International Sunday School Lesson
For Sunday July 10, 2016
Purpose: To recognize that salvation does not come through the Law but from God
Bible Lesson: Romans 3:9-20
Background Scripture: Psalm 136; Romans 3:9-20
Key Verse: It follows that no human being will be treated as righteous in his presence by doing what the Law says, because the knowledge of sin comes through the Law. (Romans 3:20)
Romans 3:9-20 (CEB)
(9) So what are we saying? Are we better off? Not at all. We have already stated the charge: both Jews and Greeks are all under the power of sin. (10) As it is written, there is no righteous person, not even one. (11) There is no one who understands. There is no one who looks for God. (12) They all turned away. They have become worthless together. There is no one who shows kindness. There is not even one. (13) Their throat is a grave that has been opened. They are deceitful with their tongues, and the poison of vipers is under their lips. (14) Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness. (15) Their feet are quick to shed blood (16) destruction and misery are in their ways; (17) and they don’t know the way of peace. (18) There is no fear of God in their view of the world. (19) Now we know that whatever the Law says, it speaks to those who are under the Law, in order to shut every mouth and make it so the whole world has to answer to God. (20) It follows that no human being will be treated as righteous in his presence by doing what the Law says, because the knowledge of sin comes through the Law.
Some Thoughts by Burgess Walter
This week’s lesson is about Sin and we are studying it so we can appreciate next week’s lesson, which will be about God setting things right.
While our lesson uses the Psalms and Isaiah to make Paul’s point, it was initially said by Moses in Deuteronomy 30 (11) This commandment that I’m giving you right now is definitely not too difficult for you. It isn’t unreachable. (12) It isn’t up in heaven somewhere so that you have to ask, “Who will go up for us to heaven and get it for us that we can hear it and do it?” (13) Nor is it across the ocean somewhere so that you have to ask, “Who will cross the ocean for us and get it for us that we can hear it and do it?” (14) Not at all! The word is very close to you. It’s in your mouth and in your heart, waiting for you to do it.
In modern day theology it is called “antinomianism” which means “against the law.” Theologically, antinomianism is the belief that there are no moral laws God expects Christians to obey. This is what Paul is speaking of in verse 8 just prior to our text. It is prevalent in today’s world. Too many Christians believe that God’s grace no longer requires them to live a moral life, we can do as we please.
In our text, Paul quotes the Psalmist, and goes in great detail to prove his argument, that whether Jew or Greek, we have all fallen short and we are all sinners. And just as Moses predicted some two thousand years’ prior, those chosen by God, would fail to uphold God’s moral law.
Paul’s argument will continue and will show a difference between being “pardoned” and being “justified.” The Old Testament rituals could offer a pardon for sin, but they could not remove it from the record. Just as in today’s world you can be pardoned for a crime, but the crime still remains as part of your record. Justification, on the other hand says, “just as if you never sinned.” Jew and Greek alike can now be “justified” through the sacrifice made by Christ. The blood of Jesus is more powerful than the blood of bulls and rams.
In our own strength it is impossible for us to live a good and righteous life, but with God working through the Holy Spirit, we can become a new creation. While we can’t, God can.
When we accept Christ into our life, we receive a “new name.” Which brings me to my hymn for this week, “A New Name Written Down in Glory.”