Each week we LIVESTREAM the Lord's Day Sabbath School at 10a, Lord's Day morning public worship at 11a, and Lord's Day p.m. singing (3p) and sermon (3:45), and the Midweek Sermon and Prayer Meeting at 6:30p on Wednesday

Monday, September 26, 2022

2022.09.26 Hopewell @Home ▫ Romans 3:19–20

Read Romans 3:19–20

Questions from the Scripture text: Who “knows” (Romans 3:19)? What is speaking? To whom is it speaking? What happens to their mouths? How many of whom become what? Before Whom? What deeds cannot do what (Romans 3:20)? In Whose sight? 

What is the role of the law in justification? Romans 3:19–20 looks forward to the sermon in the midweek prayer meeting. In these two verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that the law’s role in our justification is to close our mouths, judge us before God, and convince us of sin.

The law cannot justify us (cannot give us a righteous standing before God). The apostle is going to come preach the gospel, because it is Christ alone Who can justify (cf. Romans 1:16–17; Acts 13:39). What is the law’s role in justification? It cuts off all other hopes so that we will hope only in Christ.

The law closes all mouths. Who are those who are under the law? The question is resolved by the effect at the end of Romans 3:19. The whole world (“cosmos”!) is liable to God’s judgment. So, “those who are under the law” means all creatures. The Creator is the Law-giver, so all creatures are “under the law.” When He makes this law to be written, He reminds us of this. The Jews’ misuse of the law (cf. Romans 2:17–24) reminds us that none of us are in a position to open our mouths. We are not God. We will not be permitted to make a case in His court or to counsel or question His verdict. We are under the law. Everyone is under the law. It shuts our mouths. We don’t get to say anything before God.

The law places us under God’s judgment. As we have said the whole cosmos is accountable before God. The word translated “guilty” is more literally “under the verdict of.” For sinful humanity, this does indeed mean that we are all guilty. We sinned in Adam, were condemned in him, and died in him (cf. Acts 5:12–19). All creatures are liable to God’s judgment, and sinful creatures are condemned by it.

The law convinces us of sin. God already knows that we are under His law. God already knows that we are condemned sinners. We all also know it (cf. Romans 1:32), but push down on that knowledge (cf. Romans 1:18), and even deny it (cf. Romans 2:15). So, the written law is a mercy to us, if we use it the right way. One wrong way to use the law is to think that it was written so that we can do works that will give us a right standing with God. We are mere flesh; we will not do well enough to be justified in the sight of God. But one right way to use the law is to know from it that we are sinners. By the law is the knowledge of sin. The way that this helps us be justified is by cutting off all other hope for justification but Jesus Christ.

How can you tell your mouth has been shut? What will you say at the judgment? What is your hope?

Sample prayer:  Lord, thank You for Your law that tells us the truth about our condition. Grant that we would hope only in Christ, Who has perfectly kept the law in our place, in Whose Name we ask it, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP32AB “What Blessedness” or TPH435 “Not What My Hands Have Done”

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