Answering Objections - Romans 3:1-8

Today, we are in Romans Chapter 3. We've made progress, Romans 3. We're going to be looking at the first 8 verses. Let me just start with a word of prayer.

 

            Father, as we come to your word now, we ask that you would give us eyes to see what you have put in your word. I pray your Holy Spirit would teach and guide us into the truth of your word. I pray that there would be much relevancy that we would see for our own personal lives. Incorporate this into the very fabric of our being. We pray this in Christ's name. Amen.

 

            As we look at Romans 3:1-8, this is a final section before Paul will wrap up the entire section on condemnation. In Chapter 3, beginning in verse 9 and extended to verse 20 is his summation of total depravity and his summation of the condemnation of the human race. But before he comes to the summation starting verse 9, in the first 8 verses, he wants to answer some objections. I've titled this message Answering Objections. And what we learn from this is every teacher of the word can be easily misunderstood.

 

            Every teacher can be subject to false conclusions that the hearer will draw. Like based upon – if you say A and B, there are listeners who will get out ahead of you and will assume wrongly therefore you must be saying D and E. So Paul answers these objections because every teacher can have his words twisted. Every teacher can have words put into his mouth that he never said. I have certainly faced that. In my many years of ministry I have answered this in congregational meetings in front of the entire church as false accusations have been brought against me regarding things that I have taught and said.

 

I have faced them in elder meetings. I have faced them in deacons meetings. I have faced them in the lobby. I've faced them in the parking lot. I have faced them all my life. It really goes with the turf that if you're going to stand up and be a teacher you are a target, and there are people who do not listen well. There are people who do not think well and they jump to wrong conclusions based upon what you have said.

 

Well, that was what was happening with the Apostle Paul. In these verses he's put in the somewhat awkward position of having to answer his critics and to answer imaginary objectors. It's almost a conversation that's going on between Paul and Paul within himself, but he's getting it out on the table as if, "I know exactly what some of your people are thinking." But he does actually know what some of them are thinking and actually will say in verse 7 and 9, "You've brought some slanderous charges against me and falsely accused me based upon what I have taught."

 

I want to just read these verses, and when we first read them, they're somewhat difficult to understand and to get into the flow of thought. Let me begin by reading it and then I want to give I think a simple framework for these verses. Let me reintroduce you to these verses, beginning in Romans 3:1:

 

“Then what advantage has the Jew, or what is the benefit of circumcision? Well, great in every respect. First of all that they were entrusted with the oracles of God. What then as some did not believe? Their unbelief will not nullify the faithfulness of God, will it?

 

Verse 4: May it never be. Rather let God be found true though every man be found a liar as it is written that you may be justified in your words and prevail when you are judged. But if our unrighteousness demonstrates the righteousness of God, what shall we say? The God who inflicts wrath is not unrighteous, is he? I'm speaking in human terms. May it never be for otherwise how will God judge the world? But if through my lie the truth of God abounded to his glory, why am I still being judged as a sinner and why not say as we are slanderously reported and as some claim that we say, let us do evil that good may come? Their condemnation is just.”

 

Now, just in initial reading of these verses, it's kind of hard to untie the knot here with what's going on. Here's what's going on. This is a Q-and-A session with the Apostle Paul, question-and-answer session. Paul is raising the questions that are on the minds of many of the people. He gets inside of their thinking. I know what you are thinking. Some of it he is simply anticipating what they're thinking. Some of it he's actually heard what they're thinking.

 

Now, there is a back-and-forth almost like a tennis match here, volley, back-and-forth. Paul will raise eight questions, and they are in the odd-number verses; verse 1, verse 3, verse 5, verse 7. There are two questions for each verse; two questions in verse 1, two questions in verse 3, two questions verse 5, two questions in verse 7. You can see that. These are questions that Paul knows are being raised. Paul is like an attorney who puts a witness on the stand and will raise the issues before the other attorney can raise it. So he's in control.

