will not fear.

    1 John 4:16-19 And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him. 17 Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. 19 We love Him because He first loved us.

    This passage explains to us that when we have known and believed the love that God has for us and therefore His faithfulness toward us, His love and faithfulness are made perfect in us, this means that we have confidence, assurance in God and of our justification in the day of judgment, that is what Scripture teaches us we will have, assurance before God.

    Why all this? In God’s love therefore there is no fear precisely because of His faithfulness toward them whom He elected to salvation, those whom He has regenerated, this because we can have assurance of our salvation and all that is included in it, the faithfulness of God in His Everlasting Covenant, in the promises made and that we have in Jesus Christ, for us, for them who are in Him and He in them.

    Romans 8:28-39 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. 29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. 31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? 33 Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written:

    “For Your sake we are killed all day long;
    We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”

    37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

    See also and compare to: John 6:37-40, John 10:27-29, John 17:2-, John 17:20-24, 1 John 1:7-9, 1 John 2:1.

    1 John 5:11-15 And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. 12 He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. 13 These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God. 14 Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.

    For this reason John says that if we still are fearful it is because we do not trust completely in the faithfulness of God, this is weak faith and for this we fear, because fear has to do with punishment and judgment. If we fear judgment it means that we do not rest firmly in the perfect love and faithfulness of God and we do not trust in the faithfulness of His promises.

    Therefore, God is faithful to all His promises and all that He says He will do He certainly does.

    Titus 1:1-3 Paul, a bond-servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s elect and the acknowledgment of the truth which accords with godliness, 2 in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began, 3 but has in due time manifested His word through preaching, which was committed to me according to the commandment of God our Savior;

    The theme of verse 4 is not only regarding the truthfulness of God and His faithfulness but also the accusation, the condemnation of God to man that he is a liar. Ouch! This is a great problem for man. Why?

    First of all because the word Paul uses is every man, which does not exclude anyone. Secondly because since every man is guilty of being a liar, the word of God confirms also, as we had already had occasion to see, that when a person transgresses only one commandment of God’s law, they become guilty of transgressing all of God’s law James 2:10.

    On this point alone God’s condemnation is more than just and righteous, which is in fact what Paul says going on and citing David in Psalms 51 in part of verse 4 which says Against You, You only, have I sinned, And done this evil in Your sight–That You may be found just when You speak,
    And blameless when You judge.

    In contrast to God man, every man, every woman is a liar. Human sinful nature renders mankind a liar, in fact we must remember for example that hypocrisy is a form of lying. That man is a liar by nature is evident from the very beginning of a human being’s life. Who has children knows that children lie. They lie not because someone teaches them to lie but becomes it comes natural for them to lie, this because as well as all other sins its source is a sinful human nature. This nature leads the children form that tender age to lie when confronted and requested them to say the truth. Who teaches them to lie? Their sinful nature, the nature of their father the devil.
    Now I know that some will come in defense of the children saying children are innocent and that accusing them of having the devil’s nature is to heavy of an accusation.

    Unfortunately it is such. Scripture confirms this fact in several places, in fact in Psalm 51 itself David says in the verse after the one we just read, verse 5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me.

    This is the sad reality, man is born a sinner and is the devil’s son until regenerated and adopted as child of God and justified by faith in Christ Jesus.

    Jesus described this way the sad reality of man’s condition,

    John 8:41-47 You do the deeds of your father.” Then they said to Him, “We were not born of fornication; we have one Father–God.” 42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and came from God; nor have I come of Myself, but He sent Me. 43 Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word. 44 You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it. 45 But because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me. 46 Which of you convicts Me of sin? And if I tell the truth, why do you not believe Me? 47 He who is of God hears God’s words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God.”

    Paul elsewhere explained it this way in

    Ephesians 2:1-3 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, 2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, 3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.

    By human nature therefore, mankind is child of God’s wrath and not child of God, child of the devil as Scripture describes the human being that is not regenerated by God. This is the condition of every man and every man is a liar and if a person says they never lied is already a liar.
    God is truth and so Jesus declares in John 14:6 I am the way, the truth and the life John 18:37.

    God cannot ever lie because He cannot deny Himself and He being the pure and absolute truth see in fact
    2 Timothy 2:13.

    God is truth and His Spirit is the Spirit of truth who guides us into all the truth of God John 14:17,
    John 15:26, John 16:13.

    God is truth and His word is truth John 1:14,John 8:31-36,John 17:17.

    The Lord in Scripture has compared His truthfulness with man’s lies. When God says He will do something He will.

    Numbers 23:19 “God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?

    See and compare 1 Samuel 15:29, Psalms 110:4, Isaiah 14:24, Isaiah 46:11,Hebrews 6:16-20.

    it is God’s desire and joy that His children walk in His truth, in fact we cannot know nor practice God’s love if we do not walk in and know His truth.

    2 John 1-4 THE ELDER, To the elect lady and her children, whom I love in truth, and not only I, but also all those who have known the truth, 2 because of the truth which abides in us and will be with us forever: 3 Grace, mercy, and peace will be with you from God the Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love. 4 I rejoiced greatly that I have found some of your children walking in truth, as we received commandment from the Father.

    Here we find a very important aspect which is important to mention. This subject is tied to the truthfulness, faithfulness and love of God which we had had occasion to look at before in 1 John 4:16-18.

    In 2 John as we have just read we see that truth and love of God are inseparable, see also

    Ephesians 4:13-15 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head–Christ–

    God’s love, biblical love is always attached to God’s truth, never without, the two are inseparable.

    God’s love rejoices in the truth and not in error, not in lying, not in hypocrisy, not in iniquity, not in the false love of the world, which is not love at all, the world which embraces and tolerates everything and everybody

    1 Corinthians 13:6.

    To divorce the truth of the word of God from His love and ours is a very serious error that the church is making and it is something that is ruining the church and the life of many believers, even entire churches.

    Them who say that sound and true doctrine is not important, it does not count and that only love counts in the church, do not know nor understand what true love really is, God’s love and therefore they cannot love in truth.

    Even Paul prayed that the love of the believers would abound more and more in what? Feelings? No!

    Philippians 1:8-11 And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, 10 that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, 11 being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

    Our love then must abound more and more in knowledge and discernment. Where do we get those from? Sound doctrine according to the truth of God’s word. Hebrews 5:13-14 This so that we may approve the things that are excellent and be sincere (there is truth) without offense and filled with fruits of righteousness. All this would be necessary then to fulfill what Paul later wrote in Philippians 2:1-5. That’s how we are to love.

    As believers we must walk in the truth of God and only this way we will be able to better exhibit God’s true love, biblical love that is always coherent with and containing the truth of God.

    As believers we must speak the truth in love and for love, to glorify God, we cannot ever lie. Lying is never acceptable and it is ALWAYS SIN, it does not matter how small the lie might be or how “innocent” a person might think it is, it never is. Lying comes from the nature of Satan and not from God’s nature, God is truth and His nature is truth.

    A child of God has to mirror, has to have as fruit the divine nature of God 2 Peter 1:3-4.

    A lie can never be told even when one thinks that with it a greater evil can be avoided. God NEVER justifies lying.

    Lies always have negative consequences because they are a sin and sin always has negative consequences. Therefore we cannot lie believing to resolve or avoid a greater evil, tragedy or situation by lying.

    God requires truth from His children and to trust Him with the consequences of our obedience to His word in every case.

    See the consequences of lies said by believers in the Bible, they had negative consequences and bad testimony Genesis 12:11-20; Genesis 20:2-7; Genesis 26:7-11;1 Samuel 21:2; 1 Samuel 22:22;
    Matthew 26:69-75, these are some examples.

    We can also recall the deceit, the lie of Jacob that caused a rift between his brother Esau and him and the Edomites that because of the enmity between the two remained bitter enemies of Israel throughout its history.

    We can also recall the lies of the unbelievers and the negative consequences of their lies, such as the Amalekite that lied to David telling him he killed Saul, while it was not so, thinking he would get a reward from David, rather the whole thing backfired upon him and David actually had him executed 2 Samuel 1:1-16.

    Believers however often lie in many ways many of those times without consciously realizing it.

    For instance, to say we will do something and then not do it is lying Matthew 21:28-31.

    People who are constantly by habit late without having previously given ample reason and warning of their delay, they are liars. Being late is a lie, because if we make an agreement to be in such a place at a certain time and then we are not, this is not keeping our word and the hour agreed upon.

    This by the way is missing in respect toward the other person who has to wait we take our own sweet time and if it is done to a brother or sister in Christ is is a demonstration of lack of love, the love of God by the way.

    Certainly once in a while we cannot avoid being late because of circumstances beyond our control, but the person who is always late by habit no matter what, this person lives in a way that dishonors God and lies. This sin is also called in the Bible being untrustworthy , which is a sin listed in Romans 1:31, it really is in the category of unfaithfulness but it is also a lie.

    Punctuality is part of the divine nature of God, because God is trustworthy and is always on time, never late, when He promised to do something at an appointed time He does it, He is truthful and He always keeps His word.

    Therefore, we must be like our Heavenly Father, is we have His nature, and it is for this reason that Jesus taught us that the word of the believer must be true and binding as an oath, in other words, not to swear or take an oath, but that our yes be yes and our no be no. That our yes’ and our no’s be binding as an oath, this is what Jesus was communicating in Matthew 5:33-37.

    When a believer has said he or she will do something then, that word for God is binding as an oath and that is why Scripture retains a person responsible of righteous behavior when they keep their word at all costs, even if it becomes uncomfortable, even if it requires sacrifice, even to their own hurt.

    Psalms 15:1-5 LORD, who may abide in Your tabernacle? Who may dwell in Your holy hill?
    2 He who walks uprightly, And works righteousness, And speaks the truth in his heart;
    3 He who does not backbite with his tongue, Nor does evil to his neighbor, Nor does he take up a reproach against his friend; 4 In whose eyes a vile person is despised, But he honors those who fear the LORD; He who swears to his own hurt and does not change; 5 He who does not put out his money at usury, Nor does he take a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things shall never be moved.

    It’s better not to say anything and then perhaps do what is in our heart than say to a person we will do something and then not do it. As we have seen this is lying.

    So, God is truthful and faithful and man instead is a liar and unfaithful, untrustworthy by nature. When God judges mankind He judges according to His absolute truth and absolute justice of His character. The truth of God is one of the principles of divine judgment, this we have already studied in Chapter 2.

    Therefore, God is just and righteous when He judges, He does not judge with any favoritism, He judges exactly as it is right to judge, in God there is no injustice, while mankind is filled with injustice and it is also for this that man often accuses God of injustice and does not at all comprehend the justice and righteousness of God.

    Romans Chapter III Verses V to VIII

    5 But if our unrighteousness demonstrates the righteousness of God, what shall we say? Is God unjust who inflicts wrath? (I speak as a man.) 6 Certainly not! For then how will God judge the world? 7 For if the truth of God has increased through my lie to His glory, why am I also still judged as a sinner? 8 And why not say, “Let us do evil that good may come”?–as we are slanderously reported and as some affirm that we say. Their condemnation is just.

    In fact, in these four verses Paul is confirming that the human being accuses God of being unjust in the way with which He judges. How many times have we heard sinners, but even immature, carnal and biblically ignorant believers either accusing God of being unjust when He exercises His righteous wrath and judgment, or accusing those who support and teach biblically, God’s righteous judgment, this they do saying that God does not judge sending afflictions, woes, sicknesses, natural disasters, wars, plagues and even death.

    We truly do not understand what Bible they are reading or what God they worship or serve. These then are the famous ones who are always talking about the love of God and His grace, but then they believe that you can lose your salvation if you are a real born again believer. This would be a serious contradiction. Imagine, a God who severely judges His own children and casts them in eternal damnation away from His presence if they sin, while He first forgives, has mercy and does not judge the sinners in the world even if in the end He sends them to hell anyway. This cannot be! Certainly they do not know the true living God revealed in Scripture if they think theses things. In fact Paul is really saying this in this passage we are studying.

    It is in fact with justice and righteousness that God judges the world of its sins, otherwise how would we explain and where would we put the book of Revelation? See also what we studied in regard to
    Romans 1:18.

    It is in fact man’s unrighteousness and man’s lies that demonstrate and increase God’s righteousness and truthfulness. It is also man’s unrighteousness that demonstrates the love and mercy of God. All this is because God is righteous and holy but is also love and mercy, therefore God has found the way to reconcile His holiness and righteousness and justice with His love, mercy and grace, it is for this reason, even as Paul says ahead there were some people who accused the Apostles of promoting sinfulness so that God could increase His righteousness and grace in man’s unrighteousness. However, the Apostles never promoted sin in any way, quite the opposite.

    God instead has reconciled His justice, righteousness and holiness with His love, mercy and grace sending and offering Jesus, His only Begotten Son as a sacrifice for the forgiveness of the sins of the elect to salvation or faith, in other words those who believe in Him, so that His holiness and justice and righteousness could be satisfied and placed upon Jesus, so that always through Him He could fulfill all that satisfied Gods’ justice and holiness, see also Romans 3:21-26 and Romans 8:1-4. In this way God could demonstrate His love, grace and mercy without having to put aside His holiness, righteousness and justice 2 Corinthians 5:14-21.

    There is a beautiful description of this also in a OT passage

    Psalm 85:10-11 Mercy and truth have met together; Righteousness and peace have kissed. 11 Truth shall spring out of the earth, And righteousness shall look down from heaven.

    Jesus was judged by God, the just for the unjust, so that God’s judgment and wrath was poured out upon Him who has paid in full the price of sin and unrighteousness of them who put their faith in Him for the forgiveness and the justification of their sins 1 Peter 3:18

    As a manner of fact Paul in verse 5 says, in a parenthesis, that he is speaking in the way of man. As we said, so sinful mankind reasons, as well as believers who are biblically ignorant and carnal. Mankind justifies itself accusing God of being unjust in His judgment and His ways.

    Unfortunately this is the way it is, I found myself so many times having to try to reason with such people, even if then it becomes impossible to really reason with such people, people who stubbornly want to pass judgment upon God or those who live with the illusion of defending God from the accusation of being unjust, while instead they create themselves an unjust God, a God created in their own image and likeness, instead of recognizing Him as He is truly revealed in the Scriptures.

    This is man’s problem, man wants to judge God and How He does things, while it is God who rightly and justly judges mankind for their injustice and unrighteousness. Man want to feel comfortable and safe creating thus a God in their image and likeness instead of recognizing that He created them in His image and likeness, it is man who has to recognize Him as He is, as He has revealed to be in Scripture, it is man who has to submit to the lordship of God, not God to man’s.

    However God does not need that anybody defend Him against the accusation of being unjust, because those who truly know Him, know He is always just in everything.

    That which should touch our heart if anything is this, it is not just and right that the Lord Jesus Christ, the just, the only just and righteous man, had to receive upon Himself God’s wrath to forgive and justify us, the unjust and unrighteous. God’s justice is always righteous, God is just in His judgments, We need to be trusting in this as Abraham was.

    Genesis 18:25 Far be it from You to do such a thing as this, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous should be as the wicked; far be it from You! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?”

    Yes He will!

    In Adam all who are born naturally, physically are responsible for their sinful nature given them by the rebellion of which Adam is responsible
    Romans 3:23, Romans 5:12, in addition every human being is also individually responsible for the choices and decision they make.

    Sinners, God has abandoned Romans 1:18-32 to express their own “free will” so to speak, in fact, they are not at all free to choose rather complete slaves to sin as the word of God teaches us, they are not free but slaves

    John 8:34-36.

    The free will of the sinner is in fact to make decisions only based upon how man can decide and wants to decide, in other words in accord with the dictates of their own sinful nature and to behave and live in constant rebellion to God.

    We can only bee set free from the slavery of sin when God regenerates us and gives us His divine nature to truly be able to choose and to have the strength and the desire to choose to obey His word, this is because He gives us the grace to do it. Jesus truly frees us, this is having again true free will.

    Compare the following passages in regard to this John 8:34-36, 2 Corinthians 3:17 , Galatians 5:1 ,
    Galatians 5:13, Ephesians 3:12, James 1:25 , 1 Peter 2:16.

    God in fact does not at all violate, in most cases, the decisions and choices of those who stubbornly continue to choose to be rebellious to Him, in other words those whom He has not elected to salvation.
    After all the condition and the destination of all humanity is left to itself would be justly eternal condemnation and damnation.

    In this case God exercises His choice to make a sinner continue on the path, after all already chosen by every human being, in other words the way that leads to eternal perdition Matthew 7:13-14 or to intervene in other cases and Himself choose to save a certain number of unjust sinners, otherwise, if He did not intervene directly in such a way with His grace and power ALL and I repeat ALL human beings would perish eternally and justly by the way.

    After all, the fact is that the sinner, cannot but also does not want to believe and accept God is left to decide for himself. Therefore to them is given by God the responsibility of not wanting to believe and is therefore justly condemned.

    Believe me, God does not condemn anyone who has not already expressed the desire to reject Him and by consequence be condemned.

    No “righteous person” will be condemned Romans 5:1-11,Romans 8:1-2, as we will see in some verses ahead as Paul and the word of God tell us, there is no one who is righteous in the world, no, not even one, so let’s stop accusing God of being unjust when He judges and sends people to hell.
    God is therefore acquitted of being unjust because He permits, without violating the free will and the choices of the non elect to salvation, to continue to live exactly as he oer she desires and consequently God will judge them justly.

    God would not condemn any person who already has not chosen their destiny. All this is done to express all the more His glory, justice, righteousness, grace and mercy Romans 9:10-23.

    However, for those of you who will want to continue to believe in the sinners free will and that accuse God of being unjust because by His mercy He chooses to intervene and save a number of human beings and not others, that after all if left to their own decisions would be certainly damned as the others, for you who insist in believing in an unjust God, so you say, because He permits evil to exist in the world, I will give you a word of advice, yet not I, I will let the word of God stimulate your mind and heart inviting you to really know how the LORD truly operates and reveals Himself to be in His word. God is the God He reveals Himself to be in His holy and true word, He is not the God who we want to create in our mind because it suits us to create Him that way, as we want Him to be. This is truly and dangerously playing on the doorstep of idolatry, BEWARE!

    Romans 9:10-23 And not only this, but when Rebecca also had conceived by one man, even by our father Isaac 11(for the children not yet being born, nor having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works but of Him who calls), 12 it was said to her, “The older shall serve the younger.” 13 As it is written, “Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated.” 14 What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? Certainly not! 15 For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion.” 16 So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth.” 18 Therefore He has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He hardens. 19 You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who has resisted His will?” 20 But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, “Why have you made me like this?” 21 Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor? 22 What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, 23 and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory,

    What Paul is saying in this passage is more than clear for them who want to hear and understand, it will not be only for those who will not want to accept it and will twist its meaning to their own destruction, this is the key of that which Paul is communicating to us in this passage of Romans III is the same as what IX says in verses 14-21.

    What arrogance does man have who accuses God of being unjust because they do not like how He does things. Man is unjust and limited in his or her understanding of how God does things, woe to those who contend with their maker, see also Isaiah 45:9-10.

    Concluding in verse VIII of Romans III Paul declares that there were some then, as there are some today, that reasoned humanly with their sinful mind and who unjustly would accuse the Apostles of teaching a doctrine the would support sinning to make God’s grace and glory increase.

    There were others as well who taught a false doctrine, not the Apostles, in which they encouraged people to support and practice Antinomianism

    Antinomia means anti (against) nomos (law) in other words these were the people who taught that there was total liberation from God’s law to the point a person could sin and live in sinful behavior and lifestyle, because such was saved by God’s grace and had license to sin and live as a pagan, to practice sin and be saved the same.

    However, God’s word does not at all teach this, in fact the opposite, see Romans 6:15-23;
    1 Corinthians 6:9-10;1 Corinthians 6:15-20;1 John 1:6-10;1 John 2:3-6;1 John 3:7-10.

    To take away any doubt that Paul or any other true Apostle of Christ taught such a lie Paul himself declared

    Romans 6:1-2 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?

    Rom 6:15-16 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not! 16 Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?

    We have seen it previously, true liberty for the believer is to be freed from the slavery of sin and now to be free to serve and obey the will and word of God, but absolutely not free to live in a sinful lifestyle and in religion, this would be still being a slave of sin and not having liberty at all Romans 6:2-23, it also means not being genuinely regenerated and therefore saved.

    Absolutely no Apostle in any way nor the word of God as we have seen ever taught this heresy.

    However, all this does not mean that a true believer is perfectly obedient to God’s word and will and are not without sin. I do not believe that I need to assure you that the born again believer still sins, I think that if we are honest with ourselves we can have confirmation of this fact in our life…however, 1 John 2:1-2, thanks be to God we have forgiveness in Christ.

    There are passages in Scripture as there are many after all, that appear to have contradictory meanings. In reality there is absolutely no contradiction in Scripture. All the authors in their writings are in perfect harmony and unity of thought and doctrine. The problem is another, the problem is when there are, and as there always have been and always will be, those that in order to justify their carnal desires and their pride, take Scripture out of context and they twist it to their own destruction and condemnation, Peter in fact in his second epistle confirmed the same condemnation that Paul mentions these false believers are worthy of receiving

    2 Peter 3:15-16 2 and account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation–as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, 16 as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures.

    These people spiritually ignorant are the ones of whom Paul is talking about in this verse VIII of Romans III in fact, their condemnation is just.
    Both those who unjustly accuse the Apostles of teaching that sinning is alright, of teaching that is brings glory to God, and those who teach themselves that the believer can live in sin, their condemnation is just and right.

    Romans Chapter III Verses from IX to XX

    9 What then? Are we better than they? Not at all. For we have previously charged both Jews and Greeks that they are all under sin. 10 As it is written: “There is none righteous, no, not one; 11 There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God. 12 They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one.” 13 “Their throat is an open tomb; With their tongues they have practiced deceit”; “The poison of asps is under their lips”; 14 “Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness.” 15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood; 16 Destruction and misery are in their ways; 17 And the way of peace they have not known.” 18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” 19 Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. 20 Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

    Romans 3:9 What then? Are we better than they? Not at all. For we have previously charged both Jews and Greeks that they are all under sin.

    At this point Paul concludes his discourse regarding the Jews. This discourse had begun in chapter II and continued in the first eight verses of chapter III

    Paul has finally reached the apex of his discourse regarding the entire context begun in Romans 1:18-32 and chapter II.

    Paul’s conclusions in his treatise regarding the sins of the pagans and the Jews are now arriving to a conclusion. Paul’s conclusions in regard are united now in this entire passage that begins with verse 9

    The universality of the total corruption that the sinful human nature causes in every person is therefore without ethnic distinction. Arriving at this conclusion Paul unites the sinful condition of the Jew and the Gentile of which he had spoken of separately in the previous chapters.

    Paul continues now in this verse from the view point of the Jews to whom he had been addressing in the first verses of this chapter and to whom he explained the privilege and honor that it was being a Jew in God’s plan regarding His revelations, promises and blessings that God had given to this people.

    Now Paul changes gears and readjusts the Jewish mentality asking a rhetorical questions to which he answers. This question made to the Jews is this one, can we (Jews) consider ourselves better, superior to other human beings because we are Jewish?

    Based upon what he said previously in chapter II till now, the answer could only be one, not at all!

    In fact Paul himself says that in the previous chapters he had already demonstrated that bot Jews and Gentiles are all under sin. Now Paul confirms in the following verses even in more detail what it means for the Jew and the Gentile to be under sin.

    Paul now considers the universality of the sinful and totally corrupt nature of every human being born in this world, without any distinction.

    Verses from 10-18 The way God sees mankind-Universality of Sin.

    Romans 3:10-12 The Human Being’s Completely Corrupted Character

    Fourteen Indictments of God

    Total Corruption of Mankind in Character-Conversation and Conduct

     

    God’s Accusations Taken from Old Testament Scriptures Psalms 14:1-3; Psalms 53:1-3; Isaiah 59:7-8.

