Those Who Have Never Heard- Romans 2:12-16

Father, thank you for this time for us to be able to come together. I appreciate it all the more after not meeting the last two weeks. I pray for your guidance and direction; not only for myself, but for all these men, as we look together in to your Word. And I pray that you will enrich us, edify us greatly, bless those who are watching live stream. I pray this in Christ's name, amen.

 

Let’s dive in to this, Romans 2:12-16, and let me tell you what the title of this message is. The title is Those Who Have Never Heard. The question is always raised, "Now what about those people who have never heard? How do they stand before God?"

 

"Will God grade them on the curve; will God judge them in comparison to a moderated standard of morality? Will God measure them by others in their culture? Is there another way, if they're just religious and if they're just sincere, can that gain them acceptance with God?"

 

There have been many times that I have witnessed people, and they inevitably want to chase this rabbit. This is good for us; this will help equip us as we talk to people about, "Well what about those who have never heard?" This is the signature text, and we have a lot to pull out of this. I want to leave time for us to discuss this.

 

I don't know that we can even get it all in. I don't want to rush this, because I think that this is a very vital subject. Let me just read the passage, starting in Verse 12, and I'm going to start reading in Verse 11 really just to get a running start at this.

 

"For there is no partiality with God." And you'll notice verse 12 now starts with the word, 'for;' meaning this explains Verse 11. This explains that there is no partiality with God in judgment.

 

"For all have sinned without the law," verse 12, "will perish without the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law. For it is not the hearers of the law who are just before God, but the doers of the law will be justified. For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do instinctively the things of the law, these, not having the law, are a law unto themselves, in that they show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness, and their thoughts alternatively accusing or else defending them."

 

"On the day when according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus." This is a very strong passage on those who have never heard. What I want to do is lay this out in a little bit different way.

 

I want to give you several points; I want to give you several headings to walk through this concerning those who have never heard. What I need to do is reach back for just a moment to Chapter 1. Then after we walk through this I'm gonna reach forward to a couple other portions of the book of Romans.

 

As we start this, I'm not going to tell you how many headings I have or you won't write them down. Let me just start – go back to Chapter 1, verse 18. Let's just get a running start.

 

I.               ALL PEOPLE ARE UNDER DIVINE WRATH

 

Here's the first heading, is that all people are under divine wrath; that's Chapter 1, verse 18. And when we say all people we're talking about all people who are unconverted by the Gospel; all people who are outside of Christ. Verse 18: "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all'" – not some, not most – "all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness."

 

This is true of those who have heard the Gospel and reject it. This is true of those who have never heard the gospel and live their lives without gospel knowledge. Either way they are already under wrath, and you'll note in verse 18 it's the present tense verb, "For the wrath of God is revealed."

 

Right now, this very moment, wherever a person is on the earth, they are under divine wrath if they are outside of the Lord Jesus Christ. That's crystal clear; there's not another category; there's another line for some people that they're in. Second is in 1:19-20.

 

II.             ALL HAVE THE GENERAL REVELATION OF GOD

 

All have general revelation of God and are without excuse. All have general revelation of God and are without excuse. Verse 19-20 to makes this very clear: "because that which is known about God is evident within them, for God made it evident to them."

 

God has revealed himself to every person on planet earth with general revelation, which gives the knowledge that God exists. And it tells us in general ways something about what God is like. Verse 20: "For since the creation of the world his invisible attributes" – and now he spells out these attributes – "his eternal power and divine nature have been clearly seen; being understood through what has been made so that they are without excuse."

 

Every person on planet earth, whether they've heard the Gospel or not heard the Gospel, are directly accountable to God and are without excuse. Because they know that there is a God. Any thinking human being can look at creation and know there has to be a creator.

 

Out of nothing nothing comes. If there's anything that presupposes and necessitates that there was an original first cause, and the only original first cause must be an uncreated entity. And that uncreated entity, which is the first cause, is none other than God Himself. The creator's thumbprints are all over what He has made.

 

You look around and you clearly see that God is awesome. God is powerful; God is orderly; God is perfect; et cetera; et cetera. We've already talked about this, but we need to lay that back down as we walk in to Chapter 2, Verse 12.

