Thursday, February 3, 2022

All Stand Guilty (Romans 3)

"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23).

Yesterday we studied how natural man (Psalm 14) denies the existence of God and refuses to worship Him. During the next six studies we will examine objections people raise in denying the truth of Christianity. One of the most frequently asked questions is “What happens to the innocent native in Africa who has never heard of Christ?” People reason that if God is just He cannot condemn someone for not embracing Christ if they have never heard of Him.

The assumption in this thinking is that men are condemned because they reject Christ; but this is not the case. All people are guilty before God because they have transgressed His law and have refused to acknowledge their Creator. We must understand that there are no innocent people in Africa or anywhere else. If someone were innocent they would not need Jesus Christ. But no one is innocent “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). According to God’s perfect and righteous law, no one can claim innocence. People are guilty if they transgress some law. The law that all men have transgressed is that law revealed to them by God in their own hearts.

Paul explains in Romans 2 that everyone is exposed to the law of God. The law is written in their hearts, and their conscience informs them when they do not conform to that law. All men stand guilty before God because no one has kept the law perfectly. Yet mankind’s transgression goes even deeper than not holding to God’s law as He has innately revealed it to them. They have rejected God their Creator as He has revealed Himself. Romans 1 expounds on this theme when Paul writes, “The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness” (Romans 1:18). What can be known about God is plain enough to all men to hold them responsible. But they reject this truth and create idols, exchanging “the glory of the immortal God for images.”

Because God has revealed Himself and His law to all people, everyone is responsible for acknowledging Him. Yet, the natural man rejects God and transgresses His laws. Only through Christ can the guilty be cleared and communion with God restored.

How has God revealed Himself to man outside of Scripture? List ways you observe that people reject this truth and fail to obey God’s law. Then list various ways people fashion idols of their own making instead of worshiping the true God.