No One Is Good, We All Need Jesus (Romans 3:9-20)

No One Is Good, We All Need Jesus (Romans 3:9-20)

Prepared and preached by Pastor Steve Rhodes for and at Bethel Friends Church in Poland, OH on Saturday, February 20 and Sunday, February 21, 2021

Mercedes is just over 9 years old now, and so over the last 9 years God has drastically changed how I view things. Having two young children means that when I hear about crimes involving children, I want to go ballistic. I cannot tolerate the thought of how someone would harm a child.

What makes someone bad? What makes someone wrong? What disqualifies someone from good? Romans 3:9-20 discusses this.

Romans 3:9-20:

What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, 10 as it is written:

“None is righteous, no, not one;
11     no one understands;
    no one seeks for God.
12 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;
    no one does good,
    not even one.”
13 “Their throat is an open grave;
    they use their tongues to deceive.”
“The venom of asps is under their lips.”
14     “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.”
15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood;
16     in their paths are ruin and misery,
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 speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. 20 For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.

My theme and application is:

We must recognize that no one measures up to God’s standard. We all need Jesus.

Our sin nature causes wrong desires, wrong speech, wrong paths, and wrong vision.

This is the end of the first section of Romans and Paul ends with Scripture. This is all a quote from the Old Testament. Paul was writing to a primarily Gentile congregation, so he concluded (rather than began) his argument with an appeal to Scripture. Contrast the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews, who took the opposite approach when he addressed a primarily Jewish readership. The collection of passages Paul used, both affirmed the universality of sin (vv. 10-12), and showed its pervasive inroads into all areas of individual and corporate life (vv. 13-18).

  • My first point is that we as humans have wrong desires.
    • The text says that none of us will seek after good. We just won’t do that. Now we know that as Christians we can seek good because of the precious gift of the Holy Spirit. That is the only way.
    • It is true that people can be good and not be Christian. But there is a difference between doing good and being righteous. One sin separates us from God. This is like one drop of cyanide killing someone.
    • John 3:12 talks about Nicodemus not understanding how you can be born again. Think about a time when you couldn’t understand something. Jesus says you can’t understand the spiritual things without the Holy Spirit.
    • Notice verse 9: Paul says that the Jews are not better off. He is saying that they are not better off than the gentiles.
    • Then verses 10: “no one is righteous…” This is from Ps 14:1–3; 53:1–3.
    • What do we seek after? What are we raised with as people in western culture? We are raised with the goal of a job, a spouse, kids, etc. None of these are bad, but we must think about God’s will.

Pastor Timothy Keller paraphrases an analogy originally used by C.S. Lewis (in his book Mere Christianity) to demonstrate the nature of sin in our hearts.

Now if you want to know if there are rats in your basement, you don’t walk to your basement door, clear your throat, and say, “I think I’ll go down and see if there are rats in my basement,” then jiggle the knob, open the door and in a very leisurely way turn on the light, clear your throat, and walk down the steps loudly and slowly. When you get to the bottom you look around and say, “Well, what do you know: I have no rats in my basement.”

If you want to know if you have rats in your basement, you sneak up to the door, silently open the door, flick on the switch, jump to the bottom of the steps, and look around and they’ll all be scurrying away. And then you’ll know if you have rats.

Based on this analogy, Lewis wrote:

The excuse [for most of my sinful moments] that immediately springs to my mind is that the provocation was so sudden and unexpected; I was caught off my guard [like a rat who didn’t get enough warning] … Now that may be an extenuating circumstance as regards those particular acts: they would obviously be worse if they had been deliberate and premeditated. On the other hand, surely what a man does when he is taken off his guard is the best evidence for what sort of a man he is? Surely what pops out before the man has time to put on a disguise is the truth?[1]

Application: Recognize your wrong desires.

We must as Christians help people to understand. We must pray for God’s leading and the Holy Spirit’s conviction.

