Talbot - Addresses on Romans

Jddresses on

~mans ·•·

A series of messages given over -station KMPC Beverly Hills, California ·•·

By Louis T. T elbot

Pastor Church of the Open Door

Los Angeles. Calif_.


FOREWORD The lectures printed in this volume were given over Radio Station KMPC, Beverly Hills, California, over a period of some weeks. It is the desire of the author to thank the members of the radio audience who have made this ministry possible by their gifts and prayers. Acknowledgment is made also to the late Rev. W. H. Griffith Thomas, D.D., for the main outline of the epistle, as printed on the accompanying chart; and to the following Bible expositors for help received from their publications: Rev. James M. Stifler, D.D.; Rev. H. A. Ironside, D.D.; Rev. W. L. Pettingill, D.D.; and Rev. Len G. Brough- ton, D.D. Through the prayerful study of Paul's Epistle to the Romans, sinners will be justified by faith, and Christians will be established in the fundamental doctrine of the grace of God. Most expositions on this portion of the inspired record are deep, theological treatises; but this volume has been written for the wayfaring man, that he may know how the guilty sin- ner may be justified before a holy God. It is the prayer of the author that everyone who reads it will "search the scriptures," that he may point lost men and women to "the God of all grace." Then sinners will know the Saviour who offers the gift of His righteousness to a guilty world.




Introduction, 1: 1-17............---------------------------------------- 5 Righteousness Required, 1: 18-3 :20_____ __ __ ___ ______________ 23 Righteousness Revealed, 3: 21-4:25__________________________ 44 Righteousness Received, 5: 1 -2 l ____ ___________ _________________ 70 Righteousness Realized, 6: 1-8:39______ __ ______ __ ____ ___ ______ _ 91 Our Standing in Christ-Dead to Sin, 6: 1 -23 Righteousness Realized (continued), 6:1-8:39...... 107 Our Standing in Christ-Dead to the Law-Our State in the Flesh, 7: 1 -25 Righteousness Realized (continued), 6:1-8:39........132 Our Life in the Holy Spirit, 8: 1 -}9 Righteousness Rejected, 9: 1- 11 :36___ ____ ___ ____ ______________ l 68 Israel's Past, 9: 1 -33 Righteousness Rejected (continued), 9: 1-11 :36...... 191 Israel's Present, 10: 1-21 Righteousness Rejected (continued), 9: 1-11 :36... ...203 Israel's Future, 11 : 1-36 Righteousness Reproduced, 12: 1-15 :7........... .. .........222 The Will of God for the Christian Conclusion, 15: 8-16: 27_________________ ____ _____________ ________ ,__.245












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Before we enter upon the study of Paul's Epistle to the Romans, let us take a glance at our chart, noting a few sig~ nificant facts by way of introduction. Even a rapid reading of the book shows us that the key word is "righteousness," and that the key verses are these: "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith" ( 1: 16, 17). The human author was Paul ( 1:1 ); and under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, he wrote this epistle from Corinth in the y~ D. Although it is chronologically the sixth epistle to Gentile believers, yet the Holy Spirit has placed-it flrst in the-New-Testament canon of the Scriptures.- for a very significant reason, which is so important that a separate topic is devoted to it, as fallows: ROMANS-THE BASIS OF ALL CHURCH DOCTRINE Paul's Epistle to the Romans sets forth the foundation truth for all church doctrine-justification by faith. It shows how a guiltysinner may become righteous before God by sim~ ple faith in His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. In Ephesians we read of how all those who are made right~ous by faith in Christ, both Jew and Gentile, ar~ ga~ed into the one Body, which is His church. In Colossians we dwell much upon the eternal glory and deity of the Lord Jesus, who is the Head of that Body. And in Philippians we learn the blessed experience in the life of the believer when the Head and the Body are in perfect unison, when the Head controls the Body. Thus it is [Page 5



Even the first careful reading of the epistle shows us plainly that the theme of this important document is: "The gospel of God" ( 1: 1 ), which is the gift of God's righteous~ ness, summed up in the key verses, Romans 1: 16, 17. The word "gospel" means "good news." And it is the good news "concerning" God's "Son Jesus Christ our Lord" ( 1:3 ). The Gospel is not confined to the book of Romans. Paul and the other New Testament writers, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, unfold the theme in other books. But in Romans we have the foundation. The highest revelation which came from the pen of Paul is set forth in Ephesians and Colossians, but the content of these epistles will be closed to us until we understand Romans. In what ways was this Gospel "promised afore" as we read in Romans 1:2? By types and in sacrifices, and by the direct words of God's "prophets in the holy scriptures." (See Rom. 1:2.) All Jewish believers looked forward to this Gos~ pel. ~ · alachi the promises and predic~ tions of the Gospel are found. The ()Jcl Testament is the foundation for the teaching of the Gospel. So, you see, it is a serious matter to reject the Old Testament. I.be-nec.essify: o this...gift is made known in Romans 3:23: "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." We have all come short of God's standard, but this standard must be reached before we can enjoy His presence: therefore, He offers the sinner the free gift of His righteous~ ness. of God" refers to what God is. We must be in perfect conformity to the glory of God, or miss it alto~ gether. Moreover. the very best of us can not reach this stan~ dard. It is not falling short of another man's standard; it is falling short of God's standard, what God is, as revealed in His attributes. [Page 7