    Man’s Corrupt Character

    God’s First Accusation

     

    Romans 3:10 As it is written: “There is none righteous, no, not one;

    As we said in the introduction of this section of Scripture the universality of the total corruption and sinfulness is extended to every human being is declared by God through words inspired by the Holy Spirit through the authors of Psalms 14-53 and Isaiah 59

    These declarations are fourteen indictments against mankind, they are God’s accusations of mankind not of man against man. It is good that we pay close attention to these indictments as they not only demonstrate the universality of the sinful nature but also the total and complete corruption of mankind, his complete inability to want to know and obey God. We can also say that what Paul had written in Romans 1:18-32 is no longer exclusive for the pagans rather it is now declared upon all humanity, Jews included.

    Paul through the Holy Spirit of God begins with the first accusation that God places upon mankind, this right away reveals that man is in the deepest trouble. God declares that no one is righteous before Him.

    To render this concept even more desperate so there can be no shadow of any doubt in man’s mind, God uses a double negative, saying non one is righteous, no, not one!

    We know, or should, that only one righteous man existed from His birth to His death, a man who did not have a sinful nature and still lives today. This one and only righteous man is Jesus our Lord. We will see ahead how much this fact is of extreme importance for man.

    Because of this indictment we should, we have to understand that God considers every single human being unrighteous and deserving of His just and righteous wrath and judgment, let’s remember how Paul began in

    Romans 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,

    Therefore if every man is unrighteous and does not practice any form or any quantity of righteousness sufficient to be considered righteous and instead practices unrighteousness, it means that, based on what the word of God tells us in Romans 1:18, God’s wrath is rightly and justly revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of man. This also means that the entire human race without the exclusion of any person is being considered unrighteous by God and are under the wrath of God.

    OT Scriptures give us ample proof and confirmation that this accusation is true. For example, even if later on he was found to be of no utility at all and of no comfort at all for Job, through his comments and later also accused by God, however, Eliphaz in the midst of all said and described perfectly the human condition in

    Job 15:14-16 “What is man, that he could be pure? And he who is born of a woman, that he could be righteous? 15 If God puts no trust in His saints, And the heavens are not pure in His sight, 16 How much less man, who is abominable and filthy, Who drinks iniquity like water!

    1 Kings 8:46 “When they sin against You for there is no one who does not sin, and You become angry with them and deliver them to the enemy, and they take them captive to the land of the enemy, far or near;

    However, this fact that no one is righteous, not even one, does not only prove the universality of unrighteousness, it also proves that by nature man is unrighteous. This has to make us arrive to the understanding that the nature of man is entirely and completely corrupt and unable to produce sufficient justice to be considered a factor upon which God can give salvation and or in some way justify man.

    Salvation of which justification is a part is given by God’s grace through faith and both are a gift from God. Let’s take the faith that leads to salvation, which, as Scripture teaches us, justifies us. If this faith is something that mankind has capacity to exercise through his own free will it would mean that in man exists something that naturally can be considered righteous by God therefore God has to reward faith with justification and salvation. This would be salvation by works because even the faith would in this case have to be considered a human work since it is generated by man’s will.

    However, faith is a gift and work of God and justification is therefore by God.

    In fact as Eliphaz and the rest Scripture teach us, man is abominable and corrupt and unrighteous, how can we then even think that innate in man is anything that has the capacity to generate faith that can justify?

    The Bible brings us to that old familiar passage that often we have already seen and that we will often come across to prove that is incurable, desperately sick.

    Jeremiah 17:9-10 “The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it? 10 “I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give to each man according to his ways, According to the results of his deeds.

    Man can deceive himself into thinking he has something God can retain righteous in himself, but God instead tells us that man’s heart deceives and is desperately sick, incurable, terminally ill.

    So if this is so, and it is, what does man need so that God may retain man righteous? This question becomes more complicated when we read the next verses and as we see more and more that mankind is so corrupt and unable to do any good and to seek God and His righteousness.

    All of sinful man’s works of righteousness he or she attempts to do are nothing but dirty rags before God
    Isaiah 64:6 But we are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousness are like filthy rags; We all fade as a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, Have taken us away.

    This condition of total and complete corruption is due to the fact that spiritually mankind is dead. For this reason mankind does not need to be cured, in fact man’s heart is terminally ill, desperately wicked, man needs to be made alive, to be resurrected from spiritual death and to receive a new nature and heart.

    Ephesians 2:1-6 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, 2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, 3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. 4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,

    This passage is very clear, all men are spiritually dead in their sinful nature. A dead person cannot believe nor can it be righteous in any way, A dead person is a complete slave to his or her condition and unable by themselves to produce any thing, especially something that can please God and can be considered worthy of justification.

    In fact Paul says that because of this corrupt nature man is a child of wrath, not child of God, rather child of Satan, this is what Paul is saying in verse 2 of the passage in Ephesians, children of God’s wrath verse 3

    This passage also teaches us that it is God who makes us alive when we still are dead verse 1, it is God who by His love and mercy made us alive together with Christ, when we were dead, that is why it is only by grace we have been saved.

    Many believe that the human beings because created by God is God’s child. It is not at all like this. The human being is God’s creature who because of the sinfulness that is in his or her nature is, as even Paul describes without doubts, child of the devil Ephesians 2:2-3 and alienated, separated from the life of God, see also Ephesians 4:18. Jesus also said this in

    John 8:41-47 You do the deeds of your father.” Then they said to Him, “We were not born of fornication; we have one Father–God.” 42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and came from God; nor have I come of Myself, but He sent Me. 43 Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word. 44 You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it. 45 But because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me. 46 Which of you convicts Me of sin? And if I tell the truth, why do you not believe Me? 47 He who is of God hears God’s words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God.”

    This is exactly the conduct of all those who are not born from above, from God, Jesus makes the contrast between the two and exposes the differences.

    Children of God are those who operate according to the Spirit of God, those who are born again of the Spirit of God, those who are in Christ and are justified and adopted to be children of God, those who hear, listen and obey God’s word John 1:12-13; John 18:37.

    All human beings by their nature are unrighteous and are sinners and fall short of the glory of God, this condemns every person to unrighteousness
    Romans 3:23.

    How is it that no one is righteous? The seduction and deception of Satan’s temptation led Adam and Eve, our universal parents to rebellion, to disobedience Genesis 3. They disobeyed a direct commandment of God, the one not to eat the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil Genesis 2:16-17.

    God however, in accordance with the holy and wise counsel of His will permitted them without approving their rebellion, of freely disobey Him

    This was also allowed to be because God chose to use this episode for His glory. God has provided transforming evil into good, placing into evidence His justice, righteousness and holiness as well as His grace, love and mercy. Attributes that without sin could not have been made evident.

    Because of their own rebellion Adam and Eve fell from their holy and righteous nature and were separated from communion with God and became immediately alienated from His spiritual life, meaning they became spiritually dead and completely corrupted in their physical and spiritual nature Romans 1:18-32;
    Romans 3:10-19; Romans 5:12-15 ; Ephesians 2:1-3 ; Ephesians 4:1 ; Colossians 2:13.

    Because of all this they lost their real free will, from this time on mankind’s free will did not exist any longer as the human being in the complete corruption of his nature has become slave of sin John 8:34-35 and only desirous of gratifying the works of his or her flesh, in other words, to sin.

    Adam and Eve being the root of the human race transmitted genetically and spiritually their guilt and sin and these are now imputed and present in all subsequent generations, in other words, the total corruption of the human race, sin and death.

    From this original and complete corruption man is rendered completely unable to do good according to the character and the law of God, which is what God demands. Man is opposed to do good ans completely bent on doing evil Genesis 6:5; Jeremiah 17:9-10.

    From his character to his conversation to his conduct, man is completely corrupt and has the constant and complete tendency to want to do evil. For this reason mankind in his corrupt nature does not have the desire, the will, the strength, the power nor any ability or spiritual condition with which seek, find and accept God and His salvation, and does not have anything that God retains worthy of redemption or for which God finds worth to justify.

    This corrupt and evil nature remains present in the flesh, the body even after being born again, even after the regeneration of a person with a new heart, forgiven and justified, this carnal sinful nature remains alive and resident in the natural body of the person Romans 7:1-25.

    This way the inner man or the spiritual man is renewed while the old carnal man continues to degenerate and die because of sin 2 Corinthians 4:16.

    This is why God’s grace is still necessary for the forgiveness and the sanctification in the life of the believer John 13:10; Romans 8:31-34; 1 John 1:9;1 John 2:1-2.

    To the true born again believer, in other words the one regenerated, true free will is restored, now the believer has the strength and desires to do God’s will as he can also disobey it because of a body that is not yet redeemed and that still has the human sinful nature present, that nature that wars against the spiritual man Galatians 5:17.

    Every sin, from the original one of Adam and Eve to every one committed by every man are transgressions and rebellion to the holy and righteous law and character of God and are contrary to them Romans 6:23;
    1 John 3:4; 1 John 5:17; James 2:10.

    Such sins in the human nature cause the continuous increase of guilt in the sinner, whom is always by nature child of the wrath of God Ephesians 2:1-3 which wrath is justly and rightly manifested upon all unrighteousness and injustice of man that suppresses the truth of God with lies and injustice
    Romans 1:18-32.

    Although there are sins that God considers more or less serious and some which are even an abomination to Him Deuteronomy 18:10-12; Leviticus 18:22 ; Proverbs 6:16-19 , all sins however are transgressions and rebellion to God’s holy and righteous law James 2:10 ; 1 John 3:4 and His holy and righteous character and for this reason the wages of sin is death Romans 6:23 and that all have sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God Romans 3:23, so that there is no one that is righteous, no, not even one.

    God’s Second Accusation

     

    Romans 3:11a There is none who understands;

    Once again God declares that there is no one who understands. Here as well is the elimination of any possibility that there is any person that can understand, but understand what?

    It’s obvious that we are not talking of intelligence as intellectual capacity or education. Obviously there are many very intelligent people who are excellent in learning and understanding intellectually. In fact, more or less every human being has levels of intellectual capacity and intelligence, after all God has given to man intellect, which is a sign that we are created in His image and likeness, see the study in chapter I.

    So it is also obvious that what God is declaring here is not that non one understands nothing.

    So we must ask ourselves what does God mean? There is no one who understands what?
    The word in the Greek text used is the verb “sunioon” In Greek this verb means to comprehend putting together . This means that the human being corrupted by sin is not able to comprehend and to put together in his being information of a specific kind. If man has the ability to learn and comprehend certain types of information, if he or she has the intelligence, it therefore means that they understand some kind of information, which is it they cannot put together and comprehend?

    God has a specific thing in mind here. The natural man does not have the capability or ability to understand the things of God, the true spiritual truths.

    They cannot put together the truths of God, they cannot! That’s why they cannot understand the Bible, they cannot out together the truths of God, the pieces of the spiritual puzzle of God’s revelations. They cannot comprehend them and put them together. That is why it breaks your heart to see so called believers also who live so carnally that they also cannot put together the truths of God’s word. This does preoccupy me, it should preoccupy us in the church, why do professing Christians struggle putting together spiritual truths of God? Are they even born again? Any way, definitely the sinner, the natural man, cannot put together and comprehend the things of God.

    No one understands what God would desire they understood, in fact, what He demands to be understood. The sinner, the natural man who is corrupted by sin cannot know or understand God nor the things of God.

    This was already established in a way also in the study of Romans 1:18-32.

    We remember, I hope, in that passage man seemed not to want to comprehend the revelation of God’s existence and His attributes, by his choice and in fact this is true.

    It is also true that man cannot, is unable as well as not willing to understand the things of God because he is not spiritually able to do it. So one would say if man is not able it is then not his fault, right? So why does God consider him guilty?

    Well, we had already established that man was not able of understanding spiritual things because he or she are spiritually dead and is not able also because he does not want to comprehend them as well. There is the guilt and inability that are inherited through the sinful nature and also the fact theta the natural man is corrupted by sin and is slave of sin and loves to sin and to practice the things that are contrary to the law and character of God.

    Scripture teaches us that the knowledge of the LORD is that which God wants man to have and it is really the only type of knowledge that counts in life. It is also true that the natural man who is corrupted cannot arrive to this knowledge by himself and cannot comprehend the things of God or know God with the natural mind.

    1 Corinthians 2:11-15 For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. 13 These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15 But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one.

    Paul confirms that God’s truths cannot be understood if not by the Spirit of God. In fact these are the things that them who receive the Spirit of God begin to know and desire to know, these are not things that can be received or be known by the teaching of human and worldly knowledge, they are only and exclusively taught by the Spirit of God through the word of God.

    In fact God’s word teaches us that the natural man, the man who is corrupted by sin and without the Spirit of God does not receive the things of God, they are foolishness to them. Why? They cannot understand them because they are only understood spiritually. Jesus Himself confirms that them who do not belong to God cannot comprehend God’s word because they have the nature of Satan which impedes them to understand, they are blind they cannot see God’s truth 2 Corinthians 4:3-4.

    John 8:43-47 Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word. 44 You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it. 45 But because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me. 46 Which of you convicts Me of sin? And if I tell the truth, why do you not believe Me? 47 He who is of God hears God’s words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God.”

    Once again the words of Jesus are telling us that the man who does not have the divine nature does not belong to God, not only, because of this they cannot comprehend the things of God. Why? Because they are children of the devil and his desires they want to do, they do not have the Spirit of God that can help them understand the things of God. Only the Spirit of God can guide in the comprehension of the word of God and only they who are born again by God’s Spirit have this capacity.

    John 16:13 However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.

    1 John 2:20-21 But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things. 21 I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and that no lie is of the truth

    1 John 2:27 But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him.

    Only God gives man this kind of knowledge and wisdom, only God can teach a man spiritually, in such a way that a person cannot even believe in God unless he is taught, guided, and made to comprehend by God Himself, see Matthew 16:16-17 and compare with John 6:45 .

    It is obvious then that there is a human and worldly knowledge as well as a spiritual one. Human knowledge may have its place in life and it may even have a certain value that is not really inestimable nor is it essential. The knowledge of God and His spiritual knowledge has the preeminence on all knowledge and has an inestimable value that has no equal, it is essential.

    In fact, this is what Paul says regarding the knowledge and the wisdom of the world as he compares it with the spiritual one, God’s, in

    1 Corinthians 1:17-25 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect. 18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, And bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.” 20 Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. 22 For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; 23 but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

    This is the problem of the world. All the wisdom and the knowledge it contains, from the world standpoint cannot in any way lead anyone to know God. The world’s problem is just this, all of it’s philosophy, science and intellectual material is all foolishness compared to having the knowledge and wisdom that really counts, knowing God and His ways. God tells us in His word how essential it is the knowledge of Him and His ways.

    Hosea 4:6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being priest for Me; Because you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.

    Jeremiah 4:22 “For My people are foolish, They have not known Me. They are silly children, And they have no understanding. They are wise to do evil, But to do good they have no knowledge.”

    Of what knowledge is God speaking here? Education? Philosophy? Science? NO! He is speaking of the knowledge of Him and His ways.

    In fact, those who do not have knowledge of God, as we have had chances to see already, is a natural man, who cannot comprehend the things of God, and is a man or woman without the Spirit of God. This condition of spiritual death leads a person to be an expert in doing evil
    and to do good they have no knowledge. Not knowing God and His way is not knowing good and how to practice it.

    Proverbs 1:7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, But fools despise wisdom and instruction.

    Knowing God is what is necessary, not human knowledge nor the things of this world. There are many people who are intellectually superior to others, who are super-educated, but in the end they are fools because they despise the true and real source of true knowledge, knowing God and true wisdom and instruction, God’s ways, His word. As we did see previously, these profess to be wise but in reality they are fools Romans 1:19-22.

    Jeremiah 9:23-24 Thus says the LORD: “Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, Let not the mighty man glory in his might, Nor let the rich man glory in his riches; 24 But let him who glories glory in this, That he understands and knows Me, That I am the LORD, exercising loving-kindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth. For in these I delight,” says the LORD.

    This is the knowledge of which the natural man is completely devoid of. In fact, this knowledge is knowing the LORD, when we know Him, we recognize we are sinners, impure, corrupt and unrighteous before Him and the conviction of our condition of spiritual bankruptcy leads us to know the need we have to be changed. This knowledge can only be given to a person that receives the regeneration through the Holy Spirit of God. This is Jesus’ discourse with Nicodemus in John 3 and it is also confirmed in

    John 16:6-11 Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper (Holy Spirit) will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. 8 And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9 of sin, because they do not believe in Me; 10 of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; 11 of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.

    So the bad news for mankind are these, God accuses man that no one is righteous and that non one understands, knows and comprehends God and His word, and the bad news just keep pouring down on mankind.

    God’s Third Accusation

     

    Romans 3:11b There is none who seeks after God.

    Ouch! This is very bad news, not only for everybody in general, it is even worse news for the proponents of the doctrine of the sinners’ free will.

    God so far Has declared that no one is righteous and just, no one understands God and His ways, now no one seeks after God.

    This has to make us reflect, there is no man, no woman that has a desire to seek after God.

    Psalms 10:4 The wicked in his proud countenance does not seek God; God is in none of his thoughts.

    If this is true and it is, what to say to all those who declare that God rewards with salvation those who seek Him?

    In fact, there are some Scriptures that apparently seem to say that it is possible for man to seek God. Yes, even though there are some, the greater majority of Scripture instead teaches us that it is God who seeks the lost and not the lost who seek God.

    To confirm that Scripture indeed teaches that it is not man who seeks after God rather God who seeks man to bring him-her to salvation we need to begin to examine a whole thread that is pretty long but essential to have the right knowledge of what Scripture really teaches in regard to salvation and render this subject much clearer than many make it to be.

    Finding God is the first essential step to obtain salvation. So, if this is so, and it is, and no one seeks after God who can find Him?

    Now some will say that God now has made the way to find Him because He sent His only begotten Son into the world to save those who believe in Him. That’s how you are able now to seek after God.

    Well, this is true, however, it does not at all confirm that it is man to seek after God, and it does not mean that God attracts people to Christ in a general sense and then He leaves them to their own free will decision, to “choose” Christ and God or to remain in unbelief.

    If we are really honest with ourselves and with what the totality of Scripture really teaches, we will see that it is not absolutely like that.

    Scripture teaches several essential truths so that we can understand that it is not man who chooses God, because man is incapable to seek God and does not want to seek God. We just finished studying that there is no one who can or wants to understand God and His things , how can man then be able or have the desire to seek after God?

    First if all, why does God in Scripture compare us with sheep? Let’s begin here. Why does Jesus also make this comparison in John 10 ? What is He trying to teach us? What does all this have to do for example with John 6 ? Or what does all this have to do with seeking after God?

    Well, the fact that no one seeks after God is a very serious accusation. In man then, as we have established and are establishing, there is no innate ability nor any desire to seek God. This is very serious, because without God in their life mankind is inevitably condemned.

    Scripture is clear as to why we are compared with sheep and by the way, lost sheep Isaiah 53:6;
    Matthew 18:12-14; 1 Peter 2:25.

    Even David the shepherd for excellence declares that the LORD is his shepherd Psalms 23:1 and so he is also a sheep of God’s flock. David even declares that as a sheep he gets lost and he recognizes that is is God who seeks Him out

    Psalms 119:176 I have gone astray like a lost sheep; Seek Your servant, For I do not forget Your commandments.

    There is no doubt it’s the shepherd that goes to seek the lost sheep not the sheep who seek the shepherd. Sheep are only able to do one thing, get lost and stay lost. However, that it is God who seeks the lost sheep is a concept well evidenced in God’s word.

    Let’s begin with an important and well known passage

    Ezekiel 34:11-16 For thus says the Lord GOD: “Indeed I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out. 12 As a shepherd seeks out his flock on the day he is among his scattered sheep, so will I seek out My sheep and deliver them from all the places where they were scattered on a cloudy and dark day. 13 And I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land; I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, in the valleys and in all the inhabited places of the country. 14 I will feed them in good pasture, and their fold shall be on the high mountains of Israel. There they shall lie down in a good fold and feed in rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. 15 I will feed My flock, and I will make them lie down,” says the Lord GOD. 16 I will seek what was lost and bring back what was driven away, bind up the broken and strengthen what was sick; but I will destroy the fat and the strong, and feed them in judgment.”

    God is the good shepherd and He is the One who goes to seek His lost sheep, it is God Himself who says I will feed My flock, and I will make them lie down,” says the Lord GOD. I will seek what was lost and bring back what was driven away, bind up the broken and strengthen what was sick

    Now some will say that this is a prophecy regarding Israel, this is a promise that is only for them because in the context God speaks of Israel.

    In part this is true, the context here is Israel of which God speaks. This prophecy however has two fulfillments in mind, one regarding Israel at the end of the ages, the other toward the church made up of Jews and Gentiles. In fact the second part of this prophecy begins to clarify this concept of NT fulfillment.

    Ezekiel 34:22-24 therefore I will save My flock, and they shall no longer be a prey; and I will judge between sheep and sheep. 23 I will establish one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them–My servant David. He shall feed them and be their shepherd. 24 And I, the LORD, will be their God, and My servant David a prince among them; I, the LORD, have spoken.

    What does this prophecy tells us? Who is the shepherd in question? David? To comprehend this Scripture better we must search the Scriptures. At this point in time David the king is dead. Are we speaking then about a dead king David resurrected from the dead? A fulfillment in the distant future, in other words in the Millennial Kingdom might even be the right interpretation. However, there is a Shepherd who we can call David, in fact the NT Scripture gives us the answer to this prophecy.

    There is the first part of the fulfillment, toward Israel found again in

    Ezekiel 34:30-31 Thus they shall know that I, the LORD their God, am with them, and that they, the house of Israel, are My people,” says the Lord GOD.’ ” 31 “You are My flock, the flock of My pasture; you are men, and I am your God,” says the Lord GOD.’ “

    Watch this now, in the NT this fulfillment is revealed in full, God in the mean time is the Shepherd who shepherds the flock, the Shepherd who seeks them, who lead them back to Himself, so who is this David? The answer is found in the beginning of the first part of this fulfillment for Israel and the Gentiles

    Luke 1:30-33 Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS. 32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. 33 And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.”

    Jesus is the David, the Shepherd of the sheep of God, God Himself, who seeks the lost sheep and brings them back to the pen and who shepherds them, feeds them and protects them Isaiah 40:11; John 10:1-30.

    So now as we see these Scriptures, both OT and NT a question arises. If God seeks His sheep, it precludes the fact that there is s particular selection of who His sheep really are. However, it is evident that His sheep is not only Israel, this is made evident in

    John 10:14-16 I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. 15 As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep (Jews and Gentiles). 16 And other sheep I have (Gentiles) which are not of this fold (Israel); them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice (see John 6:45); and there will be one flock and one shepherd.

    So if we examine this passage closely Jesus is confirming several things in what He is saying

    The sheep in question although lost are already of God’s property, lost but preordained and these ONLY God goes to seek out to bring them in the fold, they are His, He lays down His life for HIS sheep.

    This totally annihilates the doctrine of those who do not believe in the doctrine of election or predestination, the fact is that the lost sheep are decisively of God’s property even before they are found and brought to the fold. He lays down His life for those who are already HIS sheep.

    What we find in verses 14-15 is all about knowing, Jesus is the good shepherd and He knows His sheep, the sheep recognize and know Jesus. Jesus’ knowledge of His sheep is so intimate that the sheep are known by and will know Jesus as Jesus is known and knows the Father, see also

    2 Timothy 2:19 Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.”

    All this is because the sheep are foreknown and preordained or elected, chosen by the Father and given as a gift to the Son, they belong already to the Father who then gives them to Jesus. Jesus then lays down His life, in other words He died to save His sheep only, This confirms and is confirmed by many Scriptures and one as well, the goats of Matthew 25 are those who do not belong to Him and those for whom He did not die.

    Verse 16 of John10 confirms that God has other sheep who belong to Jesus they are not from this fold, what fold us He talking about? Israel.

    Jesus Himself declares that He is the one who must go and bring them in the fold, the Gentile sheep and together with the Jewish sheep they will form one fold with one shepherd, the church and later the Kingdom, Jesus is that shepherd and the One we started to see in Ezekiel 34.