  • We as humans have wrong speech. Our throats are open graves.  This is verses 13-14.
    • Just think how many of us have been hurt by words?
    • At this point Paul is quoting from Psalm 5:9 and Psalm 10:7.

The next section shows that humans have wrong paths.

  • In verses 15-17: Humans are on the wrong path.
    • Verses 15-17 come from Isaiah 59:7-8.
    • Our feet are swift to shed blood, is that true?
    • Ruin and misery are in our paths.
  • In 2009, I was serving as an associate pastor. The main part of my job was youth and children’s ministry. On one particular evening we were going to have a children’s lock-in at the church. I arrived at the church early to do some setup. Our church had an office building next door. I looked up at the office and saw an upstairs door opened. I entered the building and heard people in the basement. I walked down there and saw two kids, around 13 and 14 years old, playing with a fire extinguisher. These young teenagers broke into the church office building at about 5:00 pm on a Friday in the summer. Interestingly enough, when I spoke with them, they said the door was opened. I said that the police may want to talk with them. I called the police and a trustee from the church. They did not run, they waited for the police. The police spoke with them and had me go down to the office and write-up a statement. The police asked me, “How did you get them to stay?” I said that I told them the police may want to talk to them and they stayed.
    • What makes young teenagers do such a thing?
    • Sin, sin causes us to do these things.
    • We need redeemed.
    • As a follow-up to the story, the following Monday the father of one of the kids called me and left me a message. I thought, “Great, he is going to say my kid would not do that!” I was so wrong. He owned up to it and wanted his son to serve volunteer hours. Over the next few weeks, he and his son came to the church to volunteer. He told me that he had adopted the child and they had some disciplinary issues. I went to court for both boys and the judge ordered the other young man to serve volunteer hours, but since the one already had served, he was cleared at that point.
  • MacArthur shares: The expression rendered “devastation and destruction” or “ruin and misery” literally means “shattering calamity.” The idea is more than mere wretchedness (though it certainly includes that.) It signifies actual, painful, physical suffering. And there’s no denying that man-made calamity and self-inflicted misery have always been at the center of human experience. In his classic commentary on Romans, early nineteenth-century Scottish commentator Robert Haldane wrote, “The most savage animals do not destroy so many of their own species to appease their hunger, as man destroys of his fellows, to satiate his ambition, his revenge, or cupidity [inordinate greed].” [1] As Paul summarizes, “The path of peace they have not known” (Romans 3:17).[2]
    • We do not know the path of peace.
    • I was in a cornfield maze once and got lost. For a few hours the group I was with thought we would never get out of that maze. If you are not seeking and following after God you are on the wrong path, just like I was. You may search for hours and get nowhere.

We as Christian must guide the world to the right path.

  • Humans have the wrong vision: look at verse 18:
    • This comes from Psalm 36:1.
    • There is no fear of God before their eyes. This means they do not have a fear or a reverence of God.
    • Do we fear God?
    • Do we desire to follow God?
    • In this case to fear means to revere which has the idea of extreme respect.
    • If we revere God, we honor Him. Do we honor Him?

But what about the law? Doesn’t that make humans righteous?

  • Romans 3:19-20 answers the question about the law. Does the law make us righteous?
    • Verse 20 answers the question. Through the law no human being will be justified. To be justified means made righteous. The law gives us knowledge of sin.
    • We needed someone to fulfill the law and redeem us and that was Jesus.


Can we fix ourselves?

In 2006, Yoko Ono placed a full-page ad in the New York Times calling for December 8—the anniversary of John Lennon’s death—to be made a global day of healing.

“One day we will be able to say that we healed ourselves,” Ono promised, “and by healing ourselves, we healed the world.”[3]

As I look at the world, it is just getting worse.

We need Jesus.     

Around 17 years ago there was a woman that I worked with at McDonalds. She was another manager just like me. One day she didn’t show up to work. We all thought she probably found another job and that was her way of quitting. We didn’t think much of it because another manager had done that in the past. Then just a couple days after that had happened the police found the body of a woman in a dumpster. The police called on McDonalds because her tie was on the blanket she was wrapped in. The person who killed her had thrown her in the dumpster and tried to burn the dumpster.

