Sermon 2608. "There Is No Difference"
A SERMON INTENDED FOR READING ON LORD'S-DAY, FEBRUARY 5, 1899.
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON, ON LORD'S-DAY EVENING, OCTOBER 28, 1883.
"The righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ unto ail and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." Romans 3:22,23.
THE Apostle here says that "there is no difference," yet he does not mean that all men are alike in all respects. There arevery many and important variations among men. It would be quite untrue and unjust to say that there are no differences ofcharacter even among unregenerate men, for there certainly are many varieties and gradations of sinners. There are some whohave, as it were, sold themselves to work iniquity, and there are others who have, apparently, kept the Commandments of Godfrom their youth up. There are some who delight in all manner of evil and there are others who, though they are not converted,hate the very mention of all the grosser vices and steer clear of such impurity. There are some people, not yet on the Lord'sside, who are like that rich young man of whom it is said that when Christ looked upon him, He loved him, for He saw muchin him that was admirable. But, on the other hand, there are some who are manifestly sons of perdition, like Judas, of whomour Lord said that he was a devil. All men are not demons, or demoniacal. All are not equally hardened in heart. All do notgo to the same excess of evil. So when Paul said, "There is no difference," he did not mean that there are no differencesof outward character.
Let us not be carried away with the idea that it does not matter what our outward character is-it matters a great deal! Itshall be found, at the last, that the greatly guilty shall be greatly punished. "That servant who knew his lord's will andprepared not himself, neither did according to His will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he that knew not, and didcommit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes." God is not unjust! Even in taking vengeance upon His adversaries,He strictly observes justice at all times. It is for your good and for the good of those about you that you should be moral,temperate, chaste and honest-and God grant that you may be all that!
There are, then, differences of character among men, and there are, no doubt, differences of disposition which show themselvesvery early. Some children appear from the very first to be tender and docile, while others manifest a passionate and rebelliousdisposition. All of us probably know some friends who are not yet converted, but they are amiable, loving, considerate, kind-theyhave almost everything we could wish except the one thing necessary-God grant that they may soon have that, also! Though asyet they are not brought to Christ's feet, they seem to have had a religious tendency from their very childhood and they delightto be found in the House of God and, at least externally, in the ways of God. even if their hearts are not, at present, renewedby Grace. There are, alas, others whose dispositions are the very reverse of all this-they seem disposed to everything thatis bad. We have met with cases in godly families where young men, from the first moment in which they could have their liberty,have delighted to do that which at last broke their parents' hearts. They have seemed to be, from the very first, fickle,vain, fond of pleasure, proud, willful and wicked. Beyond all question, there are differences of disposition in differentpersons. And when Paul says, "There is no difference," he does not refer either to character or to disposition.
There are also in men who, as yet, are not saved, differences as to their readiness to receive the Word of God. There aresome who are like the "honest and good ground" which is already plowed and harrowed-all that is needed is the handful of goodSeed-and as soon as it is sown, they will take it in and, in due time, yield a harvest in return. Others are like the stony-groundhearers-apparently ready and prepared for the good Seed. They seem to receive the Word with joy, but, as the hard rock underneathhas never been broken up and there has been no subsoil plowing, nothing permanent results from their hearing the Gospel message.There are others, again, who are like the hard-trodden highway- you may sow upon them as much seed as you like, but the onlyresult will be to feed the birds. The fowls of the air will devour whatever is scattered upon them. May none of us be hearersof that sort!
So you see, dear Friends, that there are great differences among men in certain respects. The Apostle is speaking in thispassage about one thing-and you must not stretch his meaning beyond that. There is one point in which there is no differenceand that is that, "all have sinned." All have forfeited every claim to personal righteousness! All must be made righteousby the imputation of the righteousness of Christ to them-and all who would have that righteousness must believe in the LordJesus Christ, for there is one way of salvation, and only one-and whatever other differences there may be, there is no differenceabout this matter! If we are saved at all, we must all be saved in one way. My discourse is to run upon these lines. First,let us enlarge upon the doctrine that, in the matter of the Gospel and of salvation, "There is no difference." Secondly, letus show its practical bearing upon ourselves. And then, thirdly, let us rejoice in the doctrine-let our hearts sing over it-forthere is the raw material of many a holy song and Psalm within these few words, "There is no difference."
I. First, then, LET US ENLARGE UPON THIS DOCTRINE and, in so doing, we will make four observations.
The first is this-there is no difference as to the message of salvation which is to be delivered to men. It may be my privilege,at one time, to speak to a convocation of highly-intelligent well-educated men. If so, I am to preach to them the Gospel ofsalvation by faith in the blood and righteousness of Jesus Christ. On the other hand, it has often been a great joy to meto preach to assemblies which certainly were not composed of the learned and great, but were gathered from the lowest classesof the people. How glad I have been to preach to them! And I had exactly the same message to deliver to them as to the othercongregation-"He that believes and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believes not shall be damned." If the true preacherof Christ were called to preach before a pit full of kings-as Napoleon once said to a noted singer, "If you will come to me,you shall sing before a pit full of kings"-if it were the preacher's business to address such an audience as that, he mustpreach nothing but, "Believe and live!" And if he were called to speak before an assembly of murderers about to die-the veryscum of the earth-he could have no more suitable or appropriate message than this, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, andyou shall be saved." Go where you may, my dear Brothers, you need not puzzle your head about the sort of Gospel you are boundto preach. To the jailor at Philippi, to the Areopagites on Mars' Hill, to the Sanhedrim at Jerusalem, to Nero at Rome, tobarbarian, Scythian, bond, or free-to the very chief of sinners, to the greatest or the least of mankind, you have to deliverbut one message-"God has set forth His Son, Jesus Christ, to be the propitiation for sin, that whoever believes in Him shouldnot perish, but should have everlasting life." This is the essence of the one message we have to deliver to all men! "Thereis no difference."