are first measured according to God's standard and are found to be a total failure, as touching righteousness. Then the Jews are declared to be unrighteous. Thus "all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" (Rom. 3: 23). Then it is that the unfolding of God's righteousness opens up before us, and the explanation follows of how guilty sinners may become righteous in the sight of a holy God. My Christian friend, if you want to render a real service to people who are trusting in their own righteousness for sal~ vation, then urge them to read the book of Romans, to "listen in" on these broadcasts, and to study to find out what God says concerning the question raised by Job centuries ago, and sounded down through the ages: "How then can man be justified with God?" (See Job 25:4.) The answer is fully given by the Holy Spirit through Paul in the letter to the Ro.mans, wherein He shows that justification is by faith alone, by'the gra~e of God in the gift of His righteousness. ' I THE INTRODUCTION TO THE EPISTLE 1:1~17 The first seventeen verses of the first chapter are intro~ ductory. "In the first fifteen verses Paul briefly presents three topics. He tells us: ( 1) Y/..J!.o-=!!e i~; (2) who Christ is; and (3) something regarding the Church at Rome. Then in verses 16 and 17 he states the theme of his letter, which we have ·touched on briefly. 1. WHAT PAUL SAYS OF HIMSELF, 1 : 1. (a) From "Saul" to "Paul." Paul had two names: Saul of Tarsus; and Paul the Apostle. On the road to Damascus, a s he was on his way to that city to persecute the Christians, God met him; and from this time on, he was a changed man. He ceased to be "Saul" and became "Paul." Have you ever wondered why his name was changed? "Saul" was probahly the name given-to-him b¥ his parents. It means "great," and it is likely_t_!iat tlu~y gave him- this name oecause they hoped for him to become a great man. "Paul." however, means [Page 9



selves to an audience, we should name all the good things possible. But Paul says nothing of the fact that he was once a member of the9reat Sanhedrin. 'I:his would have had weight )\Tith the people at Rome, but Paul knew that the Gospel did not need to be carried on the wings of the wicked Sanhedrin. This should be a lesson to us. His simple testimony is that he was a bondslave of the Lord Jesus Christ. This js seen to be significant when we remember that .. ' Paul was writing to people who hated the thought of being slaves, people who loved power. T)!e Romans despised servi- t~Yet to them Paul called himself "a servant." He realized that he had been "bought with a price," and that he was not his own. (See I Cor. 6: 19, 20.) The si nificance of this is seen further in that there are two Gre-ek words meaning "servant." For example, aesar was a servant. Althou h he was the chief ruler of the world, yet he W!!S at the .same time an official servant. But the wor Paul used to describe himself means "bondslave.''-rr-hat is the kind of servant Paul was, a "bondman of Jesus Christ." Dr. John W. Ham tells the following story, which illus- trates what Paul meant when he called himself a "bondslave" of Christ: "An African chief ordered a slave to be killed for a very small offense. An Englishman, overhearing the order, offered costly things to spare the poor man's life. The chief answered. 'I don't want ivory or gold. I want no favors from the white man. All I want is blood.' "The chief ordered one of his men to pull a bowstring and discharge an arrow at the poor slave's heart. The English- 1 man threw himself in front and, holding up his arms, received the arrow into his own flesh. He pulled the arrow out; and handing it to the chief. said, 'Here is blood; I give my blood for this poor slave; and I claim his life.' . "The chief turned the slave over to the white man, say- ing, 'Yes, you have bought him with your own blood.' In a moment the poor slave threw himself at the feet of his [Page 11

ADD R E 5 5 E-5 0 N R 0 M A N 5

coming into the world,Jje was referred to as: ( 1 ) "The seed of woman," (2 ) "the seed of Abranam, ailcC{J}"the seed of David." The throne of David belongs to Him; and one day He will sit upon that throne as Kfo.g of--Kings and Lord of Lords, ruling over His people Israel, and through them, over the whole world. ~ '1J I believe that this day is rapidly drawing nigh. Have you read in the papers recently that there is to be the greatest exodus of the Jews from Germany since Israel left Egypt? One hundred thousand Jews expect to leave this land of per- secution, fifty thousand of them to go to Palestine. Surely we are living in a day when "the fig tree" is beginning to bud! This One who gave us salvation, this One who is "the seed of David," will reign as Lord of Lords over the house of Jacob forever. (c) "The Son of God," verse 4. The next thing we read about the Lord Jesus Christ is that He was "declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of holi- ness, by the resurrection from the dead." This does not mean that He became the Son of Go_d, as deity, aft~ -His resilrr:C- tion from the dead. This error is taught by various cults, such as Russellism. Tney say theLord wasjust a ·rordimrry human being while He was here on earth. They even have the boldness to turn to this fourth verse of the first chapter of Romans to prove their point, perverting its meaning. We have already seen that the words "to be" here are in italics, which means that they were not in the original Greek, but were put in by the translators. What the verse really means is that, always the eternal Son of God, Christ was "declared the· Son of God," proven to be the Son of God, by the Holy Spirit. in His resurrection from the dead. In other words, His bodily resurrection proved beyond the shadow of c,l doubt tha_t is claims to be eternal God were true. Jesus Christ always was the Son of God. He cl{limed tf'I be divine when He was here on earth. Certain people chal- lenged Him on this_daim. But He said, "Destroy this temp e, Page 16)


