In this sermon, part of a series on the book of Romans, our founding pastor, W. Graham Smith, talks about God’s final verdict and our need for a Savior. Here are some excerpts:
“The last two verses, 19 and 20 [of this passage], summarize everything Paul has been building in his case for the prosecution in Romans 1:18—3:20…
“Now we know that whatever the Law says, it says to those who are under the Law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God.” Paul sums it all up by stating two truths:
(1) The whole world is accountable to God; and
(2) The whole world is without excuse.
Every mouth will be silenced; the ungodly will stand before God on the Judgment Day, and they will be speechless; in no way will they be able to defend themselves, because they will be without excuse and helpless.
And finally verse 20: “Therefore no one will be declared righteous in His sight by observing the Law; rather, through the Law we become conscious of sin.” Paul says, “No one can be saved by keeping the Commandments.” Why, then, was the Law given if it can’t get you to heaven? God gave the Law for two reasons:
(a) It makes us aware of our sin: “Through the Law we become conscious of sin.” When you have a standard, you know when you fall short. When you have a goal, you know when you don’t reach it. When you have a law, you know when you break it. So, the first purpose of the Law is that it shows us that we need to be saved.
(b) Galatians 3:23-24 gives us the second reason why God gave us the Law. Verse 23 says, “Before faith came, we were held prisoners by the Law, locked up until faith should be revealed.” The Law imprisons people; it doesn’t set them free. Grace sets people free, not the Law.
Verse 24: “So the Law was put in charge to lead us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith.” The Law is intended to point us to Christ. It shows us that we need to be saved, and it shows us Who the Savior is — and it directs us to the One Who alone can save us.
What, then, is God’s final verdict? It is this: Man is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. The whole world is lost. Everybody needs to be saved. You may be rebellious, respectable or religious — you need to be saved. We might call this passage we have studied this morning “Total Wipeout.”
That’s the bad news. Next week we get into the good news. Dr. J. Vernon McGee says that the space between verses 20 and 21 of Romans 3 might be called “The Grand Canyon.” And next week we will see Paul switching roles and becoming the attorney for the defense; and all of a sudden, we realize that we don’t have to live under condemnation.
Let me close by reading this great verse, Romans 8:1. “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus…!” No condemnation — that’s the good news!
God’s final verdict. Graham has a lot more to say about this topic. If you would like to learn more, please download and read the attached transcript of the sermon, as the above excerpts do not even scratch the surface. If you would like to do a word search on the transcript, download the file, and then open the file with your web browser after downloading and use your browser’s find feature.