Tuesday, July 13, 2010

“All Have Sinned”

Memory Text and Monday – “All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). The phrase “All have sinned” is in the past historical tense, meaning that “all sinned” at some definite point in the past. Paul uses that same idea in chapter 5, verse 12. He is referring to Adam’s fall in the Garden of Eden. The entire human race was implicated in that sin (see also Romans 5:12-18). We come into this world suffering the consequences of our progenitor’s sins. 

To “come short of the glory of God” is a sin too. However, this phrase is in the present continuous tense. We all add to our sin problem by committing our personal sins each day, according to this text. We come short of the glory of God by:

1: Transgression (1 John 3:4; 5:17)
2: A mental act of sin (Romans 7:7)
3: Neglect to do what we know to be right (James 4:17)
4: A sin of ignorance (Leviticus 5:17, 18)
5: Doing good works with wrong motives (Isaiah 64:6)

Our sin problem is enormous. We find that the principle or force of sin exists within our very nature
(Psalm 51:5, Romans 7:14-24). Ellen White uses the expression, “indwelling sin.” She says that Adam did not have “indwelling sin” before the fall (Signs of the Times, October 17, 1900). Jesus especially warns us of the sin of unbelief which is willful, purposeful, and deliberate rejection of truth with full knowledge and understanding of it (see John 3:16-18, 36; 16:8, 9; Mark 16:15, 16).

The Bible makes it clear that our sinful situation is hopeless outside of Jesus Christ. The human race would have become extinct when Adam fell if it were not for the “Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Revelation 13:8).

Monday – The Gospel is always good news, and it is good news to everyone! Jesus is the Savior of all mankind (John 4:42, 1 John 4:14). Jesus has always been every person’s Savior. Faith is the human response to the good news of the gospel. God is even the source of our faith (Romans 12:3).

The gospel is powerful good news. When the believer submits wholeheartedly to the gospel, he begins to reflect the glory of his Creator. The image of God is restored in man. The believer experiences Christ’s victory over sin as he appreciates what that victory cost his Savior. In order for Man to have a saving relationship with God he must submit to the Gospel in full faith. The gospel restores the relationship of the creature with the Creator.

Tuesday’s lesson asks us to compare the first century with our current century. Are “all” still sinning?
The world’s condition is not getting better. Fear of the future is increasing. When men turn their backs on God’s grace, all He can do is honor their choice. The consequences of selfishness increase exponentially as “God [gives] them up” (Romans. 1:24). The progression Paul describes in Romans 1 is being played out as God’s Spirit is withdrawn. Man made disasters are added to so-called natural disasters. Satan rejoices in the heartache and pain. Rejection of Christ always results in disaster.

Wednesday –Let us look at Paul’s “Jews and Gentiles” message as applied to Seventh-day Adventists and unbelievers. Where do our works and profession place us? What advantage do we have? Does that advantage make us better? The “True Witness” in Revelation 3 gives us our answer. “…Be zealous therefore, and repent.” A genuine faith response to the gospel will always include repentance.

Thursday True and sincere repentance is proportional to our understanding of the seriousness of the sin problem that grips the human race. When we think, “we’re not that bad” or “it’s the other person,” we will not see our need of repentance.

We have discovered that every person is part of the sin problem. Our personal sins affect our brothers and sisters both in and out of the church. We are a corporate body in the world and in the church. Each individual’s choices affect the entire body. When we see the corporate nature of the sin problem, we will experience a deeper repentance for our own sins, and will lift each other up in prayer.

“As we see souls out of Christ, we are to put ourselves in their place, and in their behalf feel repentance before God, resting not until He brings them to repentance. Some will reject God’s mercy, but even then we are to feel sorrow of heart because of their condition, showing them how to repent, and seeking to lead them step by step to Jesus Christ” (Ellen White, SDA Bible Commentary, Volume 7, page 960).

The “True Witness” is calling us to genuine corporate repentance. “Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?” (Romans 2:4). Jesus said to Nicodemus: “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:14, 15).

When we see a clear picture of Jesus dying on the cross to rescue us from the sin problem, it will “lead us to repentance.” When we see ourselves in the dark pit of sin, Jesus will shine clearly on the cross. This will break our hearts in true repentance for our sin(s) against God. God’s love is the only power that can break the bondage of sin in our lives.

“Those who wait for the Bridegroom’s coming are to say to the people, „Behold your God.”  The last rays of merciful light, the last message of mercy to be given to the world, is a revelation of His character of love. The children of God are to manifest His glory. In their own life and character they are to reveal what the grace of God has done for them” (Ellen White, Christ Object Lessons, page 415).

For an excellent companion book to these studies, please see Waggoner on Romans: the Gospel in Paul’s Great Letter, by E. J. Waggoner. You may access the complete book at: http://www.1888mpm.org/book/waggoner-romans

For Jack Sequeira sermons on Romans click here: MP3; Windows Media; Real Audio
 For the written version click here
 For a paraphrase on Romans click here