He does not commend them for their wealth or numbers, their refinement 7r' culture. When we w1s o commen a c urch, we often do so bec~use of nu#ibers .?r wealdi or in~e J_gence. but not so the Holy Spirit through Paul. Once while-1-w.M:itrChicago a man pointed out a certain church to me, saying, "That church is the most important one n the city." When I asked, "In what way?" he replied, "It has many millionaires in its membership. This church is very influential." I asked him, "How many people attend prayer meeting?" Then he replied, "I believe we do not always have prayer meeting-at least, not in the summer time." I suppose that church thinks the devil takes a holiday during the summer months. Then I asked again, "Do you have people won to Christ in your church? Is there an invitation given for people to have an opportunity to accept Christ as Saviour and Lord?" And his answer was, "No." His way of estimating the influ~ ence of his church was by its wealth. - Paul did not estimate the power of a church thus, and neither must we. What God loves most in a church is faith. Faith brings things to pass. A church full of faith causes men to turn to Christ. The more I see of the work of God in crises, the more I realize that God cares most for faith in the hearts of believers. Does your church have faith? ( d) Prayed for by Paul, verse 9. The next thing Paul says to these Christians at Rome is this: "Without ceasing _,I make mention of you always in my prayers." M¥1 hut wh


Reading further, we see how truly humble Paul was. He wa.nted his visit in Rome to result in his being comforted, as well as in the Roman Christians~ being established in the faith. He realized that, in ministering to them, he himself would be blessed by their "mutual faith." This is Christian fellowship. indeed. In these brief, but meaningful words Paul sent his greet~ ings to the Church at Rome. He realized his debt of love to all men-to the Greek and to the man who did_not speak the Greek language. This is the meaning of the word "baC: barian": n o offense is implied here. But "to the wise, and to the unwise' ' Paul considered himself a "debtor." And he was always "ready to preach the gospel" to never~dying souls, wherever God led him. He was "not ashamed of the gospel of Christ." Why should he be? Yet there are people who bear the name of Christ. and yet are ashamed to testify for Him! But Paul knew.the joy of witnessing to his Lord. He knew that "the gospel of Christ ... ~s the power of God unto salva~ tion to everyone that believeth: to the Jew first. and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith." We have already dwelt briefly upon the great theme of this epistle, as set forth in these verses: and we shall see its meaning more clearly in the unfolding of the message of the book, chapter by chapter. This is "the gospel of God," the gift of God's righteous~ ness, revealed to the world in the Person of His Son, our Saviour. Let us be much in prayer as we study together this wonderful portion of God's wonderful Word, that the Holy Spirit may take the things of Christ and show them unto us.

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And now let us take one more glance at our chart, noting the three main topics of this first division of the book: ( 1 ) The Gentile guilty, 1:18-2:16; (2) the Jew guilty, 2:17-3:18; (3) the final verdict, a guilty world, 3: 19, 20. A COURT SCENE The Gospel is always distasteful to human nature in its unregenerated state, because it reveals the fact of sin, the naked, horrible fact of sin. 1£ we are ever going to know the blessedness of God's remedy for this world, we must realize something about sin and something about God's hatred of it. That is why the first part of Romans, from 1:18 to 3:20, is a court scene. The whole world is declared to be guilty before God, for man has failed to meet God's requirements. The gross unrighteousness of the Gentile is first depicted in 1: 18-32. Then in 2: 1-16 the Gentile moralist is brought before the judgment bar of God, where all his self-righteous- ness is seen "as filthy rags" in His sight. Next the Jew is brought into this court scene, as described in 2: 17-3:8. And the verdict is: The whole world is guilty before God (3: 9-20); "for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" (3:23 ). THE WHOLE WORLD GUILTY BEFORE GOD 1: 18-20 Let us look now at the proofs of the unrighteousness of the Gentiles. Paul shows that they are destitute of righteous- ness. They have failed to measure up to God's standard. Now we know that God requires righteousness, and He tries man according to His requirements. But before Paul begins to arraign the guilty world, he first reveals God's attitude toward sin. 1. Goo's HATRED OF SIN. In verse 18 two manifesta- tions of sin are mentioned, upon which the wrath of God has fallen, and upon which His wrath will fall again when the Lord returns in glory. These two forms of sin which God Page 24)