 

Number one: all men everywhere are under divine wrath because of their sin. And we said number two: all men everywhere have general revelation of God and are without excuse. No one will be able to say on the last day, "Well God I didn't know."

 

No, God has revealed Himself and His existence to every man. Now come to chapter 2 and Verse 12 and we'll walk in to now this new section. Number three, here's the third thing as we build this case for those who have never heard: all have sinned without the law. All who are without the law have sinned.

 

III.           ALL HAVE SINNED WITHOUT THE LAW

 

In verse 12 it's crystal clear: "For all who have sinned without the law will perish." Here's the point, those without the law and those who have never heard are not innocent, and they are not righteous. They are sinners who have rebelled against God, and who are in defiance against God.

 

They have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, and this word 'sin' comes from a Greek word that means: to miss the mark. It's the idea of an archer aiming his bow and his arrow at a target, and they have dramatically missed the mark. They haven't even come close to hitting the mark of God's perfect holiness.

 

That's number three, and this is a very important point. We must understand that, again, they're not in a state of innocence and they are not righteous; they are unrighteous. Now number four: all who are without the law will perish.

 

IV.          ALL WHO ARE WITHOUT THE LAW WILL PERISH

 

Look at Verse 12 again: "For all who have sinned without the law will also perish without the law." And that word 'also' is very important, because what it indicates is whether you have the law or whether you do not have the law, without the Gospel you're gonna perish. The word 'perish' here refers to eternal destruction; eternal punishment; eternal damnation.

 

This is a very strong statement. It does not say that they will be saved; it says they will perish without the law. According to 1 Corinthians 1:18, they're already perishing right now; they are self-destructing by their own life lived without God. They're like a cheap sweater that's unraveling as they live their life.

 

All right number five: they instinctively know what is in the moral law of God; that's in Verse 14.

 

V.            THEY INSTINCTIVELY KNOW WHAT IS THE MORAL LAW OF GOD

 

Now let me just say this, I skipped over verse 13 – and I do want to make a comment on Verse 13, though it's not a part of our main focus today. Verse 13 is an explanation of the end of verse 12.

 

At the end of verse 12 he says, "All who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law." This refers to Jews, who, at this time, have received the moral law of God from God, and it has been passed down from generation to generation; and it's read in the synagogue; it is memorized. They are under the law, meaning they have the law and are directly accountable to the law.

 

They have sinned and they will be judged by the standard that is in the law. Now verse 13 begins with the word 'for' and verse 13 is now an explanation of the end of verse 12 about those who are under the law. He says: "For it is not the hearers of the law who are just before God but the doers of the law will be justified."

 

Now this is a very important verse, and I want to make sure we get this. Let me begin by saying what it does not say, and then tell us what it does say. Or what it does not mean and what it does mean.

 

What it does not mean, verse 13, is that there are people who can keep the law, obey the law, do the law and they will be justified by God. The whole rest of the book of Romans makes that crystal clear that that would be a wrong interpretation of what Paul is saying here. And as you remember, in verse 7, and 8 and 9, he's already been talking about those who do and who are doers, who do good, etc, etc.

 

Even in the context, verse 13 is talking about those who keep the law but they are not justified by keeping the law. So what is verse 13 saying? It is saying that if you are more than a hearer of the law, but you are a repenter and a believer in Jesus Christ, who is presented in the gospel, you will immediately begin to live in obedience to the law of God.

 

That is crystal clear from verse 13. He is saying just because you have the law doesn't mean that you're right with God. You've have to be a doer of the law to prove that you are right with God. And this really goes back to Chapter 1 and Verse 5, and it would be worth our just turning back for one second.

 

Paul has already established this truth at the very outset of the book of Romans. And in Romans 1:5 he talks about the obedience of faith. What that means is the obedience that comes from faith; the obedience that is produced by faith.

 

All true faith is an obedient faith; there's no such thing as faith that is disobedient. All true saving faith produces obedience. James 2 is abundantly clear; a blind mean could see it; a deaf person could hear it; it is crystal clear. Obedience is a very important truth.

 

Faith is the root; obedience is the fruit. It's just a cause and effect; it's a direct cause and effect. And if you don't get that you miss a lot of proper understanding of Scripture.