    Even in a parable Jesus describes that He is the good shepherd of the flock, and He asks a question in regard to His listeners, this parable precludes that Jesus is speaking of Himself as He was the shepherd and protagonist in this parable

    Luke 15:1-7 Then all the tax collectors and the sinners drew near to Him to hear Him. 2 And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.” 3 So He spoke this parable to them, saying: 4 What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? 5 And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 6 And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’ 7 I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance.

    It’s obvious that Jesus is talking about Himself in this parable as the accusations were made against Him, so it is also obvious that He is the one who goes to seek the lost sheep, in other passages Jesus declared

    Luke 19:9-10 And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham; 10 for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

    No doubt He still seeks out and saves that which is lost, His lost sheep.

    There is another passage that uses a different terminology but explains the same concept calling the lost sheep to seek and save, the children of God scattered throughout the world.

    John 11:50-52 nor do you consider that it is expedient for us that one man should die for the people, and not that the whole nation should perish.” 51 Now this he did not say on his own authority; but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, (Israel) 52 and not for that nation only, but also that He would gather together in one the children of God who were scattered abroad.(Gentiles and Jews).

    So it becomes clearer and clearer that the sheep of which God speaks of are lost but all that we have read leads to the only conclusion there is, God seeks His sheep, they are already His, foreknown by Him and already considered His children within the redemption plan of God

    These are the facts, no one seeks after God, and it is also confirmed by Jesus in John 6. This chapter is very, very important to know and we will see it again often within the study of Romans.

    The first thing we must establish of John 6 is this, almost the entire chapter speaks of one context only, salvation and how we obtain it, this is the context.

    We have established that in the Bible God symbolically associates man to sheep. Even more specifically lost sheep that already belong to God’s flock even before they are found, even more they are already called children of God scattered abroad, God does not go seeking after to save the goats as they do not belong to Him. God also calls the goats to repentance but they are not elected or chosen to believe and receive salvation.

    Matthew 22:14 “For many are called, but few are chosen.”

    It is also evident that God as the good Shepherd in the person of Jesus Christ goes and seeks after, gathers together and leads the lost sheep into His sheep pen, all this represents salvation and that is is God who seeks His lost sheep.

    In addition we established that in God’s eyes and mind, belonging to His flock is already preordained by Him, in other words He knows His sheep and He knows which ones belong to Him.

    Why does God know them beforehand, even before they are found?

    In God’s mind and in His benevolent design these sheep already belong to Him because it is He who chose them to be His Ephesians1:4-14

    Without getting in too deep in the doctrine of predestination or election, which we will study in more detail ahead in this study, we must touch however upon this doctrine for it is so intrinsically tied into what we are studying, in other words that there is no one who seeks after God.

    We will also see that this doctrine of election comes to the surface so many times in Scripture that it is impossible to deny its existence and the fact that both Jesus as well as the Apostles and the true church through out the ages has always taught this doctrine. It is Evangelical doctrine and of the Reformed church.

    Those who detest such doctrine fail to understand God’s benevolent design and they do not know God’s true character as well as the Scriptures.

    OK let’s see what John 6 really teaches us in regard to the fact that there is no one who seeks after God. We will see what Jesus is teaching us to see whether it is man who seeks and chooses God or God who seeks and chooses men.

    All this will indicate that the lost sheep are sought out by God and belong to Him and only those who belong to Him are chosen and not only they are saved by God but they permanently belong to Him without possibility of getting permanently lost anymore

    Let’s begin here in

    John 6:28-30 Then they said to Him, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?” 29 Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.”

    The very first thing this passage indicates to us is what leads to salvation is faith, right? So Jesus begins telling us that the only work a person can do to be saved is believe in Him as Lord and Savior.

    However, Jesus does not stop here, He continues and He tells His audience some very important things regarding this faith, or this work of faith, who is it who truly believes and how this work occurs.

    John 6:36-37 But I said to you that you have seen Me and yet do not believe. 37 All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out.

    Jesus is making some very important declarations here, first of all He accuses of unbelief those who were following Him and were seemingly curious to know what to do. Then He explains why they do not believe in Him, because, only those that the Father gives to Him go to Him and these, He will by no means cast out.

    This is very interesting because it really sheds a new light upon many passages of Scripture such as
    John 15:5-6 just to mention one, that people use to teach that a real born again believer can fall from God’s grace and lose his or her salvation, let’s remember however that Scripture never contradicts itself. If Jesus declares that those whom the Father gives Him He will by no means cast out it means just that.

    This in confirmed in other Scriptures, Jesus’ priestly prayer for example

    John 17:1-3 Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, 2 as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him. 3 And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.

    In fact, as Jesus confirms this fact even more in the following verses of John 6

    John 6:39-40 This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. 40 And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”

    These passages leave no doubts, it is God’s will that ALL those whom He has given to Jesus, in other words all His lost sheep, those who belong to the flock of God, are found and none of them are ever lost again, they are raised up at the last day.

    All of those who come to know Jesus and so believe in Him have eternal life , will not be lost again , and will be raised up at the last day, and they can only know Jesus for who He is because the Father enables them.

    I do not believe that one can try to make these passages mean anything else. Once again the emphasis is on the fact that those who go to Jesus have been given to Him by the Father’s will. Let us remember the faithfulness and truthfulness of God, of His promises, if Jesus said that this is the will of the Father that He would not lose any one He gave Him but that He would raise them up on the last day, that the will of God is all who come to know Jesus and believe in Him may have eternal life and be raised on the last day, I do not think that Jesus, God, would promise something that He would not keep.

    Jesus continues

    John 6:43-45 Jesus therefore answered and said to them, “Do not murmur among yourselves. 44 No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. 45 It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me.

    Compare this passage with Matthew 16:16-17, because that is exactly what Jesus is telling Peter, the Father is the one from which Peter heard and was instructed from so that he could go to Jesus with the faith God gave Him. Yes, Peter was already regenerated by God, for in order to believe one must be made spiritually alive, see in regard to this last statement John 3:5-8 compare it with John 6:63-65.

    These are the passages that completely confirm what Jesus is saying until now regarding who it is that believes and receives salvation and that confirms that no one seeks after God on their own , one goes to Jesus only if the Father draws them, literally drags them to Jesus.

    This together with the rest of John 6 excludes completely that it is man who has the free will to choose or reject God.

    In fact, the word used in verse 44 in the translations draws is not the best word that describes the Greek word used by John.

    The word used is the word “ helkùsee” from the verb helkuo which literally means to drag with force .

    This verse has its root in the word haireomai which means to take for oneself, to prefer.

    When a person is dragged it precludes that this is done with a certain force by the one who drags and that there is also the possibility that he who is dragged may try to resist for a time, until completely overtaken by the strength of the one who is dragging they surrender.

    In this case we can very well interpret that the Calvinist term irresistible grace is not exclusively descriptive as many believe, that it is a gentle and sweet attraction that a person cannot resist to respond too, but that instead more often it is s forceful dragging of God that cannot be resisted by him who is chosen by God, because if God has decided to save no one can and in the end no one will want to resist God’s will.

    I believe that the majority of people who have become born again have wrestled with God for quite a while before surrendering to His will. God can be very persuasive in dragging us to Jesus. This would confirm even more that there can be no one that seeks after God because God has to drag us to Christ, He teaches us, He is persuasive and brings us to the brink of our destruction, He destroys our pride and then He makes us alive, faith in Christ is then activated by His grace all this is done, not by anything we have done or can do, that’s what happened to Jacob Genesis 32:24-30.

    This is all the more confirmed by Jesus’ declaration in verse 44, NO ONE CAN go to Him, no one has the ability, merit, or desire to seek after God and believe UNLESS the Father draws or drags them to Jesus.

    Paul is the perfect example of this in how he was converted, God chose Him by His grace, He zapped him with His grace and power and He saved him and justified him and sent him to be probably the most powerful worker of the Gospel. Paul did not really do anything, God did it and He did it forcefully and persuasively Acts 9:1-19.

    It is God who powerfully and forcefully persuades men to go to Jesus and it is the Father that enables men to believe, otherwise why would Jesus say, not I, that NO ONE CAN BELIEVE in JESUS UNLESS IT IS GRANTED to them by the Father?

    John 6:63-66 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life. 64 But there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who would betray Him. 65 And He said, “Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father.” 66 From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more. Compare with 1 John 2:19

    Jesus now brings the subject to the level of what he has previously explained to Nicodemus in John 3, in other words how does that which Jesus described until now comes to pass. How is it that one believes? What happens to those that are dragged by God to Jesus? How is it that a person is enabled by God to believe in Jesus?

    Only when God operated by His Spirit and gives spiritual life to a person then that person has the ability to believe in Jesus Christ. This is the new birth. Practically here Jesus says that the Spirit gives the necessary life to them who are chosen by God to believe and go to Him, we must be born again to be able to have faith that saves.

    It is also obvious that those who are not, are those who do not believe, because once again man by himself does not seek after God and therefore does not believe in Him, which gives us the immediate confirmation that if it is not given by the Father to go to Jesus and follow Him a person cannot truly believe. Those who try to follow Jesus and are not born again, in other words who have not exercised true faith, for them following Jesus will become impossible, it becomes uncomfortable difficult to the point of falling away and they are those who stop following Him.

    Apparently these persons stop believing but in reality they never believed because it was not granted them by the Father.

    This brings to the proper interpretation of the parable of the sower and other parables in Matthew 13, these we will look and discuss in more detail when we will discuss the doctrine of election.

    Finally Jesus puts the cherry on the cake by saying

    John 6:67-71 Then Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also want to go away?” 68 But Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 70 Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you, the twelve, and one of you is a devil?” 71 He spoke of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, for it was he who would betray Him, being one of the twelve.

    At this point I would like to specify that the way some people interpret this specific passage is a violation of the context of almost the entire chapter 6 of John and all that Jesus said until now.

    It’s clear that Jesus is answering to what Peter has declared in verses 68-69, Peter has spoken in behalf of the twelve including Judas Iscariot, Jesus however clarifies immediately some things.

    Jesus is not at all saying that He had chosen the twelve only for service. This is the interpretation that the promoters of the free will doctrine teach and it is erroneous. Almost the entire chapter has to do with the context of faith and salvation, this is the context of John 6.

    Up to this point we have seen and hopefully understood that no one seeks after God unless God Himself wants it. It is God who chooses to send people to Jesus, God who grants faith and now Jesus continues in the context of faith and salvation because Peter declared faith in Jesus and faith is what is necessary for salvation. Jesus explains very plainly as He always does, that it was He who chose them based upon the Father’s will and the fact that it was the Father who gave them to Him , Yet, one of them was declared a devil.

    This confirms all the more together with many other passages that we will examine as well, that Judas, in spite of them who teach that He was a true believer who then fell from grace, in reality never was a true believer but was chosen by God Himself to be the one who would have betrayed Christ.

    First of all God would never call one of His children a devil, in addition let us not forget what Jesus said before, all those of who the Father gives Him will NOT BE LOST but will BE RAISED IN THE LAST DAY see also John 10:28-30.

    Confirmed by Scripture Judas was lost and so according to the context of these passages we have been looking at he was not one that was given to Jesus by the Father in the sense of salvation.

    See also

    John 17:12 While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your name. Those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled.

    This declaration Jesus makes is more than clear. We cannot make the word of God say what we want. It is more than clear in the complete context of Scripture in regard and of this particular passage, it is Jesus who keeps and protects those whom the Father gives Him and none of them will be lost except those who are not His and this is exactly the same exact context of John 6 .

    It is also evident that within the same context Judas has perished although he was also chosen by God, but he was chosen for another purpose, not chosen to have faith that saves, this should give us more clarity in regard to the subject of falling from grace or loosing one’s salvation. Judas never entered into the true flock of God, Judas was a goat in the sheep pen of God, he was not elected to salvation, he was chosen for a particular work, Satan’s work, in fact Jesus does not hold back calling him a devil, in addition He calls Judas the son of perdition, title used only one other time in Scripture in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 as a title for the Antichrist.

    Judas was chosen to do God’s bidding but to be used by Satan to do it, so that the Scripture might be fulfilled. Compare the sovereignty of God in His choices even those which many say are not controlled by God Himself, God has complete sovereignty over everything and everyone see also John 19:11, Acts 1:16-17, Acts 2:23.

    If there is any doubt in regard see the passage that speaks about God’s sovereign control over every thing, that is found in Romans 9, even pharaoh in Moses’ times just like Judas was chosen by God for God’s purpose although he was not part of those who would be elect to God’s grace.

    Romans 9:14-20 What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? Certainly not! 15 For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion.” 16 So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth.” 18 Therefore He has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He hardens. 19 You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who has resisted His will?” 20 But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, “Why have you made me like this?”

    In conclusion we have spent a significant amount of time in a small fraction of verse 11 of Romans 3, however it was a lesson that was needed to demonstrate without shadow of a doubt that the word of God is clear regarding the facts that there is no one that seeks after God.

    God is the One who seeks that which is lost but that which belongs to Him by His choice. After all there is always a distinction in the word of God between the true and the false believers and of examples there are so many, we will have occasion to see them together in the future, God willing.

    God’s Fourth Accusation

     

    Romans 3:12a They are all gone out of the way

    It is fitting that as we described beforehand, of God compares us to sheep and if no one who is lost seeks after God, then it is fitting that all like sheep have gone astray, out of God’s way.

    I would like to introduce two Scriptures to begin the study of this verse

    Matthew 7:13-14 “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. 14 Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.

    also

    Isaiah 53:6 All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.

    Let’s examine first Matthew 7:13-14

    Yes, indeed this is confirmed in Scripture, there are essentially only two ways, roads, man can travel upon, one is the way of the world that leads to destruction, eternal damnation, the other way is God’s way, which is God Himself, that leads to eternal life.

    This also confirms that the human being is lost, gone astray, he travels on the wrong road according to God. Mankind is not on the right way that leads to God and life.

    This is also confirmation that the lost sheep have also gone astray, but the difference is that, the others God does not seek and leaves them lost, God goes to seek and to bring to Himself and save His own lost sheep and He brings them on the right path, the right road, the right way that leads to God Himself.

    After all Jesus did declare in

    John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

    This declaration is interesting because in the light of what we have learned in the previous verse, Jesus said that NO ONE could go to Him unless it was granted by the Father.

    Now He declares that no one can go to the Father if not by Him.

    I think these are such beautiful declarations, they indicate to us the marvelous cooperation between the persons of the Trinity that confirm the fact that our salvation is completely a work of God and that there is nothing man can do to save himself or to obtain favor with God.

    This confirms that if it were not for God NO ONE COULD find God nor have access to Him.

    There is another thing we have to mention, Only through the Holy Spirit of God we can be born again and be regenerated, only through the Spirit of God we can be convicted of sin, yes, salvation can only be attributed completely to God.

    In fact we can add, the only human work of which man can glory and boast about regarding salvation is what the man Jesus Christ did

    The only human merit in salvation can only be attributed to Him.

    Having said this let us return to the verse we are looking at and look at it through the eyes of John 14:6 what Jesus says I Am the way Paul declares in Romans 3:12a They are all gone out of the way.

    Yes, if the way upon which man has to find himself to find God is God Himself then certainly ALL are gone out of the way, this is also reinforced by what Paul said previously, in the previous verse, there is no one who seeks after God, so this verse is the confirmation the previous one. Because no one seeks after God and since Jesus is the way, the only way to God, the conclusion is all are gone out of the true way.

    It also confirms that we are the sheep of God who have gone astray

    Isaiah 53:6 All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.

    Each and every one of us turned to his own way, not God’s way, our way and the way of every human being is the way of the world also described in Matthew 7 the way that leads to destruction. So all have gone astray and are following their own way, but only some, the lost sheep elected by God find the way that leads to life, because God seeks after them and saves them leading them in the paths of righteousness for His name sake Psalms 23:3, places them on His way, Jesus, for after all many are the called but few the elect Matthew 7:14 and Matthew 22:14

    There is only ONE WAY that leads to life, Jesus Christ and on that way we must be, if we want to have access to God.

    Even David the shepherd by excellence of the OT, King David, knew the truths we studied in the last two verses

    Psalms 119:176 I have gone astray like a lost sheep; Seek Your servant, For I do not forget Your commandments.

    The two truths we see here are we are lost, all like sheep have gone astray, and that it is God who seeks to find us and take us on the right way, His salvation, back in His flock, His pen, His care, on the Only way, Jesus, the ONLY WAY that leads to God.

    God’s Fifth Accusation

     

    Romans 3:12b they have together become worthless;

    Let’s summarize what we have found out so far, God accuses the human race declaring, there is no one that is righteous, no one that understands, no one who seek after God, and that all are lost, turned away to their own way, now God declares that all have become worthless.

    Another word that can be used here is all have become corrupt , Yes, mankind is completely corrupt, worthless and this why they cannot be righteous, does not understand and does not seek God, that is why man cannot find the way to God by himself.

    Man’s corruption is his own sinful nature, which renders him lacking of God’s glory, he falls short of it

    Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

    But man is in this state of corruption from the beginning of his or her life, man is born with a corrupt nature that impedes him to worship and serve God, this makes him worthless, unrighteous and lost. David gives us confirmation of this in

    Psalms 51:5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me.

    In fact, what Paul says in Romans 3:23 is not so much the fact that every man commits sins and therefore falls short of the glory of God, but that every man is not a sinner only because he or she sins, it is rather that he or she sins because by nature are sinners and therefore fall short of God’s glory.

    1 Kings 8:46 “When they sin against You for there is no one who does not sin, and You become angry with them and deliver them to the enemy, and they take them captive to the land of the enemy, far or near

    It is evident from the beginning of a person’s life, from infancy that a child sins, lies, and is rebellious and disobedient, these things no one has to teach them as they are known by them, they are spontaneous because they are part of human the sinful nature. Did you ever notice that a child does not need to be taught to lie? A child knows how to lie all by himself. A child throws tantrums and becomes rebellious to his parents all by himself, a child does not need to be taught to sin, he or she already knows how to sin. Children are not as innocent as everybody makes them out to be, they just do not have the consciousness of their wrong doing nor do they understand the seriousness of their sinfulness.

    Jesus taught us this: John 8:43-44 Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word. 44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

    As the Lord teaches here, lies come from the father of lies the devil, Jesus calls them children of the devil because they did their father’s will, in other words they served the devil and the evidence of it was that they were not of the truth, of God. When a child lies, or any other person for that matter they are doing the devil’s will as he is the father of lies. This is why the Lord does not want His children to lie, lying as all sins is serious and it is sin.

    The point to be made here is to demonstrate that we are sinners and actually and really children of the devil not of God from birth.

    In fact Paul in Ephesians 2 declares: Ephesian 2:1-3 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; 2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: 3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

    So as we clearly see if a person is not born again of God they are children of disobedience, they walk according to the course of this world, according to the prince of power of the air, that is the devil, Satan, his spirit works in the children of disobedience, namely all people, as we saw no one is righteous, no not one! Paul says in fact that every person walks and even believers once walked in the devil’s will and fulfilled it because, here it is by nature we all are children of wrath! Being children of wrath means that we are under God’s wrath by nature, in other words we are born that way, In order to be children of God we must be born again, that makes sense!

    Anyway about children, let’s say that until there is conscious knowledge of sin I believe as many others do that a child remains in the grace and mercy of God and is not considered guilty, however, in the moment a person begins to distinguish consciously the difference between good and evil and is conscious of violating God’s law written in the heart Romans 2:14 then becomes consciously responsible of his or her sins.

    It is difficult to establish exactly what the age of accountability is or even if there is a specific age in which a person is declared guilty of their sins. This however is for God to decide, God is just and merciful, God has mercy on whom He does in accordance with His benevolent design and the goodness of His perfect will, certain things are difficult if not impossible to establish by man and are not really exposed in Scripture so it is good that only God is the one who knows determinate things.

    Getting back to what we are talking about man’s state of corruption, and also what Paul was saying in Romans 3:23 let’s take a look at what Paul is also saying in

    Romans 5:12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned…

    This fact of falling short of God’s glory and that all have sinned has to be connected to this passage of Romans 5:12.

    It is therefore because of Adam’s nature that all have sinned and do sin and through Adam’s sin, sin has entered into the world and with sin death as the wages of sin is death.

    So getting back to the verse we are studying, the word worthless or corrupt used in verse 12 of Romans 3; in the original Greek this word has some very specific applications in regard, all the applications are regarding the fact that God is declaring man completely corrupt, the meaning of the word translated worthless is this, gone bad as in rotted, rendered without worth, unusable for any righteous use.

    So this one with all the others is another very serious accusation of God to man and it really renders vivid the idea that there is nothing a person has that merits God’s favor, this is essential to understand.

    Often even believers have the wrong conception of man and God. The wrong conception of God however is this that God is unjust if He chooses to have mercy on some people instead of others.

    This wrong idea is based upon the erroneous conception that in every man there is something of worth to which God has to respond. This is not biblical and therefore is not true at all. Every man has nothing at all that is of worth to God, all men and all women are completely corrupt, worthless, alienated and separated from the life of God.

    We cannot and must not understand corruption of which the Bible speaks looking only at the individual conduct and behavior of man, rather we must base the corruption of mankind upon his nature. Everybody’s nature is completely corrupt and worthless independently from how much one sins and from how a person is more or less moral than others, or whether one is more or less wicked than others.

    There are different levels of how much people let themselves go into their corruption, but God does not use only the level of sinfulness as the measure of His judgment, for example, a serial killer and a liar, both are corrupt in their nature and both have transgressed God’s law and are therefore transgressors of all of it. Corruption is a part of every human being and is what God condemns in mankind.

    This corruption is demonstrated through the works of the flesh, in other words sins, but the reason for which God condemns man is because we have a completely corrupt nature and in it we refuse to glorify Him. We had already established this truth in our study of Romans 1:18-32.

    The condemnation is that man still knowing what can be known of Him is not able nor wants to glorify God and instead loves and wants to be rebellious to Him.

    This is an enormous problem for mankind and a problem that only God’s grace and mercy can resolve. In fact Paul says that those who persevere and continue to live unrighteous lives will not inherit the kingdom of God 1 Corinthians 6:9-10.

    These are those who do not know God because they are not regenerated. The regeneration, the new birth is the only remedy for this corruption and it generates a new creation with a new nature, new mind and new conduct

    Titus 2:11-14 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, 12 teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, 13 looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.

    Titus 3:4-7 But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, 5 not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

    Man has to obtain, by God’s grace and mercy a divine nature, a new nature 2 Peter 1:3-4,
    2 Corinthians 5:17.

    There are only two types of people in the world after that Jesus accomplished His work, righteous in Christ or unrighteous in Adam, born again by the Spirit of God or sinners born once carnally and still dead in sin, only the righteous or the unrighteous. If it were not for God’s grace and mercy no one would be justified and righteous.

    There are two specific passages in the OT that confirm the total corruption of mankind

    Jeremiah17:9 “The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?

    Man’s heart is what the Bible considers the residence of human nature, so God is declaring that the heart in other words the human nature is desperately wicked, terminally ill. For this a new heart is necessary, a new nature, a new divine nature. Human nature cannot be healed it is incurable.

    The other passage is found in

    Genesis 6:5 Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

    This condition of the human nature is not at all exclusive to the days of Noah, it is the human condition as it has always been as Paul describes it in Romans I as he is describing it here in Romans III, in fact the word of God declares exactly the same thing described in Genesis 6:5

    Romans 7:18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find.

    Jesus declared that He would have returned when in the world it would have been as in the days of Noah, now I ask you, is it evident what type of world we understand there was in Noah’s days reading Genesis 6:5? Such will be the condition of man and such it is even today.

    Wickedness, the corruption of the human nature is confirmed by Jesus in:

    Matthew 15:18-20 But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. 19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. 20 These are the things which defile a man, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man.”

    In fact as always as there is in the work of the Spirit of God there is an incredible sequence in God’s word, this brings us to what Paul is continuing to say in the final part of verse 12.

    God’s Sixth Accusation

     

    Romans 3:12c There is none who does good, no, not one.”

    Once more the bad news for mankind keep pouring down. Now God declares that no one does good and to take away any doubt uses once more as he did with no one is righteous, a double negative, no one does good, no, not one.

