Sermon – June 27, 2021
Few people like to be the bearers of bad news. Those who are given such a task do not relish it. To have to inform someone that they are losing their job, that they have cancer, that some untold horror has come true is difficult for anyone. Yet, we have just such news to tell. And worse: our news is the worst that we can imagine; not simply a message of death, but of death eternal; of an all-powerful God whose wrath against us burns hot with no way for us to extinguish it. Yet, this very news is vital to grasp, for only in this, the worst of news, can we truly find the best of our God.
1. The charge of sin
Paul admits that the Jews, even with the advantage of God’s promises, are not better off in terms of salvation, for he has charged everyone of sin. It is important that we hear Paul rightly: he has not proven, but simply charged all with sin. We ought not get caught up in making sure that we prove, to everyone’s satisfaction, the notion of their sin. Allow the Spirit to convict! Further, it is not just our brokenness that Christ deals with, as though we are just objects that sin happens to. Rather, we are agents of sin, who need both healing and forgiveness.
2. The collection of Scripture
Paul makes it clear that this isn’t just his imaginative theology – but theology that matches the very heart of the OT. The Psalms repeatedly make the case that we are all unrighteous, seen especially in our speech and in the violence and ruin that humanity leaves in it’s path. In the end, Scripture teaches without hesitation that all have sinned before God because we do not fear him or seek him. Sin has ruined us.
3. The cessation of speech
The law, then, is not meant to give salvation, but to give us a better understanding of our sin. We experience our sin in a very true and real way when we read in the law “You shall not…” and we do anyway. We cannot escape our sin in such circumstances. Therefore, no one will be able to boast, justify, or clear themselves before the throne of God. What a Savior we need! Here is where the good news begins, when we find that we have come to the end of ourselves. What great salvation Christ has given us!