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Sermon #36 — Romans Series


      Title:                                 “Boasting Excluded”


      Text:                                  Romans 3:27-31

      Subject:               Salvation by Grace Alone

      Date:                                Sunday Morning— November 30, 2014

      Reading: 1st Samuel 2:1-10 and Luke 18:9-14



Before I get to my text in Romans 3, let me talk to you for a few minutes about the most horrible and most unreasonable evil in the world — pride. I cannot imagine a subject more disgustingly repugnant to God than pride. Pride is obnoxious to God. Nothing is more common in man, and nothing is more obnoxious to God, than pride. And pride is a just another word for, a synonym for, self-righteousness.

·      Pride, self-righteousness, is the root of all envy and jealousy among men.

·      Pride, self-righteousness, is the root of all strife and division.

·      Pride, self-righteousness, is the root of all heresy.


God’s Hatred


Oh, how God hates pride and self-righteousness! How we ought to hate it! Yet, I repeat, nothing is more common to fallen man. This obnoxious weed grows wild in the human heart.

·      Pride is sin; God’s holiness hates it.

·      Pride is treason against heaven; the Sovereign God detests it.

·      Pride is rebellion against the Almighty; the whole of his holy Being stands against it, determined to crush it; and crush it he will, either in judgment or in mercy, but crush it he will.


Pride Judged


Against this black vice of our black hearts the Lord God of heaven and earth has made bare his holy arm in judgment throughout the ages.

·      When his heart was lifted up with pride, Lucifer rebelled; and he and the angels that joined him in war against Christ were cast out of heaven, reserved in chains of darkness until the judgment of the great day of God’s wrath.

·      Eve desired to be as God, knowing good and evil, and Adam imagined that he should be lifted up to the rank of divinity if he dared to take the fruit and eat.

·      The blasting of Paradise, the sterility of the world, the travail women in giving birth, the sweat of the brow, and the certainty of death, must all be traced to that multi-headed beast — pride!

·      Remember Babel. There God confounded our tongues and scattered humanity, because pride, self-righteousness, filled the hearts of depraved men, inspiring fools to try to build a tower to heaven!


The God of heaven is determined, always determined, to “stain the pride of all glory, and to bring it into contempt (Isaiah23:9). — “There is none holy as the Lord: for there is none beside thee: neither is there any rock like our God. Talk no more so exceeding proudly; let not arrogancy come out of your mouth: for the Lord is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed. The bows of the mighty men are broken, and they that stumbled are girded with strength” (1 Samuel 2:2-4).

·      Remember Pharaoh and his blusters, and the plagues God brought on Egypt and Pharaoh’s destruction at the Red Sea.

·      Remember Nebuchadnezzar, the mighty architect of Babylon, driven out to eat grass like an ox until his nails grew like birds’ claws and his hair like eagles’ feathers.

·      Remember Herod, eaten of worms, because he gave not God the glory.

·      Remember Sennacherib, the Syrian King, who reproached the living God in Hezekiah’s day. He was brought down and returned by the way he had come with the Lord’s hook in his jaw, and at last murdered by his own sons in shame.

At the blast of the rebuke of his nostrils the God of Glory destroys the pride of man.


Pride in Saints


Horrible as this evil thing called “pride” is, it is found in God’s own, in us, the chosen, redeemed, and called ones of God. What pride, what self-righteousness rages in our breasts!

·      David was a man after God’s own heart, but his pride caused to number the people. His pride was broken when 70,000 of his own people lay dead at his feet because of it!

·      Hezekiah was a good king; but pride caused him to show the ambassadors of Babylon his riches and his treasures. As the result of his pride his sons were made eunuchs in the palace of Babylon’s king.

·      It was Peter’s pride that brought about his terrible fall.


God has spoken the most solemn words of awful judgment against pride. — Be wise, O my soul, and hear!


(Proverbs 16:18) Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.


(Proverbs 21:4) An high look, and a proud heart, and the plowing of the wicked, is sin.


(Isaiah 2:11-12) (11) The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day. (12) For the day of the LORD of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up; and he shall be brought low:


(Jeremiah 50:31) Behold, I am against thee, O thou most proud, saith the Lord GOD of hosts: for thy day is come, the time that I will visit thee.


All Self-righteous


We are all proud and self-righteous by nature. It is the family disease of all the sons and daughters of Adam. From the heights to the depths of society, we all think more highly of ourselves than we should. We secretly flatter ourselves that we are not so bad as some, and that we have something that will recommend us to the favor of God. The wise man said, “Most men will proclaim everyone his own goodness.” We forget the plain testimony of Holy Scripture.“In many things we offend all” (James 3:2). — “There is not a just man upon the earth, that doeth good and sinneth not” (Ecclesiastes 7:20). — “What is man that he should be clean, or he that is born of woman that he should be righteous” (Job 15:14). — “They are all under sin; as it is written, there is none righteous, no not one” (Romans 3:9-10).