    It is therefore obvious, because if man is completely corrupt by nature he cannot do any good. In fact if you remember, and here is the connection to the previous accusation, being worthless or corrupt meant unusable for any righteous use.

    If man is unusable for any righteous use, he cannot do any good. Good from God’s standpoint and not what we consider good.

    This accusation eliminates the possibility that any man can be considered good, at least from God’s standard of goodness. It eliminates any human opinion that man by nature is good. If man was by nature good he would practice goodness not sinfulness. Even if apparently man who does not know God can at times accomplish some type of good deeds, these demonstrations of benevolence are not practiced by a divine nature and are not accepted by God. Man in other words by nature is wicked and not good as some say. God judges the human nature in base of the fact of whether it is redeemed and new or not.

    Jesus gave us the perfect example of this concept when he met the young rich ruler.

    Luke 18:18-23 Now a certain ruler asked Him, saying, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 19 So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. 20 You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery,’ ‘Do not murder,’ ‘Do not steal,’ ‘Do not bear false witness,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother.’ ” 21 And he said, “All these I have kept from my youth.” 22 So when Jesus heard these things, He said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” 23 But when he heard this, he became very sorrowful, for he was very rich.

    Jesus Himself in this passage has illuminated us on this truth confirming that no one is good except God.

    One will ask themselves, but if Jesus is God and He Himself has declared to be one and the same with the Father and accepted worship as God, why is He apparently reject the adjective good with which the rich young ruler addresses Him?

    However, Jesus was not denying to be God and therefore not to be good. Jesus is simply  answering that way, because the rich ruler was recognizing Him only as a human teacher, a Rabbi which he thought was a good man.

    If so, then Jesus asks why do you call me good? For a man no matter how religious he or she might be are not good, that’s Jesus’ point, in other words, if you recognize Him for who He is, God then He is good, if you only see Him as a good religious teacher a simple man, then He could not be good for no man is good. That’s Jesus’ point. Only God is good.

    In fact by the works of the law no man will be justified and the rich ruler was still missing two very important things, the first was that he was an idolater because he worshiped his riches more than God and he did not have any intention nor desire to lay them aside to gain eternal life, the second and most important, essential thing was that he did not recognize Jesus as Lord and therefore he did not want to follow Him as the one who would give him eternal life, since that was what he was seeking for. He was not ready to deny himself and to pick up his cross and follow Jesus.

    The “goodness” of this man which he thought to possess and to have demonstrated toward his parents and his neighbor was not accepted by God as we did say because he was not willing to find the true and only way (Jesus) that leads to life and to the Father (Jesus) John 14:6 for to know the Father is eternal life John 17:1-3,

    after all that is what this rich man apparently was seeking after, eternal life, he could not have it with the conditions with which he presented himself to God.

    So the point is this, no man is good, only God is good, Jesus said it, only one man is good Jesus Christ, He has no sin and He is God but also man, so He is good. The goodness that God accepts is Jesus’ goodness and so is only Christ in us that makes goodness acceptable to God.

    As a manner of fact goodness is a fruit of the Spirit of God, so in other words, without God, without His Spirit dwelling in us the goodness God expects from man does not exist. No one can practice goodness and no one is good without God in their life.

    Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.

    Ephesians 5:8-9 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light 9(for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth)

    Paul ahead in Romans 7 declares that in the human flesh no good thing dwells

    Romans 7:18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find.

    Matthew 7:11 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!

    Jesus here confirms that human beings are evil, in the face of those who claim that Jesus was not offensive toward people. Jesus was not offensive in Himself. He just spoke the truth and obviously the truth regarding the human being is offensive to human pride and flesh. The greater offense however is not what God says about man rather is man that offends God,this is the worst offense.

    A parenthesis regarding evangelism that does not offend man’s pride.

    I would like to add as a parenthesis that there is a problem for example with modern day evangelism. It definitely is not the same evangelism that Jesus and the Apostles preached the wickedness and the violation of the moral law of God and repentance for this behavior. Today instead the greater part of evangelism is done erroneously, it is lacking the true qualities of the Gospel and it is offensive to God because it is not done in the same fashion Jesus and the Apostles did it.

    Today most evangelists try to avoid offending the sinner by evidencing what they truly are a wicked sinner on the way to hell, they do this because they fear offending the person and losing them, they say. They say this is because it will make the person walk away from God’s love and grace if they feel offended. What Bible are they reading?! By the way this is another result of the erroneous doctrine of free will.

    No one can be lost, who is chosen and elected by the Father and is convicted by the Holy Spirit will hear and answer to the Gospel call, will obey it and will go to Jesus with the faith God gives them and WILL BE SAVED AND JUSTIFIED. Who is not elected will continue in their unbelief as it is their desire to do anyway.

    The other erroneous aspect of modern evangelism is what many call preaching the word of God, the Gospel, is telling people Jesus loves them and to accept Him in their heart to be saved. This is not a biblical concept of what the Gospel is and not the biblical way to evangelize.

    What does the word of God say?!

    Romans 10:8-17 But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): 9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. 13 For “whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.” 14 How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!” 16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our report?” 17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

    On other words the correct evangelism is first demonstrate the sin and wickedness of man which offends God’s holiness and righteousness and to leave the person before God without any other hope for their salvation and justification in not for believing in Jesus as their only Lord and Savior by commanding them to repent and receive the remission of their sins through Jesus. Preaching Christ crucified and risen.

    What did Peter preach in his sermon the day of Pentecost? Did he say “Jesus loves you and want you in heaven with Him so accept Him in your heart as your savior” ?

    Or did he say “God loves you and has a purpose for your life and He want to give you the peace and joy you do not have” ?

    These are the things we hear said by modern evangelists today, although these things may be true they are not preaching the Gospel the way Jesus and the Apostles did. Peter instead said these words which today would be considered offensive by most modern seeker friendly evangelists.

    Acts 2:22-24 “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know– 23 Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death; 24 whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it.

    Acts 2:32-40 This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses. 33 Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear. 34 For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he says himself:

    ‘The LORD said to my Lord,
    “Sit at My right hand,
    35 Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.” ‘

    36 “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” 37 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” 38 Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”
    40 And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation.”

    And Paul says

    1 Corinthians 1:17-24 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect. 18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written:

    “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
    And bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.”

    20 Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. 22 For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; 23 but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.

    I do not see Peter nor Paul using special techniques or strategies of modern evangelism or some form of pragmatism which according to the “experts” should be much more successful than the power of God through His Holy Spirit and the preaching of His word.

    And what did Jesus preach?

    Luke 13:1-5 There were present at that season some who told Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. 2 And Jesus answered and said to them, “Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffered such things? 3 I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish. 4 Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem? 5 I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.”

    What can we say, if Peter, Paul or even Jesus would declare themselves evangelists today in the modern church they would be taken out of the ministry and labeled harsh,offensive and lacking the love of God. However, they were not preoccupied with offending the human pride and flesh, the human ego that today the church tries to protect, they were not concerned with who would have walked away from them or whom hey would have pushed away, because the beauty of the doctrine of election is just this, who is predestined to eternal life will be saved and those who are not will continue walking in their unbelief and sins. That is all.

    Mark 16:15-16 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.

    Acts 13:48 Now when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and glorified the word of the Lord. And as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed.

    Matthew 22:12-14 So he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you come in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. 13 Then the king said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ 14 “For many are called, but few are chosen.”

    Today the modern day evangelists think they can be more merciful and gracious than God and they presumptuously believe that the salvation of people depends upon their way of ministering and how they can manipulate the emotions of the people with their strategies rather than the power of God through the Gospel and the Holy Spirit. Man’s pride and presumption has no limits.

    So man’s pride and wickedness has to be presented before the Gospel will take effect for the Gospel is the remedy for the fact that man can do no good. So, man is incapable to be good or to practice goodness apart from God in Him that produces the goodness that God accepts, this is the reality that the word of God confirms. Man is not good, man is completely wicked.

    The Result of a Corrupt Character is a Corrupt Conversation Romans III:XIII-XIV

    God’s Seventh Accusation

     

    Romans 3:13a “Their throat is an open tomb;

    Paul now that he has established the Corrupted Character of mankind now he describes it’s fruits.

    The Corrupt Character of mankind produces as fruit the Corrupt Conversation and Corrupt Conduct

    Now Paul will talk about the human being’s Corrupt Conversation.

    God’s seventh accusation describes that God sees the throat of man as an open tomb. It’s immediately obvious what we see in this description, God sees death inside of man as if He were looking inside an open tomb and the throat is symbolic of the opening of the grave, the grave is symbolical of man.

    Man’s body, his flesh is the residence of a dead spirit and all that comes from the interior of man is the product of the spiritual death of man. First we saw that man is completely corrupted, yes in fact the corruption is a product of death even relative to the physical death.

    I believe that God in this description is making us understand the same description that Jesus gave to the Pharisees and the teachers of the law even though he was accusing them of their hypocrisy yet the choice of words He used were to describe to them that they were by nature full of uncleanness and that spiritual death reigned in them. Religion is a dead work produced by a the corrupt nature and the dead spiritual status of mankind.

    Matthew 23:27-28 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. 28 Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

    There is another correlation with this description that God gives us here, in other words the throat is the apparatus that together with the tongue, mouth and lips form all the sounds and positioning that then form words, in fact the throat is the place where the vocal chords are and without which no one could speak.

    The reference to the throat as the opening of a tomb is also easily associated to that which man says and communicates because all that the sinners say is the product of and associated with the death that reigns inside of him or her.

    In fact, the second part of verse 13 and the following two verses are referred to what man does with his tongue, lips and mouth, with their tongues they practiced deceit , under their lips is the poison of asps, their mouth is full of cursing and bitterness.

    God’s Eighth Accusation

     

    Romans 3:13b With their tongues they have practiced deceit”;

    Ah yes, the tongue of man, the tongue is biblically described almost always regarding practicing wickedness, lies and slander.

    The passage associates the tongue to be the member with which man practices deceit, this is another way to say that with the tongue man lies and deceives others but not only.

    We will see exactly how the word of God describes the tongue and to what it is associated. The first thing is that the tongue is accused of lying and deceiving.

    The word of God tells us that those who lie have the nature of the devil.

    John 8:44 You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.

    The tongue has the power of life and death, of blessing or curse.

    Proverbs 18:21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.

    Man in his sinful nature as we have seen, is spiritually dead and is filled with the fruit of death which is corruption. If a man is not born again of the Holy Spirit does not produce life and blessings only death, destruction and cursing. According to God then, the tongue is used by the natural sinful man to lie, deceive, destroy others and to sow discord.

    After all that is the agenda of the devil is it not? In fact what does Satan mean, the accuser, his agenda is to do what?

    John 10:10a The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.

    God’s agenda instead is to do what? The opposite of the devil’s

    John 10:10b I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

    We Christians must have the same agenda of Jesus and with our tongue we have the power of life and blessing, let us use it for that rather than to destroy and curse. That is what unregenerate people do not regenerated people.

    The OT had several passages were God reveals to us the wickedness man practices with his tongue and uses it as the instrument to sow his wickedness.

    In Psalms 10 for example, we find the description of the wicked and this is said about him

    Psalms 10:7 His mouth is full of cursing and deceit and oppression; Under his tongue is trouble and iniquity.

    Also in Psalms 52:1-4 a very vivid description of the sinner’s tongue

    Psalms 52:1-4 Why do you boast in evil, O mighty man? The goodness of God endures continually. 2 Your tongue devises destruction, Like a sharp razor, working deceitfully. 3 You love evil more than good, Lying rather than speaking righteousness. Selah 4 You love all devouring words,You deceitful tongue.

    So here is the perfect example of what mankind loves doing with their tongue, described by the word of God. The tongue is used to prepare the ruin and destruction of those against whom it speaks. God compares it to a sharp razor which cuts deeply with deadly intent. The tongue is also compared to a worker of deceit. The sinner prefers evil to good and prefers lying than speaking righteousness and truth. What the sinner loves is to cause the destruction and the ruin of others and the instrument he often uses to do all this is the tongue. With his or her tongue they sow hatred.

    The author of Psalms 64 prays the Lord to preserve an protect him from the rebellion of the wicked that as he says sharpen their tongue to use against him as a sharp sword, a weapon they are fashioning against him.

    Psalms 64:2-4 Hide me from the secret plots of the wicked, From the rebellion of the workers of iniquity, 3 Who sharpen their tongue like a sword, And bend their bows to shoot their arrows–bitter words, 4 That they may shoot in secret at the blameless; Suddenly they shoot at him and do not fear.

    Let us stand firm on the promises of God when the lies, slander, curses and accusations of wicked men and the the devil come cutting down sharply upon us and let us remember that it is God who will protect us against all the weaponry forged against us including the sharp tongues of the wicked.

    Isaiah 54:17 No weapon formed against you shall prosper, And every tongue which rises against you in judgment You shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, And their righteousness is from Me,” Says the LORD.

    God’s protection and His righteousness, His justification is our inheritance in Christ.

    However, the tongue is used to devise deceit, and it is used to lie, it’s a true weapon. The tongue that lies is described by God as hatred.

    Proverbs 26:28 A lying tongue hates those who are crushed by it, And a flattering mouth works ruin.

    In the days of the prophet Jeremiah the people of God were completely lost in their iniquities and idolatry. God through the prophet Jeremiah gives us a portrait of how things were in those days, an image of how the world of the wicked is seen and judged by God.

    All those who are NOT born again of the Spirit and are NOT in Christ are seen this same way by God. We see here the sinful human nature, let’s see how God describes it and we will see that the description are specific regarding how the LORD sees the work of their tongues.

    Jeremiah 9:2-6 Oh, that I had in the wilderness A lodging place for travelers; That I might leave my people, And go from them! For they are all adulterers, An assembly of treacherous men. 3 “And like their bow they have bent their tongues for lies. They are not valiant for the truth on the earth. For they proceed from evil to evil, And they do not know Me,” says the LORD. 4 “Everyone take heed to his neighbor, And do not trust any brother; For every brother will utterly supplant (deceive), And every neighbor will walk with slanderers. 5 Everyone will deceive his neighbor, And will not speak the truth; They have taught their tongue to speak lies; They weary themselves to commit iniquity. 6 Your dwelling place is in the midst of deceit; Through deceit they refuse to know Me,” says the LORD.

    We see how this passage is so descriptive of the wicked working of the tongue, lies, treachery, deception, slander.

    God hates the wicked works of the tongue and this is all the more confirmed in Proverbs 6: 17 where God says He hates a lying tongue

    In the passage of Jeremiah we just read, the LORD teaches us that the wicked and lying tongue causes treachery, God compares their tongue to a bow that is bent to throw arrows of lies, wickedness and unfaithfulness. Yes, these are they who as is written do not know God at all. God warns us about those who call themselves friends, even brothers but they do nothing more than spread and sow their deceptions and slander. All with their tongue practice lying and they through their deception refuse to know the LORD. This is the description of what the wicked does with his tongue.

    So bringing it all together let us see what the NT tells us about the tongue. The passage that best gives us a very detailed description of the tongue is found in:

    James 3:5-12 Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles! 6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell. 7 For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind. 8 But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. 10 Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so. 11 Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening? 12 Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Thus no spring can yield both salt water and fresh.

    This passage together with what we have read so far has to make us believers reflect, Reflect not to look at this subject with eyes of judgment toward the wicked sinners without God but judging ourselves first, judging the use of our own tongue. We who are born again have the nature of Christ, His mind, His Spirit dwelling in us, We must renew our speech and the way we use our tongue. Even as the passage here above has told us, we cannot bless God and curse men, we cannot speak blessings and curses.

    The tongue of the righteous has to be used to bring life, preach the word of God, bring blessing worship and praise God and not to curse, speak evil, sow discord, lie, betray or use it in any way the wicked use it, or how we once used it ourselves.

    The Lord warns us still through James,

    James 1:26-27 If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless. 27 Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.

    Also in the following passages:

    Ephesians 4:25 Therefore, putting away lying, “Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,” for we are members of one another.

    Ephesians 4:29 Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.

    Colossians 3:8-9 But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds,

    Colossians 4:6 Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.

    These are the exhortations and the commandments of which as children of God we must observe in regard to the use of our tongue.

    So, if throat is the portal to see what is inside man, this then is what Jesus declared comes out of the mouth, what is on the lips, passes through the throat and then it evidences of what truly man is full of and the things which render man defiled and corrupt, the tongue is an instrument with which circulates the corruption and wickedness that is resident inside man.

    Matthew 15:18-20 But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. 19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornication, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. 20 These are the things which defile a man, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man.”

    Matthew 12:34-37 Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. 35 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. 36 But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. 37 For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

    This brings us to the next and similar accusation of God

    God’s Ninth Accusation

     

    Romans 3:13c “The poison of asps is under their lips”

    In verse 13 God is bringing three accusations regarding the conversation of the sinners, the Lord is describing the human apparatus necessary to speak, the throat, the tongue and now the lips with the next one being the mouth.

    Every part of this apparatus has its distinctive accusation. It’s obvious that in these two verses the Lord is showing us that the wickedness that is resident inside mankind is manifested also through their speech.

    Now is revealed to us that the lips of the wicked are poisoned. From their lips comes out snake poison, a deadly poison.

    Once again there is an association to something that is a product of spiritual death and in this case the substance that produces death for all those upon whom this poison is poured out.

    This description of the wicked’s lips is interesting, interesting, why the poison of asps, vipers? It is interesting to notice that in the Bible the serpent is often used to describe the devil see for example the following references, Genesis 3:1; Isaiah 27:1; Revelation 12:9 , Revelation 20:2 .

    The poison therefore that is under the lips of the wicked is the poison produced by the sinful nature that is slave to its master the devil, the serpent, and which then has tendencies of demonic nature.

    This is also why the sinners, unredeemed human beings are enemies of God, because the sin and corruption of the human nature is the same type of rebellion that is in the devil and his demons.

    This does not mean at all that the responsibility of the human sinfulness is of the devil, this would take away the responsibility of the individual person, no, the human being is fully responsibility for their sinfulness, every single sin.

    The devil tempts man but man is slave to his sinful nature which is in his flesh and in his nature he or she choose to obey their master and father the devil as well as the desires of their own flesh, in other words man loves to practice sin.

    So it is not only the devil that tempts mankind but also the desires of his own flesh and sinful nature. We can say that the sinful human nature is of the same type as the devil’s nature.

    Once more we need to examine the accusation Jesus made in

    John 8:42-47 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and came from God; nor have I come of Myself, but He sent Me. 43 Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word. 44 You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it. 45 But because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me. 46 Which of you convicts Me of sin? And if I tell the truth, why do you not believe Me? 47 He who is of God hears God’s words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God.”

    This accusation is not strictly and only directed to the Jews to whom Jesus was speaking at that time. Until now we have, I hope, established that all of mankind are under sin and guilty before God. So if a person does not belong to God ans is not adopted and a child of God through Jesus Christ is a child of the devil and the devil is their father.

    Jesus Himself is declaring this very thing in this passage. In fact, Jesus is telling us in this passage what He confirmed for us in John 6, in other words those to whom is granted to go to Him from the Father they go and they listen to God’s words, those who do not listen to God are not of God at all.

    John 6:44-45 No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. 45 It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me.

    And also what He told Pilate as well confirming the same thing

    John 18:37-38 Pilate therefore said to Him, “Are You a king then?” Jesus answered, “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.”

    So the poison of vipers, in other words of the devil, that is described in the passage we are examining can very well be interpreted as something that is deriving from the deadly poison of sin that produces death, in other words all that is sinful and perverse.

    After all the opposite is what flows out of the Holy Spirit of God, God is a God of life, holiness and righteousness. In fact is what should flow out of the children of God which is what flows from the nature of God, living water, while from the wicked flow the fruits of their demonic nature, the poison of the serpent is such that comes out in the conversation of the wicked.

    In contrast this is what flows from the Holy Spirit, life and all that is associated with the life of God.

    John 7:38-39 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” 39 But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

    Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.

    Ephesians 5:8-9 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light 9(for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth),

    James 3:5-12 Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles! 6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell. 7 For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind. 8 But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. 10 Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so. 11 Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening? 12 Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Thus no spring can yield both salt water and fresh.

    This is what should instead flow from the lips of the children of God, these passages we just read comparing them with the exhortation of James that we had read even beforehand in regard to the tongue, these instructions are for us, let us strive to live in accord with the divine nature and not the demonic sinful one of the devil, such are the unredeemed people, the desires of their father they want to do.

    This brings us to the next accusation of God

    God’s Tenth Accusation

     

    Romans 3:14 “Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness.”

    Now we have come to the tenth accusation of God to mankind, this is the last one as far as the Corrupt Conversation of man,the description of the corruption and wickedness man demonstrates in their conversation.

    We began with the portal that lets us look inside man, the throat that is as an open grave from where the aroma of corruption and death comes out in form of words. We then studied the tongue of the wicked that sows lies, deceit, slander, destruction and perversion.
    Then we understood the lips of the wicked as those members that contain the poison of the devil. Now God concludes with the mouth of which the lips and tongue belong to and from which all wickedness proceed.

    Once again a unique description is used to describe the mouth as something filled with cursing and bitterness.

    Let’s examine the first word used in this verse cursing. Not only the mouth of the wicked curses others but it proves that the wicked is cursed, for all that comes out of his or her mouth demonstrates they are accursed from what comes out of their heart.

    Once again we look a what Jesus said in

    Matthew 15:18-20 But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. 19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornication, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. 20 These are the things which defile a man, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man.”

    Jesus uses the word man not wicked or sinner, it’s an interesting choice of word, why? The answer could be not to give a false sense of security to those who considered themselves righteous by the works of the law.

    So using the word man, Jesus generalized and extended the condition making it universal. In fact in the Greek the word used is “ànthroopon” which literally means human being.

    Cursing in the literal sense of the Greek word means to lift up imprecations especially to heaven, it gives the indication of people who curse even God, cursing is also wishing bad on someone, such a curse, malediction, cursing is coarse, filthy, perverse and evil speech.

    Speaking wickedness, but it proves that man is under a curse, is cursed, he is under the curse of God, God curses evil doing and does not have good to say about the wicked, this confirms the word in

    Galatians 6:7-8 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. 8 For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.

    Who loves to curse and sows curses by the work of his flesh he will reap corruption and curses.

    In Psalms 109 as in many others there is the description of the wicked. This time, especially this description fits like a glove the verse we are studying and it will introduces us to the next description in the verse regarding the mouth of the wicked which is full of bitterness as well.

    Psalms 109:16-18 Because he did not remember to show mercy, But persecuted the poor and needy man, That he might even slay the broken in heart. 17 As he loved cursing, so let it come to him; As he did not delight in blessing, so let it be far from him. 18 As he clothed himself with cursing as with his garment, So let it enter his body like water, And like oil into his bones.

    As we said the wicked even in this Psalm will receive the reward of his cursing. Because the wicked is full of cursing this is something inside of him as water, here again a comparison between the sinner and the righteous in Christ. The type of water in the wicked is polluted water, poisonous water, bitter water that penetrates in his bones as oil.

    There are several types of things that cause bitterness. The bitterness in people is caused by the fruit of resentment, unforgiveness toward others. The wicked by nature do not forgive and so bitterness and resentment corrupt their spirit all the more.

    Bitterness and resentment also come from envy. Envy is a fruit of the flesh that produces bitterness, resentment and hatred against the person of which one is envious and even against God because envy makes us ungrateful for what we do have and this is a sin against God, remember we find this sin in the passage in Romans 1:29-31. In addition bitterness due to envy and resentment is a cause of physical illness as well.

    Proverbs 14:30 A sound heart is life to the body, But envy is rottenness to the bones.

    There is also a bitterness that is caused by idolatry, unbelief and rebellion. This is described for us in

    Hebrews 12:15 looking diligently lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled;

    This is an interesting passage. The first thing we notice is a warning to believers, that no one who take part of their meetings fall short of the grace pf God. What does this really mean? We must be careful of people who continue to take part of the church assemblies who are still not regenerated men and women, be careful of the religious as even they are not regenerated, born again of the Spirit of God.

    Why be careful of these people?