 

The answers are in the even-number verses; verse 2, 4, 6, and 8. There will be eight questions, four answers. The eight questions come in pairs and the eight questions are in reality four questions stated twice. There will be a ninth question as Paul will answer a question with a question, very Jewish. He will answer a question with a question, which is in reality a statement. That's how the flow of this unravels.

 

I.               FIRST OBJECTION

 

The first objection is in verses 1 and 2, the second objection in verses 3 and 4, third objection in verses 5 and 6, and the fourth objection in verses 7 and 8. So let's walk through these, and I think that there's application for us. I have found as I have studied the Bible, sometimes it's passages like this that appear to be most oblique, most obscure, that once we crack the  nut yields the greatest blessing because there's a joy of discovery of what's going on here because it forces us to think. This is one of those. We're going to have to think with the Apostle Paul. It's not just laying on the surface.

 

Here is the first objection that Paul addresses, beginning in verse 1, and it is that he is being falsely accused of being against the people of God, against the Jewish people. Like you're anti-Jewish based upon what he just said, and in Chapter 2, he just said, "If you're Jewish, that's not going to get you anywhere with God unless you believe in Jesus Christ." Paul's going to address that now.

 

Beginning in verse 1: I just want to pause for a moment. The word then tells us what is in verses 1 through 8 is in response to what he's just said. It's in response really to verses 17 to 29 in the previous chapter. "Then what advantage has the Jew?" What profit is it to be a Jew if just being Jew does not guarantee your salvation? What good was that to be Jewish if just being Jewish doesn't automatically mean salvation?

 

He then follows up with a second question," And what advantage of the Jew," that really addresses verses 17 to 24 in the previous chapter. Now he goes to circumcision, which is a follow-up verses 25 to 29 in the previous chapter of what benefit or what is the benefit of circumcision. I mean, Paul has just belabored this that circumcision does not say. Circumcision is only a symbol and a sign. Circumcision is simply the cutting of the human body but it does nothing for the soul. What advantage was that?

 

Paul can anticipate that people are going to construe and misconstrue that Paul is against the Jew and Paul is against what the Old Testament required for their circumcision. That's what's on the table. And we could ask the same question this way for us. So what advantage was it to grow up in a Christian family if that doesn't guarantee your salvation? What advantage is it that you went to a Christian school if that doesn't put you in the kingdom of God? What advantage is it for you to go to a good church, a Bible teaching church, if you can be in church where the word of God is being preached and you still are not saved? What was that advantage?

 

I think that's a question that every one of us should ask ourselves. Paul will answer that, and he gives actually a positive answer in verse 2. He goes, "Great. That's what the advantage is, great in every respect." It's a huge advantage Paul says to be Jewish and to be subject to even circumcision. He now explains. He goes, "First of all now this is number one on the list," and it's so number one on the list, he never even gets to number two, three, four, or five. He just is stuck on number one.

 

First of all “they”, referring to the Jew who is circumcised, were entrusted with the oracles of God. The oracles of God refer to the Bible. It refers to the Old Testament. It refers to special revelation. It refers to the message of the Gospel and the way of salvation made known to you. Paul says, "It was an enormous advantage that you grew up hearing the word of God because you cannot be saved unless you know the Gospel, unless you've heard the truth." Paul answers this first objection that he is even maybe anti-Semitic, being anti-Jewish to say that, "Well, just being a Jew doesn't make you a Christian." Well, the application for us is, "Hey, just being a Baptist doesn't get you in Heaven. Just being a Presbyterian doesn't get you anywhere as far as the kingdom of God."

 

Let me just add going to a Bible teaching church doesn't get you into Heaven. But it does give you a great advantage because you have now had an exposure to the truth of the Gospel and you are responsible to believe in the Gospel but an advantage and a profit has been afforded unto you that other people have not had. You have had an advantage of all advantages because you have been exposed to the truth.

