Yesterday morning, in our study through Romans, our text was Romans 3:9-20. I titled the sermon, “The Truth About Sin” because Paul comes to a climax in his argument about how both the Jew and the Gentile are all under sin—guilty before God. In short, sin kills and we’ve all been born as guilty sinners. Paul does a great job of looking at how both the Jew and the Greek are guilty—and he does so from the Old Testament.
Not long ago, Andy Stanley made another controversial statement that made its way through evangelical circles. He stated that the Old Testament was not necessary for new covenant believers. In short, this is what Andy Stanley said:
Peter, James, Paul elected to unhitch the Christian faith from their Jewish scriptures, and my friends, we must as well…Jesus’ new covenant, His covenant with the nations, His covenant with you, His covenant with us, can stand on its own two nail-scarred resurrection feet. It does not need propping up by the Jewish scriptures.
The Bible did not create Christianity. The resurrection of Jesus created and launched Christianity. Your whole house of Old Testament cards can come tumbling down. The question is, did Jesus rise from the dead? And the eyewitnesses said he did.
As we look at Romans 3:9-20, we have to ask an honest question. Was Paul writing to new covenant believers? Sure he was—it was post-resurrection. We must be honest with this text and recognize that Paul could have quoted Jesus about sin without quoting any other passage of Scripture. However, that is not the approach of Paul. In order to prove the absolute wickedness of the human heart of both Jew and Gentile, he points back to the Old Testament and quotes thirteen different verses to establish his point. If the new covenant believers need to “unhitch from the Old Testament” why was Paul quoting from the Old Testament so much?
Paul points to the depravity of all people in Romans 3:9 and demonstrates that both Jew and Greek are all under sin. He then takes his readers on a journey through the Old Testament to prove his case. Verse 10-12 are quotes taken from Psalm 14 and Psalm 53. This entire section is focused on the character of the human heart. In verses 13-14, Paul turns from the heart to the tongue as he focuses on the speech. These verses contain quotes from Psalm 5, Psalm 140, and Psalm 10. Finally, Paul turns from the tongue to the works of a person—how a person lives life. In this section, Paul quotes from Proverbs 1, Isaiah 59, and Psalm 36. It’s quite clear as Paul drives home his point that the human heart is filled with wicked desires and there is no fear of God before depraved sinners.
Finally, Paul points to the law of God and reminds his readers that no person can keep the law and please God. It’s through the law of God that we are held accountable and that we have the knowledge of sin. The very moment that a person believes that their ability to perform their religion is able to please God—they are doomed. That type of thinking produces spiritual hypocrites who are like whitewashed tombs—white on the exterior and full of dead man’s bones on the inside.
Has God changed your heart? Have you experienced the transformation mentioned in 2 Corinthians 5:17? If not, why not submit yourself to Christ today and repent of your sin as you believe that Jesus paid for all of your sin on the cross? You may be a wicked sinner, but Jesus is a faithful Savior.