    In this epistle’s context which is written to Hebrew believers, there are several warnings or admonishments that are made about people who took part of the assemblies of the believers without being saved, they had not yet exercised true faith in Christ, they were not in the grace of God. The author of this book in this particular passage is not warning those who had experienced the new birth and were in the grace of God, rather he is warning about those who were falling short of God’s grace, in other words were not yet saved. This condition causes a root of bitterness that causes trouble and by which many in the community become defiled. This is the root of bitterness that unbelief, idolatry and rebellion cause.

    This root of bitterness caused by unbelief and rebellion produces its fruit first of all with words. Let’s remember what happened in the midst of Israel. The unbelieving and rebellious people that were in the midst of God’s people were those who defiled the greater part of Israel. They did this with their words. Their words bitter with unbelief and rebellion caused God’s people to lack faith and to be ungrateful to God.

    This is really what the author of Hebrews is warning about. Those who sow the bitterness of their unbelief and rebellion even in the church. These however are not true believers these are those who are unredeemed sinners in the midst of God’s people and of these we must be careful for their bitter poison defiles even those who believe.

    Deuteronomy 29:17-19 and you saw their abominations and their idols which were among them–wood and stone and silver and gold); 18 so that there may not be among you man or woman or family or tribe, whose heart turns away today from the LORD our God, to go and serve the gods of these nations, and that there may not be among you a root bearing bitterness or wormwood; 19 and so it may not happen, when he hears the words of this curse, that he blesses himself in his heart, saying, ‘I shall have peace, even though I walk in the imagination of my heart’–as though the drunkard could be included with the sober.

    Wormwood is a bitter poison, the bitterness of which the Lord is speaking here as well as in Hebrews is strictly tied to those three sins, unbelief, idolatry and rebellion as even this passage tells us through this many are defiled by the bitter poison of those who dwell with the believers.

    There are several passages in Israel’s history where we see this bitter root of unbelief that is spread through out the assembly by the words of the unbelieving rebellious people that cause the people of God to fall into defilement through unbelief, idolatry and rebellion, here are some:

    Exodus 32:1, Numbers 11:1,Numbers 14:2; Numbers 20:2-3, Numbers 21:4-5, 1 Corinthians 10:9-10,Hebrews 3:7-11.

    1 Samuel 15:23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, He also has rejected you from being king.”

    Proverbs 17:11 An evil man seeks only rebellion; Therefore a cruel messenger will be sent against him.

    This is the behavior strictly tied with the behavior of the unredeemed person and not a true believer. It is obvious that if a believer was unbelieving he or she could not be considered a believers. Unbelief, idolatry and rebellion are condemned by god and they are those things that produce the bitterness that is in the mouth of the wicked.

     

    The Result of a Completely Corrupt Character a Corrupt Conduct- Romans III:XV-XVIII

    God’s Eleventh Accusation

     

    Romans 3:15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood”

    After having described and demonstrated the Corrupt Nature of the human being, in other words the Completely Corrupted Character, we have seen that it produces a Corrupt Conversation.

    Paul now shows us that this sinful corrupt nature produces also a Corrupt Conduct.

    Other condemning accusations of God to mankind are in regard to conduct which is the fruit of their corrupt nature. Let’s remember what Jesus said in regard to what comes out of the corrupt heart of man, a corrupt conversation, and a corrupt conduct Matthew 15:18-20.

    This verse now describes for us the fact that man is swift in shedding blood. This accusation means that man has a murderous predisposition.

    For this reason man cannot accuse nor judge others of murder because this condition is in every man. For God when a person hates another person this hatred is considered murder in the heart even if the act itself is not committed Matthew 5:21-22 and 1 John 3:11-15.

    Please note that I said that man should not pass judgment or accuse others unduly of this, but this is at a personal and individual level, this does not mean that a murderer should not be brought to proper justice. If we were 100% biblical in our society, which we are not, the murderers even now in the NT era should be given the death penalty; see in fact Matthew 26:52 and Romans 13:4.

    Often the societies in which we live today have abolished the death penalty. Many believers, perhaps the majority erroneously think that the death penalty is sinful and against God’s ways, it is not.

    God is not against the death penalty, He invented it as a form of justice even before He revealed His law

    see Genesis 9:5-6.

    The death penalty should be the right form of justice for voluntary first degree and premeditated murder.

    Many problems in our society are due to the facts that many governments have abolished the death penalty and they do not mete true justice upon the murderers, so that innocent blood is not vindicated and it continuously contaminates, defiles, and pollutes the land upon which it is shed.

    For now it is sufficient to know how the Lord sees this subject which this verse opens up to us.

    As we said, God accuses man of having feet that are swift in shedding blood. In addition, we have already said that murder is in the heart of every sinner in the form of hatred and wrath, and this God considers murder.

    We have mentioned this following passage many times but it’s a key passage that describes for us the nature of unredeemed man.

    Matthew 15:18-20 But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. 19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornication, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. 20 These are the things which defile a man, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man.”

    Murder is in the heart of man, every man. In addition, Jesus confirms that hatred, wrath, and resentment all are part of this sin which is condemned by God.

    Matthew 5:21-22 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder,’ and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment. 22 But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire.

    Jesus condemns wrath without cause and certainly unforgiveness, wrath (anger) accompanied by expressions of hatred and wrath with wickedness, in other words wishing evil upon people, these are all considered by God murder in the heart.

    1 John 3:10-15 In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother. 11 For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another, 12 not as Cain who was of the wicked one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his works were evil and his brother’s righteous. 13 Do not marvel, my brethren, if the world hates you. 14 We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death. 15 Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.

    In fact, man has this beast in his-her heart and has to be very careful because Cain killed Abel for this reason. Why did he? Because of internal wrath toward his brother caused by his envy. In fact, God had already warned Cain that sin was in his heart and that he had to overcome it, dominate it.

    Genesis 4:4-8 Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And the LORD respected Abel and his offering, 5 but He did not respect Cain and his offering. And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell. 6 So the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? 7 If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.” 8 Now Cain talked with Abel his brother; and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him.

    But Cain was an unredeemed, wicked man; and in fact, from him came a wicked dynasty and lineage of people, so God sees the sinner, with feet swift to shed blood Genesis 4:23-24.

    This is the unredeemed man’s tendency and God judges severely this behavior, often in this life and not only in the final judgment.

    Proverbs 28:17 A man tormented by the guilt of murder will be a fugitive till death; let no one support him.

    The only help a murderer must be given is the Gospel for the repentance of sins, the only help can and has to come only from God’s grace.

    In Proverbs 6 the Lord reveals to us that this sin is a sin he detests and that He considers an abomination. Let us read together this passage that contains many of the things we find here in this section of Romans 3.

    Proverbs 6:16-19 These six things the LORD hates, Yes, seven are an abomination to Him: 17 A proud look, A lying tongue, Hands that shed innocent blood, 18 A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that are swift in running to evil, 19 A false witness who speaks lies, And one who sows discord among brethren.

    In fact, this particular section of Romans 3:15-17 is taken from

    Isaiah 59:6-8 Their webs will not become garments, Nor will they cover themselves with their works; Their works are works of iniquity, And the act of violence is in their hands. 7 Their feet run to evil, And they make haste to shed innocent blood; Their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; Wasting and destruction are in their paths. 8 The way of peace they have not known, And there is no justice in their ways; They have made themselves crooked paths; Whoever takes that way shall not know peace.

    In the world there are many people who have swift feet to do evil and shed blood and whose hands shed innocent blood. Besides the warmongers (those who commit various murders for various reasons, such as drug-related, various acts of crime, violence and hatred) we find those who by decree of law are paid assassins, they are legalized hit men or women, legalized by the governments, these are the doctors and nurses that practice the murder called abortion, they practice it for filthy lucre. These have partners in crime who are the murderers, mother and fathers who have swift feet in shedding the blood of their little ones whom they take to be killed by certain and atrocious death.

    However, God is just and righteous and He will bring justice and severe justice upon those who commit such murders. He will vindicate Himself the shedding of innocent blood that will not be done by the authorities if human justice. The innocent blood for which justice is not rendered will contaminate and defile the countries in which it is shed Psalms 106:38, Numbers 35:33-34, and such will be vindicated by God. God will pour out His judgment upon those who commit such murders and upon the societies that permit them .

    Countries where abortion is legalized and practiced as well as all parties involved are in serious trouble with God 2 Kings 24:3-4.

    I want to conclude in regard to this subject, what the LORD also says in regard to the wicked who shed innocent blood and especially those who do it for lucre, for money.

    Proverbs 1:10-19 My son, if sinners entice you, Do not consent. 11 If they say, “Come with us, Let us lie in wait to shed blood; Let us lurk secretly for the innocent without cause; 12 Let us swallow them alive like Sheol, And whole, like those who go down to the Pit; 13 We shall find all kinds of precious possessions, We shall fill our houses with spoil; 14 Cast in your lot among us, Let us all have one purse”–15 My son, do not walk in the way with them, Keep your foot from their path; 16 For their feet run to evil, And they make haste to shed blood. 17 Surely, in vain the net is spread In the sight of any bird; 18 But they lie in wait for their own blood, They lurk secretly for their own lives. 19 So are the ways of everyone who is greedy for gain; It takes away the life of its owners.

    For more in depth information on the subject of murder and shedding blood as well as abortion, see the teaching in the section Commentaries- The Sanctity of Life and the Value of Human Life.

    God’s Twelfth Accusation

     

    Romans 3:16 “Destruction and misery are in their ways”

    As we have determined previously the unredeemed person is upon a certain road, path and we did see that this is the way that leads to perdition, calamity, and ruin. I believe, however, that the right interpretation of this verse is that in their own ways not only they are going toward their own ruin and misery but that upon their ways these things follow them and become part of their life. This means that whoever becomes their companion or is involved somehow with them is led with them to destruction and calamity, not only the eternal one but also the temporal one.

    The tendency of the sinners behavior is to destroy virtue, happiness and the peace of all those with whom they come in contact. Their ruin and calamity are like an infectious and extremely contagious disease.

    An example we can use is of one who is involved with someone who takes drugs, this road leads to the ruin and calamity of both people. Practically all sinful situations have serious consequences in life, the earthly temporal life and in eternity. There is a saying that I believe could be a sinners motto:

    “Misery loves company.” Yes, the wicked have to in every way try to find someone else that becomes involved with them on their path of ruin and calamity, after they realize sub-consciously that their walk brings to ruin and destruction and they do not want to go there alone.

    Even this is a form of hatred toward our neighbor and pure selfishness. The unredeemed man is unable to love in the biblical sense and, therefore, cannot and does not want to love God either. This is because the wicked cannot even love himself in the true biblical sense of the word and this is what the greatest commandment of God is Mark 12:29-31.

    Not being able to fulfill this commandment is transgression of the whole law of God. The will of the unredeemed man is always that of causing ruin, destruction, and calamity in his life as well as others even if sometimes he or she do not realize it. Afterall, this is the way of the devil.

    John 10:10a The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy

    The Lord’s ways instead bring life and blessings.

    John 10:10b I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

    David said in Psalms 23:6a Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life;

    For those for whom the LORD is their Shepherd and whose ways are directed by Him there are blessings that follow them all the days of their life. If we could give the interpretation for the unredeemed, for those for whom the LORD is NOT their Shepherd, we could say this

    Surely destruction and calamity will follow me all the days of my life, and for all those who are associated to me.

    Psalms 1 explains the difference between the righteous and the unredeemed and it confirms that the way of the wicked will only lead to ruin.

    Yes, who walks in the counsel of the wicked, who stops in the way of sinners and who sits in the seat of mockers, will be led to destruction and calamity, them and all those who associate with them, those who are their companions. This, afterall, is the destiny of the wicked.

    We also must understand that this is one of the reasons a believer cannot in any way unite themselves in matrimony with an unbeliever, the believer is part of a different kingdom than the wicked. These two kingdoms are in opposition to one another.

    2 Corinthians 6:14-18 Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? 15 And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? 16 And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will dwell in them And walk among them. I will be their God, And they shall be My people.” 17 Therefore “Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you.” 18 “I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the LORD Almighty.”

    The way of the wicked leads to ruin and anyone who becomes a companion of the wicked or who travels with them. Anyone who is a believer and who marries an unbeliever is disobedient to the word of God which explicitly commands us not to unite ourselves with a person who is unredeemed; those who do this will definitely encounter woes and troubles. God obviously will stand beside His own even if they make this error, but they will be living in opposition to His commandment and will encounter many negative consequences.

    Let’s remember that the way of the wicked, the unredeemed, will without fail lead to destruction and calamity. Let us also remember that in most cases it’s the unbeliever who makes the believer compromise and not the believer who makes the unbeliever holy, especially if the relationship has begun in direct disobedience on part of the believer.

    Remember

    1 Corinthians 15:33-34 Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits.” 34 Awake to righteousness, and do not sin; for some do not have the knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame.

    Proverbs 13:20 He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.

    We have to specify here, remember what the beginning of all wisdom is? It’s the fear of the Lord, and do you remember who the fools are?

    Professing to be wise they became fools Romans 1:22 because the fool is the one who says in his or her heart there is no God Psalms 14:1 .

    The fool is the unredeemed natural man.

    God’s Thirteenth Accusation

     

    Romans 3:17 “And the way of peace they have not known.”

    Oh yes, the way of peace. The sinners do not know it, blessed are those who know it. What is the way of peace that the wicked do not know?

    They cannot know it because in Romans 3: 11-12a it says There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God. 12 They have all turned aside;

    No one understands, no one seeks after God and all are on the wrong path, they are lost. What does this have to do with this verse we are studying? Everything!

    Everything because not understanding, not seeking God one remains on the wrong way. The right way that brings to peace is God Himself, it is Jesus Christ, Jesus is the way, remember? Jesus is the way that leads to being at peace with God and then leads us to the peace of God in our life. Jesus is the WAY, the truth, and the life John 14:6.

    Jesus is the prince of peace Isaiah 9:5-6.

    In the OT in the law that God had revealed to Moses there was an offering of a sacrifice called the peace offering. This offering as well as the entire sacrificial system, every sacrifice and every offering were a shadow, a representation, symbols of the person of Jesus Christ and of His work. Yes, even Jesus confirmed that Moses and the prophets as well as the Psalms were speaking about Him. Speaking to the Pharisees and the teachers of the law Jesus said

    John 5:39-40 You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. 40 But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.

    Speaking to His disciples Jesus also confirmed that the Scriptures of the OT spoke of Him.

    Luke 24:27 And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.

    Luke 24:44 Then He said to them, “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.”

    So Jesus Himself, in His person, has fulfilled every thing that the law of God given to Moses required, every promise of God in Him is yes and amen. Jesus was offered by the Father and Jesus also offered Himself in obedience to the will of the Father to become the peace offering, the offering that gives us peace with God and that makes us enter into the peace of God to then posses it as a fruit of the Spirit.

    To know Jesus is to have peace and to know peace, the way of peace. No one at all can have peace with God if they are not in Christ, because He is our peace. No one who is not in Christ can have any kind of peace, is not in peace with God and does not have the peace of God.

    Ephesians 2:14-18 For He (Jesus) Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, 15 having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, 16 and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. 17 And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. 18 For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.

    He is our peace with God and with others as well. Through Him we have access to the Father by one Spirit. The Spirit of God is given to us and He is the one who gives us help and comfort and the peace of God in our hearts, that peace that is a source of perseverance and humility before God’s will.

    The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy peace amongst the others. This peace one has in their heart when he or she are in peace with God and in peace with the brethren and seeks to be at peace with everyone, Jesus said in

    Matthew 5:9 Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God.

    Colossians 3:15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.

    There is an interesting correlation between being at peace with God, having the peace of God and being thankful.

    Philippians 4:6-7 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

    The only way to be at peace with God is to be reconciled to God through Jesus and therefore to have the peace of God rule in our hearts and minds, first of all this comes by having His Spirit dwelling in us and to be thankful to God for everything, in other words having a spirit of gratitude to God. All this is only possible if we are children of God, justified by faith in Christ and regenerated.

    Romans 5:1Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,

    The sinners if we remember from what we studied previously are by nature and character ungrateful to God and they do not thank Him

    Romans 1:21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.

    The right conclusion, therefore, is that God is in peace only, I repeat only, with those who are at peace with Him through Jesus Christ and have become God’s children. They are those who do know the way of peace and the way that leads to peace, internal peace and peace with others. The way is Jesus, the only way that leads to peace.

    The world seeks peace but it continually escapes, it eludes the seekers. There will be no peace in the world until the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ will return to establish His peace on earth. However, to His own He gives peace, Jesus promised us that He would give us His peace, and His peace is powerful, because His peace is not the false peace the world promises to give but never does.

    John 14:27 Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

    His peace is real and complete because first it reconciles us to God making us therefore at peace with Him, not His enemies any longer. It is a powerful peace in the midst of tribulations, because in this world there will not be peace but tribulation. It is an overcoming and victorious peace, overcoming this world because Jesus overcame the world and in Him those who are in Him have also overcome the world, even our faith.

    John 16:33 “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

    1 John 5:4-5 For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world–our faith. 5 Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

    There can be no peace in this world because the world is not at peace with God and is an enemy of God, it lays in the sway of the wicked one and all those who belong to the world, who seek after the things of the world are enemies of God.

    1 John 5:19 We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one.

    James 4:4 Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

    1 John 2:15-17 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world–the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life–is not of the Father but is of the world. 17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.

    So God is not at peace with the unredeemed wicked natural man, and we did see that the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against every unrighteousness and injustice of man. The wicked are not God’s friends they are His enemies and God is not their friend.

    He wants to be at peace with man, that is why He provided the way of peace, Jesus. However, many will remain His enemies, we have seen why, no one seeks after God, no one understands, many are called but few are the elect.

    The Bible is clear, there are no doubts, for the wicked there is no peace with God, no peace of God because they do not know nor want to know the way of peace, Jesus Christ the only way.

    “There is no peace,” says the LORD, “for the wicked.” Isaiah 48:22

    “There is no peace,” Says my God, “for the wicked.” Isaiah 57:21

    The way of peace they have not known, And there is no justice in their ways; They have made themselves crooked paths; Whoever takes that way shall not know peace. Isaiah 59:8

    God’s Fourteenth Accusation

     

    Romans 3:18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

    Perhaps this accusation together with the one that there is no one that is righteous and no one who seeks God is one of the worse ones. It is also evident that the lack of the fear of God is the summary of what we learned in Romans 1:18-32 , and it is also the more obvious conclusion that we can have coming from a nature and a conduct described up to now in this chapter.

    So we have seen so far that There is no one righteous, no one who understands, no one who seeks after God, all are lost, all are corrupt. No one who practices goodness, the throat of the sinner is an open grave filled with death and corruption, with their tongue they practice deceit. Under their lips there is serpent’s, the devil’s poison, their mouth is full of cursing and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood and ruin and calamity are their ways; the way of peace they do not know.

    In fact, if there is no one who understands, in other words has any comprehension of God and His ways, it is obvious that this leads not to fear the LORD. The Bible teaches us, in fact, that the fear of the LORD is what opens up the way to true knowledge, knowing God and His ways.

    Proverbs 1:7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.

    Remember the fool is who? The fool says in his heart there is no God.

    Instead the beginning of wisdom is fearing the LORD.

    Proverbs 9:10 “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding”.

    This is a very preoccupying thing regarding the human sinful nature that there is no fear of God, no respect, no true fear – in other words real fear, man is not afraid of God.

    The man who is not in Christ should be afraid of God even the Bible itself says we should be afraid and fear God. Why?

    Luke 12:4-5 “I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. 5 But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him”.

    Hebrews 10:28-31 How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know him who said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” and again, “The Lord will judge his people.” 31 It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

    The most terrible thing is that even the demons, even though rebellious against God, tremble with fear before God James 2:19. Man instead, in his arrogance and pride, has the audacity to shake his fist in God’s face without any fear whatsoever. Man’s pride and arrogance has brought him to the place of being in a condition worse than that of the demons.

    The difference, however, between mankind and demons is that even if mankind does this to God, God has the grace and mercy to save such fools and in the end to make Himself feared by those men and women He saved.

    My life as well as the life of all who have come to the knowledge of the truth and salvation is evidence that it is only by God’s grace and mercy that we can now have the fear of God. While the demons tremble of fear before God they can never taste or experience the mercy and forgiveness of God. This is the advantage of man over demons. However, demons fear God because they know He is stronger then they and that they are already defeated and judged, they fear God’s judgment and they know their destiny.

    Luke 8:26-31 They sailed to the region of the Gerasenes, which is across the lake from Galilee. 27 When Jesus stepped ashore, he was met by a demon-possessed man from the town. For a long time this man had not worn clothes or lived in a house, but had lived in the tombs. 28 When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell at his feet, shouting at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, don’t torture me!” 29 For Jesus had commanded the evil spirit to come out of the man. Many times it had seized him, and though he was chained hand and foot and kept under guard, he had broken his chains and had been driven by the demon into solitary places. 30 Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” “Legion,” he replied, because many demons had gone into him. 31 And they begged him repeatedly not to order them to go into the Abyss.

    Yes, demons fear God they tremble before Him and they obey Him when He commands them. Man, on the other hand, does not. Man does not fear nor tremble neither does he obey God’s commandments. Certainly, God by His omnipotence can make man obey Him even forcibly, even the sinner, but there is a substantial difference between humans and demons.

    Demons respect the hierarchy in which they are placed, not by Satan only but by God Himself. In other words, when it is God that commands them demons do God’s bidding. As you see when God commands man, man disobeys God’s commandments unless God does not intervene forcibly by His power.

    This is another confirmation that man’s free will is only that of being a slave to sin and his sinful corrupt nature and slave of his master the devil. It would be that man should fear God, man is not able to fear God. Let us remember that Paul in this passage of Romans 3 is accusing mankind universally, in other words every unconverted, not regenerated man and woman and amongst whom we also once were.

    Ephesians 2:1-4 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, 2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, 3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.

    There is also another particular external to man’s nature but that fuels and helps the sinner not to fear God.

    Ecclesiastes 8:11-13 Because the sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil. 12 Though a sinner does evil a hundred times, and his days are prolonged, yet I surely know that it will be well with those who fear God, who fear before Him. 13 But it will not be well with the wicked; nor will he prolong his days, which are as a shadow, because he does not fear before God.

    When the laws and justice in the world are not executed speedily and in accord with God’s justice the heart of man hardens and fills up all the more with the desire to do evil. There will be a time when even in the worst time of divine judgment man will continue not to fear God and will still not want to repent. Even today, day after day until the end of the ages which is very close, the hearts of mankind are hardening more and more, there is less and less fear of God. Even Jesus predicted this and His word confirms it.

    Matthew 24:12 And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.

    As I said even during the worse judgment of God man’s heart will be harder still and will not fear God nor repent.

    Revelation 9:20-21 The rest of mankind that were not killed by these plagues still did not repent of the work of their hands; they did not stop worshiping demons, and idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone and wood-idols that cannot see or hear or walk. 21 Nor did they repent of their murders, their magic arts, their sexual immorality or their thefts.

    Revelation 16:9-11 They were seared by the intense heat and they cursed the name of God, who had control over these plagues, but they refused to repent and glorify him. 10 The fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and his kingdom was plunged into darkness. Men gnawed their tongues in agony 11 and cursed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, but they refused to repent of what they had done.

    The more the world distances itself from God’s laws, justice, and righteousness the more man’s heart hardens. Unfortunately, this is the world’s destiny. This has to make us in every way understand that it is only by the merciful and gracious intervention of God that a man can obtain salvation and spiritual life.

    Certainly and absolutely God has to barge into our very lives to regenerate us and give us His salvation. This is really the grace and mercy of God, to give His grace and mercy and salvation to a being that does not want to nor can obtain these things by himself, he refuses what God offers. This really means that man does not fear God and does not even fear God’s judgment or wrath now, but they will later when they will fall on their faces before Him on the Day of Judgment.

    Psalms 55:19 God, who is enthroned forever, will hear them and afflict them– Selah– men who never change their ways and have no fear of God.

