The theme of the book of Romans is that the gospel is the power of God to salvation to everyone who believes it. (Rom. 1:16). Paul having set forth the theme then shows that all need the gospel because all have sinned. In Romans one he shows the terrible sins of the Gentiles makes them worthy of death. In chapter two he shows that the Jews, even though they had the law, yet they broke it and thus sinned. By inspiration he then states, "What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin" (Rom. 3:9). In Rom. 3:19 he states that every mouth is stopped and all the world is guilty before God. We are all guilty because we have all sinned and come short of the glory of God. 1. What is sin? might well be asked. Sin is Transgressing the law of God. "Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law." (I John 3:4). This means law in its fullest sense, not the law of Moses, but the Will of God and particularly to us the law of Christ. Also "Therefore to him that knoweth to do good and doeth it not, to him it is sin." (James 4:17). So going beyond the commands of God or coming short of doing the positive commands of God are ways men sin. The word, "sin" in the Greek is "Hamartia" which is defined as missing the mark, to err, to trespass, to sin, to offend. The last part of Rom. 3:23 is that men "come short of the glory of God." We might try in ourselves to be righteous but we come short of the mark of God for us. 2. What is sin doing to us? Because of our sins we are separated from God. "But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear." (Isa. 59:2). The last part of I Pet. 3:12 states, "but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil." So sin causes men to be out of fellowship with God so much that their prayers are not answered and they are in a lost condition. Gentile people were told that they had no hope and were without God in the world (Eph. 2:12). In Romans 2 the Jews were told the same things. 3. There is no way for man to save himself. It is not in man that walketh to direct his steps (Jer. 10:23). The way that seems right to us ends in death (Prov. 14:12). Paul is a good example of a man who tried really hard to save himself by following as closely to the law as he could. His struggles are pointed out in Romans 7. He came to the conclusion, "O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" (Rom. 7:24). The answer was not in himself but in Christ. 4. God has in love stepped in and provided our salvation through Christ. He speaks of us as being made righteous or being justified without the law of Moses being manifested (Rom. 3:21). This righteousness is bestowed by "faith of Christ Jesus unto all and upon all them that believe" (Rom. 3:22). Also, "Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus" (Rom. 3:24). Some have concluded from these verses that salvation is by faith alone, but they are mistaken. Faith means trust, conviction, and is coupled with obedience. We are justified by faith when that faith leads us to repent, confess Christ and be baptized (Acts 2:38; 8:37,38; Mk. 16:16). Notice in Romans 3:24 that redemption is in Christ Jesus. How do we get into Christ Jesus? "For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ." (Gal. 3:26, 27). Also in Romans 6:3 it is stated that we are baptized into Jesus Christ and into the death of Christ. Man is by no means doing it for himself when he by faith repents and is baptized for the remission of sins. He is trusting God for the promises and acting upon that trust. Christ is set forth as Propitiation and we must believe that his blood is the sufficient price for our sins. It is by this faith that we arise and are baptized to wash away our sins in the cleansing blood of Jesus (Acts 22:16). We must trust and obey for there is no other way to be happy in Jesus but to trust and obey. This is justification by faith. "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ" (Rom. 5:1). Guilty man is thus made righteous.
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