The day this came out on the news it was very difficult for many of us at McDonalds. Many were crying at work. I was thinking about my last conversation with her. We were friends and got along good. However, the last day I worked with her was a busy spring Saturday. She came in at 3:00 PM and I had been there since 4:30 AM. I was ready to go; however, she forgot her glasses and  had to go home to get them. I tried not to let her until one of the other managers got in. When someone dies close to you it makes you think about things.

We all thought many different things during that situation. We all agreed on one thing: The person who did this was evil, bad, wrong, sinful! How could he???????? She was such a nice person. She was innocent, sweet, loving, kind! He was bad!!!!

This passage teaches us that we all need a Savior. We may not all be killers, but we all need a Savior, and His name is Jesus.


[1] Timothy Keller, Sermon, “The Two Great Tests” (1-23-2005); Submitted by Van Morris, Mt. Washington, Kentucky


[3] “Good Week for…All Humanity,” The Week (12-8-06), p. 4

God’s Righteousness Upheld (Romans 3:1-8)

Many years ago, I was talking with someone about what ethnic group had faced more than any other ethnic group. What ethnic group faced more hardship, more genocide, more slavery, etc. The person I was talking with thought the African Americans have faced more than anyone else. I admit that it is true that the African Americans have faced unbearable crimes against them. They were enslaved in the American colonies starting in 1619 and going until 1865. They faced another 100 years of systemic racism, and of course other issues since. I cannot imagine having my children ripped from me for the purpose of slavery. I cannot imagine being taken across the Atlantic Ocean to be a slave. I cannot imagine what went on with the slave trade. John Newton wrote Amazing Grace because he ran a slave trade ship. He recognized how hurtful his sin was and how great God’s grace on him was. Still, I do not think the African Americans faced more than any other ethnic group. I think the Jewish people faced the most. What advantage was there, or is there, in being Jewish? That is a question Paul begins to answer in Romans 3.

But, what advantage is there in being Jewish? Listen to this history of the Jewish people.

They were menial slaves in Egypt for some 400 years

They eventually are freed and take the promised land. They eventually face a divided kingdom and then they are conquered. They soon are sent back to the promised land.

Not long after they rebuilt their homeland, they were conquered by Greece, and the despotic Antiochus Epiphanes revelled in desecrating their Temple, corrupting their sacrifices, and slaughtering their priests. Under Roman rule they fared no better. Tens of thousands of Jewish rebels were publicly crucified, and under Herod the Great scores of male Jewish babies were slaughtered because of his insane jealousy of the Christ child. In the year a.d. 70, the Roman general Titus Vespasian carried out Caesar’s order to utterly destroy Jerusalem, its Temple, and most of its citizens. According to Josephus, over a million Jews of all ages were mercilessly butchered, and some 100,000 of those who survived were sold into slavery or sent to Rome to die in the gladiator games. Two years previously, Gentiles in Caesarea had killed 20,000 Jews and sold many more into slavery. During that same period of time, the inhabitants of Damascus cut the throats of 10,000 Jews in a single day.

In a.d. 115 the Jews of Cyrene, Egypt, Cyprus, and Mesopotamia rebelled against Rome. When they failed, Emperor Hadrian destroyed 985 towns in Palestine and killed at least 600,000 Jewish men. Thousands more perished from starvation and disease. So many Jews were sold into slavery that the price of an able-bodied male slave dropped to that of a horse. In the year 380 Emperor Theodosius I formulated a legal code that declared Jews to be an inferior race of human beings—a demonic idea that strongly permeated most of Europe for over a thousand years and that even persists in many parts of the world in our own day.

