Daily Bible Studies & Sermon Notes

Romans 3:18-24
Pastor Steve Schell
Sunday: Romans 3:18
v18: Paul’s final quote is drawn from Psalm 36, verse one, which says, “Transgression speaks to the ungodly within his heart; there is no fear of God before his eyes.” In this psalm David explains that wickedness is not something people do accidentally, but rather is something they deliberately plan. Evil deeds are devised in the night hours while people lie in bed, and since God sees everything, humans will have no excuse when we stand before Him at the judgment. As the psalm moves on David turns his attention from those who devise evil to those who know the Lord, but in doing so he does not imply that these are without sin, but only that they have been given boundless grace (lit: lovingkindness, the mercy God gives to people because of the covenant He has made with them). In other words the human race as David sees it is composed of evil people and people who enjoy the blessings of God’s mercy. This idea fits perfectly with what Paul is teaching. All humans are sinners, but grace is available.

Monday: Romans 3:18
v18 (continued): By selecting the words “there is no fear of God before their eyes” (Ps 36:1), Paul identifies the absence of the “fear of God” as a root of sin, so we should reflect for a moment on what this term means. It is much more than being frightened by His presence. It’s a fear that arises in those who have faith. They believe God exists, that He is holy, that He knows everything they do and think, that He will bless those who obey Him and judge those who do not, so they direct their lives accordingly. Pleasing God is therefore the foundational reality of their lives.

Tuesday: Romans 3:18
v18 (continued): By contrast, those who do not “fear God” don’t really believe He exists, even if their lives have a veneer of religion. Or, if they do believe He exists, they reinterpret Him theologically until He is neither holy, nor expects them to be holy. Once moral accountability is gone, the fear of God is gone as well and a person’s behavior is unleashed. So the “fear of God” as Paul uses it here is a term describing the transformation that takes place in a person’s attitudes and behaviors when true faith is present. Paul wants us to see that the inward wickedness of the human race flows out of hearts that lack this faith.

Wednesday: Romans 3:19
v19: In chapter one Paul said that people who live in cultures without the Bible (Gentiles) are sinful because they worship the creation rather than the Creator and violate the warnings of their conscience. In chapter two he said those who know the Bible (Jews) are sinful because they know right from wrong but sin anyway while hypocritically condemning the behavior of others. And now in this verse he brings his indictment of the entire human race to a conclusion. Yes, Jews have certain advantages over Gentiles (3:1), but not morally. Their own scriptures condemn them declaring that not one of them is righteous. When the time comes for the human race to stand before God at the judgment every mouth will be closed because no one, Jew or Gentile, will be able to offer a defense for their sin.

Thursday: Romans 3:20
v20: The Bible’s testimony about the universal sinfulness of humans, some of which Paul has just quoted (vs10-18), ought to stand as a warning to those who believe they can earn God’s favor by keeping His moral and ritual requirements. Paul isn’t discouraging us from trying to obey God’s commands, but he wants us to understand that our obedience will never arrive at the level where we no longer need mercy. No human has ever or will ever earn their way to heaven, which naturally raises the question: Then what is the purpose of the Law? If it can’t make anyone righteous, what gift does it offer? Paul’s answer is that God’s Law allows us to honestly comprehend our own sinfulness and thus realize our desperate need of grace.

Friday: Romans 3:21
v21: Having shown us that the Law and the Prophets declare the sinfulness of all humans, Paul now tells us they also declare that there is a righteousness which cannot be earned by keeping the Law. He is, of course, referring to the righteousness God gives to those who have faith, and using Abraham as his model he will soon illustrate how someone gains this type of righteousness (Ro 4:1-25). But when he says this righteousness has now “been manifested”” (spiritually revealed) he’s pointing to an even deeper reality. The manifested righteousness of God is the incarnate Son of God, Jesus. Paul wants us to understand that the Savior for whom the scriptures had long been waiting has at last arrived. The Person who makes the righteousness of faith possible to those in the Old and New Covenants has been spiritually revealed.

Saturday: Romans 3:22, 24
vs22, 23: The identity of this promised Savior is now known. His name is Jesus and He is Israel’s Messiah (Christ). To those who believe in Him God will give the gift of righteousness whether they are Jews or Gentiles. Neither has any advantage over the other since both groups have failed to reach His standard of righteousness. All humans have sinned and fallen short of being allowed to enter into God’s glorious presence. v24: Those who believe in Him (v22) enter into a state of being continually made righteous. This is a gift of grace God gives them because the ransom price for their sin has been paid by the Messiah Jesus.

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