ance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: who shall be punished with everlast~ ing destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power." Unregenerate man makes light of sin. but never does our holy God make sin to appear as a trivial thing. He makes clear that certain wrath will fall upon Jew and Gentile outside of Christ. The two words "ungodliness" and "unrighteousness" are characteristic of the world today. In the face of all the crime and lawlessness of our own generation, how solemn are these words of Paul. as the Holy Spirit prompted him to write! "The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unright~ eousness" (Rom. l: 18). 2. THE LIGHT REJECTED. The Gentiles, as well as the Jews, had adequate opportunity to turn to God. But they held the truth in unrighteousness. They possessed the truth, but suppressed it. That is what the word "hold" means here-"to hold down." And this rejection of the light justifies the wrath of God. People wonder why the heathen are in their present state of hopelessness and despair. Paul tells us why. It is be~ cause they once knew God and held the truth, but they held it down by unrighteous living. Consequently. they went .into darkness. And every man will end in darkness who so chooses. It is a serious thing for God to reveal light to a per~ son. If you go on, after receiving light, my unsaved friend; if you go on living unrighteously, you are headed for darkness. ---=... In verses 19 and 20 the apostle tells of the opportunities the Gentile nations had of knowing God through nature and conscience. The flaming sun by day, the burning stars by night, and the whirling earth indicate one great Person, one Supreme Personality. Only the fool believes there is no God. (See Psalm 14: I.) God's character, "the invisible things" of His Being, "are clearly seen" in what He has done, just as human character is revealed in the acts of mijn. "His eternal power and Godhead" ar.e "understood by the things that are Page 26]

ADDRESSES ON ROMANS them up. They hated everything that pertained to God, and loved unrighteousness. Then from Genesis 11 on through Malachi you have the history of Israel. God called Abraham and formed a new nation, through whom he was to give the world Christ and the Bible. What were the Gentiles doing then? They were walking in their own ways. The heathen in Chipa, Africa, and other countries are descendants of these people who forgot God. They are just like their fathers because they love un~ righteousness. You hear people say that the heathen want missionaries to go to their lands and preach the Gospel, and hundreds of thousands are open to the m~ssage. But when the missionary begins to preach against such a sin as having more than one wife, we find that often the heathen do not want the truth, any more than the people do who live in this country of the open Bible. All men once had the light, but they refused to have God in their knowledge. And the dark, dark picture of man's degenerate condition out of Christ is graphically portrayed for us here in this first chapter of Paul's Epistle to the Romans. MAN'S EVOLUTION DOWNWARD l :21 : 23 Paul describes man's downward course in verses 21~23 of this chapter. Let us pause here to note the five steps speci~ fled in this bill of indictment: 1. "WHEN THEY KNEW Goo, THEY GLORIFIED HIM NoT AS Goo." There are thousands of people in Los Angeles who know that there is a personal God; yet they glorify Him not as God. 2. THEY GAVE No THANKs-"neither were thankful." What a thankless age we are living in! .Look at the averag; prayer meeting today. In our country approximately seventy~ eight million of the one hundred and twenty million people never enter a church. 3. THEY "BECAME VAIN IN THEIR IMAGINATIONS"; that , Page 28]

ADDRESSES ON ROMANS is, vain in their reasonings. Rome, in her glory, defied the world with her philosophy. She produced gigantic reasoners, but look at what happened to her civilization. Likewise today, men worship the intellect. They ridicule the Christ of the Bible and atonement for sin by the blood of His cross. Only one result can follow such sin, even as it was in the days of Paul: 4. "THEIR FoousH HEART WAs DARKENED. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools." Note here the word "darkened " implying that the human heart was not "dark" in the beginning: it once knew God, but was "dark- ened" because of sin. 5. THEY BECAME IDOLATROUS, "and changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and to fourfooted beasts, and creeping things" (verse 23 ). This is not the evolution we hear about in certain educa- tion;i circles today. It is the record of the downward course of fallen man. And these things are true of the people in Los Angeles who reject Christ and His gift of salvation. The world today is rushing on to the worship of the Antichrist, when there will be such idolatry as was never seen before. My unsaved friend, "now is the accepted time: behold, now is the day of salvation" (II Cor. 6:2). THE DEPTHS OF HUMAN DEGRADATION DESCRIBED 1:24-32 Verses 24-32 of chapter one show how conduct is affected when men turn away from God. The unspeakable sins de- scribed here were characteristic of idolaters in Rome, and they are characteristic of many today in so-called Christian lands. And "God gave them up," so degraded and low had they become! Greek and Roman literature and sculpture corroborate these things. On my way from Australia to this country I [Page 29



And that is true of hundreds and thousands today. Many are not guilty of murder and deceit and uncleanness. The moral man is in this class. But the Holy Spirit of God knows that he, too, is a hopeless sinner and needs a Saviour. Therefore, He addresses such a man in the words of Rom. 2:1-16. We are still in the court room; only another type of humanity is being examined, the self-righteous, moral man, who is depend- ing on his own wor,ks to take him to heaven. "Therefore thou art inexcusable, 0 man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things" (2: 1 ). These words may well include the civilized Greek or the self-righteous Jew, though Romans 2: 17-3: 8 are directed especially to the Jew. There were men of culture, intellect, and refinement in Paul's day-moralists. Socrates was an idolater. yet he was a moralist. He would agree with Paul's condemnation of the base and the low, set forth in chapter one. And such as Socrates ·needed to be convicted of the sinfulness of their own pagan hearts. Moreover, those in polite society often do "the same things" as do those they judge and condemn. These words remind us of the Lord's parable of the publican and the Pharisee. (See Luke 18: 9-14. ) The publican represents the licentious sinner; the Pharisee, the moralist. "The Pharisee stood and prayed ... with himself"-not to God. He extolled himself, judged the publican, and went to his house a sinner still. But the publican "went down to his house justified," because he acknowledged his sin and asked the Lord to cleanse him. The hardest man in the world to deal with, in pointing him to Christ, is the self ~righteous moralist. He knows not the holiness of God or the sinfulness of the human heart. "The heart is deceitful above all ·things, and desperately wicked" (Jer. 17:9). but the moralist has lived under restrain- ing influences; he thanks God that he is not as other men, and refuses to get down on his knees before a holy God and [Page 31