Ever since man became a sinner, he has been self-righteous. When man had a perfect righteousness before God, he did not glory in it or cherish it; but ever since man fell and lost all righteousness in the Garden, he has pretended to be righteous! Immediately after his fall, Adam wrapped himself in his apron of fig leaves and began to defend himself by blaming his troubles on God who gave to him the woman, and the woman for giving him the fruit.


As it was with Adam, so it is with all men; we justify ourselves before God and men. That’s called “pride”. That’s called “self-righteousness”. It is born in us; and while we can, to a degree, control lusts, lies, and murder, our self-righteousness will not allow us to confess our sins and come to God for mercy as guilty sinners. Millions of sermons have been preached against pride and self-righteousness, but it remains the number one evil by which Satan keeps sinners from coming to Christ.


One old preacher said, a long time ago, “I scarcely ever preach a sermon without condemning self-righteousness, yet I find I cannot preach it down. Men still boast of who they are, what they have done, what they have not done, and mistake the road to heaven to be one paved by their own works and merit.” God help us!


Multitudes who profess faith in Christ make him only half a Savior. You would never be so bold as to say that you do not need him at all. But you are highly offended when I tell you that your heart is as black, and vile, and corrupt as hell itself. Why is that? Is it not because you trust in yourself, that you are righteous? I plead with you for your very soul’s sake, be honest. You think, “I know I am not as good as I should be, but then I am not so bad as some people. I go to church regularly. I read my Bible. I say my prayers. I am sober, honest, and moral.” — Are you not proud? — Are you not self-righteous?


One Cure


There is only one true cure for our stinking pride and self-righteousness, and that is self-knowledge. All the descendants of Adam are sinners, destitute of righteousness, and filled with unrighteousness. Out of your “heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.” The same is true of my own.


By nature we are all enemies to righteousness. And we have no power to make ourselves righteous. No matter how righteous you may be in the eyes of men, or in your own eyes, you have no righteousness, unless you have the righteousness of Christ. If it were possible for men to gain righteousness for themselves, then Christ is dead in vain.


Once let the eyes of our understanding be opened by God the Holy Spirit, and self-righteousness withers! We will talk no more of our own goodness, when we behold his goodness. Once let us see what there is in our hearts, and what the holy law of God requires, and self-conceit will die. Oh, if we can but get a sight of the thrice holy Jehovah, we will cry with Isaiah, “Woe is me!” We will lay our hands upon our mouths, and cry with the leper, “Unclean, unclean!”

  • That which our Lord condemns more severely than any other crime is self-righteousness.
  • I would rather stand before God in the Day of Judgment as a man guilty of lying, theft, adultery, and murder, than stand before him as a man guilty of self-righteousness.
  • Self-righteousness shall be punished with greater severity in eternal damnation than any other offense.


As if to put an everlasting stigma upon the pride, vanity, and self-righteousness of man, as if to hurl all mire and filth upon all human boasting and human glorying, the Lord God has declared that the only way he will save sinners is a way which utterly excludes the possibility of boasting in man. He has declared that the only way you and I can be saved is a way that breaks the strength of man in pieces, humbles our pride in the dust, causes all of our imaginary righteousnesses to stink in our own nostrils as filthy rags, and utterly excludes our boasting. The title of my message is — “Boasting Excluded.” My text is Romans 3:27-31. — “Boasting Excluded” (Romans 3:27-31).


Proposition: In these closing verses of Romans 3 God the Holy Spirit inspired the Apostle Paul to raise and answer four question by which he utterly excludes boasting on our part and magnificently exalts the free grace of God in salvation. Let’s look at them briefly.


(Romans 3:27-31) (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.


Boasting Excluded


Here’s the first question. — Where is boasting then? It is excluded.” — Every sinner who is justified by the free gift of God’s grace gladly acknowledges that he has nothing of which to boast before God or man (1 Corinthians 1:30-31;  4:7).


(1 Corinthians 1:30-31) But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: (31) That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.


(1 Corinthians 4:7) For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?


“Boasting excluded, pride I abase! —

I’m only a sinner saved by grace!”


Salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. That means you and I, if we are saved, have nothing in which to boast. The only distinction between saved sinners and lost sinners is grace: free, sovereign, effectual, irresistible, saving grace!