 

Before I move on, I just want to make a very simple statement. The mere fact that you're in this Bible study is an enormous blessing from God that this very millisecond you are exposed to that which billions of people in the world have never heard. You are in a very privileged place that you have access to this book and for this book to be opened and to be explained to you. This is the first objection that Paul has to answer. He's not down on being Jewish. He is saying, "Wow, you've had an advantage that the Egyptians never had, that the Babylonians didn't have, that the Assyrians didn't have, that the Romans didn't have until the Gospel finally was there, but the Aztecs never had, the Eskimos never had, that" – I mean, we can just go around the globe.

 

Before we move on, let's just pause here and really internalize this. Most of you in this room go to churches were there's a pastor who stands up with an open Bible and who reads the text and explains the text and applies the text. Most of you go to a Sunday school class or some kind of teaching beyond the pulpit in which the word of God is made known to you. You are privileged. You are the tip of the iceberg and the whole rest of the human race is submerged below water level. You are blessed and favored by God, just like the Jew who had the oracles of God entrusted to him. That's the first objection Paul addresses.

 

II.             SECOND OBJECTION

 

Now let's move onto the second. In verse 1 was the objection and two questions. The answer is in verse 2. As we come to now to verse 3, here is the second objection, and it is stated in two questions. What then if some did not believe? The some referred to Jews. We're still in this context of talking about those who were born according to the flesh as sons of Abraham. If some did not believe, their unbelief will not nullify the faithfulness of God, will it?

 

Now here's what's going on behind this question. God has promised in his word that he will save Jews. That's a part of the Abrahamic covenant. I mean, that is going back to Abraham and God saving Abraham and God saving a remnant in every generation down through the Old Testament there have been those that God has saved. Israel was to take this message to the world. However, the majority of the nation of Israel has been in unbelief, have been apostate. The entire generation in the wilderness wandering was basically lost and unconverted.

 

Does that therefore mean that the word of God has failed? Does that therefore mean, as Verse 3 would raise the question, that the faithfulness of God to his own word and to his promises has failed? That was a question in the first century that needed to be addressed because that was the very generation that crucified the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Paul's answer in verse 4 is a very important answer. He says, "May it never be." In the Greek language, it is [Greek], which is the strongest, most emphatic no that there could possibly be in the Greek language. It is a, "No way, not at all". It's a dogmatic negative. It is an emphatic negative, "May it never be." And what may never be is that God is not faithful to his word and faithful to his promises. He says, "May it never be." Rather, meaning on the other hand, let God be found true though every man be found a liar. And what he is saying is God will fulfill all of his promises to the Jewish people though every man in the entire world was to say that God is unfaithful to his word. All that matters is what God says. It doesn't matter what man says.

 

That's the argument that Paul is setting forth. That's an important truth for us to be reminded. It doesn't matter what the opinion Paul will say. It doesn't matter what the majority say. The majority have always been wrong. The majority has never been right. All that matters is what does God say. And as you and I live our Christian lives, we are easily squeezed into the mold of the thinking of this world. And we must remember that even if the entire world was to speak with one voice and God was to say what was contrary, God is true and the whole world is full of liars. That's how faithful God is to his word, the integrity of the word of God.

 

That is what Paul is addressing here because Paul has said in Chapter 2, "Well, Israel is lost without Christ." What? Is God not going to keep his word? Paul just – he just cuts that off. He just nips that in the bud and he says, "Listen, before we go any further with that kind of foolish talk, you just need to understand if the whole world were to speak with one voice and God alone said something is true, just be assured God is true and the whole world is full of liars." We just need to know what God says. It is impossible as Titus 1:1 says for God to lie or verse 2, Titus 1:2.

 

May it never be. Rather, let God be found true, verse 4, though every man be found a liar. Now Paul quotes from the Old Testament, which is kind of an interesting way to make his point. He now quotes from scripture to show that scripture is true. As it is written – and he now quotes Psalm 51:4, that you, referring to God, may be justified in your words; justified here means to be proven to be right; and prevail when you are judged. What he is saying here, God's word will prevail in judgment on the last day, not what man says or what man misconstrues. Every judgment will be according to the word of God.