For some two centuries the Jews were oppressed by the Byzantine branch of the divided Roman empire. Emperor Heroclitus banished them from Jerusalem in 628 and later tried to exterminate them. Leo the Assyrian gave them the choice of converting to Christianity or being banished from the realm. When the first crusade was launched in 1096 to recapture the Holy Land from the Ottoman Turks, the crusaders slaughtered countless thousands of Jews on their way to Palestine, brutally trampling many to death under their horses’ hooves. That carnage, of course, was committed in the name of Christianity.

In 1254 King Louis IX banished all Jews from France. When many later returned to that country, Philip the Fair expelled 100,000 of them again in 1306. In 1492 the Jews were expelled from Spain even as Columbus began his first voyage across the Atlantic, and four years later they were expelled from Portugal as well. Soon most of western Europe was closed to them except for a few areas in northern Italy, Germany, and Poland. Although the French Revolution emancipated many Jews, vicious anti-Semitism continued to dominate most of Europe and parts of Russia. Thousands of Jews were massacred in the Ukraine in 1818. In 1894, because of growing anti-Semitism in the French army, a Jewish officer named Dreyfus was falsely accused of treason, and that charge was used as an excuse to purge the military of all Jews of high rank.

When a number of influential Jews began to dream of reestablishing a homeland in Palestine, the Zionist movement was born, its first congress being convened in Basel, Switzerland, in 1897. By 1914, some 90,000 Jews had settled in Palestine. In the unparalleled Nazi holocaust of the early 1940s at least 6,000,000 Jews were exterminated, this time for racial rather than religious reasons.[1]

Christianity is not about ethnicity, but the Apostle Paul is going to talk about that subject today.

My theme today:

God’s Righteousness is Upheld, God is righteous as a judge, even while we are sinners.

My application:

Remember Jesus is the righteous judge.

  • What advantages are there in being of a Jew or being circumcised (Romans 3:1-2)?

Read with me Romans 3:1-2:

Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the value of circumcision? Much in every way. To begin with, the Jews were entrusted with the oracles of God.

  • In this chapter the Apostle Paul answers questions. He uses a rhetorical device called a diatribe in which he has an imaginary conversation with his readers. We will read and study three questions today.
    • Paul asks the question. Remember the previous chapter was pretty much saying that the Jews are not excused. The Apostle Paul focused on the gentiles in chapter 1. In chapter one the Apostle Paul focused on how the gentiles do all these vile sins. Then in chapter 2 Paul zooms in on the Jewish people. They thought they were okay. Paul says that they are not okay. They need the Gospel as well. Paul says that they need a circumcision of the heart. Paul had just argued that a gentile can be a true Jew. So now he answers the logical question of what advantage it is to be a Jew in ethnicity.
    • In verse 2 Paul responds regarding the advantage of the Jew.
    • The Jewish people were entrusted with the Law.
    • The Jewish people were privileged. The Lord communicated to them, and called them out, and blessed them to bless the nations (Deut 4:8; Ps 147:19; Rom 9:4;[2]Genesis 12).
    • We must never forget the privilege of certain positions the Lord places us in.
    • Likewise, we know the Gospel and we should take it to heart and share with others.
  • Will Israel’s unfaithfulness nullify God’s promises (Romans 3:3-4)?

Read with me Romans 3:3-4:

What if some were unfaithful? Does their faithlessness nullify the faithfulness of God? By no means! Let God be true though every one were a liar, as it is written, “That you may be justified in your words, and prevail when you are judged.”

  • The question is posed in verse 3. Remember in the previous chapter Paul talked about the unbelief of some. Paul talked about Jews that were Jews outwardly only.
    • Paul answers in verse 4a. God is true no matter what. God is true.
    • Paul strongly rejects their thinking.
    • MacArthur: If all mankind were to agree that God had been unfaithful to His promises, it would only prove that all are liars and God is true.[5]
    • Paul answers from Psalm 51:4 in 4b.
    • The quote in verse 4 is from the time when David is repenting from his sin with Bathsheba. David is saying that God is justified when He judges.
    • That is most critical to remember right now. God is a just judge.
    • Our sin is first against God.
  • If our unrighteousness brings out God’s righteousness, isn’t He unfair to punish us (Romans 3:5-8)?

