“The Weightiness of Sin” Pt. 4
Romans 3:15-17
August 14, 2016

Like many of you, I get news updates on my phone; several times a day I’ll get a notification on my home screen about some breaking news event: it’s hot in Texas; it’s raining everywhere but in Texas; someone won a gold medal at the Olympics, and similar kinds of important news.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve also been keeping up with every notification I get about killings and violent actions; it’s a pretty discouraging list:

  • July 5 — Five Dallas police officers were killed and nine others injured in a downtown Dallas shooting.
  • July 14 — A truck-driver with ties to ISIS killed 85 and injured more than 300 more when he drove his vehicle into crowds celebrating Bastille Day in Nice, France.
  • July 17 — Three police officers were shot and killed in Baton Rouge
  • July 18 — a man wielding an ax wounded several on a train in Germany
  • July 19 — a policeman was shot and killed in Kansas City
  • July 22 — a shooter in a mall in Munich killed nine people
  • July 23 — a joint suicide bombing in Kabul, Afghanistan killed more than 80 and wounded almost 300
  • July 24 — A Syrian suicide bomber injured 15 in Ansbach, Germany
  • July 25 — a shooting at a Fort Meyers night club killed two and more than a dozen were injured
  • July 25 — In Japan, 19 people were killed in a home for the disabled in a nighttime “stabbing spree”
  • July 26 — a French priest was murdered by Isis attackers while he was giving morning mass
  • August 5 — An attacker with a knife injured five and killed one (an American woman) in London’s Russell Square
  • August 7 — two policemen were injured in a machete attack in Belgium
  • August 10 — an Arkansas man who “wanted to cause a ruckus” prior to a court appearance shot and killed a Sheriff’s deputy and wounded a local police chief
  • August 11 — Several coordinated explosions in several of Thailand’s most popular resort areas killed at least four people and wounded dozens more.

And these are only the items that showed up on my phone as notifications. A report from the New York Times in May stated that homicide rates in 20 major cities (including Dallas) had risen significantly in the first quarter of this year compared to the same time period last year (2015). While some cities saw a notable decline in homicides, the overall trend was worrying to the James Coney, director of the FBI; while unable to provide statistical analysis for the reasons for the increase, he did say, “Something is happening.”

Indeed it is. It just feels different to us, doesn’t it? I do think that part of the problem is access to information; in other times, it would be hours, days, or even weeks before we might hear the kind of information we receive within seconds now. It may not be that mankind is so much more violent than it has been previously, but now we know just how violent and hateful people really are.

From where do these things come? How can these things be? How can men be so hostile to fellow men? Paul says the reason is really quite simple — it is the depravity of man. Man is inherently sinful, unable to save himself, and unable to do anything that is good.

In the first three chapters in Romans, Paul has been building the case that unsaved “pagan” people are under the wrath of God and depraved in their actions (1:18-32), and that Jews who reject Christ are likewise worthy of God’s condemnation (2:1-29), and that, in fact, all men everywhere are completely depraved (3:1-20). By depravity, we don’t mean that all men are as wicked and evil as they could be, but we do mean that every aspect of a man’s life is touched and stained by sin. And Paul will say it quite simply (quoting from the OT): “There is none righteous, not even one” (3:10).

Is that true? Are all men really that bad? Yes, Paul says, they are. And for evidence, he invites us to examine two aspects of man’s life — his words and his conduct. We looked at the words of the depraved men last week (3:13-14) and this morning, we want to consider the conduct and relationships of depraved men (3:15-17) and see that here too, there is no one who is righteous.

To build his case, Paul again quotes from the Old Testament, again implying that this is not just Paul’s idea, but that it is the consistent teaching of Scripture. This time Paul quotes from Isaiah 59. And his point is —

One mark of depravity is that dead men destroy each other.

In these verses, Paul charges depraved men with three sins that destroy relationships:

  1. The Actions of the Depraved are Prone to Violence (v. 15)
  2. The Actions of the Depraved Destroy Relationships (v. 16)
  3. The Actions of the Depraved Are Incapable of Peace (v. 17)

Download the rest of this sermon from Romans 3:15-17.

The audio will be posted on the GBC website later today.