“Wrestling With Romans”
Catalogue of Crime (Chapter 3 Verses 9-20)
The Apostle has demonstrated the guilt of the Jews and the Gentiles separately. Now he throws everyone together (v9f). He heaps the testimony of Scripture, one upon another, to prove the very fact. What a catalogue it is! All are under sin’s guilt, standing before the tribunal of divine justice, condemned? The Bible says (v10), that not one single person has a righteousness that will meet the demands of God’s holy law (Psalms 14 & 53). There are none who understand, their minds have been darkened and they have become enemies of God (Ephesians 1.18). There are none who seek God (v11b), who respect and revere him, none who desire to be taught and instructed by his word, they trample upon his commandments, and have no time for prayer. They refuse to seek him in repentance, with confidence in his great mercy, and to ask for his Holy Spirit’s help in supporting and empowering them for life. All this and more, is what it means not to seek God, and that through Jesus Christ his Son, the only Mediator between God and men (1Timothy 2.5). The emphasis upon all lets no-one escape Paul’s net of sin (v12), along with the entirety of their beings, their organs of speech (vv13-14), and their feet (v15), which leave behind them a trail of wretchedness, disaster and misery (v16).
It is little wonder there is so little peace in the world (v17), simply because there is no fear of God (v18), and it all springs from the same fountain of unbelief. The truth is people have exchanged the truth (Romans 1.21-23) for Satan’s lie (Genesis 3.4; John 8.44). O how folk need to hear the message of peace, that brings peace with God (Romans 5.1), and keeps us in the peace of God (Philippians 4.7). The latter cannot be enjoyed till we know the former, the unbelief must go. God himself must be acknowledged, as our Creator, our Sovereign, and our Redeemer. We must realise what a grievous sin unbelief is, pure libel against that Sovereign Ruler. It is slanderous, decreeing God not to be worthy of our trust (1John 5.10). Yes, that is the full implication of unbelief, we are calling God a liar. We are attributing to a pure, holy God of love and grace, the very character of Satan, a liar (John 8.44). It’s that gross. Well, how do I deal with my unbelief you say? Get to know God, through his word (Romans 10.17), place yourself frequently in the path of the Holy Spirit’s breath, under a good, solid, sound pulpit ministry where the Bible is taught and the good news is proclaimed, and pray, O pray most fervently and frequently. Cry, Lord I believe, help my awful, sinful unbelief (Mark 9.24), until, you know him who is altogether lovely.
(© James R Hamilton, written September, 1997)