Let’s read verses 5-8:

But if our unrighteousness serves to show the righteousness of God, what shall we say? That God is unrighteous to inflict wrath on us? (I speak in a human way.) By no means! For then how could God judge the world? But if through my lie God’s truth abounds to his glory, why am I still being condemned as a sinner? And why not do evil that good may come?—as some people slanderously charge us with saying. Their condemnation is just.

  • The question is in verse 5.
    • Paul is considering a false implication. He is using a literary device called a diatribe.[7] The ESV Study Bible shares: Paul does not provide a full answer to the objection here (for that, see chs. 9–11). He shows that the Jewish objector’s position is untenable, for then God could not judge the (Gentile) world either, and no evil behavior would be punished.[8]
    • This question is important, and Paul will come back to a similar idea in Romans 9.
    • Remember that at the end of Romans 3:5 Paul says that he is speaking in human terms. This is a parenthetical apology for blasphemous thoughts of God as unjust.
    • In Romans 7:7 Paul says the law shows us that we are sinners.
    • The reply is in verses 6-8.
    • In verse 6: Paul says that He, God, has to judge the world. Paul uses a reductio ad absurdum argument. This means that he reduces the argument to the absurd. Of course God is the righteous judge. It is absurd to think God cannot judge.
    • Paul strongly rejects this thinking.
    • Paul says that if you follow that kind of thinking you might as well think the more you sin the better it is. Paul has been falsely accused of teaching this very thing—that is, do evil that good may result.[9] Paul strongly rejects this idea. See also Romans 6:1-2.
    • Verses 7-8 seem to be a rhetorical question trying to get them to think logically.
    • Those who say such things deserve to be condemned. They deserve condemned for the things they says that Paul says.
  • Applications: We must understand that there were advantages to ethnic Israel in that the Messiah our Savior, came through Israel (verses 1-2).
  • We must understand that there is a purpose for Israel based on Romans 11 and other passages (verses 1-2 and Romans 11).
  • We must understand that God is faithful (verses 3-4).
  • We must trust the Lord as faithful.  
  • We must understand that God is true (verse 4).
  • We must worship the Lord as the faithful One.
  • We must surrender before Him (Rev 4:8-11).
  • We must understand that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father, but by Him (John 14:6).
  • We must trust Jesus for salvation.
  • We must trust Jesus for our day-to-day life.
  • When all the reports on the news say something different and we do not know who to trust, we must know that Jesus is truth.
  • When the medical advice changes, we must know that Jesus is truth.
  • When government leaders are not trustworthy, we must know that Jesus is the truth.
  • Jesus is the Truth and He is the way to salvation, we can trust Him. He is a righteous judge (Psalm 51:4), we will not be falsely accused, or misrepresented.
  • We can be saved forever through Him.
  • We must never sin that grace may abound (verses 5-8 and Romans 6:1-2).We must seek to grow and serve the Lord Jesus (2 Peter 3:18).

So, as we can see the Apostle Paul begins to make the argument that God is a just judge. Further, that even if we are all liars it just shows that we are liars and God is the righteous judge. Don’t we yearn for that? Don’t we desire a righteous judge?

Have you surrendered to Him? Are you seeking Jesus?  


[1] John F. MacArthur Jr., Romans, vol. 1, MacArthur New Testament Commentary (Chicago: Moody Press, 1991), 164–165.

[2] New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update (La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995).

[3] John F. MacArthur Jr., The MacArthur Study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2006), Ro 3:2.

chap. chapter

[4] Edwin A. Blum, “Romans,” in CSB Study Bible: Notes, ed. Edwin A. Blum and Trevin Wax (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2017), 1784.

[5] John F. MacArthur Jr., The MacArthur Study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2006), Ro 3:4.

[6] Michael G. Vanlaningham, “Romans,” in The Moody Bible Commentary, ed. Michael A. Rydelnik and Michael Vanlaningham (Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2014), 1747.

