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Romans Series #22[i]


      Title:                                 Five Broad Facts


      Text:                                  Romans 3:1-31

      Subject:               Man’s Need and God’s Salvation



The title of my message is Five Broad Facts. — When sceptics and agnostics have said all that they can say, there are five broad facts which they have not dealt with honestly, five broad facts they have not been able to explain away, five broad facts, plain, simple facts, facts that are impossible to ignore and impossible to deny. — Five Broad Facts. — That’s my subject. You have my text before you in the 3rd chapter of Romans. — Romans 3:1-31.


The Blessedness of the Gospel


1.    The greatest benefit, the greatest privilege, the greatest advantage God can give to any people is the privilege of having the Gospel of his free, sovereign, saving grace in Christ preached to them (vv. 1-2).


(Romans 3:1) What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision? (2) Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God.


Because all men are alike guilty before God, Jew and Gentile, because all are alike incapable of justifying themselves, because both those who are religious and those who are irreligious without Christ are lost, what advantage is there in anyone having the Word of God established in their midst? — What advantage is there in having the worship of God established among us? What advantage is there in having the ministry of the Gospel established in our midst? Paul says — The advantage is indescribable.


(Romans 3:2) Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God.


Truly, the greatest privilege in this world is to have the worship of God established in our midst. What a great, great privilege it is to have the Word of God preached to you, to have the Gospel of Christ preached to you. — “It pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe!” — “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” — It is by the preaching of the Gospel that God reveals himself to men. It is by the preaching of the Gospel that God…

·      Saves sinners.

·      Comforts saints.

·      Edifies his people.

·      Instructs us in righteousness.

·      Shows us his will.

·      Unifies his church.


It is here, in the house of God, in the place of public worship, that God meets with his people (Matthew 18:20). This is the ascension gift of Christ to his church (Psalm 68:17-24; Ephesians 4:7-16).


(Psalm 68:17) The chariots of God are twenty thousand, even thousands of angels: the Lord is among them, as in Sinai, in the holy place. (18) Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive: thou hast received gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious also, that the LORD God might dwell among them. (19) Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah.


(Psalm 68:24) They have seen thy goings, O God; even the goings of my God, my King, in the sanctuary.


(Ephesians 4:1) I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, (2) With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; (3) Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. (4) There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; (5) One Lord, one faith, one baptism, (6) One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. (7) But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. (8) Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. (9) (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? (10) He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.) (11) And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; (12) For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: (13) Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: (14) That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; (15) But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: (16) From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.


Illustration: Scott Keller — “We haven’t gotten over the thrill of it.”


The Purpose of God


2.    The purpose of God is unalterable. Like God himself, it is immutable (vv. 3-4).


(Romans 3:3) For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect? (4) God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.


The Lord God almighty is a God of purpose, absolute, unalterable, unchangeable, eternal purpose. God’s purpose in all things is the salvation of his elect; and he will accomplish his purpose (Romans 8:28-31; Ephesians 1:3-12).


(Romans 8:28) And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. (29) For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. (30) Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. (31) What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?


(Ephesians 1:3) Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: (4) According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: (5) Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, (6) To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. (7) In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; (8) Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; (9) Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: (10) That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: (11) In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: (12) That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.


Your rebellion and unbelief will not nullify or even slightly alter God’s purpose. You may not believe; but there are some who shall. The purpose of God must stand (Isaiah 35:3-4).


(Isaiah 35:3) Strengthen ye the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees. (4) Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompence; he will come and save you.


In confirmation of this fact, Paul was inspired of God the Holy Spirit to refer us to David. God made an unconditional promise to his servant David, assuring him that that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne (Psalm 132:11; Acts 2:30). Then David committed that horrid sin in the matter of Uriah the Hittite. Might that nullify or hinder God’s purpose? — “God forbid!” Paul said. David still believed God’s promise and acknowledged it even in the confession of his sin (Psalm 51:1-4).


(Romans 3:4) God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.


(Psalm 51:1) Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. (2) Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. (3) For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. (4) Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.


The Lord God, in his indescribable wisdom and grace, so overruled David’s great sin that he used it to accomplish his purpose. — Christ came through Bathsheba!


Keep silence all created things,

And wait your Maker’s nod;

My soul stands trembling while she sings

The honors of her God.

Life, death, and hell, and worlds unknown;

Hang on His firm decree;

He sits on no precarious throne,

Nor borrows leave to be.


Chained to His throne a volume lies

With all the fates of men,

With every angel’s form and size

Drawn by th’ eternal pen.

His providence unfolds the book,

And makes His counsels shine;

Each opening leaf, and every stroke

Fulfills some bright design.


Here He exalts neglected worms

To scepters and a crown;

Anon the following page He turns,

And treads the monarch down.

Not Gabriel asks the reason why,

Nor God the reason gives;

Nor dares the favorite angel pry

Between the folded leaves.


My God, I would not long to see

My fate with curious eyes,

What gloomy lines are writ for me,

Or what bright scenes may rise.

In Thy fair book of life and grace

May I but find my name,

Recorded in some humble place

Beneath my Lord the Lamb!

—— Isaac Watts


Justly Condemned


3.    Those whose slander God and blaspheme his holy name, asserting that his Gospel promotes licentiousness shall be justly condemned (vv.5-8).