 

The application for us is very self-apparent: what confidence we should have in the word of God and how reliable and how faithful are the words of God. And as we live our Christian lives and as we chart the course for the path that we follow, all that matters is what does God say on any matter whatsoever. I know that you believe that. That's why you're in a Bible study and you're not off at a coffee shop someplace pooling people on what they think about a particular issue. That's the second objection that Paul addresses.

 

III.           THIRD OBJECTION

 

Now, we move on now to the third objection, and that is found in verse 5. It is an objection that people are assuming that Paul is making against the righteousness of God. The first one was against the people of God. The second one was against the word of God or the faithfulness of God. This is now – Paul's having to answer what people are assuming that he is attacking the righteousness of God. Here's the objection in verse 5. It, again, comes in the form of two questions. This now anticipates the imaginary objector. This anticipates what his critics are saying.

 

If our unrighteousness, meaning the sin and the unbelief of the Jewish people; demonstrates the righteousness of God, meaning enhances the glory of God. Now this is just a really nutty logic that if our sin brings glory to God then why don't we just sin more if God's glorified in everything. If God's even glorified in and through sin and the damnation of sinners then why don't we just sin all the more? And he will address this later in chapter 6. What shall we say, and the we refers to the imaginary objector. He's, in essence, quoting them.

 

The God who inflicts wrath; he's now quoting the imaginary objector again; is not unrighteous, is he? Some were drawing the conclusion that God's judgment is unjust and that God's wrath is unjust because if God's righteousness is demonstrated in man's unrighteousness then how can God be righteous to pour out his righteous judgment? How can man be responsible is really the logic. I understand that these are kind of dense verses. But that's the track that he's on. Then in parentheses, Paul says, "I'm speaking human terms," meaning human logic. It's not divine reasoning. It's human logic would come to that conclusion.

 

Paul answers that now in Verse 6, and he says it again what he said in verse 3 or what he said in verse 4; may it never be. Paul just like brings the sledgehammer down on that faulty argument. And, "May it never be," could be translated nonsense with an exclamation point. God forbid, may it never be, for otherwise how will God judge the world? Then God would be barred from judging the world following your logic that _____ the unrighteousness of man enhances the righteousness of God then God could never judge and fairly and justly and rightly. He says, "May it never be because God will unleash his judgment on all unbelieving Jews, just like all unbelieving Gentiles."

 

IV.          FOURTH OBJECTION

 

Let there be no mistake, there's no special category for anyone to be who will escape the judgment of God who is outside of the Lord Jesus Christ. That's the third objection. Now the fourth objection is in verse 7, and it, too, comes in the form of two questions. And it is a supposed attack by Paul against the holiness of God. So in verse 7: But if through my lie the truth of God abounded to his glory, in other words, if the more I tell lies that just causes God's truth to stand out even more. It's the old illustration of the black velvet backdrop and the sparkling diamond; the darker the velvet black drop the more the diamond sparkles.

 

The objection that is being raised against Paul, and in fact, in verse 7 it is so serious that it's not an imaginary objection. This is what people are actually slandering against Paul and falsely accusing Paul of teaching. Now, Paul's never said this, but people are not connecting the dots correctly on his teaching. Look at verse 7 again: But if through my lie the truth of God abounded to his glory, in other words, if my sin glorifies God, if the more a person lies the more the truth of God is enhanced, he answers that or the logical conclusion is why am I also still being judged as a sinner. Why does God still want to judge me if my sin would bring greater glory to God because it's in such stark contrast with who God is? I mean, it's really bizarre how some people will take your teaching and then extend it out to false conclusions and then lay that at your feet.