 

Even Jesus, in Matthew 7:21 says, "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father." So verse 13 is addressing those who have repented of their sins and have true genuine saving faith in Jesus Christ as presented in the Gospel. They are known as doers of the law, and they alone are justified by God.

 

Those who do not do the law are unconverted; they are religious but lost. We would say today they're just lost church members; unconverted religious people who have a form of Godliness but deny the power thereof. That's what verse 13 is saying, and it is a follow-up explanation of the end of verse 12.

 

Those who have sinned under the law and who are judged; not saved; judged by the law. That's a parentheses; so if you've got a ballpoint pen you can just put a parentheses around the second half of verse 12 and all of verse 13. When we come to verse 14 we come back to his original argument, which is the first part of verse 12.

 

We go back now to talking about those who are without the law. Those who have not received special revelation. Those who have never heard the Gospel.

 

This now brings us to verse 14 and the sixth proposition that I wanna set before you is: that those without the law instinctively know to do what is in the law.

 

VI.          THOSE WITHOUT THE LAW INSTINCTIVELY KNOW TO DO WHAT IS IN THE LAW

 

Now that's an important point, and we'll address it here in just a second. The reason is God has written it upon their heart.

 

Now just pause and meditate on that. The invisible finger of God has written upon the tablet of every human heart is law. It is a limited knowledge of the law. It is not enough to be saved; it is enough to condemn.

 

Now this is what we call, big boy football here. Verse 14: "For when the Gentiles, who do not have the law, do instinctively the things of the law, these, not having the law, are a law to themselves." God has written it upon the tablet of their heart, and therefore they are held accountable to God for the choices that they make.

 

As we'll see in a second, not just for the choices, the deeds, but for their very thoughts; for their conscience; for the very secrets within them they are held accountable before God. Verse 14 shows that they are accountable to God for the law that is within them. They're not off the hook; they're not in no man's land; they are not without accountability to God.

 

Now let me just give you a footnote here, those who have the law have a stricter accountability to God, because they have greater light. And those without the law that have only the law written upon their heart is a lesser accountability, but nevertheless it is an accountability. It would be better to have never heard the truth than to hear the truth and reject it; that is the point.

 

Now let's continue to verse 15; as we come to verse 15, number 6: God has written the same law upon their hearts. Verse 15, in that they show the work of the law written in their hearts. Now how is it written in their hearts?

 

Well there's only one who can write it in their hearts, and it is their Creator; it is their Maker as they are made – as a part of being made in the image of God that you have the law written in the heart. What this means is they instinctively and intuitively know the difference between right and wrong. Now this is not referring to the ceremonial law, and the civil law, and all of that; it's referring to the moral law of God contained in the Ten Commandments.

 

They instinctively know they should honor their parents. They instinctively know they should not steal. They instinctively know they should tell the truth. They instinctively know that they should love other people and show compassion to other people.

 

They instinctively know that, and God has written it upon their hearts. Now let's continue to walk through this. Number 7 is in Verse 15, they have a conscious that bears witness to them of right and wrong.

 

VII.        THEY HAVE A CONSCIOUS THAT BEARS WITNESS TO THEM OF RIGHT AND WRONG

 

Every human being on planet earth has a conscience. And a conscience is that which instinctively tells you when you have crossed the line and violated the law; or it tells you when you have kept the law. Your conscience is like a smoke alarm that goes off in the middle of the night that wakes you up and alerts you when something's wrong. Your conscience is like feeling pain in your body when you have broken your ankle.

 

You need to know that; you don't need to keep walking around on your ankle. You need to know that you have broken something and pain is your friend because it tells you that something is broken. That is what the conscience does, and your conscience may be clean; your conscience may be guilty; your conscience may be weak; your conscience may be strong.

 

It just depends upon how many stop signs have you been running as the law of God is telling you, "Stop this, stop this, stop this." And there comes a point where that conscience becomes seared as with a hot iron, and it no longer feels what it once felt. Now there are no brakes in the car; and there is now no moral restraint; and you just blow down the highway of sin.

 

That is a seared conscience, but as you humble yourself and keep the law that strengthens the conscience. You become more sensitive to even little things. And I have people who will call me after I've had a conversation with them and say; “oh would you please forgive me? I shouldn't have said whatever or whatever”; and I'm not even aware anything wrong took place.