acknowledge himself a sinner. He sits in judgment on the vile man described in chapter one, taking his place by the side of the judge. Therefore, Paul in Romans 2: 1~16 uses language more severe, even more startling, than that concerning the pagan. I want to ask you, my friend, are you in this class? You agree that the bandit and the thief and the murderer are sinners, yet do you acknowledge your own sin? Let me warn you that it will be more tolerable for the pagan in China before the judgment bar of God than for you, if you go on refusing the light of God's salvation, offered as a free gift in the Person of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. A Scotch Christian associated with D. L. Moody, once , saw an old man walking down a country road, and invited I him to get in his carriage. He asked the stranger if he knew I the surrounding country, upon which the old man began to } tell all about the people of the district. Then the Scotchman said, "I am a foreigner in these parts, and am looking for heirs to a great inheritance. The name of the family for which I am looking begins with 'S.' I am told that many of them live here." "You say the name begins with 'S.' Is it the Smith family?" the old man asked eagerly. "No: it is a larger family than the Smith family," the Scotch Christian replied. "It is the 'Sinner family,' and the fortune to which they are heirs is one they have not claimed- 'the exceeding riches' of God's grace.'' Immediately the stranger, who happened to belong to 'the--Smith_(amily and was so eager for earthly riches, lost interest in his unclaimed inheritance in Christ. He thought he was good enough and did not need the cleansing blood of the only Saviour from sin. To such men Paul's warning is sounded in terms most severe: "Thinkest thou this, 0 man ... that thou shalt escape the judgment of God?" (Rom. 2:3 ). And to you, my friend, let me say: If you are a cultured, moral man, it is "because of the goodness of God" (verse 4); it is Page 32)



ADDRESSES ON ROMANS not to your credit. God gave you Chtistian parents perhaps. an open Bible, restraint on every hand. Why? To lead you "to repentance" (verse 4). And if you reject His grace, then you justly bring upon yourself His wrath. Nicodemus represents all that culture, education, and influence can do for a man, humanly speaking; but to him the Lord Jesus said: "Ye must be born again" (John 3:3-8). This is the imperative of Christianity: "Ye must be born again!" To be circumstantially righteous - as men term "righteous"; to be kind and generous and philanthropic and moral because of repressive influences and environment and early training-these things can not fit the sinner for the presence of God. To condemn the harlot, yet to be filled with pride; to praise virtue while practicing vice, may be all that man requires, but not so with a holy God. An unsaved man in the city of Chicago was showing his Christian friend his beautiful new home. One thing for which he was especially thankful was the fact that the poor and the base and the low were not his neighbors; he lived in a very select community. But almost with every sentence he took the name of the Lord in vain. Little did he care that because of "the hardness" of his "impenitent heart" he was treasuring up the "wrath" of God. Little did he care that, like the rich man "in torments," he could take no riches into eternity. To the rich man in torment Abraham said, "Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things. and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented" (Luke 16:25). The memory of rejected light, eternal life spurned, is the portion of the lost, never-dying soul. In verses 6-16 of chapter two Paul puts before the moral- ist the principles that will govern the righteous judgment of God: 1. THE JuoGMENT OF Goo WILL BE AccoRDING TO DEEDS, verses 6-10. It will not be according to words or profession. This does not refer to salvation by works, for no [Page 33


"According to my gospel," wrote Paul. every self- righteous man will have to face the judgment bar of God. According to the Gospel of the crucified and risen Lord. whom Paul loved and exalted, will God judge all men. What we do with Jesus now determines what He will do with us for all eternify.He died for us, that we need not "come into judgment" (John 5:24). But he leaves the choice to us. Will you, my unsaved friend. not let Him be your Saviour? For the Christian, sin has been judged at the cross. If you accept Him now, you shall not come into judgment. But if you reject Him as your Saviour, you must one day meet Him as your Judge! You can not escape the eternal Son of God! THE PROUD JEW-GUILTY! 2:17-3:8 Let us remember that we are still in the court scene, where man is being tried according to the holy standard of God. Righteousness is required, but guilty man has none of his own. Of all classes of all time who boasted in their own self- righteousness, possibly the Pharisaical Jew of Paul's day would head the list; and yet in Romans 2: 17-3:8 he, too, is stripped of every vestige of the cloak of self-righteousness. And who was so well fitted as Paul to arraign the ritualistic Jew! Until he met the Son of God. he gloried in all the things the Jew gloried in. He himself had been a proud Pharisee, a member of the Sanhedrin. To the Philippian Church he wrote, saying: "If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law. a Pharisee; concerning zeal. persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law. blameless" (Phil. 3:4-6). But Paul's privileges only increased his condemnation. After he met the risen Lord. he could say also, "But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ" (Phil. 3: 7). Paul knew whereof - he spoke when, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, he [Page 35