    However, one day every man and every woman will fear God when on the Day of Judgment the unredeemed sinner will find himself before a completely holy and righteous God. Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. The sinners, those who now do not fear God, one day will fear Him. Unfortunately, for them it will be too late, they will fear God for their eternal judgment, they will respect Him and they will bow down before Him only to be judged and thrown into the lake of fire, in eternal torment. Revelation 14:9-11.

    Revelation 20:11-15 Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. 13 The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done. 14 Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. 15 If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

    What a great blessing, grace, and mercy God has poured out upon us that while we are alive physically we can bow our knees and confess with our tongues that Jesus is Lord for the glory of God the Father. God has given us His Spirit who enables us to willingly worship and serve Him.

    I would like to conclude with this observation. This observation is necessary because certainly I am sure there are those who still, even after all this we have seen about the completely corrupt nature of man and the fact that Scripture categorically teaches all this as well as the doctrine of election, in other words, the predestination of those who God saves, will accuse me as they accuse all who believe in this sound biblical and Apostolic doctrine, of defaming God. They will say that the God in this doctrine is cruel and unjust because He chooses to predestine some to salvation while many to eternal damnation.

    However, those who accuse God in the end and us of these unfounded things have not understood this doctrine nor the nature of man. I think that after we have studied this section of Romans 3 this doctrine should be much clearer.

    God, however, is not at all unjust nor cruel. God is gracious and merciful because if He were only holy, righteous, and just He would be perfectly right and just in sending EVERY single human being to hell, in accordance with all the word of God has taught us in regard to the condition of the human being.

    Instead, God is gracious and merciful and loving and has chosen, in accord with His perfect will and purposes, some to receive His grace and mercy and salvation, otherwise there would have been no one that would have been saved 2 Samuel 14:14.

    God’s heart cries and hurts for those who are damned, God has absolutely no pleasure in the death of the wicked. See Isaiah 55:6-11, Ezekiel 18:23, Ezekiel 18:32, Ezekiel 33:11.

    Lamentations 3:33 For He does not afflict willingly, Or grieve the sons of men.

    God is always just and those who do not receive God’s mercy and grace will receive His justice and judgment, afterall God’s wrath is what everybody without exception deserves, we have established by now. EVERY PERSON deserves nothing but God’s wrath and judgment.

    No one deserves God’s mercy and grace, so where is God’s injustice and cruelty in the doctrine of election? The only undeserved injustice Jesus received, the only righteous and just man who died for the unjust and unrighteous elect who otherwise as the rest of the world, even we, deserve eternal damnation, God’s righteous judgment and wrath.

    Romans Chapter III Verses XIX and XX

     

    Romans 3:19 Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.

    Paul now continues inspired by the Holy Spirit to declare the universality of mankind’s guilt before God. Paul declares, in fact, that all that the law says it says to those who are under the law.

    Until now we have seen that there are some people who are under the law of God revealed in Scripture and written upon tablets of stone, in other words the Hebrews, also those who are under the moral law of God written on their heart revealed through the conscience.

    These are both Hebrews and Gentiles alike. In fact, we have seen that every man has God’s law written on their heart and revealed through the conscience, while the Hebrew has also the written law of God, this is double witness together with their conscience .

    John 8:7-9 So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” 8 And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. 9 Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.

    Remember that the men who brought the adulterous woman to Jesus approached Him by their self-righteous attitude and questions regarding the enforcement of the righteousness of God’s law. However Jesus, although He did not downplay the law, appealed to their conscience which was guilty of the same sin of which they were accusing her. That is why in other words what Jesus was telling them was, the man who was righteous enough in this case was to enforce the law of God by throwing the first stone. They instead were convicted by their conscience being it was guilty and confirming to them they were transgressors of God’s written law, both written in Scripture and on the tablets of their heart.

    Once again Paul now is uniting the whole world, every ethnic group that exists on this earth under sin and so the whole world, Jews and Gentiles, are under the curse of the law. The law of God is good and holy but when it’s broken and transgressed becomes a curse as we have had ample opportunity until now too see that ALL without exception are transgressors of the law of God, ALL are under sin, ALL are guilty.

    Romans 7:9-12 Once I was alive apart from law; but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life and I died. 10 I found that the very commandment that was intended to bring life actually brought death. 11 For sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, deceived me, and through the commandment put me to death. 12 So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and good.

    Galatians 3:10 All who rely on observing the law are under a curse, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.”

    Of these things we will have more detailed opportunity to study in the following chapters. For now it suffices to mention that the law of God is good, holy and righteous but it is inevitably broken and transgressed by everybody and all men are by nature sinners and transgressors of God’s moral law whether they know the written law or not.

    The word sin in Greek is the word “hamartia” that comes from the verb “hamartano” which means “to miss the target”.

    Let us remember this concept as we will learn more about the law of God ahead.

    The important thing to know now is that fulfilling the whole law of God is the target that God has placed before man but man always falls short of hitting it, when man misses the target of the law, which is the reflection of God’s holy and righteous character and therefore God’s glory, he in fact falls short of God’s glory and for this man is under a curse.

    We have mentioned several times that man is not a sinner only because he sins, but sins because he is a sinner by nature. Man cannot hit God’s intended target, His glory, reflected in His law because his corrupt nature inherited by Adam does not allow it.

    This is why the law cannot make the person righteous at all, man is cursed. All we need to do is read Genesis 3, and because he is cursed he is spiritually dead and is a slave to sin and Satan. The law confirms in the end the general revelation of God’s existence and that He is a holy, and righteous God, the law brings to man the knowledge of the specific transgressions of the holy and righteous character of God.

    So through the conscience and written revelation the whole world is confirmed guilty of having transgressed God’s law, such is because no one is exempt of the knowledge of God’s law. For these reasons Paul expressed for us in the previous two chapters and also this one so far, the mouth of every man and woman is silenced from any possible excuse and justification before God and the whole world remains guilty before God. Guilty of having violated and transgressed His holy righteous law, in the end having offended Him.

    Both the law and the conscience do not prevent at all man from having pleasure in sinning, wanting to sin and desiring to do evil. Only a change of nature and the removal of the curse man is under can render man righteous before God, this is something only God can provide and do. It’s something God has done and is doing.

    Romans 3:20 Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin.

    Once again Paul, by the Holy Spirit, declares this great truth. No one will be ever justified by attempting to accomplish and fulfill God’s law.

    In other words, no justification will come by any human attempt to be righteous before God done trying to obey His commandments.

    Paul himself, if it was not for the fact he was regenerated by God and that inside him was placed the Holy Spirit and so this way received God’s divine nature, could not have ever declared these things. In fact, he himself shares with the Philippian church and to us through the same Scripture, his position before his conversion.

    Philippians 3:4-9 though I also might have confidence in the flesh. If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so: 5 circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; 6 concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. 7 But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. 8 Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith

    We will be talking about justification in more detail and how it is obtained, in fact. In regard to this, Paul continues to teach us about this in chapter 4 explaining to us the situation and the difference between works of the law and faith in Christ, which is the door to enter into the state of justification through Christ before God.

    However, in this verse Paul is explaining to us to what use the law has. The law serves the purpose to give man the more deep knowledge of his sinfulness, in other words, to make known better and without doubts what the conscience affirms.

    Let us remember that the conscience confirms the law of God written on the heart of man, I would add man’s heart of stone. In fact, God declares that man has a heart of stone, so hard that God describes it like this Ezekiel 11:19 and

    Ezekiel 36:26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.

    Other passages that speak of the hardening of the heart, heart of stone such as [Zechariah 7:12].

    This was also the example that God gave us when He wrote with His finger His law upon tablets of stone at the time He gave them to Moses.

    Exodus 31:18 And when He had made an end of speaking with him on Mount Sinai, He gave Moses two tablets of the Testimony, tablets of stone, written with the finger of God.

    The heart then that is described for us in

    Romans 2:15 who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them)

    is a heart of stone which man possesses and upon such as the tablets given to Moses is written God’s law, the righteous and holy moral character of He who IS the law and that has written the law. However, we should not become confused with other Scriptures which speak of God’s law and God’s precepts which He also writes on a regenerated heart. There are Scriptures that, in fact, describe this fact but this is yet a different context, because the hearts are different. Even the following verse of Ezekiel 36:26 says this very fact.

    Ezekiel 36:27 I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.

    This is passage in Ezekiel is the description of what God does when He gives new birth to a person that is justified by faith in Christ, not the human attempt to be justified before God by trying to obey God’s law.

    This is all confirmed in Hebrews 8:10 and Hebrews 10:16 where the author is making references to prophecies made in the OT and quotes the prophet Jeremiah, Jeremiah 31:31-34 when the Lord making reference to the New Covenant in Christ Jesus describes the new birth that occurs from this covenant not only referring to Israel but also the church says

    Jeremiah 31:31-33 “Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah– 32 not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the LORD. 33 But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.

    A New Covenant not according to the covenant of the Law given to Moses, but the New one in Christ Jesus, a covenant not of works such as the first one might have appeared to be. In reality the Old Covenant which was made to prove to the people they could not keep it, rather it should have driven them to desperation and to seek by faith God’s grace and mercy. This New Covenant is the work of God in and through Jesus Chris. It’s a covenant not of human attempts to please and appease God, rather a new spiritual birth of people who then after would willingly and lovingly worship and serve God.

    This then is not at all the same concept of the law written on the human heart of stone which we have seen rather the law and precepts of God written on regenerated, new hearts, regenerated by the Spirit of God.

    2 Corinthians 3:3 clearly you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart.

    New and regenerated hearts. In this chapter three of 2 Corinthians in fact Paul demonstrates that

    First, it is the Spirit of God that writes in the regenerated minds and hearts the things of God.

    Second, the entire context of 2 Corinthians speaks, in fact, of the difference between the law of God written on tablets of stone, being the literal stone tablets given to Moses by God and the stone tablets of the human heart of which they are a symbol, and what is written by the Spirit of God on the regenerated hearts and minds.

    Let us remember that the letter of the law is a curse for the sinning man and it is what kills, the letter or the word of God through the Holy Spirit is life and gives life.

    John 6:63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.

    In fact, the word of God teaches us that

    1 Corinthians 15:56-57 The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

    This gives echo to what we will study in the future when we will come to Romans 7 and the beginning of chapter 8 in regards to this

    Romans 7:22-25-Romans 8:1-4 For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. 23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. 24 O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 I thank God–through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.

    Romans 8:1-4 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, 4 that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

    So as Paul says the law is to have the detailed knowledge of what sin is. That is confirmation that the sinner, the natural unredeemed man, is a transgressor of the law of God, law that is also revealed in man’s heart through the conscience.

    Romans 7:7-8 What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, “You shall not covet.” 8 But sin, taking opportunity by the commandment, produced in me all manner of evil desire. For apart from the law sin was dead.

    The law when it is used appropriately demonstrates to the sinner his or her sin and the impossibility that man can obey it, obey it entirely and always. In fact, the sinner does not even have the desire to obey it, only the desire that some religiously seek to obtain righteousness through practicing the little they can believing to be justified through it before God. These as we said are the religious people, there are also those who are not at all religious and who do not care at all doing God’s will or observing God’s law and these are the ones who Paul describes in the next passage we will examine found in

    1 Timothy 1:8-11 But we know that the law is good if one uses it lawfully, 9 knowing this: that the law is not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, 10 for fornicators, for sodomites, for kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers, and if there is any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine, 11 according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God which was committed to my trust.

    This is a very, very interesting passage that is worthy of the proper explanation, and it is exactly in the context of what we are studying.

    According to the Holy Spirit through Paul the law is good if used lawfully, what does this mean?

    There is a lawful and an unlawful way to use the law of God then? Yes, there is. The use of the law as a means to try to obtain righteousness and be justified before God as well as to impose all of its aspects to obtain salvation, this use of the law is what we have seen so far described as the unlawful way. It is impossible to be justified and obtain righteousness trying desperately to obey all of God’s law always, which is humanly impossible, even as we have read in Romans 8:3-4.

    All this is also laid out for us entirely and in detail by Paul in Romans 7. We have also seen that the law then is a tool to make man understand what the conscience tells him about him transgressing God’s law. The law condemns the works of the flesh and confirms what the conscience is saying to man.

    The law has a then a three fold purpose.

    It shows man’s utter hopeless condition.

    It testifies of Jesus Christ’s person, work and ministry. How? Because the law does nothing else but confirm man’s sinfulness and it proves that the natural, religious unredeemed man or woman cannot obey it and in many cases does not want to obey it. Why? Because even if we transgress the law in only one point we are guilty of having transgressed all of it.

    It opens the way to finding God’s grace through the Gospel and faith in Christ.

    James 2:10-11 For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all. 11 For He who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” Now if you do not commit adultery, but you do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law.

    Therefore, absolutely no one can ever be justified by the working out of the law, because no man can nor wants to fulfill it, instead that is what God’s requirement is.

    It is here that the sinners and the religious mouths are stopped and proven guilty before God. They are then brought to the very end of themselves having to admit that they both are transgressors of God’s law and in desperate need to receive the grace and mercy of God without which God’s law in nothing else than an accusation and a curse for man, although it remains good and holy.

    So once again, the law is given to confirm to the sinner that he or she are indeed sinners and transgressors of that very law. In fact, this is exactly what Paul was telling us in that passage we read in 1 Timothy, that is the lawful way to use the law, to let sinners and religious people know they are sinners before God and lacking what God requires. In other words, perfect obedience to His law. They are found to be transgressors and condemned by the law so that the sinner and the religious man (sinner still) are brought to confront themselves with the perfection of God revealed in the law and find themselves so far away and separated from God that they cannot do anything but admit they are desperately lost.

    So what is the remedy for this problem? How can a sinner be justified before God? How can the transgressor of God’s law receive God’s forgiveness? If not by the works of the law, then what can man do to have peace with God and obtain justification?

    You see then, inevitably the law is the path, the road necessary to arrive to the Gospel

    So if we could summarize all that Paul has written so far in this epistle would be this

    The Gospel is the power of God for the salvation of all who believe and all who believe are justified by that faith they exercised, that is the good news. However the bad news is this, man refuses and rejects God, refuses the revelation of His existence and abandons himself in idolatry choosing instead of the One and Only Living God to create their own image of God, made in the image of man, creating his own god. This is the category of people called pagans, idolaters but they are not the only ones to incur God’s judgment and wrath. Even the religious hypocrites (especially the religious Jews but not only) are also as the pagans only that they try to obtain favor with the true God by observing the law but doing it externally denying their sinful corrupt condition, their sinful nature. So then seen that there is no one who is righteous, no one who seeks after God, all are guilty before God (both those under the law written on stone tablets and those who have the law of God written on their hearts confirmed by their conscience so that all by nature are corrupt and so described in the last verses we studied), we arrive to the conclusion that the law is only legally used when used to demonstrate the moral perfection of God and the sin of man, and the utter impossibility of any man to perfectly obey it which would be what God expects man to do. This should then bring people to desperation making them aware that they are transgressors of God’s law and under a curse and without hope if not for the Gospel.

    Mankind is under a double curse. The first one is that all men are by nature corrupt and therefore condemned, and the second is because being condemned and sinners they do not want to obey nor can they obey God’s law and being transgressors they are under a curse.

    All this to bring to the solution of this problem that afflicts man. The law is the pathway to bring us to the grace of God in Christ and to faith, in other words the Gospel, the only power of God for the salvation of man and man’s only hope.

    In line with this, there is in the church unfortunately a false Gospel and form of evangelism I will call “Jesus loves you” something that produces false conversions and false Christians that deceive themselves into thinking to have received salvation and to be justified before God while in reality they never have arrived to true faith, never repented of their sins at the very best they are religious and proud to think they are the ones to have chosen God and in reality they place their trust and confidence in the works they practice.

    If to the sinner first the law is not shown how can the sinner be brought to see himself as a sinner? How can the sinner arrive to being desperate about his situation? To realize he needs God’s grace and mercy of God and God’s forgiveness? If hell is not presented how can someone see the need to be saved, saved from what then?

    Without these things the Gospel will only become a pretext to a better life on earth. In other words, what can God bless me with, what can God do for me, how can God make me prosper or how I can continue to live as I wish having a get out of hell free card? Unfortunately, those who think they can follow Christ on these conditions are only deceiving themselves.

    Many who have believed in this false Gospel are those who continue to live a sinful and carnal lifestyle while deluding themselves into thinking they are saved and forgiven. These are either religious with a great deal of spiritual pride or they are those who either for the obvious difficulties they encounter trying to follow Jesus or because of the pleasures and worries of life they fall way from God Matthew 13:18-22, all this because they are really not converted, especially because the work of the Holy Spirit’s conviction was not presented to them through the proper use of the law that was not preached to them together with the proper and true Gospel.

    Let’s examine these categories, and we will see that are false believers and not true believers fallen from grace.

    The first category are the religious people, those who are spiritually proud and they add to their false faith works in order to be justified. Jesus condemned these people and exposed them as false believers.

    Matthew 7:21-23 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’

    Please note that Jesus tells them that He never knew them and He calls them those who practice lawlessness. In other words, He accuses them of being transgressors of His law and therefore sinners never justified.

    This is an indication that these people were never part of Jesus’ fold or of God’s family.

    These are not true believers fallen from grace at some point, Jesus never knew them. We have seen instead that God’s lost sheep, the ones for whom Jesus lays down His life, the ones that He goes to find and gathers and brings into His fold, He says He knows them even before they know Him. (See this study of Romans 3:11b)

    The second category are those who live in licentiousness to sin, in other words those to whom the law was never preached and shown before the Gospel. These apparently accept Christ as savior but do not want to have Him as Lord of their life.

    The two things, however, are inexorably connected and cannot be accepted separately. Jesus will never be anyone’s savior if He is not their Lord Romans 10:9-10.

    Confessing Jesus as Lord implies obeying Him, obeying Him implies loving Him. These really never repented of their sins because they really never understood the law nor the Gospel. They retain the licentiousness to sin counting on the fact that God will give them mercy and grace while they cannot truly receive it, they are not willing to truly repent.

    Even these were never part of God’s family, Jesus’ sheep fold. They are the tares planted among the grain which do not bring forth the fruit of faith, repentance and holiness see Matthew 13:24-30.

    The word of God teaches us that these are the ones who deceive themselves thinking to be justified while persevering in a sinful lifestyle contrary to God’s holiness; and yes, His law.

    This is also what is known as cheap grace. But God’s grace is not cheap, it’s free for those who are elected to believe but it’s not cheap. It cost God all He could give, His very precious life and blood, being accused and condemned as a sinner, was made sin for us but knew no sin, the just for the unjust, a very high price.

    God’s grace is not cheap and anyone who thinks it is by consciously wanting, desiring to live in sin while deceiving themselves into thinking they are in God’s grace, is most likely not a saved person.

    1 Corinthians 6:9-10 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.

    Interesting, who are the unrighteous? The word itself explains it, those who are not righteous and therefore have not been justified. This becomes evident by the life they live, those who live such lives as described have not been justified and once more if they are not justified they never were part of God’s family. These are not true believers who have fallen from God’s grace they never entered into God’s grace.

    In fact, what does Paul say in the following verse of 1 Corinthians 6?

    1 Corinthians 6:11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.

    So that is the reality, those who have entered into God’s grace were, past tense, such as described in the previous verses. But now, present tense, you were sanctified and were justified, both in the aorist tense, done in the past that continues on in the present and will continue in the future, it is a done deal. Initiated, continued and completed, by who? The Spirit of God.

    See the difference?

    Ephesians 5:5-7 For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. 7 Therefore do not be partakers with them.

    The wrath of God comes upon whom? The sons of disobedience and not upon the children of God

    The third category are those who really did not comprehend fully the price of what it means to follow Christ and that as we even said before follow Jesus for carnal reasons and not spiritual ones.

    Most of the people who lived in Jesus’ days were like this and many times Jesus would confront them for this very reason, see also Matthew 13:18-22.

    We have to be very careful not to place our attention and desires upon the miracles, signs and wonders and physical needs such as prosperity, well being instead of faith in God and His word.

    These things do not produce faith, rather they produce a carnal view for which a person wants Jesus. People need Jesus to be born-again and not to receive things that can only in the end appease the senses and therefore the flesh. What does the word of God tell us about this?

    John 2:23-25 Now while he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many people saw the miraculous signs he was doing and believed in his name. 24 But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all men. 25 He did not need man’s testimony about man, for he knew what was in a man.

    Why did they believe in His name? They saw the miraculous signs He performed and not because they believed in His word. Interesting right? The passage says Jesus did not entrust himself to them, He did not trust them, He knew their faith was superficial and carnal and knew what they believed in their hearts.

    God knows what type of faith we have, if it’s real faith or if it is only “ let’s see what God can do to bless me and give me so I can live better in this world,” instead of how He can bless us spiritually perhaps taking something away from us instead. The signs and miracles do not generate real faith. Only God gives true faith through the hearing of His word, this brings forth faith that regenerates.

    Let ‘s remember that the people wanted to make Jesus king not because He would give them spiritual blessings rather because He could provide miraculously for their physical needs John 6:5-15.

    John 6:24-27 Once the crowd realized that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they got into the boats and went to Capernaum in search of Jesus. 25 When they found him on the other side of the lake, they asked him, “Rabbi, when did you get here?” 26 Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, you are looking for me, not because you saw miraculous signs but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. 27 Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. On him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.”

    Superficially and carnally believing brings a semblance of conversion but that is not a real conversion and in the end it becomes rejection of Jesus.

    The Scriptures that prove this is true are found in Matthew 13:18-30 in the parables of the sower, the parable of the wheat and the tares and some very strong passages that confirm false conversions and false disciples are found, in fact, in John 6.

    John 6:63-66 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life. 64 But there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who would betray Him. 65 And He said, “Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father.” 66 From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more.

    For this very reason many went back and stopped following Jesus and this happens today, even today for the same reasons they stop following Jesus. Even this proves that they are not true believers that have lost their salvation and have denied Jesus but people who in reality never truly believed or seemingly believed but with the wrong motives, which is not believing at all in the end.

    That is why John declared

    1 John 2:19 They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.

    I firmly believe that when the Gospel and the entire word of God are not preached the way God really wants they produce mostly, if not always, false conversions because the law and the Gospel are not taught and explained properly.

    It is also obvious that those who seem to accept the word of God and then for various reasons seem to fall from God’s grace or seem to lose their salvation is because in reality in their hearts they are unable to accept the Gospel for what it truly is.

    So the word of God if not rooted in the right hearts, the right soil, does not produce true faith and true regeneration, because let’s remember that faith, true faith comes by hearing and by hearing the word of Christ. If the word is taught and preached erroneously it will not produce good fruit, rather it will produce confusion and false conversions.

    Let’s understand, however, that the word of God even preached and taught the right way falls in different soils of the human heart and it produces different effects, this is by God’s will and design.

    The word of God is a double edged sword Hebrews 4:12, it either brings to faith and salvation or it hardens even more the hearts of those who listen. We must not be surprised if so many times after we have preached or taught rightly God’s word a person instead of getting closer to God walks even farther away from Him. This is due to the fact that the word of God will always accomplish God’s will and purpose. Sometimes it is regeneration, salvation and sanctification; sometimes it is hardness of heart and falling away.

    Only God is responsible for that which His word accomplishes and produces, we are not. We are called to interpret it, teach it and preach it rightly, that’s all. We are the sowers and we are not at all responsible for the final results 1 Corinthians 3:5-9. This by the way proves all the more the doctrine of election or predestination to be biblical and true.

    This is how we can reconcile evangelism and predestination that many say are irreconcilable.

    Isaiah 55:10-11 As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, 11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

    John 12:39-40 For this reason they could not believe, because, as Isaiah says elsewhere: 40 “He has blinded their eyes and deadened their hearts, so they can neither see with their eyes, nor understand with their hearts, nor turn-and I would heal them.”

    The word of God either breaks up and pulverizes the heart of stone to replace it with a heart of flesh, which is regeneration and salvation through the Holy Spirit or He will Himself harden even more an already hard, stony heart to which He does not give the capacity to understand, so that person cannot believe because in the end he or she does not want to believe anyway so that the responsibility of unbelief is man’s not God’s. However, we are responsible of wrongly interpreting, teaching and preaching God’s word and this will by no means be a source of true blessing and salvation.