 

I have to assure them, "Hey there was no problem; I didn't even take it that way." It's because their conscience is so sensitive because they've been walking in the truth and walking with the Lord. Other people, it would take a sledgehammer across the forehead for them to even ponder the thought that this might be blasphemous. Because they have worn the brakes off their car; because they have just been plowing through their conscience until they have no conscience now.

 

Now they just come out of the closet; now they don't hide it anymore; now they just tell everybody, "Yeah I've been doing whatever, or whatever, or whatever." Where earlier they had enough moral restraint to hide it. Now there's no longer that; they just flaunt it now.

 

We're in verse 15: "And if they show the work of the law" – and the work of the law is really what the law requires – "written in their hearts, their conscience" – please note this – "bearing witness." Their conscience is giving a clear and strong signal; it is giving a strong testimony regarding what is right and what is wrong. Now number eight – and we're talking about those who are without the law.

 

VIII.      THEIR THOUGHTS ARE ACCUSING THEM OF THEIR SIN

 

Their thoughts, in verse 15, their thoughts are accusing them of their sin. Look at verse 15, their thoughts at the end of verse 15 alternately accusing or else defending them. And it's not either/or; it's both/and; that how much sin does it require for someone to be under the divine wrath of God?

 

One; just one; let alone a mountain of sin. Their thoughts and the thoughts here are connected to their conscience. Their conscience is bearing witness of their thoughts; accusing them.

 

The idea there is bringing conviction and pressing down – and you feel a sense of guilt. Guilt is a good thing; it's not a bad thing; it's a good thing. Guilt is telling you, "Hey you need to get right; something is wrong." Now there is a false guilt but there's also a true guilt.

 

Guilt is a haunting thing, and you know that you have violated your conscience. Your conscience is connected to the law of God written upon your heart. This person without the law, this person who has never heard special revelation, their conscience is accusing them before God.

 

It says, "Or else defending them." Yes every so often they help old ladies across the street. Every so often they fold the laundry for their mother. I mean, every so often they do some right things.

 

But they're also doing that which their heart – the law written in their heart forbids. Let's keep going here. Verse 16 – we come to verse 16, number 9: "All without the law will stand at the last day before God."

 

IX.          ALL WITHOUT THE LAW WILL STAND AT THE LAST DAY BEFORE GOD

 

In verse 16 it says on the day, when according to my Gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus.

 

There will not be a reprieve; there will not be a settling out of court. There will be their day in court on that day. He calls it 'on the day,' and we know what that day is, because in verse 5 – if you'll look up ahead – he talked about the day.

 

The day is so dramatic and graphic that he only needs to refer to it as 'the day.' In verse 5: "Because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath, in revelation of the righteous judgment of God." Those who have never heard, those without the law will be there on that last day.

 

Number 10: they will be judged on that last day.

 

X.            THEY WILL BE JUDGED ON THAT LAST DAY

 

It's not just that they will appear, but they will be weighed in the balances by God against the standard of the law written on their heart. They have the law written on their heart and they will be measured against the law written upon their heart.

 

They will be judged. Please note: not saved but judged.

 

 

They will be judged by the Gospel. Note verse 16: "On the day when according to my Gospel God will judge." There'll not be a different standard.

 

The Gospel includes the message of condemnation. The good news includes bad news. There is no good news if there's not bad news.

 

The bad news of the gospel is found in the section that we're in; chapter 1 verse 18 all the way to chapter 3 verse 20; chapter 1 verse 18 all the way to chapter 3 verse 20. This is the foundation for the gospel. It's the bad news of condemnation upon which the good news of salvation will be built. But they're inseparably bound together; they are connected together.

 

You have to be saved from something; you're not just saved unto something. But you're also saved from something; and you're saved from the wrath of God and condemnation. Verse 16 says that on that last day they will be judged according to my Gospel; or the Gospel.

 

This is important, the judgment, again, it will not be by their own morality as compared to other people. They will not be judged on the curve. They will not be judged to see have they done more good than bad.

