ROMANS 3: DO YOU SEE SIN IN YOUR OWN LIFE?
“What shall we conclude then? Do we have any advantage? Not at all! For we have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under the power of sin" (Rom 3:9).
"There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith” Romans 3:22b-25a.
One theme running through the earlier chapters of the Letter to the Romans is sin. Paul has discussed other topics as well, but he certainly has not shied away from talking about sin. However, up to this point sin has been a human endeavor. The root of human sinfulness is a disregard of honoring and giving thanks to God (1:21). From this root come all sorts of destructive behavior (1:22-32). This is bad enough, but here in chapter 3 Paul introduces us to another aspect of sin. An aspect that makes sin all the more problematic and destructive. Paul calls sin a power! In fact, we probably should spell it “Sin” with a capital “S”. Paul is bringing to our attention that Sin is more than simply human actions but is itself a power in this world. He will give us more details later, but you will notice that Paul will mostly now not speak of sins (plural) but Sin (singular).
Sin, we will see, is a force, a power, an addiction that enslaves humanity. It is a power that we cannot break on our own. Now we can see even more clearly that neither Jew nor Gentile has any advantage. The grip of the power of Sin in on all of us. All, have sinned, Paul will say. This is important for us reflect on in our own lives. Overcoming sin is not simply a matter of willpower. It is not simply a matter for self-discipline. It is not simply even a matter of having a “good heart.” We need help! But Sin is never the first word or the last word for Paul. So, he quickly lets us know that we are “justified freely by [God’s] his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” We are set free! However, this is not the end of the story. Paul will unpack more of the power of the Sin and he will unpack even more of what God has done in Christ for us.
Take time to think about where you see the power of Sin in the world, your neighborhood, and your own life.
Lord God, help us to acknowledge the power of Sin in our world and in our own lives so that we might rely on you. Thank you for your marvelous grace in an often-graceless world. In Jesus name, Amen.
Mark Manassee is Senior Minister of Culver Palms Church of Christ, a vibrant mosaic of people representing the rich cultural and ethnic diversity of Los Angeles. "Our experiences are varied," says the church, "but we are united in and by the love of Christ." The Journey: A New Generation Church of Christ thanks Mark for writing on The Journey Bible Project Blog.