    We cannot blame God of injustice because man goes to eternal damnation, after all every man without exception is condemned to eternal damnation without the intervention of the grace and mercy of God, ruin is the way man decides to follow.

    Romans Chapter III Verses from XXI to XXIII

     

    21 But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22 This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

    After arriving at the conclusion regarding the condemnation of the entire human race, Jews and Gentiles alike; after the bad news that all men are unrighteous, wicked, corrupt, idolatrous and reject God and His ways; and after Paul has concluded that by the works of the law no man is justified, rather that through the law sin is known; that the law is a curse for man; now Paul introduces finally the righteousness of God, God’s salvation for man’s desperate and otherwise helpless situation; the way with which God provided righteousness and justification for man, how God forgives man’s sins and renders him or her righteous and removes their guilt – the only way one can have peace with God and be at peace with Him.

    Paul under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit has written almost three chapters to explain the desperate and hopeless condition of man, Jews and Gentiles alike. Before one can receive the good news of God, the Gospel which has the power to save through faith in Christ, Paul had to explain in detail the need that mankind has of receiving the mercy and grace of God which He demonstrated in and through Christ Jesus.

    Now Paul begins this section saying that the righteousness of God is something to which God has provided and it is independent, in other words completely apart, separated from the practice of the law or any religious work and that God’s righteousness now has been manifested to the whole world in Christ.

    Yes, of this righteousness the law and the prophets testified. Yes, the law and the prophets had testified that God would have provided His righteousness, His salvation apart from the works of the law in the person of Jesus Christ.

    As early as Genesis 22, well actually even as early as Genesis 3, God’s promise of redemption through Jesus the savior was predicted Genesis 3:15. But I would like to focus now on Genesis 22.

    Abraham was told by God to go and sacrifice to Him his own son Isaac, the son of promise. Here in this scenario we see a shadow and symbol of what God would have done with His own Son many years later. This was a prophetic, symbolic act God was asking Abraham to perform. Abraham as much as many who think he did not know what was going on, I believe, instead knew in his spirit what God was promising through this act he was asked to perform.

    In fact, Abraham gives several indications that he knew what was going on.

    Genesis 22:5 He said to his servants, “Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you.”

    He was sure that both he and Isaac would come back. In Hebrews it says Abraham believed that even if God would have him actually kill Isaac God was able to give Issac back to him by resurrecting him from the dead, and it goes on saying indeed it was as if Isaac was resurrected because in Abraham’s mind he was as good as dead Hebrews 11:17-19.

    But…look at what Abraham answers Isaac when Isaac asks his father where the sacrifice was.

    Genesis 22:7-8 Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, “Father?” “Yes, my son?” Abraham replied. “The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” 8 Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together.

    Abraham was confident that God would provide a sacrifice; and in fact, God did provide it and not only then did He provide the substitute for Isaac but on that very mount God many years later provided the sacrifice of His only Son Jesus, the substitute for the elect.

    That was the prophetic instance that Abraham lived on that day and he knew it. He saw on that very day, the day of Christ, and rejoiced in it. Jesus Himself gave confirmation of this in

    John 8:56 Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.”

    So as early as Genesis 22 there was testifying in Scripture of Jesus’ work of redemption. Some people by God’s grace and faith understood this.

    Jesus himself declared that the law and the prophets testified of Him, Him the only righteous one and the righteousness of God.

    John 5:39-47 You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, 40 yet you refuse to come to me to have life. 41 “I do not accept praise from men, 42 but I know you. I know that you do not have the love of God in your hearts. 43 I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not accept me; but if someone else comes in his own name, you will accept him. 44 How can you believe if you accept praise from one another, yet make no effort to obtain the praise that comes from the only God? 45 “But do not think I will accuse you before the Father. Your accuser is Moses, on whom your hopes are set. 46 If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me. 47 But since you do not believe what he wrote, how are you going to believe what I say?”

    Luke 24:25-27 He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” 27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.

    Luke 24:44-47 He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.” 45 Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. 46 He told them, “This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.

    We can spend years seeing what the OT says regarding Jesus, all the prophecies that speak of Him, the prophetic and messianic Psalms. The law with all its types of sacrifices and offerings, the festivals, are all symbols and shadows of Christ. People such as Joseph, Joshua, Moses, and yes we did speak of Isaac, are types and symbols of Christ. All of the apparitions of the Angel of the LORD are revelations of the pre-incarnate Christ. There are so many types and examples, references and prophecies we cannot even attempt to see them all here. All this because the revelation of the word of God has always and continuously spoken of Jesus Christ.

    For now the most important thing is to understand that the righteousness of God is apart from the law and that God has manifested and revealed this in Jesus Christ, not that Jesus Christ Himself, however, is apart from the law. Righteousness for mankind is apart from any attempt to work out the law because it is only obtainable through faith in the work Jesus performed, in the person of Jesus Christ the law of God is fulfilled.

    The beauty that we will also see in the coming verses is that Jesus is the righteous one who is both the just one and He who justifies.

    Jesus, however, has fulfilled that which any other man could not ever fulfill. He is the only man that fulfilled and perfectly obeyed God’s law.

    The law is described by Paul as a tutor that leads us to Christ because it testifies of Him and renders us knowledgeable of our sinfulness making us see, hopefully, the impossibility on our part to obey it. This law therefore condemns us to death and demonstrates that mankind is under God’s wrath and judgment and it pushes man to the very limit of desperation for which there is only one remedy, justification through faith in Christ.

    Galatians 3:21-26 Is the law, therefore, opposed to the promises of God? Absolutely not! For if a law had been given that could impart life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law. 22 But the Scripture declares that the whole world is a prisoner of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe. 23 Before this faith came, we were held prisoners by the law, locked up until faith should be revealed. 24 So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith. 25 Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law. 26 You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus,

    The fulfillment of the law of God was performed by Jesus in His person. Jesus also has come into the world, yes, through a woman. Nevertheless, in His human nature He did not have sin and corruption, which is that which in essence condemns all men.

    However, because of His complete and perfect obedience to God’s law and God’s will, Jesus has fulfilled all the requirements of the law, something no man could ever dream of doing and satisfy.

    So, once again, we come back to faith. Man has to exercise faith in Christ in order to obtain the righteousness of God and be forgiven of his or her sins, have the guilt removed and therefore be justified before God.

    In fact, what did Jesus say in

    John 16:7-11 But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. 8 When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me; 10 in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; 11 and in regard to judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.

    For the longest time this passage was difficult for me to understand, what did Jesus really mean, especially in verse 10 where he declares in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer?

    Finally God by His grace allowed me to understand the depth of this simple verse.

    It is the work of the Holy Spirit to convict and convince man of righteousness through faith in Christ and not because Jesus and His miracles would remain visible to people. In fact, this is why He says because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer.

    He is really talking about what Paul is speaking about here in Romans 3, in other words, the righteousness of God is through faith in Jesus Christ who is now no longer visible to the human eyes. Yet not seeing Him we believe in Him and in His work we are justified. Remember, faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. Jesus is invisible to the human eyes now, to see Him we must do so by faith.

    This is the same context, for example, with what Jesus told Thomas in

    John 20:29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

    That’s faith, not seeing but believing.

    The other thing that Jesus meant in [John 16:10] is that He would go to the Father from where He would send His Spirit and also at the Father’s right hand. He has the ministry of being High Priest where He intercedes justifying us, His elect sheep and children, He justifies us before the Father with His own blood. His death, the shedding of His blood forgives our sins and His life, because He ever lives to make intercession for us, renders us righteous and justifies us before God the Father [Romans 8:32-39].

    Hebrews 7:19-28 (for the law made nothing perfect), and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God. 20 And it was not without an oath! Others became priests without any oath, 21 but he became a priest with an oath when God said to him: “The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind: ‘You are a priest forever.'” 22 Because of this oath, Jesus has become the guarantee of a better covenant. 23 Now there have been many of those priests, since death prevented them from continuing in office; 24 but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. 25 Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them. 26 Such a high priest meets our need-one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens. 27 Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself. 28 For the law appoints as high priests men who are weak; but the oath, which came after the law, appointed the Son, who has been made perfect forever.

    The Bible is clear on this subject regarding faith, it is only through the exercise of TRUE faith that we obtain justification and are rendered righteous. However, we need to examine briefly, as we will look at this subject in more detail in the study of the next chapters, the subject of faith. We really need to answer some questions regarding faith that are well answered and are biblical.

    First question:

    What is TRUE FAITH?

     

    First of all, as we said we will have opportunity to revisit this subject also in Romans IV which speaks of biblical faith. This is an extremely important subject and it will be worth examining it and studying it even at the cost of being repetitive. I think there is great confusion in the Christian Evangelical world as to the true and biblical meaning of faith, the faith God want us to exercise.

    Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.

    Pretty clear, no? Faith is to have the the assurance of our hopes, the certainty, without doubts that what we hope for is true and it will come to pass even if we do not yet see it manifested before us immediately.

    Faith is the real and true demonstration of the things we do not physically, naturally see with our eyes. In what do we have certainty? In what or who do we place our hope and confidence?

    We have certainty and hope in things that apparently and temporarily we cannot see with our physical eyes. This certainty, this hope is in what is demonstrated to us by the invisible.

    Two examples of this:

    The first: Our certainty and hope are answered completely in what God promises.

    The word of God and His promises are not really things we cannot see or read with our physical eyes, we can see them written on the pages of Scripture. It is obvious that we read God’s word, we can see that, we can read what God is telling us. However, in our hearts we have the certainty that what is written and what God promises will come to pass even if we do not see the immediate result, even if we must wait a time before God fulfills them in our life, yet in those things we hope and believe. Faith, however, has to be based solely on what God says in His word and what He promises. Faith, real faith is not what is based upon our own desires, wishful thinking or some kind of weird and unfounded revelation apart form God’s written word. We are not to put our faith in those things rather only in what is sure that God said in His written word. In fact, God’s word declares true faith comes by hearing the word of God, properly preached, taught, studied and meditated.

    The second example: The Father and Jesus and the Holy Spirit are not visible persons in the results of what we hope for, in what we pray for, yet we believe in them as if we saw them.

    We cannot see the Father, we cannot see Jesus, we cannot see the Holy Spirit, we do not see our salvation fulfilled in this moment, we do not see heaven, the answers to our prayers we do not see until they are actually answered. In other words, we cannot touch or see certain things or persons physically at least not right away, in other words, in the moment we exercise faith.

    Faith, however, is having the certainty that all of these things in which we hope and do not see will be seen and will be demonstrated to be a physical reality when they will actually become visible.

    Another practical example, we do not see Jesus in person. Yet when we place our faith in Him for our salvation the certainty of what we hope for becomes gradually visible for us. Deliverance, sanctification, healing, answered prayers and God’s promise fulfilled in our life are all demonstrations of the things that for a time were invisible but then become visible realities because we had the certainty of that which we hoped for. We can then see God with the eyes of faith in the fulfillment of our faith, but the end of faith is then demonstrated in the visual actualization of all the things we only see through the eyes of faith. This concept is very well explained to us by Peter in

    1 Peter 1:3-9 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade-kept in heaven for you, 5 who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that your faith-of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire-may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

    This is the description of one aspect of our faith, the genuine faith generates a hope that is certain of things unseen and what we hoped for without seeing becomes later a visible reality. However, we had this certainty still even before it became visible, until when the invisible becomes visible, when faith becomes sight.

    For you see this faith is the only thing that pleases God.

    Hebrews 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

    So then there are two elements of which faith that pleases God is made.

    The first thing that has satisfied God and pleased Him completely, however, was His Son Jesus Christ. He satisfied fully God the Father, His obedience which is really faith in action and His sacrifice have completely pleased God.

    It is, therefore, the faith we exercise in Christ that is necessary for God to be pleased with us, obviously faith must be placed in Christ, He is the only one who fully pleased God.

    Based on Hebrews 11:6, however, it seems there is a problem regarding what we have studied so far in Romans 3.

    Hebrews 11:6 states that to come to Him in faith one must:

    1) Believe that He exists

    2) Believe that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.

    Ouch! The problem we have until now constantly seen in our study of Romans is the very fact that no one, although having revelation of Him and of His existence, no one, wants to believe in Him Romans 1:18-32 and for this very reason is lacking the first prerequisite of Hebrews 11:6.

    The second devastating problem is that in Romans 3:11 the word of God states that “there is no one who seeks after God.”

    This fact renders mankind universally unable to earnestly seek God, this renders man lacking the second prerequisite of Hebrews 11:6.

    So there are two humanly insurmountable problems here, because if it is only through faith (in Christ by the way) that we can please God knowing that He is and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him and the Scripture confirms that universally no one wants to believe that He is and that no one seeks after Him, this is a real dilemma.

    So this dilemma brings us to ask the next question.

    Is man naturally equipped with TRUE FAITH?

    The right biblical answer is NO! Although man has the revelation of God’s existence within himself and also in nature he does not naturally or automatically believe that He is God.

    On the contrary Romans 1:18-32 already showed us instead that mankind rejects God and throws himself into idolatry which includes religion even religion that is based upon the knowledge of the one and only living God Romans 2.

    Romans, until now, has taught us that no one has the ability within themselves to seek after God or to believe in Him as He desires because man is incurably and completely corrupted and for this reason spiritually dead Romans 3:10-20.

    So that the answer to which we already had arrived is NO! Man does not naturally have within himself faith, biblical faith. This reality brings us to the next thing regarding faith. If man who is completely corrupted was able to generate true faith within himself it would have to be, therefore, considered a human work of righteousness of which man would be capable of producing. In fact, it would be a human work that God would then be forced to accept.

    This would be a huge problem, however, because it would mean whether we want to admit it or not if God has to respond to what man produces, even faith, and that man is sovereign over God’s choices and decisions.

    So that this would force God to justify a work done by any man who by his own “free will” decides somehow to activate his or her faith. But we have seen instead that man is unable to produce faith and is unable to choose God, without God that would enable him or her to do so, so that even this is a gift generated by God’s grace, it is part of God’s grace Ephesians 2:8-10.

    This then can happen only if a man or a woman is regenerated by God. God’s word tells us that salvation comes from hearing the word of God Romans 10:17 the real Gospel preached properly 1 Corinthians 1:21, and it’s the conviction of the Holy Spirit through the word of God and His regenerating work that applies faith and salvation to man Titus 3:4-7, otherwise man by his sinful and corrupt nature would naturally and always reject God and His salvation and cannot operate faith, real faith.

    How is TRUE FAITH obtainable and how does one operate the FAITH that God requires?

    So now the thing is this, some say that God has placed in every man a measure of faith and that man has the ability within him, let say in his “free will”, to either exercise this faith or not. In other words, it is man who has the ability to either believe or to remain in unbelief.

    I firmly believe that the Bible categorically denies this theory. Up until now we have seen that man is spiritually dead and that he or she cannot exercise any spiritual element that can make them close to God never mind believe in God or in Christ.

    I do not want to go back now to all the Scriptures we already have studied. We just need to read John 6 in its entirety to understand that no one by himself can believe unless it is granted to them by God.

    Jesus is more than clear in His exposition on faith, election and therefore salvation in John 6. This entire chapter, in concert with the rest of Scripture, gives clear evidence of the fact that it is God, through the ministry, work and operation of the Holy Spirit, that grants faith and the right spiritual condition that is necessary to exercise true faith. There is a specific system that God uses today to do so.

    We have read before in John 6:63 and then in John 16:7-11 that the ministry of the Holy Spirit whom has been sent into the world and is present within the church, in other words in every true believer, has the task of doing four things in regard to salvation, regenerate, convict of sin, of righteousness and of judgment.

    Where is faith in all this? It is as we already have occasion to see in John 16:10 in conjunction with
    Romans 3:22, the conviction of the Holy Spirit in regard to the righteousness of God through what?
    Faith in Christ.

    It’s like saying that the Holy Spirit, in other words God, places inside a regenerated heart the conviction and convinces of these things – sinfulness, repentance, God’s righteousness in Christ and the righteous judgment of God upon the devil and all who belong to him. However, all this makes us ask other questions.

    When does this occur? In other words, when do we obtain true faith necessary for salvation? Are we regenerated after we have exercised faith?

    OK, as I believe, the Bible definitely teaches us how man obtains salvation and this is not accepted by many in the Christian community these days. If one believes in the exclusive “free will” of man in regard to salvation, they certainly will not believe in the here exposed explanation which is also exposed in the Bible for that matter.

    If a believer believes in the doctrine of election and predestination then they will agree with this teaching. However, it’s not whether one has to agree with me or not, rather if they truly are honest they will see that it is the Bible that teaches this doctrine.

    There are those who rightly say that justification is by faith in Christ only. This is true. However, they also say that it is after a person believed that they receive salvation, regeneration etc.

    This doctrine states that to obtain this result, in other words salvation and justification, first of all one must have believed in Jesus, then repented of their sins and then at this point God responds based upon the exercise of faith of that person applying salvation to that person. This would be true if man could naturally have faith and could activate it using his or her free will just like turning a light on and off.

    So, at first glance it would even appear to be this way. However, I believe the Bible without a doubt teaches the doctrine of election and predestination and that in harmony with Scripture this doctrine clearly shows us that man’s regeneration and subsequent salvation of which justification is a part is obtained, yes, through faith in Christ as Lord and Savior and of having repented of our sins, but that all of this process comes entirely from God and it’s transmitted and applied by God to man in a very specific way.

    Regeneration has to chronologically and logically be the very first necessary element for man to have to be able to exercise all the other requirements to obtain salvation. I will explain.

    To us it seems that a person first exercises faith and after this God regenerates us. However, this would be impossible to happen as Scripture clearly confirms to us that it is impossible for the natural man to accept the things of the Spirit, to understand the things of the Spirit, so it is impossible for man to generate the necessary faith to believe the things of God.

    It is also clearly demonstrated that we, all of us, are spiritually dead in our sins and trespasses and completely enslaved to sinfulness. So then in order to believe, we must be placed in a condition to be spiritually regenerated, in other words, made spiritually alive in order to understand and exercise what God requires, true faith.

    Therefore, based upon all that we have already understood, hopefully, the fact that John 3, John 6 and Romans 9 together clearly and abundantly reveal to us that it is God who chooses, elects, foreknows us from eternity past then through His word, the Gospel, and His Spirit. He first makes us alive and instantly at that very same moment He gifts us. Therefore by His grace, He gives us all that we need to exercise true faith in Christ and thus we are saved.

    So in the moment we are regenerated, made alive, we believe then we repent and are at that very moment justified, baptized in Christ and filled and indwelt by His Holy Spirit. We are now part of the body of Christ, we have been adopted as children of God.

    Titus 3:3-7 At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. 4 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.

    He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.

    All is instantaneous! To us it seems that chronologically it is faith that precedes regeneration. However, according to what we understand in Scripture it is not so.

    Even Jesus declares that it is the Spirit who gives life to those who already have been elected otherwise one CANNOT believe John 6:63-66. That is what John 6 teaches us.

    This is why it seems that some accept and believe in Christ while others reject Him, the truth being that if we all who are saved were not elected, chosen by God for salvation, in other words better said, elected to believe, even we, all of us would have certainly rejected the grace of God given to us through Jesus Christ our Lord. We can, therefore, claim we have been elected to faith, to believe in Christ.

    Acts 13:48 When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and honored the word of the Lord; and all who were appointed for eternal life believed.

    Now Paul concludes in Romans 3, in the end of verse 22, saying that there is no distinction, no difference. In verse 23, he claims that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.

    It suffices to say at this point, as Paul continues in Romans 3, that this verse alone proves that there is absolutely no distinction between Jew and Gentile before God. Both ethnic groups of people are under the curse of the law, they are under sin by their nature and because of all this all are declared sinners, all fall short, and are lacking God’s glory.

    These last words, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” is a very serious and grievous accusation that confirms all that Paul had said of mankind up to now.

    Paul repeated many times and in many ways describing for us the condition of man in the attempt to make us arrive to the very sad conclusion that now stares us in the face.

    In addition, there can be no doubts that ALL men, EVERY human being, is by nature a sinner and they deserve nothing but God’s righteous wrath and judgment. All this Paul began explaining in the first chapter from verse 18 forward up to this point, as he does not want anybody to have any doubt on the true condition of mankind.

    Let’s spend now the remainder of our time in this passage on the words we find here “fall short of the glory of God.”

    First of all, we observe what it means to fall short of God’s glory. Mankind, if we still failed to understand it so far, is completely corrupted in his nature. There is nothing good in man. God’s image and likeness is present in man but it is so tarnished and polluted by the human corruption, rebellion, sinfulness that it cannot any longer contain as it once did at creation the glory of God. This glory is the righteousness and holiness of God, which we did see, man is lacking. The glory of God is His holy and righteous character.

    Mankind, therefore, falls short of this glory. Since that is what the righteousness and holiness God demands and since it is missing in man, man is therefore emptied of the true glorious image and likeness of the character of God. In his being, however, some faded resemblance of divine likeness exists.

    The word of God until now has been very clear on the fact that from the point of view of man’s character, conversation and conduct man is lacking what God demands. We have seen this described for us in
    Romans 3:10-19.

    It is evident that mankind was created by God as a being that was created above all other creatures
    Genesis 1:26-28.

    The human being, therefore, is a being that is superior to all other living creatures having been created in the image and likeness of God and confirmed by the fact that mankind was commanded by God to subdue the earth and have dominion over all other creatures. It was, in fact, only after man and woman were created that God declared that all was very good, as up until the creation of man God had only declared everything to be just good, now after man, very good.

    The human being, therefore, was the apex, the summit of God’s creation because mankind is created in His image and likeness. Until the fall into sin, Genesis 3, man had not fallen short of God’s glory, of God’s righteous and holy character. After their rebellion mankind died spiritually and from that moment on was lacking, or fell short of God’s glory, the morally righteous character of God was lost and the process of physical death began, because the wages of sin is death, spiritual and physical.

    There was a residual of God’s image and likeness in man and it remained perceptible even in the natural man. This image and likeness of God, however, is not the one that is spiritually righteous and holy and, therefore, it is not enough so that God would recognize it worthy of His favor and justification.

    The human being is in every effect lacking of the righteous and holy character of God that Paul calls the glory of God. That was the glory of God mankind had in the beginning but that after the fall into sin does not. The natural man reflects the image and likeness of God only in non-moral factors. For example, man has intellect, intelligence, creativity and has a corrupted image and devoid of spiritual life called religion that is nothing else but idolatry disguised as faith and spirituality that is merely a distorted image of what God desires. Man has a partial knowledge of spirituality and of the eternal, better if we call it knowledge of the supernatural.

    In addition, man is a created in three dimensions which is a mirror image of the Trinity, hence the plural statement used in Genesis, “Let us make man in our image and likeness.”

    Three dimensions, the physical or earthly, the psychological dimension, the mind, the emotions and the spiritual dimension which is the dimension that would be needed to be in contact and fellowship with God.

    Even these are all corrupted by sin, the body or flesh contains sin and is bound to the world Romans 7:1-25.

    The mind and emotions are corrupted by sin and provoke the sinful behavior of man Matthew 15:18-20,

    Romans 8:5-8, the spirit of man is so affected by man’s sinfulness that he is dead spiritually Ephesians 2:1-3.

    The only way to have the original glory of God present in man is to be made alive spiritually and to bring the mind, emotions and body under the control of the spiritual man who when in Christ should be controlled by the Holy Spirit through God’s word. When a man is made alive spiritually, alive in Christ, he or she is a new creation with a divine nature, and being that we are in Christ and Christ is the glory of God revealed, in man can now again be found the glory of God Colossians 1:27.

    So after all it all goes back to that famous passage we studied in the first chapter of Romans. Let’s read it again and we will hopefully get a better understanding to what it means falling short of God’s glory.

    Romans 1:18-25 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, 21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man–and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things. 24 Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, 25 who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

    This is the practical explanation of what it means to fall short, to lack the glory of God. Not being able to exhibit the true image of God’s character, that is sin and that is falling short of His glory. To be under God’s wrath and abandoned by God, being completely corrupt and therefore lacking the glory of God.