 

They will be judged by the gospel, and the gospel commands that all men everywhere repent and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. Now I've got a couple more here. Number 11: those without the law will be judged by God.

 

XI.          THOSE WITHOUT THE LAW WILL BE JUDGED BY GOD

 

I've already basically said that and alluded to that, but in the middle of verse 16, it couldn't be any more clear. It just says, "God will judge" – do you see that – "on the day, when according to my Gospel God will judge." It doesn't say they'll be saved; it doesn't say they'll be pardoned; it says they will be judged.

 

Those without the law will still be judged by God in accordance to the law written upon their heart. But it goes deeper; number 12: those without the law will have all their secrets judged. Verse 16: "God will judge the secrets of men."

 

XII.        THOSE WITHOUT THE LAW WILL HAVE ALL THEIR SECRETS JUDGED

 

It's not just their deeds, but it's their secret thoughts. As verse 15 talked about: "Their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them." What will be on trial goes deeper than just their actions that violate the law of God written on their heart.

 

It goes deeper than just their actions; it's their attitudes; it is their motives; it is their hidden thoughts; it is their selfish ambitions; it is revenge; it is anger; it is hatred. All of that will come out in to the open before God on the last day. The evidence will be overwhelming for those who are without the law.

 

Now let's just keep pressing here. At the end of verse 16: "Those without the law will be judged through Christ Jesus." I love how verse 16 concludes: "Through Christ Jesus." And the idea is that – or the truth is that God has given all judgment to His Son. And it is before the Son of God that every person without Christ will stand.

 

In John 5:22 it says that God has appointed all judgment to His Son. In Revelation 20, the great white throne judgment. Him who sat upon that throne, heaven and earth fled away, and there was no place found for them. The books were open, and the book of life was opened, and their deeds were judged according to what they have done.

 

It will be before Jesus Christ Himself that all without the law will stand. Now I've got just a couple more as we continue through the book of Romans. Number 13, as we come to Verses 3 Verse 9 is really the summation of this entire section; all are under sin.

 

XIII.      ALL ARE UNDER SIN

 

In Verse 9 he says, "For we have already charged that both Jews and Greeks are all under sin." And the Greeks here are those without the law. They are under sin, and therefore they are under the curse of the law, which is death.

 

Romans 6:23 says, "For the wages of sin is death; that is the curse of the law." Now let me give you two more and then we're gonna open this up for discussion. And thanks for tracking with me; this is a lot to take in.

 

All right number – what is it – number 14; come to Chapter 5 and Verse 12: all mankind has Adam's original sin imputed them.

 

XIV.      ALL MANKIND HAS ADAM’S ORIGINAL SIN

 

Romans 5:12: "For just as through one man sin entered in to the world and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned." When Adam sinned, his original sin was charged to the account of every person who would ever be conceived in the womb of a woman.

 

This is why there are miscarriages. That is why there is death even in the womb, because the moment of conception – or really 6,000 plus years ago – Adam's sin was charged to every person who would ever be conceived in the mother's womb. If that sin was not imputed to that child in the mother's womb at the moment of conception; that child would never die.

 

The mere fact that there is death in the womb bears testimony that Adam's sin has already been imputed to that person in the womb; or there could never be death in the womb. The rest of Romans 5, and I'm not gonna walk us through the whole thing, but it is so crystal clear that by Adam's one act of disobedience, the many were made sinners. That includes not only those who are under the law, but also those who are without the law.

 

They too enter in to this world already with Adam's sin charged against them, and already in a state of death. Therefore the final point, in chapter 10 in verse 14, and then we'll wrap this up. Chapter 10 beginning in verse 14: all who are without the law are in desperate need to have the Gospel brought to them.

 

XV.        ALL WHO ARE WITHOUT THE LAW ARE IN DEPSERATE NEED TO HAVE THE GOSPEL BROUGHT TO THEM

 

In Chapter 10 beginning in Verse 14: "How will they call on him in whom they have not believed?" That's a rhetorical question; the answer is they cannot. They cannot call upon Him in who they have not believed.

 

"And how will they believe in him whom they have not heard?" You can't believe in that which you have not heard. "And how will they hear without a preacher?" And the answer is they can't hear unless someone tells them.