 

It's almost hard to get into the mind of verses 1, 3, 5, and 7 because people have so exaggerated what Paul has taught as found in chapters 1 and 2 that it's hard to actually get into the mind of these questions because they're so far away from the truth and so far away from what Paul was saying yet nevertheless that's the reality of the jungle that Paul's having to hack his way through.

 

Verse 8: And why not say – and in parentheses, as we are slandered; slanderously reported and as some claim that we say; you know, you just can't stop the rumor mill and you just cannot stop people talking behind your back and you cannot stop people's erroneous thinking when they are away from you and how it's exasperated when they come together and talk among themselves, which only intensifies how far away they are drifting from what the teacher actually said and the truth that was put forward. They actually have a leverage principle at work as they talk among themselves, they're just getting further and further away from actually the sound teaching that was being said.

 

And I know that. For example, any time I teach on let's say the doctrine of sovereign election, people – "Oh, he's anti-evangelism. He's anti-missions. He's anti-prayer. He's anti-personal holiness. He's anti human responsibility." No, I never said that. I never even implied that. I never even came close to implying that. But people will take what you say and then come to wrong conclusions. Then as they talk among themselves they catapult themselves further away from the truth until it comes to such a point they actually slander the teacher because they've gotten so far away from what his words even actually were and, quite frankly, they weren't even well-taught enough to be able to rightly connect what he was saying.

 

There were so many gaps in their understanding they were incapable in being entrusted with what they were hearing. They were like little children playing with a loaded revolver. I mean, they knew enough to be dangerous because they were drawing wrong conclusions based upon the truth that was being taught. That's the dynamic of what's going on here. I do understand in these verses it's kind of hard to get into the middle of Paul's thinking because it's kind of like some of us may be thinking, "Well, who in the world would think that?" I mean that's, as Jay Vernon McGee would say, "stinking thinking." I mean, that's just so far off. That's just – this is hypothetical, isn't it? No, it's not hypothetical. Paul wouldn't waste eight versus in the book of Romans to talk about something that's superfluous.

 

There's only so much – everything's important. This was obviously important enough that it finds itself in the book of Romans that every time this book is opened there it is teaching every generation down through the centuries of these erroneous, false conclusions that people come to based upon sound teaching and based upon sound doctrine.

 

Back to verse 8, Paul will answer at the end of verse 8. In fact, Paul answers so abruptly that he really doesn't even want to honor the bad question. The questions are so bad that he doesn't want to waste ink to answer them. It's kind of like what he does in Romans chapter 9. He just cuts off, you know, how does he still find fault – who are you, oh man, to answer back to God? Paul just abruptly cuts off in Romans 9 this imaginary objector. That's what he does here.

 

He gives the answer to the two questions that are in verse 7 and then in verse 8, their condemnation is just. Now we would ask the question who's condemnation. The people that are asking these stupid questions, that's who's condemnation is just. In other words, don't lay this at my feet. This is laid at their feet. This isn't a reflection on me. This is a reflection on them. Their condemnation is just meaning they will be judged by God for such foolish, misunderstood, misconstrued conclusions. Paul just cuts it off right here and just, in essence, this is the end of this discussion. I have nothing more to say other than to turn you over to God and their condemnation is just.

 

I understand that these are kind of challenging verses. They are for me if that's any comfort to you to get into the argument that Paul is making before he will bring his summation, which we will look at next time in verse 9. Let me wrap this up and I'm going to open it up for questions and comments and insight. But here's the application- the so what. I've already said it but I – some of these – but I want to make sure we get it.

 

Number one, how privileged you and I are to have been taught the word of God. I am in awe that God has so favored me that I have grown up in a Christian family with Christian parents and was exposed through Christian ministries and sound churches the truth of the word of God. Lets us not let that pass our notice this morning. The argument that he makes here with the Jew is the same argument to be made for each and every one of us. We are on an island of truth in the midst of an ocean of lies and apostacy. I mean, we're like on a tiny, little island in the Pacific Ocean, an island of truth in the midst of an ocean of lies and apostacy. What a privileged, small, little plot of land we're on. We're not the only one, and God has a remnant. But relatively speaking in this world right now, I don't know that we can fully comprehend how privileged we are. That's number one.