[7] A Graeco-Roman literary style characterized by a question-and-answer structure; used in much literature of the period, including New Testament letters (especially Paul’s). (David L. Woodall, “Diatribe,” ed. John D. Barry et al., The Lexham Bible Dictionary (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2016).

TIC That Incredible Christian)

[8] Crossway Bibles, The ESV Study Bible (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2008), 2161.

[9] H. L. Willmington, The Outline Bible (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 1999), Ro 3:8.

God’s Judgment and the Law (Romans 2:12-29, specifically 12)

God’s Judgment and the Law (Romans 2:12-29, specifically 12)

Prepared and preached for and at Bethel Friends Church in Poland, OH on Saturday, February 6 and Sunday, February 7, 2021

Think with me for a moment about justice:

The traditional view of justice is the picture of the blindfolded statue with the scales in hand, trying to weigh out equity without being influenced by the appearance of anyone.  This idea that justice is blind simply means that justice does not want to take into account anyone’s looks or anyone’s position in life or anything other than the truth itself. 

Years ago in ancient Greece and Rome, justice was pictured not only with eyes that were blindfolded but with no hands, so that justice could not see and justice could not receive.  It could not choose on the basis of appearance and it could take no bribes.  It could not be bought. 

There’s an ancient story of a man who, in spite of all of the passions of a father, had to pass the death sentence on his own two sons for he was the leader of his country and his sons had conspired to overthrow the government.  According to the historian, the youth stood before the man, who was named Brutus the Elder, and they pleaded and they wept and they hoped their tears would be the most powerful defense with a loving father.  The men who sat behind the ruler whispered, “What will he do?  These are his children.”  He said, “To you, the executioners, I deliver my sons.”  And the historian wrote, “In this sentence he persisted inexorable, notwithstanding the weeping intercession of the multitude and the cries of the young men calling upon their father by the most endearing names.  The executioner seized them, stripped them naked, bound their hands behind them, beat them with rods, and then struck off their heads, the inexorable Brutus looking on the bloody spectacle with unaltered countenance.  Thus, the father was lost in the judge.” 

That may be a good picture of how it will be someday with God, who offers Himself as a loving father, but someday the father will be lost in the judge.  And God’s justice is even more inexorable.  God always does what is just.  In Leviticus 19:15, God indicts the people in anticipation, as it were, of their sins of injustice, which will become a part of their life.  He says, “You shall do no injustice in judgment.  You shall not be partial to the poor nor defer to the great, but you are to judge your neighbor fairly.  You shall have just balances, just weights, and a just ephah” – ephah was a measure of grain – “and a just hin” – another form of measure.  “I am the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt.” [1]

So, as we think about justice let’s let those thoughts stir us as we think about our salvation.

Someday God’s wrath on sin will be manifested and none of us are ready for that. In Romans 2:11 the Bible says that there is no partiality with God.

God is the just judge.

Does anyone get a free pass into Heaven?

Actually, we all do, every one of us…

However, we do not get into heaven based off of birth, country of origin, culture, etc.

So, I want us to look at Romans 2:12 and my theme is everyone needs Jesus.

Here is a personal application:

We don’t get into Heaven simply based off of being “Raised in the Church.” In other words, God does not have grandchildren.

Let’s look at this. We are covering a large section of Romans today so I am only going to have us read Romans 2:12. I will summarize the rest. Still, please turn to this passage in your Bibles so that you can follow along.

Read with me Romans 2:12:

For all who have sinned without the law will also perish without the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law.

God will be a just judge, there is no partiality with God. We see this in verses 11-13.

We don’t get into Heaven simply based off of being “Raised in the Church.”

I said this already but allow me to elaborate. At some age we must make our faith our own. I believe strongly that some never make their faith their own. Some are still committed to Jesus based off of their parent’s faith, grandparents, or even further back in their heritage. We cannot be saved because of a tradition.