 

Whether it is one who holds the office of pastor/preacher; or whether it's a parent; or a business man bearing witness and preaching the Gospel one on one. Whatever it is, no one can be saved without hearing the Gospel. Then Verse 15: "How will they preach unless they are sent?"

 

Just as it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things" – verse 17 – "so faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ." This is why we must be so resolutely committed to the cause of world missions; and global evangelization; and one on one witnessing. You don't have to go to the other side of the world to meet people who have never heard the Truth.

 

You can just walk across the street and meet people who have never heard the truth, and many of them are in churches where they never hear the truth. It's just show time; it's just entertainment; or it's just dead ritual and routine; or whatever it is, anything in between. I mean, you don't have to go to Africa, or China, or India to find people who have never heard the truth; they live right here in Dallas, TX.

 

The pure simple saving gospel message. What this is talking about is the vast majority of people on planet earth. This is not a little pocket of people; this is not a little cul-de-sac of people on a peninsula sticking out from some continent on the other side – a little island someplace.

 

We're talking about billions of people who are exactly being addressed in these verses who are without the law and who have never heard the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ. Nevertheless, they have the law written upon their heart, and their heart is accusing them that they have sinned and fallen short of this standard. They will stand at the judgment before God on the last day and all of their secrets, their thoughts, their ambitions, their lust, their motives will all come out as well as the entire record of their deeds.

 

It will be Jesus Christ before whom they will stand, and they will have no defense whatsoever to give. Their only hope – they will have already past the point of any hope at that moment. The only hope they would have is in this world now, and for us to take the gospel to them now.

 

But they're not just on the other side of the earth; they're in your zip code; they're in your office; they're in your family; they're in your neighborhood. Who still think you have to work your way to heaven; still think they have to say Hail Mary's to get to heaven; still think that they have to go to church a certain number of times and do good to certain people in order to meet a standard in which they will find acceptance with God. Still on the treadmill of self-righteousness, and who have no concept of the saving grace of God.

 

This passage is really a – it's a sobering passage. Let me bring this to a close; let me open it up for thoughts, feedback, questions, insight. You knew I was going to ask you this so who wants to hop in? So how does this strike you?

 

Audience:                    I always thought that every – okay I'll be first – that everybody else –

 

Audience:                    Everybody has to hear the good news, and when everybody does that's when the end times will come. That's not the – that's kinda just the misconception. Everybody does know the good news. Now –

 

They don't know the good news; they know the law.

 

Audience:                    That's right; well they have to add faith to the law to be saved, right?

 

They have to have the Gospel – faith in the Gospel to be saved.

 

Audience:                    Right.

 

The law is knowledge to condemn; but the law is knowledge that should point us to the need for a Savior, who is Jesus Christ.

 

Audience:                    Right.

 

That's the deal on that, but the law is a tutor who takes one by the hand and leads them to Christ. But it is only Christ who can save; the law can only condemn; the law cannot save.

 

Audience:                    Yeah I was sitting there thinking the guy that hung himself, Aaron –

 

Audience:                    Hernandez.

 

Audience:                    He knew it was wrong. He was so guilty he couldn't bear himself.

 

Audience:                    Hmm, that's what –

 

His conscience was killing him.

 

Audience:                    His conscience killed him.

 

The only way to turn the conscience off, and there he is in prison; he's like, "I can't live with myself."

 

Audience:                    Mm-hmm, young guy conscience just –

 

Accusing him and accusing him; think of Judas; that's what Judas did.

 

Audience:                    That's right.

 

Audience:                    Judas did the same thing.

 

He went out and hung himself.

 

Audience:                    Yeah, I mean –

 

That only made it worse. Then you, in one second, are in the flames of hell and you live with it through all eternity.

 

Audience:                    I mean a conscience – I mean, what you were saying about the conscience is – that alone that God would put that in us. That's it; without the conscience we've got no idea. You look out and see the beautiful trees, or the clouds, or the rain or, "I was rude to that person;" or, "I cut the person off." I mean that's all – you know?

 

Yeah the conscience is an ally to help us as we witness the lost

 

Audience:                    It's huge. It's huge, our conscience, huge.

 

Audience:                    Yeah.

 

Audience:                    Huge.