 

You need to thank God that in the goodness of his providence he has put you in Dallas, Texas, United States of America and given you access to churches and Bible studies where the truth is being made known to you.

 

Second, I want to remind you of how trustworthy this word of God is, that God is true, and let every man be found a liar who disagrees with God. All that matters is what does God have to say. A one-word synonym for truth is reality. It's the way things really are. And the way things really are is what God says in his word. Man is what God says man is. Sin is what God says sin is. Salvation is what God says salvation is. Salvation is received as God says it is to be received. Heaven and Hell is what God says Heaven and Hell is. The final judgment is what God says the final judgment is.

 

That is reality. And anything that disagrees with the word of God is a lie. It is a lie from the pit of Hell. That's the second thing that we take from this. The third is the certainty of the wrath of God. And that's how Paul began this whole section in chapter 1, verse 18, and he comes back to it now in verse 5 and 6, but God is the God who inflicts wrath. Hell is not air conditioned. Hell is a real place that will go on forever, and the vengeance and the fury of an angry God will be poured out with full vengeance, unmitigated vengeance, upon damned souls in Hell forever and ever and ever.

 

The final thing is their condemnation is just. We see that at the end of verse 8. All of God's judgments are right and they are true. There is never any injustice with God. There's never any inequitable handling that God carries out with sinners. It is always an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. The punishment will always fit the crime perfectly. That's what an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth means, and it's still in effect, that there will be perfect justice and judgment administered by God on the last day. And their judgment and condemnation is just.

 

This is this kind of a difficult section, these are difficult verses. They're still a challenge to me in some ways to totally wrap my mind around what all is going on here. I have more questions than I have answers. But what I have said is true. So let me open this up for any questions or thoughts, any down there your way, Jonathan? Okay, good.

 

Audience:        I'll go ahead and throw the first one out. Yeah, this is from Karen Sacoley. She says, "Why is it so hard for so many Jews to accept Jesus is the messiah and the savior? Why do they insist their messiah is still to come?"

 

Well, first of all, as we will learn later in the book of Romans that God has blinded their eyes and deafened their ears and put a veil over them as his just judgment for rejecting the prophets and for crucifying the messiah. They are in a place of hardened reprobation. There will yet be a day when all Israel will be saved according to Romans 11. And that is yet future. But it is God's just judgment for rejecting the light that has already been given to them.

 

            In addition to that, it's just the doctrine of total depravity. The same could be said of the Gentiles. Why do Gentiles reject the Lord Jesus Christ and why do people in Dallas, Texas reject Christ? It's because of the hardness of their own hearts and it's because of the radical corruption of the human nature. So thank you for that question. Yeah. Someone else? Anyone around the table even?

 

Audience:        What it be accurate to say that these objectors or these are not honest, well-meaning objections; they're willful rejection of the truth, particularly when Paul is noting their condemnation is just?

 

Yeah.

 

Audience:        I mean, it's not just stupid questions by people seeking the truth. Is that correct?

 

Yeah. I think you're correct on that, David, especially as we get to verse 8 where we see that they are slanderous. Their condemnation is just. This is not an innocent little discussion, how many angels can dance on the head of a needle type of thing. These are people who are intentionally evasive and pushing away from the truth, which is why Paul must stop and address this because it's not mere innocent discussion. Yeah. Thank you. And I think your observation helps clarify even a little bit more clearly what's being said here. Yeah. As I started looking at these verses starting in verse 1, I didn't get the knockout punch until I got to verse 8.

 

            It starts off seemingly innocent. And then as you get to verse 8, it's like, "Oh wow, there's a depth here that I did not initially see." Yeah. Someone else? Thank you for that?

 

Audience:        You want another one from comments?

 

Yeah.

 

Audience:        We've got Paul Von Buren Ruiz from Venezuela.

