Sabbath, September 9, 2006
“What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one.” Romans 3: 9-10.
1. What words of the apostle Paul did certain persons misuse? What is the destiny of those that live this way?
Romans 3:8, last part: … Let us do evil, that good may come? whose damnation is just
“Wherever the divine precepts are rejected, sin ceases to appear sinful, or righteousness desirable. Those who refuse to submit to the government of God are wholly unfitted to govern themselves. Through their pernicious teachings, the spirit of insubordination is implanted in the hearts of children and youth, who are naturally impatient of control; and a lawless, licentious state of society results. While scoffing at the credulity of those who obey the requirements of God, the multitudes eagerly accept the delusions of Satan. They give the rein to lust, and practice the sins which have called down judgments upon the heathen.” –The Great Controversy, pp. 584, 585.
2. What was the apostolic doctrine regarding works? 2 Timothy 1:9; James 2:17, 18.
Ephesians 2:8-10 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. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
“Our acceptance with God is sure only through His beloved Son, and good works are but the result of the working of His sin-pardoning love. They are no credit to us, and we have nothing accorded to us for our good works by which we may claim a part in the salvation of our souls. Salvation is God’s free gift to the believer, given to him for Christ’s sake alone. The troubled soul may find peace through faith in Christ, and his peace will be in proportion to his faith and trust. He cannot present his good works as a plea for the salvation of his soul.” –S.D.A. Bible Commentary, vol. 5, p. 1122.
THE HUMAN CONDITION
3. Despite their privileged position, from what were the Jews not exempt? Under what power must Jews and pagans both suffer?
Romans 3:9 What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin.
“Are we better than they” could mean: “Are we (who are in the church) better than they (who are not)?”
“The one who has been brought up within the sound of church bells and who hears the Scriptures read every day, has the same sinful nature and the same need of a Saviour, that the savage has.” –E. J. Waggoner, Studies on Romans, p. 64.
4. What words from the Old Testament did Paul quote to prove that everyone is under the power of sin?
Psalm 14:1-3 The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good. The Lord looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God. They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
Proverbs 20:9 Who can say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin?
Romans 3:10-12 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
5. Of what does man become aware when he finds himself in this hopeless situation?
Psalms 51:5 Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.
“As your conscience has been quickened by the Holy Spirit, you have seen something of the evil of sin, of its power, its guilt, its woe; and you look upon it with abhorrence. You feel that sin has separated you from God, that you are in bondage to the power of evil. The more you struggle to escape, the more you realize your helplessness. Your motives are impure; your heart is unclean.” –Steps to Christ, p. 49.
SYMPTOMS OF THE FALLEN CONDITION
6. What talent, given to man by the Creator, has been degraded by sin?
Proverbs 10:19 In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise.
Romans 3:13, 14 Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness:
7. Are Christians immune to this effect of sin? Why should they be especially concerned about slander?
James 4:11 Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge.
Proverbs 11:13 A talebearer revealeth secrets: but he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth the matter.
Psalm 15:1-3 Lord, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill? He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart. He that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbour, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbour.
“Evil speaking is a twofold curse, falling more heavily upon the speaker than upon the hearer. He who scatters the seeds of dissension and strife reaps in his own soul the deadly fruits. The very act of looking for evil in others develops evil in those who look. By dwelling upon the faults of others, we are changed into the same image.” –The Ministry of Healing, p. 492.
8. How does this sin lead to the transgression of the sixth commandment? When can Satan gather a great harvest?
1 John 2:11 But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes.
Romans 3:15-18 Their feet are swift to shed blood: Destruction and misery are in their ways: And the way of peace have they not known: There is no fear of God before their eyes.
“He who abides in darkness will at last lose the power of vision. He is shut in by a deeper than midnight blackness; and to him the brightest noontide can bring no light. He ‘walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes.’ 1 John 2:11. Through persistently cherishing evil, willfully disregarding the pleadings of divine love, the sinner loses the love for good, the desire for God, the very capacity to receive the light of heaven” –Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, p. 92.
“Satan delights in war; for it excites the worst passions of the soul, and then sweeps into eternity its victims steeped in vice and blood. It is his object to incite the nations to war against one another; for he can thus divert the minds of the people from the work of preparation to stand in the day of God.” –The Great Controversy, p. 589.
• What is sin?
• What is my position or attitude before falling in sin?
• How do I define myself in this sense?