When lost men and women, both infidels and self-righteous religionists hear us assert that which Paul just stated (the absolute, certainty of God’s purpose and universal providence), they respond by charging us, by charging God and the Gospel of the grace of God with promoting licentiousness. Proud man dares to raise his fist and shake in God’s face, saying, “It is wrong for God to judge sin, if he has ordained all things and uses all things to accomplish his purpose!” That is what we read in verses 5-8.


(Romans 3:5) But if our unrighteousness commend the righteousness of God, what shall we say? Is God unrighteous who taketh vengeance? (I speak as a man) (6) God forbid: for then how shall God judge the world? (7) For if the truth of God hath more abounded through my lie unto his glory; why yet am I also judged as a sinner? (8) And not rather, (as we be slanderously reported, and as some affirm that we say,) Let us do evil, that good may come? whose damnation is just.


Paul, like Jude, tells us that the damnation of such blasphemers is just (Romans 9:20-21; Isaiah 45:9; Jude 4).


(Romans 9:20) Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? (21) Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?


(Isaiah 45:9) Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker! Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth. Shall the clay say to him that fashioneth it, What makest thou? or thy work, He hath no hands?


(Jude 1:4) For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.


Universal Depravity


4.    All men and women are totally depraved and helplessly lost (vv. 9-20).


(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; (10) As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: (11) There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. (12) They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.


Everything fallen, sinful man does is an abomination to God!

—The Plowing of the Wicked (Proverbs 2:14)

—The Way of the Wicked (Proverbs 15:9)

—The Sacrifice of the Wicked (Proverbs15:8)

—The Thoughts of the Wicked (Proverbs 15:26)

—The Worship of the Wicked (Isaiah 1:13)


(13) Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: (14) Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: (15) Their feet are swift to shed blood: (16) Destruction and misery are in their ways: (17) And the way of peace have they not known: (18) There is no fear of God before their eyes.


Now, look at verses 19 and 20. — The whole purpose of God’s holy law is to identify and condemn sin. The law can never produce righteousness. It is utterly impossible for fallen man to deliver himself from sin and death and hell by anything he can do.


(19) Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. (20) Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.


You need a Savior. I need a Savior. That is Paul’s doctrine here. We must have a Savior, someone to undertake our cause, bring in righteousness for us, put away our sins, and deliver us from it by honoring the law, by satisfying justice, and by omnipotent grace!


God’s Salvation


5.    The Lord Jesus Christ is the Savior we need (vv. 21-31).


In verses 21-31, God the Holy Ghost shows us that the Savior we need is the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, by whom and in whom alone God shows himself “a just God and a Savior!


The righteousness of the law, that is to say, the righteous demands of the law and the righteousness promised of God, is witnessed (testified to and pointed to) by the law and the prophets. Be sure you get this. — The righteousness the law require and points to is “the righteousness of God without the law.


(Romans 3:21) But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;


This righteousness is the righteousness performed and accomplished by the “faith of Christ”.


(Romans 3:22) Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference.


By his free obedience unto death, the Son of God brought in everlasting righteousness for every sinner who believes, for every sinner who trusts him. — Our faith does not produce righteousness or make us righteous. Our faith simply receives that which Christ did for us at Calvary. Our God-given righteousness is “the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ”.


So it must be. The only thing we have ever produced, the only thing we can produce is sin!


(Romans 3:23) For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.


Read verses 24-26 and leap with joy. Sinners are justified by God’s free grace, through the redemption that Christ accomplished at Calvary.


(Romans 3:24) Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: (25) Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; (26) To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.


What does all that mean? It means three things…

(1.)         God is just in justifying the ungodly.

(2.)         Every sinner who trusts Christ receives righteousness, perfect, full, complete, everlasting righteousness freely, without doing anything. — If you trust Christ he is made of God unto you righteousness (Jeremiah 23:6; 33:16).

(3.)         Grace reigns through righteousness! — God cannot and will not save anyone, but by justice. — Justice demands the salvation of every sinner for whom Christ died at Calvary!


God’s Conclusion


Now, read the rest of the chapter, and rejoice with me in the conclusion of the whole matter. This, remember, is not my conclusion, or even Paul’s conclusion. This is God’s conclusion! —— If salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, without works…


(Romans 3:27) Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. (28) Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. (29) Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also: (30) Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith. (31) Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.


Though I was lost, guilty, condemned,

The Son of God bore all my sin;

As my great Substitute He died;

And by His blood I’m justified!

When justice called, mercy answered, —

Christ died for him, he must go free!

Justice and mercy are agreed: —

Since Jesus died, the sinner’s free!


Christ died for me upon the tree,

That I from sin might be set free.

I was condemned in sin and shame.

Christ paid my debt. — O praise His name!

When justice called, mercy answered, —

Christ died for him, he must go free!

Justice and mercy are agreed: —

Since Jesus died, the sinner’s free!


Still, I’m an heir to Heaven above,

By grace and justice, truth and love.

Christ gave His all that I might live.

Eternal life to me He gives!

When justice called, mercy answered, —

Christ died for him, he must go free!

Justice and mercy are agreed: —

Since Jesus died, the sinner’s free!






Don Fortner








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[i]    Danville — Sunday Morning — July 27, 2014

     Sovereign Grace Baptist Church, Princeton, NJ — (THU — 07/24/14)



     Reading:        Isaiah 52:1-10