    After all, the entire description we find in this passage is also reiterated with different descriptive words in Romans 3:10-19, and this time both Jews and Gentiles are included as there is no distinction
    Romans 3:22, for ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God Romans 3:23.

    In addition, this falling short or lacking God’s glory. we must emphasize this is due to the fact that it is sin, both, the sinfulness and corrupt nature passed down from Adam as well as all the sin committed by every person, this sinfulness is called in the Bible missing the mark, or the target, to transgress the moral law of God, the law that reflects His holy and righteous character. Everybody continuously misses the mark, the target of the perfection of God’s character displayed in the law, the law written on the tablets given to Moses as well as on the stone tablets of man’s hearts.

    As we did explain even previously, but it is again required for the proper interpretation of this passage, the Greek word for sin is “hamartia” from the verb “Hamartano” signifying “not hitting the target”, “missing the target”.

    The fulfillment of ALL of God’s law is the target God has fixed for man to hit, man is unable to hit it and so is lacking of, falling short of the glory of God.

    The good news, however, that we will continue to read about here in Romans is that one man hit the target. His name is Jesus, our Lord, the only man in human history who hit God’s target, who did not fall short of God’s glory, who actually is God’s glory. So that every man who is in Christ by God’s doing, His work, His covenant with Christ His Son and, therefore, ALL those who are in Christ have fulfilled the righteous requirements of the law.

    That is the good news of belonging to Christ as says Romans 8:1-4 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, 4 that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

    Romans Chapter III Verses from XXIV to XXVI

    24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, 26 to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

    Through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus we are freely justified by God’s grace Titus 3:7.

    What a great statement and what a wonderful divine reality this is. Jesus Christ has paid the ransom price. Yes, in fact, in the Greek original the word redemption means exactly this the price paid for the ransom for our freedom, the price paid to buy us out of the slave market of sin and death was paid by Jesus.

    This is the price that only He could pay and He paid it in full. In fact, the word used in John 19:30 is rightly translated even as we read it, all is finished, completed. This is the Greek word “Tetélestai”. This word has a very deep and profound meaning and has different uses as a word. However, all of them are the right meanings for what Jesus declared and fulfilled.

    The word in its semantic meaning, in other words its various uses, is used to describe in book keeping term that a debt was paid in full. It is also a word used as a sign placed on the cell door of a prisoner when the prisoner was released after having paid their debt to society. Upon this sign was placed all the information regarding the name of the prisoner, the sentence, the crime and upon that sign the word paid in full, Tetélestai was written.

    All this renders even deeper the meaning of what Jesus cried out from the cross and attaches it in a wonderful way to what Paul is explaining to us using the word redemption.

    So then Jesus has

    1) Tetélestai, fulfilled all that the law of God required.

    2) Tetélestai, Jesus has paid the debt of the sentence that God had placed upon the sins of the unjust elect. He paid the term in their place.

    3) Tetélestai, Jesus paid in full the price, the price for the ransom of the elect, this is the redemption. In other words, the apolutroóseoos. He bought us out of the salve market of sin and death and has freed us and made us alive, all this at a very high price, a price that Paul describes for us in the following verse, the precious blood, the precious, holy and righteous life of Jesus. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20; 1 Corinthians 7:23.

    Jesus has paid the price for us that were elected by God to go to Him in faith, to believe in Him John 6:37-45. For those whom the Father gave to the Son John 6:39; John 10:29 ; John 17:2; John 17:9;John 17:24; Acts 13:48.

    He has paid the price for our ransom and ransomed us from the slave market of sin and death.

    John 8:34-36 Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. 35 Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

    Hebrews 2:14-15 Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death-that is, the devil- 15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.

    Jesus has made us alive and freed us completely and permanently from the slavery of sin and death
    Romans 8:1-2, and this is by God’s grace, in other words, God’s unmerited favor has bestowed upon us without any merit on our part. This God does based upon His sovereign and perfect and good will and by the virtues and merits of Christ only.

    Ephesians 1:4-14 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will- 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace 8 that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. 9 And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment-to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ. 11 In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12 in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. 13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession-to the praise of his glory.

    Compare this passage with Romans 9:11-23. If you still have doubts upon who it is that really chose who, I really do not know any longer what to tell you except that you do not have a teachable spirit and you are proud to want to continue to argue, not with me, but with what the word of God really teaches.

    All this confirms that which Paul is explaining to us here in Romans 3:24-26 and is also confirmed in

    Ephesians 2:1-10 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, 2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, 3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. 4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

    This passage explains to us perfectly the salvation of God, and once more we find the order with which salvation is gifted to those who have been elected to faith.

    First, we were made alive, verses 1 and 5, because we were spiritually dead. Consequentially to exercise faith verse 8 which is also a gift of God, we must be made alive first of all. All this is instantaneous and is only by the love, mercy and grace of God, unmerited and free favor of God verses 4-5-7-8 granted to undeserving sinners who deserve only His wrath and judgment.

    So we arrive at the fact as Paul explains in Romans 3:24 and here in Ephesians 2 which we just read, the redemption that is in Jesus Christ is only and exclusively by grace and mercy of God, because God has loved us and did not desire that His justice, although completely just, would condemn all of humanity to eternal damnation. Let us remember that by His love God has absolutely no pleasure in the death of the wicked.

    Paul now has established that the redemption is only through Jesus Christ and exclusively by God’s grace, which grace is freely poured out upon undeserving people and he has done it in accordance with his pleasure and will- to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ

    This is the redemption we have, even the forgiveness of our sins, by faith in who? Jesus for what? By His blood.

    Colossians 1:13-14 He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, 14 in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.

    This brings us to the next point Paul is making. Paul continues, in fact, in Romans 3:25 confirming what we have mentioned in part. He begins this new verse saying that God presented Christ and did it publicly and preordained Him, Jesus, to be the One to be the propitiation, the One to make expiation for the sins of the elect through the faith in His blood.

    We need to examine this verse carefully. First of all, God has preordained Jesus to be the One who would have expiated our sins, the sins of the elect, by faith in His blood and by His blood. This means that, for those who continuously deny this fact, God preordains! He already has decided from eternity past all that He planned and all the He decided, including the person and method with which He provided for the salvation of those whom He also foreknew and preordained according to His good will and has done this in Christ and through Christ from all eternity.

    Jesus is, in fact, the Lamb of God that was slain before the foundation of the world and both Him and ALL those who were chosen to be in Him were chosen and their name written in the Lamb’s book of life before the foundation of the world, see Revelation 13:8.

    In addition, Jesus Christ was preordained and confirmed by the Scriptures that prophesied about Him continuously, see the following passages Luke 24:25-27, Luke 24:44, John 5:39-47.

    Hebrews 10:5-7 Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said: “Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me; 6 with burnt offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased. 7 Then I said, ‘Here I am-it is written about me in the scroll- I have come to do your will, O God.'”

    We now find a reference in Paul words, the use of a very important word, a word used, in fact, in the law of the OT. As we said the Scripture of the OT describes, in all its typologies and symbols, the person and work of Jesus Christ.

    The word used is propitiation. Therefore, Jesus preordained and publicly made known by the Father to be the propitiation by His blood, through faith.

    This word propitiation here used is the Greek word hilasteérion.

    It literally means the mercy seat, the propitiatory. To really understand the true meaning of what Paul is trying to convey here, we need to study the use of this word in the Scriptures. In the NT this word is used only one other time in

    Hebrews 9:3-5 and behind the second veil, the part of the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of All, 4 which had the golden censer and the ark of the covenant overlaid on all sides with gold, in which were the golden pot that had the manna, Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tablets of the covenant; 5 and above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat. Of these things we cannot now speak in detail.

    The word here, as we see translated as mercy seat, is the same word used in Romans 3:25, hilasteérion.

    So this passage then illuminates us in regard to what Paul was saying in regard to Jesus Christ. Jesus, being He is the fulfillment of all the law of God, became Himself all that the OT law required and described. So in Him ALL the law and ALL it required is Tetélestai, in other words finished, fulfilled.

    The mercy seat or the propitiatory where the expiation of the sins of Israel, in other words the satisfaction of divine justice and righteousness, were mercifully made and accepted by God, now, today, is in Christ, in His person. The place where God met with the high priest of Israel to forgive and take away the sins of His people, in other words where God was again propitious, had favor toward His people was that mercy seat in the Holiest of All, today is in Christ and through and by His precious blood, blood shed, His life laid down for His lost sheep of the Jews and the Gentile flock John 10:14-29.

    Now, today Jesus is the sacrifice Hebrews 13:11-12, the High Priest that is continuously presenting Himself and His blood not once a year and with the blood of animals, but every second of every hour of every day, with His precious blood that is continuously present before the Father where we can continually go to receive mercy and grace in our times of need but where also we have the blood of Jesus who renders us justified and purified and righteous before God 1 John 1:7, compare all this also with the following passages
    Hebrews 4:14-16, Hebrews 7:26-28, Hebrews 9:7-15.

    You see, this is why, because of these things it is impossible to fall from God’s grace, impossible to lose one’s salvation if indeed we are the elect to faith, see also in this context Luke 22:32 compare John 10:14-29 and Romans 8:28-39.

    There is a passage that confirms and explains even more what Paul is saying here in Romans, we find this in

    1 Peter 1:18-21 knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers (the Hebrew religion, the law of Moses), 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. 20 He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you 21 who through Him believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.

    So we have seen that God’s favor and His divine righteousness and justice are satisfied through the blood of Jesus, His life laid upon the cross for us, for those who the Father has given Him. All this by His grace with which he has freely given us salvation and has redeemed us from the slave market of sin and death. He did all this, Paul says, also to demonstrate in this way His justice at the present time to forgive the sins that were committed and left unpunished previously during the time of God’s patience Romans 3:26.

    So what does all this really mean? There are two interpretations of this verse. They are both valid in principle, but there can be only one literal interpenetration, one meaning of what the author was talking about here.

    The valid principle in both cases is this one, God has demonstrated His justice and righteousness through Jesus Christ and not through the law, this to forgive all the sins committed previously, in other words the sins that God has patiently waited to judge. He waited to judge them while placing them upon His only begotten Son 2 Corinthians 5:21.

    God, because of His righteous and holy character, has to judge sin in the persons but has patiently waited to pour out His judgment and wrath that those sins deserved, instead of pouring out His wrath and judgment upon the responsible and deserving parties, even us, God did so by pouring out His judgment and wrath upon Jesus Christ the righteous, the only just One, judged and punished in place of many unrighteous and unjust people. He did this in the present time, in Paul’s time, in other words when Jesus was revealed, publicly displayed, crucified and risen from the dead and yet even now He is executing all this in our present time, today.

    This is the valid principle of the text, the literal interpretation, if we follow Scripture it should be this.

    In the times of the OT sins were committed that were temporarily covered by the blood of the sacrifices of the Old Covenant that were now completely forgiven and taken away forever by God in the person of Jesus Christ at that present time even as today.

    That this is what Paul is saying can be confirmed especially in the following passage

    Hebrews 9:7-15 But only the high priest entered the inner room, and that only once a year, and never without blood, which he offered for himself and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance. 8 The Holy Spirit was showing by this that the way into the Most Holy Place had not yet been disclosed as long as the first tabernacle was still standing. 9 This is an illustration for the present time, indicating that the gifts and sacrifices being offered were not able to clear the conscience of the worshiper. 10 They are only a matter of food and drink and various ceremonial washings-external regulations applying until the time of the new order. 11 When Christ came as high priest of the good things that are already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not man-made, that is to say, not a part of this creation. 12 He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption. 13 The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. 14 How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God! 15 For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance-now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.

    So we see that although there is a specific interpretation of this text principally we can apply this truth also to what we previously said.

    God in His wonderful patience, forbearance, mercy and grace has given an advance on salvation to those that He justified through faith in the economy of the OT as they awaited by faith the coming of the Savior who would fulfill the law of God and who would permanently remove their sins. As God has patiently awaited for us who received His salvation after that Christ came, as He waited the preordained moment in which we repented and based His mercy, grace and patience on the fact that we were crucified with Christ

    Romans 6:5-7, Galatians 2:20 but until regenerated by the Holy Spirit through the Gospel, even we were for a time sons of God’s wrath and we walked according the course of this world, according to the prince of the air, the devil, the same spirit which is present in the sons of disobedience, among whom we all at one time lived, in the lust of the flesh, fulfilling the desires of our flesh and of our minds.

    Yes, we were children of wrath just as the others, those who are not elected to salvation Ephesians 2:1-3, those who will remain in a state of unbelief and sin John 8:24.

    But God…Thank God and praise His holy name, has instead saved us in Christ Jesus and in Him and through Him forgave all our sins and made us righteous in Him.

    Yes, Paul continues, it was decided this way by God, that Jesus the righteous, the only righteous man and God would be the One who would pay for our sins and impute His righteousness to those who believe in Him. This is so that by faith in His spilled blood, the gift of God by His grace, we also who are elected to believe could believe and so be justified and made righteous in Christ Jesus.

    It is He who makes us righteous and is always before the Father to make intercession for us, justifying us. We will see this subject more exposed in a greater detail at the end of chapter IV of Romans.

    For now it suffices to know that only Jesus is righteous and His righteousness is imputed, in other words assigned, accounted to those who believe and trust in Him only for their redemption. His resurrection is what makes us righteousness and justifies us because Jesus has risen and we have been also with Him and with Him therefore we are always present in Him and are justified before God, in Him who is seated at the right hand of God in heaven and is always present to make intercession for us

    Ephesians 2: 4-6 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions-it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus,

    see also Romans 4:25 and

    Romans 8:28-35 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. 31 What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all-how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died-more than that, who was raised to life-is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?

    The answer to Paul’s question is nothing and no one can be against us, because God is for us. No one can bring a charge or an accusation against the elect of God because it is God who justifies us in Christ who died for the forgiveness of our sins but who rose for our justification and intercedes for us in the presence of God. God Himself, in Christ, is the justice and righteousness of the unjust and unrighteous elect
    2 Corinthians 5:21 and 1 Peter 3:18.

    By the way, for those who unfortunately still do not understand Scripture very well and say that God behaved differently in the OT than in the NT and for those who believe God changed from the time of the OT to the NT, the way, method with which God justified men always was faith, see also Romans 4. However this next passage we will read describes in OT words what Paul is confirming here, that Jesus has done for us is what God always did for His elect people.

    Isaiah 54:17 No weapon formed against you shall prosper, And every tongue which rises against you in judgment You shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, And their righteousness is from Me,” Says the LORD.

    This is a NT reality explained in OT wordage. This is what Paul finished saying in Romans 8:28-35, nothing and no one can come against God’s elect, because God is on our side and no one can condemn God’s elect because God’s own heritage, inheritance is His righteousness and our justification is from Him.

    God saved us from an eternal damnation that would have been without a doubt our destination if in His grace an mercy He would not have elected us to faith in His Son Jesus Christ and if He did not choose us, chosen us, sinners without any merit or worth.

    Then there are people who have the courage to accuse God of being unjust. They are the ones who in their pride consider themselves better than others because they think that they have chosen God while others have chosen not to believe. For these people God would seem unjust instead if it is He who chooses and not them. This is pure pride, not to believe that it was God to choose us rather that we chose Him. But we see this doctrine to be absolutely and completely contrary to what Scripture teaches.

    In Him we can find rest, the work has been done and done by Him Matthew 11:28-30.

    Only Jesus is our righteousness and only in Him we can glory and boast.

    1 Corinthians 1:30-31 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God-that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 31 Therefore, as it is written: “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.”

    This exactly opens up the subject of the next verses.

    Romans Chapter III Verses from XXVII to XXXI

     

    27 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith. 28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law. 29 Or is He the God of the Jews only? Is He not also the God of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also, 30 since there is one God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith. 31 Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law.

    In what can we boast then? Paul answers, there is no boast for man. We have already seen what Paul has shown us in the preceding chapters and also this one so far.

    Man has in himself absolutely nothing he can boast about. By nature both the Jew and the Gentile are completely corrupted and both are under sin, no one is righteous. All have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory. In what then can man boast, the law? Religion? No! Paul has excluded these things.

    In what works can mankind glory and boast? The works of the law? No! Paul answers, only the law of faith.

    We retain then that man is justified through faith independently, apart from the working of the law. This Paul has made clear and has preached this continuously in his letters.

    Galatians 2:16 know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified.

    However, not only Paul preached this doctrine even Jesus did.

    Matthew 5:20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.

    The righteousness of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law was in their own mind through the working of the law, but no man, we have seen it, will ever be justified by the works of the law.

    John 3:16-18 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.

    John 6:28-29 Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” 29 Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”

    Here we also can find a little bit of a word game here because as we have had the opportunity to see when people believe in Jesus it is, in fact, the working of God Himself, because it is His workmanship and not of the person that in any case does exercise faith as a result.

    This we have understood seeing what Jesus says in His entire discourse on faith in John VI.

    So the work of faith is not human, it’s divine completely as grace is, even faith is a gift of God
    Ephesians 2:8-10, where we see that even the works we do are of divine origin and not human.

    In fact, it says that we ourselves are God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus.

    It is given to us to believe, to have faith; and we are instructed by the power of God, His grace and mercy that drags us to Christ, makes us alive and gives us then the ability to exercise faith according to His benevolent will toward us who instead deserve His wrath and eternal condemnation. Although a gift of God, faith as well as righteousness is imputed to those who exercise it, in other words, the responsibility to have believed is given to the person that believes.

    So then we cannot ever and absolutely ever boast, not at all. God has done it all for us how can we have anything to boast about, even our faith.

    This is why the doctrine of free will in regard to belief is wrong. Because if you notice, unfortunately, those who believe that they have converted themselves and they have exercised faith by themselves and they chose God, are the ones that believe they are superior and better than others because they exercised their faith while others did not. They become religious and they are the ones that make God to seem unjust.

    Of course, they then believe that one can lose their salvation. They did everything – they believed, they repented and they actually sanctify themselves by their efforts. It is then evident that they also have to work to maintain their salvation. This is not the rest in Christ of which the Bible tells us, see also 1 Peter 1:3-5. If we are still incessantly working even to keep our salvation we would then be saved by works and this is not salvation and justification by faith, rather it would be a reward for the work done by us, this is not salvation only by grace and faith.

    We really have to be very careful because if we have anything in which we can boast we are in danger, perhaps in the same danger of those we read in Matthew 7:21-23.

    That faith, salvation and justification produce fruit is another story. We are justified. We have seen by faith and also by grace and this is not from us it is a gift of God for us. Let’s stop trying to have God’s favor through our religious or spiritual works. We are already righteous in Christ. We obey God and His word because we love Him, because He loved us first and not because we want to earn His favor. His favor for us Jesus Has earned and it is by FAITH in Him that we are righteous, accepted and favored
    Ephesians 1:3;Ephesians 1:6.

    Paul continues declaring what Jesus had declared to Nicodemus, in fact, in the famous passage that we also had read before.

    John 3:16-18 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.

    This passage is really saying the same thing Paul is saying in Romans 3:29-30. Jesus is talking to Nicodemus and explaining to him that the will of God was to give salvation not only to the Jews but also to all the other ethnic groups of the world. In fact, this passage does not teach universal salvation, in other words that all will be saved, but that all that will exercise true faith in Christ will be saved. God loves all the elect of every nation of the world not only Israel. Those who will not exercise faith will be condemned. In fact, Jesus does go on saying this in the following verses John 3:19-20.

    This is what Paul is really saying, God is the God of the Jew and the Gentile, there is only one God and He is the God of all the people of the world Revelation 5:9, Revelation 7:9. All will be justified in the same way by God, through faith in Jesus Christ and nothing else.

    Romans 3:31 concludes this chapter and Paul concludes asking a question and answering it as well. Paul’s answer needs to be quantified and examined.

    If we do remember when we exposed Romans 3:7-8, the word of God established that there were two groups of people who took what the Apostles taught in regard to the law and they twisted the meaning of their doctrines to support their erroneous theories. This is something that happens very often today as well.

    One group was the (Jews) who would accuse Paul and the other Apostles declaring that they taught transgressing God’s law and that they claimed that God’s law was abolished and that therefore people were no longer required to obey its moral commandments as well as its ceremonial ones.

    The other group instead declared that the doctrine they taught was licentiousness, in other words that it was no longer necessary to keep the moral requirements of the law – a person could live in sin, continue to sin and live a life devoid of any behavioral change and still believe that they were in the grace of God and that this was sufficient to have salvation and be justified.

    Unfortunately, both of these are enormous doctrinal errors and they are two extremes. The Apostles never taught that the moral requirements of God’s law were abolished and that they needed not to be obeyed, on the contrary. Yes, Jesus has fulfilled the entire law of God, the moral and the ceremonial. It’s not that it was ever abolished, fulfilled in His person.

    In addition, the Apostles never taught that sinning and living in sin and unrighteous behavior was permitted and that faith annulled the sanctification and righteous living in accord with the law of God. Never, to the contrary.

    We did make this point. But now Paul returns a little on this subject, as he says that faith does not abolish, annul the law of God. I,n fact Paul is perfectly right by saying, faith establishes the law of God. How does faith establish the law?

    Faith establishes the law of God in Christ Jesus. It establishes and confirms the law also in and for those who, by faith, are in Christ.

    To understand this principle properly we must follow a trail of Scripture that begins in the Gospels. Jesus made this very important declaration in

    Matthew 5:17-18 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.

    We have seen that Jesus, in fact, has fully brought the law of God to fulfillment.

    This is also confirmed in other passages. Paul has probably given a more in depth answer about this in

    Romans 10:3-4 Since they did not know the righteousness that comes from God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. 4 Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.

    In other words, Jesus is the fulfillment of the law of God; and therefore, He is the justification and righteousness for all who believe.

    For those who believe in Jesus faith fulfills the law of God, it establishes it, as the faith we exercise is in Him who is the fulfillment of it. He fulfilled it not for Himself rather for those who could never do it on their own but who instead believe in Him.

    This is rendered all the more evident in

    Romans 8:1-4 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, 4 in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.

    So it is clear that in Christ the law is fulfilled and by faith in Christ it is established and the righteous requirements of the law are fully met in us. The believer is justified and rendered righteous by faith in Jesus Christ and not because they work out the law of God. Otherwise we would not be justified and be considered righteous by faith but by works, or works and faith and not faith alone. Instead the virtues and merits of Jesus are those in which we have faith, they alone make us righteous.

    Now, it is also clear that the law of God is established in the believer as we have read, and the Spirit of God in us is also the Spirit of divine holiness that makes us sensitive and desirous to obey the law of God and helps us to walk according to the Spirit. For who walks according to the Spirit walks according to Christ and the love of God. Therefore, the law is also fulfilled in the believer while not under the law to be seen as righteous before God Galatians 5:13-23, but rather obeys God’s law and word by faith and love toward God and Christ and the brethren.

    Jesus declares this as well in

    John 14:15 “If you love me, you will obey what I command.

    John 14:21-24 Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.” 22 Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, “But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?” 23 Jesus replied, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. 24 He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.

    See also 1 John 4:10-23,1 John 5:2-3.

    To conclude Paul gives us the last confirmation in what the law is fulfilled. In Christ and by the love for Christ in the believer, the law of God is fulfilled and established in the believer by grace through faith and faith that God gifts us by His Spirit pouring out His love in His children Romans 5:1-5, because love is also the fulfillment of the law.

    Romans 13:9-10 The commandments, “Do not commit adultery,” “Do not murder,” “Do not steal,” “Do not covet,” and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

    In fact, we have thus confirmed that it is faith in Christ that establishes God’s law in the believer through the practice of love. It is through the love that God has poured out upon us in Christ that Christ has fulfilled the law of God for us and has given us His love with which we obey the divine law established in love.

    This, in fact, summarizes what Jesus had said in the Gospels in regard to the law Matthew 22:37-40, it cannot be fulfilled however if not by faith in Him who fulfilled it.

    So that faith in Jesus Christ establishes the law of God in Him, and we are also rendered righteous and are justified by the fulfillment of the law in Christ.