 

Tremendous.

 

Audience:        It's a bit of a longer question. But he says, "Does verse 6 have to do with the Armenians' objection which attacked the doctrines of grace on the base that God would be unfair to select people to go to Hell no matter what they do because they just simply were not elect before the foundation of the world? How can we answer to that objection?

 

Yeah. I think Paul does address that in Romans 9. At the very center of Romans 9, becomes an extension of this same argument in verse 6 and answer in verse 6. Then how can he still find fault is what he will say in Romans 9. But the answer to that is man is 100 percent responsible for all the choices and decisions he makes while at the same time God is 100 percent sovereign. Therein lies the tension of mystery, an unresolved mystery, but we cannot throw the baby out with the bathwater anymore than we could be confront – every major doctrine has this same tension. I mean, let's just take the hypostatic union of Christ. He was truly God yet truly man. You go, "Well, that's impossible and how he could be fully God yet fully man?" Well, he is. And you can't discard one in favor of the other or you're a bona fide heretic.

 

You have to accept both though in our finite mind how can it be both. Well, just trust me it is. Or we could say, "How can there be one God who exists in three persons?" You know, it's the old thing, define the Holy Trinity and you use your mind. Deny the Holy Trinity and you'll lose your soul. I mean, we can't totally wrap our mind around how God is one yet three, yet he is. Or who wrote the book of Romans. Well, you say Paul wrote it. Well, I thought it was the word of God. Well, it is the word of God. It's both. Well, how can it be both? Did Paul write one word and then God write the second word and Paul write the third and then God the fourth? No. It's 100 percent God-briefed, yet Paul with his vocabulary, with his personality, with his temperament wrote it.

 

It's the same with this. I mean, how can God be sovereign and judge sin and yet man at the same time be held accountable for his choices and in a strange way God is glorified even in the judgment of sin because he puts his wrath on display and he puts his vengeance on display. Well, you know, we can't cut off one for the other. We have to believe the full counsel of God and put our arms around it all and be content to live with some degree of tension. These lines intersect far above our head. But that's a great question that we just had there from Venezuela. So thank you for your question. Someone else?

 

Audience:        There are three things that really jump out at me. Number one, you're right about the privilege. You talked about growing up in a Christian home, going to a church where the word of God is expounded. I think all of us around the room could go – could tell the path looking backwards at why were are here now.

 

Audience:        Some of us didn't grow up in a Christian home. Some of us didn't go to a church where the word of God was expounded. And it's just a beautiful picture to praise the Lord of his providence how he has guided us on this often not straight path to where we are now.

 

Yeah.

 

Audience:        I think that you cannot echo the point enough how blessed we are. Number two, it's interesting the logic of the unsaved mind, the logic of the depravity of man. It makes no sense. And all the wisdom that is eternal his hidden in the Lord Jesus Christ. It's revealed in the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Yeah.

 

Audience:        And it's so interesting how we see it on display in life every day. We see people that are rational creatures. They're smart. But they make utter foolish, eternally-damning decisions because there is no light. There is no spiritual light. There is no indwelling of the Holy Spirit. And the third point is the arrogance of man. And when I say the arrogance of man, as if our opinion on what God should do, what is just, and what isn't just, if it has any bearing on the reality of God. We're the creature and we're telling – we're defining the creator, the infinite, and the almighty, and we're approaching God as if somehow our opinion or our actions are going to affect him. It's so arrogant and prideful. It's lowering God to our level.

 

Right.

 

Audience:        But then you see in Isaiah 6 when a vision of the Lord is seen, Isaiah drops and he says, "Woe is me."

 

No, that's very good, Mark. I love all three of those observations and insights. And, yeah, I'm just still processing in my mind even what David said earlier. I'm just still thinking about Verse 8. I can't get Verse 8 out of my mind that Verse 8 really ends up being like the interpretive key to understand the tone and the trajectory of what's being kind of thrown at Paul as he's having to answer. And then, Mark, what you said about just unbelievers and the irrational, illogical conclusions to which they come based upon when they hear certain Christian truths and they take that to ridiculous conclusions. As the old saying, sin makes you stupid, I mean sin will always lead you to draw wrong conclusions from what little truth you hear.