  • Electing Grace!
  • Redeeming Grace!
  • Regenerating Grace!
  • Faith-giving Grace!
  • Preserving Grace!


Where is boasting then? It is excluded!


Faith’s Law


This is Paul’s second question. — By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.” — The Gospel of Christ is the law, or doctrine, of faith. This is the law of faith: — “But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; (9) That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. (10) For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. (11) For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. (12) For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. (13) For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:8-13)


The law of faith,” the Gospel of God excludes all possibility of boasting in man. “The law of faith,” the Gospel of God teaches us that…

  • Election is unconditional.
  • Redemption was accomplished at Calvary.
  • Righteousness is the work of God.
  • The new birth is by grace alone. — A Resurrection from the Dead!
  • Faith is the gift and operation of God.


“Why was I made to hear Thy voice,

And enter while there’s room,

While thousands make a wretched choice,

And rather starve than come?


Twas the same love that spread the feast

That gently forced me in;

Else I had still refused to taste,

And perished in my sin!”


  • Perseverance in faith is the result of preservation by grace.


This same “law of faith,” this same Gospel, that excludes all boasting throws open the door of mercy to sinners everywhere. The veil into the holiest is rent in twain by the blood of Christ, and says to sinners everywhere, “Come and welcome!”


“Come, ye sinners, poor and wretched,

Weak and wounded, sick and sore;

Jesus ready stands to save you,

Full of pity joined with power:

He is able, He is able,

He is willing; doubt no more.


Come, ye needy, come and welcome,

God’s free bounty, glorify;

True belief and true repentance,

Every grace that brings you nigh.

Without money, without money,

Come to Jesus Christ and buy.”

—— Joseph Hart


Where is boasting then? It is excluded!


Inspired Conclusion


Now, look at verse 28. Here is the inspired conclusion that is and must be drawn from all that is written here and throughout the Book of God. — Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. — Every sinner who trusts Christ is justified, fully, completely, perfectly, forever justified by faith, without doing anything to justify himself, “without the deeds of the law.” Yes, “a man is justified by faith!

  • By the Faith of God” (Romans 3:3; Ephesians 1:12)
  • By Faith of Jesus Christ” (Romans 3:22 — “He believed in God” Psalm 22:8; Matthew 27:43)
  • By Faith in Christ” (Galatians 3:26)


Where is boasting then? It is excluded!


One God


Here’s the third question (v. 30). — Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also, Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith. — Jew and Gentile are distinctions in the flesh; but “Christ is all and in all.” The Triune Jehovah, as our Covenant God in Christ, is the God of all his elect, both Jew and Gentile, chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4).


This election took place in eternity, not only before the names Jew or Gentile were known, but before sin had entered into the world to make those distinctions; before the world itself was called into being!

  • God the Father is the Father of all his elect, without distinction.
  • God the Son is the Savior of all his elect, without distinction.
  • God the Holy Ghost is the Comforter of all the elect, without distinction.
  • Our salvation is the “common salvation” of all who are born of God, without distinction.


Where is boasting then? It is excluded!


All are God’s from eternity, and were the objects of his love, mercy, grace, and favor from all eternity.

  • Before the Fall.
  • After the Fall.
  • Before our Calling.
  • After our Calling.
  • And Forever!


But why does the Spirit of God tell us that God justifies “the circumcision by faith and the uncircumcision through faith”? He is not telling us two different things, but one.

  • The preposition “by” refers to the origin of justification in our experience of grace. Our experience of justification in Christ is out of and arises from faith in him.
  • But our faith in Christ is not the cause of our justification. That would not exclude boasting, but promote it. Our justification was accomplished by Christ. God justifies us “through” faith. The preposition “through” refers to the channel by which free justification flows into our souls.


Where is boasting then? It is excluded!


Law Established


You will see Paul’s fourth question in verse 31. — Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law. — This free, God given justification by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, does not set aside God’s holy law. — This is the only way the law is or can be established.


The law of faith,” the Gospel of God declares that not one jot or tittle of God’s holy law can fall to the ground, because the Son of God has fulfilled all its righteous demands and gave his soul an offering for sin, to make satisfaction for the breaches of the law by his people. And it is the joy of all the redeemed, in heaven and on earth, that by the obedience and death of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, has done more to magnify the law and make it honorable, than could have been done by the unsinning obedience of the whole creation of God to all eternity!

  • All who seek righteousness by the law “make void the law.
  • All who trust Christ alone for redemption, righteousness, and everlasting salvation “establish the law.
  • Believe on the Son of God, and establish the law!


Where is boasting then? It is excluded!





Don Fortner








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