 

It is, but there are people who have so violated their conscience that it's like seared as with a hot iron. When something is seared you don't feel it anymore. You hit a point of, "Hey this isn't wrong; I'll just keep doing this."

 

Audience:                    And you rationalize it. I mean –

 

Yeah.

 

Audience:                    Who do we see – Where you people have claimed Christ and they're living together. And they just keep living together, but they're going to church, and they're ignoring Christ. But their conscience they're just searing; they know it's wrong; they know it's wrong.

 

Of course they do.

 

Audience:                    And you've seen them where they rationalize it, "Everybody's doing it." Society says it's okay.

 

But in their heart God knows that – He placed it in there that it's wrong.

 

Audience:                    If you don't know Christ; you don't have that assurance.

 

Yeah we don't know what to do with the guilt and the accusation within your own breast; you don't know what to do with it.

 

Audience:                    You keep trying to sear it; or you kill yourself; or you run to Christ, yeah.

 

Sin will make you stupid. I mean, it'll just lead you to make more bad decisions. Yeah somebody else? Thumbs up/thumbs down? I got a thumbs up there. All right Mark you've always got some great insight for us.

 

Audience:                    You said at the very beginning, you alluded to it, that you'll get to this passage; somebody will eventually take you down the trail. What about the person who's never heard, how can God hold that person responsible? That's not fair; you know all the arguments. And the person is basically – doesn't understand that when Adam fell – he was a federal representative – that they fell. And at the same time they are accusing or impugning the character of God. And what this passage does as you step back, the Lord has – you said when He created man in His image, in Genesis 1:26, He put His fingerprint on us; and His conscience in our conscience. And over – as you were going through this systematically, the Lord is fair; the Lord is just; He is righteous; and He is good.

 

Audience:                    More than fair.

 

There is no partiality with God in this. It's a just –

 

Audience:                    Yeah because the argument from the unsaved, "Well I don't believe in that God; that's not fair." We've all heard the arguments, but it's a lack of understanding used in general revelation. It's Psalms 19: "The heavens are declaring the glory of God." The Lord has put it on full display, and so the presupposition is all men should go to heaven. When the reality is all men should go to hell. And then you get to Romans 10:17 and the sovereignty of God, 'cause all of us were saved because He opened in our heart in the ministry of the Holy Spirit. He created a new heart; we heard the Word; and He allowed us to respond in faith. So instead of being unfair, He is so gracious and merciful.

 

He is; His grace has triumphed over His judgment as it'll say at the end of Romans 5, yeah.

 

Audience:                    And so that salvation now that we lost in Adam is now – through Christ is bringing that relationship back through sanctification and salvation. And hopefully our consciences are becoming more Christ-like; we're growing more; and we're coming full circle back to the Truth that we lost in sin, right?

 

Yeah we gain more in Christ than we ever lost in Adam.

 

Audience:                    Yeah.

 

There are three imputations, just a footnote. The first imputation was Adam's sin to the entire human race. And someone might say, "Well that's not fair."

 

Well first of all, if you were there you'd have made the same decision. Second of all, the other two imputations are positive, and they're not fair either. Before you say, "That's not fair," you need to hear about the other two imputations.

 

The other two imputations are: all the people who would ever believe upon Christ, their sins have been imputed to Christ at the cross; that wasn't fair. Him who knew no sin God made to be sin for us. Then the third imputation is: the perfect righteousness of Christ is imputed to all those who believe in Christ. And that's sure not fair either, but it's by the mercy and grace of God.

 

Those are the three imputations, and that really succinctly summarizes the big picture of salvation. And when we get to Romans 5 that's the case that Paul will make: "By the disobedience of the one the many were made sinners; by the obedience of the one the many were made righteous." And so that's the great exchange in salvation.

 

Adam's sin imputed to me; my sin imputed to Christ; Christ's righteousness imputed to me. You gotta follow the bouncing ball on that but that's salvation. And so even the one who's never heard, Adam's sin has already been imputed to them. They would never die if that were not the case.

 

And they commit sin against the law written upon their own heart otherwise they would never die; they would just live forever. But death is entered in to the world through Adam's one sin because of the solidarity of the entire human race in Adam. It's like a football team, one man jumps off side, the whole team is penalized; everybody moves back five yards; the one man.