facturecf in so-called Christian lands. Can you and I stand !- -- -- ~~ the test of these searching questions penned by Paul? Mis- \ sionaries tell us that their own country-men are their greates - obstacle in dealing with the heathen. How can the explain the sale of opium? How can they justify the shipment of Bibles and whiskey on the same vessel? No wonder the natives scoff at the corrupt lives of many officials, when they think all these foreigners represent Christianity! The proud Jew had no answer to offer to these questions. Neither can you and I escape the condemnation of God if we reject His grace. Paul gave a sweeping summary of the in- dictment against the Jew in verse 24: "For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you, as it is writ- ten." "As it is written" in the Old Testament, Israel was to be a witness to Jehovah before the Gentiles. But. as a nation, she failed. What about your testimony, my Christian friend? What about mine? Shall we bring reproach upon the Lord ) who bought us with His own blood? In verses 25-29 of this second chapter Paul shows how outward ceremonies and sacraments and ritual will not save the soul. The Jew boasted in circumcision, the token of God's covenant with Abraham. But it takes more than an outward symbol to save the soul. Many today trust in the ordinances of baptism and the Lord's Supper who know no more of the significance of these sacred ordinances than did the Jews know about circumcision. Baptism is an outward sign of an inward change of heart; it represents death to sin with Christ, and resurrection with Him. It means that the Christian should walk with Him "in newness of life." And it would be better for that man not to partake of the Lord's Supper who denies the efficacy of His shed blood and broken body-these are things of the heart! Paul knew that this argument would be a terrific blow to rabbinical pride and ceremonies. He knew it would raise objection. How was he to reconcile the place and privilege of Israel with God's promise to that nation? Therefore, in Page 38)


the opening verses of chapter three, with no break in the thought, he asks and answers the questions that would n~ come to the mind of a strict Jew. His first question is significant: "What advantage then hath the Jew?" (3:1 ). And his answer is equally impressive: "Much every way: chiefly. because that unto them were com- mitted the o.racles of God" (3: 2). To the Jew God gave the Old Testament Scriptures; and these Paul calls ''the oracles of God." Advantage? Inestimable advantage! God's Holy Word is a treasure-house in itself-and with the advantage goes a tremendous responsibility! "How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation?" (See Heb. 2: 3.) The Gentile needs to remember his debt to the Jew-Christ and. the Bible. And the best way to thank the Jew is to give back to him the Gospel of our Lord and Israel's Messiah. No wonder Satan wants to wipe out the Jew! Paul has already answered the second question raised here; therefore, he simply asks it again: "What profit is there of circumcision?" (3:1 ). We look again at the closing verses of chapter two for the answer: "For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is out- ward in the flesh: but he is a Jew. which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God" (2: 28, 29). The third question is asked in verse 3, and should be read like this: "For what if some did not believe? shall their un- belief make the faithfulness (Revised Version) of God with- out effect?" In other words. the Jew might argue, saying that God promised blessing to Abraham and his seed, and would keep his promise whether- the Jew believed or not. But such reasoning fails to take into consideration the fact that God also promised a curse for disobedience and unbelief, as well as blessing for obedience and faith. The church today, like the Jew of old. has her eyes upon the blessing, and seems to have forgotten the curse. Many like to read about heaven, but close their eyes to the fact of a hell. Yes; God did promise [Page 39


national blessing to Israel. and He will keep His Word. But God ever requires personal, individual faith on the sinner's part, whether he be Jew or Gentile. The answer to this third question is found in verse 4: "God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged." Then last of all Paul raises a fourth question that might come to the mind of a Jew: "But if our unrighteousness com- mend the righteousness of God, what shall we say? Is God unrighteous who taketh vengeance?" (3: 5). In other ~ords, if man's unrighteousness prepares the way for God's grace, and so exalts the righteousness of God, then is sin not a neces- sary part of the divine plan? If so, surely God will not · judge sin. Would God not be unjust in punishing Israel's unbelief. when His forbearance would be exalted by Israel's unbelief? And quickly Paul answers the question: "God forbid!" "Perish the thought!" The very fact that God will judge the world shows that sin was not fore-planned. "God forbid: for then how shall God judge the world?" (verse 6). What a lawyer Paul was! A prosecuting attorney, as it were, against the sinful human racewhonad Utterly b~oken God's holy law, and fallen short of the righteousness He requires! THE VERDICT-"ALL HAVE SINNED" 3:9-20 "What then? are we (Jews) better than they (Gentiles)? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin" (3: 9). Then follows the humiliating picture of man's failure-all quoted from the Old Testament, with which the Jews were familiar! "As it is written" (3:10) in "the oracles of God," which the Jews claimed to believe, man is a total failure, as touching righteous- ness. Did you ever go to a photographer to have your picture - Page iO]