So, your children are raised, and they see that you are committed to the church mainly once a week and maybe a board meeting here and there, but your commitment to Christ is no different than a commitment to a social club. Your children see that you do not open your Bible during the week or spend time in prayer. Your children see that you don’t attend Bible studies, or the deeper things of the church. Your children see that you laugh at the idea of attending Sunday School, yet then you wish to witness. As one church member shared with me:

But it is more than simply not attending Sunday School, it is so much more.  It is being indifferent and having no interest in growing spiritually, no interest in getting to really know Jesus, no interest in working to become the person Christ wants you to be, no devotion to God.  It is believing the lie that, “I go to church and I do this or that for the church and I believe in God … so I’m okay.”  NO!  That is not what the Bible teaches.

The point is that Jesus has to be EVERYTHING to us.  He has to mean more than life to us.  Our only hope is Jesus and the grace He has so freely given us.  So, it’s not about church, Sunday School, good deeds – all good things, yes,  – but it is all about Jesus owning our lives.  It’s about Jesus owning our time, owning our resources, everything we are, everything we have really belonging to Jesus.[2]

People may see that you are committed to a history of religion, not a relationship with Jesus.

You are committed to a history of religion, not a relationship with Jesus.

I know this because I see it to often and in my family.

Then you wonder why your kids don’t go to church.

How does this fit into this passage?

The Jews thought they got a free ticket into Heaven by simply keeping the law.

The Jews thought they got a free ticket into Heaven because they were circumcised.

The Jews thought they got a free ticket into Heaven because they were Jewish.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

This is why verse 11 says God is not partial.

Just because you are Jewish does not mean that you are Heaven bound.

Or, just because you were baptized as a baby, or dedicated, or raised in the church, or serve on a board, or team, or teach Sunday School, or whatever else does not mean you are Heaven bound.

So verse 12: For all who have sinned without the law will also perish without the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law.

The Gentiles are without the law and that is how they will be judged.

The Jewish people have the law and that is how they will be judged.

Later in verses 17-24 Paul turns his attention to the sinfulness of the people of God.

Then in verses 25-29 he focuses on the circumcision.

Many of you know that being circumcised was very important in Judaism. In that day and age the Jewish people would think they had a free pass to Heaven because of circumcision.

One source shares: Some later rabbis even taught that Abraham sat at the entrance to Gehenna (“hell”) and would not permit any circumcised Jew to enter there. By implication, the way you lived made no difference. In a similar way, some Christian groups have believed that the rite of baptism saves, and so baptism was delayed until the end of life to make sure all sins were “washed.” But Paul declared that circumcision (and by extension, baptism) without obedience is empty. Furthermore, Abraham was a man of faith who was accepted by God long before he was circumcised (Gn 15:1–20). The true Jew is one who has a spiritual circumcision … of the heart.[3]

Circumcision is of no value if you do not practice the law.

 Verse 26: if the uncircumcised man practices the law it is as if he is circumcised.

Verses 27-29 are saying that circumcision and being a Jew is about the heart.

We see that God is the just judge. God is impartial and we all need Jesus.

This fits with the overall theme of Romans. Romans is all about salvation. We are saved by grace through faith (Eph. 2:8). We all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

Where are you at?

Are you committed to Jesus?

Share Jesus with everyone.

I shared the following in the past, allow me to repeat it.

Walking Down the “Romans Road” to Salvation . . . .

Because of our sin, we are separated from God.
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.  (Romans 3:23)

The Penalty for our sin is death.
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 6:23)

The penalty for our sin was paid by Jesus Christ!
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)

If we repent of our sin, then confess and trust Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we will be saved from our sins!
For whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.  (Romans 10:13)
…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. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 
(Romans 10:9,10)[4]

Go and share the Gospel:



[2] Member of a past church I served shared this with me

[3] Edwin A. Blum, “Romans,” in CSB Study Bible: Notes, ed. Edwin A. Blum and Trevin Wax (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2017), 1784.