 

But the good news is one man scored a touchdown.

 

 

Another man slam dunked it in the end zone, and we share his victory and triumph, and we're high fiving and we didn't do a thing. I mean, we're just standing – as a wide receiver just standing out there.

 

Audience:                    We're in the bleachers.

 

Yeah, I mean, we didn't do anything. But his victory is now our victory. Adam's defeat our defeat; but Christ's victory our victory. That's the good news of the Gospel, and we gain far more in Christ than we ever lost in Adam.

 

So anyone else before we wrap this up? I've got four more minutes here; this is awesome.

 

Audience:                    We had a guy on the live stream say you don't want fair.

 

Yeah, yeah you don't want fair.

 

That is so true; you want mercy; you want grace. You don't want justice; justice will damn you; grace will save you, yeah. Well someone else; Alan what have you got for us?

 

Audience:                    Well I think about what Mark was saying, you have heard all the arguments, and we need to speak up _____ you praise the Word of God. It is a reason for you to know it; know it well; and transmit it to people. Because the reason why they don't know is because most of the times preachers are silent. We have been somehow convinced that we should keep silent. We talk to our congregation; we talk to those who come; but we go out and we don't say a word; we're just another guy. And that's not the way it works. You said it, you find people across the street that have never heard the news; it is your job. You know it in your –

 

Just because they've heard of Jesus Christ doesn't mean that they've heard the Gospel. I mean, listen I've been around plenty of people lately saying Jesus Christ, but it was cussing, swearing. It wasn't the plan of salvation.

 

Audience:                    Yep, yep so you need to speak up; you need to say something. It is our responsibility and there is no way around it.

 

And I also think there's a hesitancy on our part to even speak of the word judgment; condemnation; which is just, like, right there. And that's a part of what we must say to people so that they will treasure the good news of salvation in the Lord Jesus Christ. Well guys we've all gotta talk this up.

 

We've gotta tell people about Christ, and we've got to figure out how to build bridges. And sometimes it takes time to build those bridges; and at other times it's just a passing opportunity. But we've gotta take advantage of those opportunities.

 

Audience:                    We have to realize we're the sower not the reaper. We have to always just be sowing and don't put too much pressure on our self to get them to the finish line afterwards. God'll work in their hearts on His time.

 

Absolutely.

 

Audience:                    You know, we get panicked like, "Oh my gosh I didn't get them to the finish line." That's not our job.

 

Yeah that's not our job; that's a great point Chris. We just sow the seed; I mean, that doesn't take a whole lot of ability.

 

Audience:                    No we get discouraged by it and then we shouldn't be.

 

Yeah, I mean, God even cultivates the soil, and tills the soil, and germinates the seed, and brings forth life according to His purposes. We just leave that with Him; we're to be faithful not successful. Well guys we gotta carry this out.

 

I mean, this should be a strong motivation to every one of us to capture opportunities to witness for Christ; to tell others about Christ; to support God's work around the world.

 

Let me just close in a word of prayer. Father thank you that you have revealed the Truth to us. Thank you that we have heard the Gospel of Grace. You have shown favor, and mercy and grace to us.

 

We don't deserve it; we praise you that you opened our eyes; and opened our ears; and opened our heart. And caused us to be born again, and we praise you. And we're now debtors of your grace. So use us in this room, and those who are watching with us to reach others around us with the message of your saving grace. We pray this in Jesus's name, amen.

 

Audience:                    Amen.

 

 

Dr. Steven J. Lawson

Dr. Steven J. Lawson is President and founder of OnePassion Ministries, a ministry designed to equip biblical expositors to bring about a new reformation in the church. Dr. Lawson hosts The Institute for Expository Preaching in cities around the world. Dr. Lawson is also a Teaching Fellow for Ligonier Ministries, where he serves on its board. Moreover, he is Professor of Preaching and oversees the Doctor of Ministry program at The Master’s Seminary, where he also serves on its board. Dr. Lawson is also Professor in Residence for Truth Remains, a work designed to promote and proclaim God’s written Word. Further, Dr. Lawson serves as the Executive Editor for Expositor Magazine published by OnePassion Ministries.