 

            And what you and David have said have actually helped even clarify it in my mind even better what all – the dynamic of what's going on here. Yeah, and it's interesting the placement of this at the end of this section before he does the summation. It's almost like someone preaching a sermon and then after the sermon is over just opening it up for questions from the floor. But Paul opens it up, but there's no microphone out there. Paul just asks the question himself based upon these slanderous reports that have come to him of conclusions that people are drawing. So it's just an interesting section to me. Yeah.

 

Audience:        I was just going to say just piggybacking off of that, I heard a lecture the other day from Dr. R.C. Sproul. He was talking about how you have kind of two sides of the spectrum some of the greatest minds in human history reach two vastly different conclusions. You have believers who have come and they've embraced the full counsel of God's word and submitted themselves to it, unbelievers who don't and they flat out reject it, brilliant minds.

 

What he said that I thought was fascinating was when you start with a foundation that there is no God and you build that on a lie, the more consistent you are moving forward from there the further and further away you get and the more you're going to distort your own worldview and things just won't make sense because there's no cohesion. You've built your foundation on quicksand essentially instead of the foundation of God's truth.

 

I just kind of see that with these distortions in the text. It seems like the further along you get throughout the text the distortions grow, grow, grow, grow. It's just the inconsistency if you have an unbelieving worldview or an unbelieving frame of mind, you have no choice but to get to those crazy conclusions because if you're consistent that's where you're going to end up at. So I've thought that was kind of –

 

Yeah, no, that is a very good observation. And there really may be a progression here of going further and further away from the truth even from the first to the second to the third to the fourth objection, straying further and further away. No, that's excellent. I like that. Allen, what were you going to say?

 

Audience:        What I was going to say about your application that we're privileged but it is a tremendous responsibility that we have. We've been entrusted with the scriptures. And now if we do not remember and stay put on the idea or the reality that all that matters is what God says, we are in danger of folding like many denominations and many churches have that they have been entrusted with scripture and they have caved to the pressures of being inclusive and being more open to change. And now all of a sudden what is wrong is correct and they preach that from the pulpit and that's the danger. We all have that – we're all in that danger because the world is coming after us and if we don't stand firm on the reality of scripture, if we do not remember the wrath is coming and that whatever the judgment of God is just, we'll be no better than those who have folded the facts.

 

That is very good that with this privilege comes great responsibility and a responsibility to hold the line and drop anchor and not move. And it doesn't matter what the denomination says. It doesn't matter what the world says. All that matters is what does the word of God say. And if you're in disagreement with the word of God then you're just all a bunch of liars because God is true. So I think that's a good place for us to wrap this up. But, Allen, thank you for that.

 

            Well, I'm looking at my friend the clock here and we actually do have a clock now. We're going to be here in two weeks. I'm going to be gone to Germany next week to Wittenberg, Martin Luther, and preaching there. So I'll be gone for a week, be back in two weeks, and we'll put a bow on this whole section as Paul will summarize this entire section on condemnation. And it is the signature text in the entire Bible on total depravity from the top of man's head to the bottom of his feet, every inch, every ounce, his eyes, his ears, his mouth, his feet, his hands, the poison of sin has permeated the entirety of his being.

 

            So that's what we're going to look at next time. It is the black velvet backdrop that this diamond is going to be placed and it's going to be so bright and so sparkling that we're going to be in awe that a God would be this gracious and this loving to such undeserving rebels as we are. That's what we'll look at in two weeks. Thank you for joining us via our live stream. And I'll look forward to seeing you in two weeks.

 

            Let me just close in prayer. God, thank you for this study. Weave it into our hearts and soul. Cause the seed to grow. In Christ's name, 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.