over: the court scene comes to a close: "every mouth" is "stopped": and "all the world" is "guilty before God": "for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." He re~ quires righteousness: man has none of his own: he can not keep God's holy law. Some expect to be saved because of church membership, the observance of sacraments, good works, and morality. .J3fil. Paul tells us that "by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin." There are men in Los Angeles today who would pay thousands of dollars to buy their entrance into heaven: yet they refuse to acknowledge their unrighteousness, and be saved by grace. They refuse to accept God's photograph of what they are. Many church members belong to this class. While I was a pastor in Texas, I was preaching one Lord's Day on this subject-how God makes guilty people righteous. I explained about Calvary and how the death of Christ was substitutionary for us. After the service I decided I would stop the first ten people I met going home from church, and ask each one what he was depending on for his salvation. All of them gave every answer except the real one; they were depending upon being morally good and doing good works. Yet Paul declares emphatically that no man can be justified in this manner. In chapter 3: 20 the announcement is made final that by the deeds of the law shall no man be saved. As W. R. N \' .:II has aptly said in commenting on these words: "We can never do anything to improve ourselves. We may be justified in our own eyes. or in the eyes of our friends, but not in the sight of God. After we have done our best, we shall still be guilty before God. We have failed to reach the standard God demands. This demands a penalty: our sin must be fully pun~ ished. How can a few, paltry 'good works' justify us? Paul cuts off any self~recovery. We are all going to certain judg~ ment before God. If anything is done for us, it must be done by God Himself. We are condemned criminals! Page 42]




It is with a feeling of relief that we turn from the study of the sin of man to the great theme of the righteousness of God. We saw in our last lesson that Paul cuts the ground from under the man who seeks to reform himself. The Spirit of God shows how futile it is for the sinner to try to make himself righteous by joining the church, by observing ordi~ nances, by being moral and kind and benevolent. We often sing:

"Could my zeal no languor know, Could my tears forever flow, These for sin could not atone; Thou must save, and Thou alone."

Do you really believe that, my friend? Blessed is the man who comes to the end of himself, and sees what the Lord Jesus Christ has done for him. Verse 20 of chapter three concludes the first division of this epistle. The word "therefore" indicates the conclusion of what has gone before. "Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. But now ..." Note these two words which so strikingly introduce the s&c.Qnd _g~eaJ divisi2n of the epistle, which extends from 3:21 to 4:25. In the first division of the book we saw the sinfulness of man unveiled, but now we are to see the righteousness of God as it is revealed in Christ. "Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified ... But now ..." All the world is guilty before God, "but now" God offers the sinner the free gift of His righteousness. Man has no merit of his own; "but now" Page ·HJ


since our Lord Jesus has come "to seek and to save that which was lost," sinful man may be made fit to stand in the presence of a holy God, unafraid and unashamed. We marvel at this redemption provided by God for us. It is in Christ, without the law, by grace, through faith, with- out works. as these verses go on to explain. Then two Old Testament illustrations follow, showing that God has always had only one way of justifying man, even from the beginning. Abraham was justified without the law, by grace, through faith. without works. The same was true of David; and this is the righteousness which is being offered now to you and to me. It is the only way God has ever had of justifying the guilty sinner. "By the law is the knowledge of sin." Good works are all right in their place. but they will not settle the sin question. The great facts that Paul has set before us in Rom. 1:J8-3:20 prepare the way for the marvelous revelation of the righteous- ness of God. Today I heard the students of The Bible Institute singing: You will never be able to sing about His grace, my friend. unless you understand the truth about sin. The law is something like a mirror. It reveals sin. I remember that when I was a child. after I had played in the mud until I was covered with it, my mother had great difficulty in convincing me that I needed to wash. Finally. in order to prove that I needed a bath, she would hold the mirror up before me so that I could see for myself. The mirror could not wash me, however; it could only reveal the mud. That is what the law does. It reveals sin, but can not wash it away. Law imparts to man the knowledge of sin. Man's sin has been revealed in Rom. 1: 18-3:20-"but now ..." At the end of the court scene the Judge does not [Page 45 "His grace is like a river; His grace is full and free."


execute the sentence. Instead, He steps down and takes the place of the guilty sinner. The Minister of the court, the Holy Ghost, says that all who receive this Substitute have everlast~ ing life. It is your business and mine, my Christian friend, to pass that good news on to everyone in that court room. The whole world is arraigned before the judgment bar of God. And "the wages of sin is death" (Rom. 6:23); but the Judge has come down, and taken the sinner's place. The penalty has been paid by Him. And instead of death, He offers life to everyone who will receive it, without works, by grace, through faith, without the law. Some years ago I heard Dr. Harris Gregg tell how he led a little colored boy to Christ; and since then I have often used this way to explain the way of life, not only to colored boys, but also to others convicted of sin and wanting to know the ·way of salvation. This is the substance of Dr. Gregg's story: "On one occasion I arrived in a certain city to conduct a Bible conference. As I got off the train, I noticed that my shoes needed shining; and seeing a young colored boy stand~ ing near his empty chair, I asked him to give me 'a shine.' I wanted to approach the subject of salvation in some way. but somehow I could not make an opening. However, I prayed that God would help me. When the boy had finished, I got to my feet and asked, 'How much do I owe you, my boy?' When he told me, 'Ten cents,' I took a dime out of my pocket. Holding it in my hand, I began by asking: 'This dime belongs to you, doesn't it? You have earned it, haven't you? I will not be fair if I don't pay you, will I?' When he agreed with me on these points, I said further, 'My boy, I give you this dime because you have earned it; it belongs to you. Now put out your hand.' "He put out his hand; and when he had taken it, I took a quarter out of my pocket, adding, 'Now I am going to make you a gift. I do not owe you this, do I? I am already square Page 46]


"When I stand before the throne, Dressed in beauty not my own; When I see Thee as Thou art, Love Thee with unsinning heart; Then, dear Lord, shall I fully know, Not till then, how much I owe.''

My friends, the beauty which Robert Murray McCheyne re- ferred to, that beauty not his own, is the righteousness of God, provided in the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. This redemption was foreshadowed in Eden. You re- member how Adam and Eve clothed themselves in fig-leaf aprons, attempting to make themselves fit to appear before God. But God gave them coats of skins, provided through the death of animals. Here we have the foreshadowing of the death of Christ, as our Substitute, that we might be clothed in his righteousness forever. "WITHOUT THE LAW" 3:21 This righteousness is not only of God; it is also without the law,...-apart from the law. Our salvation is of God, and can not be obtained by obeying the requirements of the law, lest we should boast. We can not work it out. We must accept it by faith. Thank God for such a righteousness as that! There will be no boasting in heaven. There is no ground for boasting; for salvation is all of grace, something to be received by faith through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. In heaven Christ is all the glory. This world is full of boasting. I have heard so much of the twentieth century civilization that I shall be glad when the twentieth century is over. In the salvation of God there is no cause for boasting, even as Paul tells us also in Eph. 2:8, 9: "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.'' Page 48}



God had this redemption in mind from the beginning. Moses represented the law, and he depicted this righteousness in direct prophecy and in shadow and type. He wrote of the coats of skins which God provided for Adam and Eve. He recorded God's first promise of the Redeemer, "the seed of woman" (Gen. 3: 15). It was Moses who first wrote, saying that Christ should come through the nation of Israel and through the tribe of Judah. (See Gen. 12:3; 49:10.) It was Moses who told us all the symbolism of the Jewish tabernacle which was so wonderfully typical of the Person and work of Christ. We can not begin to name all the ways in which the righteousness of God was "witnessed by the law"; but we do want to remember, in this connection, that our Lord Himself bore testimony to this truth when He said to the Jews: "Had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me" (John 5:46). The righteousness of God in Christ was also "witnessed by ... the prophets," all of whom had one testimony concern~ ing the coming Messiah, just as Peter said in the house of Cornelius: "To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins" (Acts 10:43). Stephen also said, before he was stoned, that "the prophets ... shewed before of the coming of the Just One" (Acts 7: 52). David, conscious of the blackness of his sin, wrote, say~ ing, "Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow" ( Psa. 51: 7). Isaiah, Jere~ miah, Ezekiel, Daniel, and the minor prophets taught this fundamental truth, that sinful man needs a Saviour. All of the prophets pointed on to the coming Messiah. Peter, James, and John, on the Mount of Transfiguration had this truth presented to them as they saw the Lord Jesus [.Page 49



in His uncreated glory. "And behold, there talked with him two men, which were Moses and Elias: who appeared in glory, and spake of his decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem" (Luke 9:30, 31 ). Moses represented the law; Elijah, the prophets. They realized the significance of the approaching death of Christ, and discussed it with Him before He went to the cross. Possibly they were reminded by the Lord, as were the two disciples, who later walked with Him to Emmaus after He arose from the grave, of all the Old Testament Scriptures which told of His sufferings, and of the glory which should follow. What a conversation that must have been between the transfigured Lord Jesus, Moses, and Elijah! RECEIVED "THROUGH FAITH" 3:22 In verse 22 we see how this righteousness is to be re.. ceived by poor lost sinners: "Through faith in Jesus Christ" (Revised Version). The simplicity of it is clearly set forth in the words which follow; for this gift of God's righteousness is "unto all and upon all them that believe." "Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely" (Rev. 22: 17); but only "whosoever believeth in him," God's only begotten Son, shall not perish, but shall have "everlasting life" (John 3: 16). Let me illustrate this truth in a very practical way. As I sit here before the microphone, I am wearing a new suit of clothes. The other day as I was walking down the street. I saw this suit in the window. It was unto all. Anyone who wanted it could have had it, provided he fulfilled the condition. But I went in and paid for it, and now it is upon me. Likewise, God's righteousness, which clothes us for His holy presence, is "unto all ... for there is no difference." But it is "upon all them that believe," and upon them only. These words take us to the different people in the court scene, Jews, Gentiles, pagan moralizers-all classes are sin~ ners. "There is no difference: for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.'' There is only one method of Page 50]


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