And, next, there is no difference as to man's need of this Gospel. There are some, as we have already admitted, who have beenpreserved from gross vice, whose lives have been moral and upright, yet they have as much need of the Gospel as those whoare confined in our jails, or those who flaunt their unchastity in our public streets. The Gospel comes to deal with sin-andif a man has but one sin, he cannot get rid of that one sin apart from the Atonement of our Lord Jesus Christ. But all menhave not merely one sin, but many sins-they may not all be equally clear and manifest-some of them may be secret sins, butthe secrecy of sin does not render it less sinful in the sight of God. There are no secrets from Him, He sees everything.And whether sin is open or covert, whether it is less or more than that of other men, it needs the atoning Sacrifice of Christto remove it! The putting away of the sin of the most moral person who ever lived requires the propitiation of the Son ofGod. There is no bath that can take away a single stain of guilt except that-
"Fountain filled with blood, Drawn from Immanuel's veins."
All men have evil hearts, albeit their hearts may not all be equally inclined to the coarser vices in which some indulge,yet there is in every sinner the black spot of alienation from God, forgetfulness of God, love of sin and dislike to God whenHe is thoroughly known. And, to get this out of the heart requires a Divine operation in every case. No man can make his ownheart clean. If it were possible for a man to change his arm or his foot, yet it would be clearly impossible for him to changehis heart-that is so vital to himself that there cannot be a change there unless He that made all hearts should make thatheart anew! To change the heart of the most amiable maiden requires the work of the Spirit of God as truly as to change theheart of the most debauched wretch that lives! It is no more possible for the honest man than for the practiced thief to makehis heart right in the sight of God-it is equally impossible to either of them. Both cases are beyond human power and, therefore,the need of the work of the Spirit of God is the same. All of us, at this moment, either stand stripped naked before God,without a rag to cover us, or else we are wrapped in the glorious and resplendent righteousness of Jesus Christ. The needof the Gospel is the same to every individual in the world! Those who are elevated above their fellow creatures do not standon high before God-the Queen needs the Grace of God to save her just as much as the poorest of her subjects. "There is nodifference" as to the need of salvation.
Next, this declaration is equally true as to the method of salvation. The way in which men are saved is the same in everycase. "There is no difference." They do not all feel the same terrors, they do not all experience, to the same extent, thecommon joys. Each path is peculiar in some respects, yet there is but one road, and that is the narrow way that leads to eternallife. The plan of salvation is this-that we confess and acknowledge that our own righteousness is but filthy rags, that thereis nothing in us that can merit anything of God. And, next, that we apprehend that the Lord has put His dear Son into ourplace, has laid on Him our sin and struck Him with the strokes that ought to have fallen upon us. He, on His part, willinglybecame our Surety and Substitute. We must believe this if we would be saved. That being done, we must accept what Christ hasendured as being borne for us-and trust in it with our whole hearts. We must, in fact, change places with Christ-let Him stand,as He did stand, and be reckoned as the sinner, that we might stand here and be looked upon by God as if we had been likeHis Son-perfectly righteous and without sin. He clothes Himself in our rags and He puts on us His royal robes! Faith appropriatesto itself the righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ and so is clothed with what is called in our text, "the righteousnessof God."
God's plan of salvation is a grand one and there is no other that can be of use to anybody in the whole world. This is theone way of life-that you acknowledge yourself to be nothing and take Christ to be your All-in-All-that you, with your sinand misery, by a simple act of faith, take to yourself Christ to be your righteousness and your strength-and, this being done,you are accepted in the Beloved, for now is it true of you that the righteousness of God, which is by faith in Jesus Christ,is unto you and upon you seeing that you have believed in Him. "There is no difference," then, about the method of salvation.
Once more, there is no difference as to the efficacy of the plan of salvation. This man believed in Jesus Christ and was saved.So shall that other man be if he believes in Jesus Christ. All who believe in Christ are justified from all things. All whotrust in Christ have eternal life and shall never perish. The blood of Jesus was never yet applied to a conscience withoutgiving it peace. A persecutor is washed and his crimson stains are gone. A thief believes and he is, that day, with Christin Paradise! Mary Magdalene believes and seven devils are cast out of her. A rough Philippian jailor believes and that nighthe is baptized, rejoicing in God with all his house. Never sinner yet did try this blessed remedy and find it fail! And noneever shall, for "there is no difference."
II. Now, in the second place, I want to TURN THIS TRUTH TO PRACTICAL ACCOUNT by showing its bearing upon us.
My first observation is what a leveler this doctrine is for pride!There is self-righteousness up there as a crown upon yourforehead-it will have to come down, my Friend. You are covered with the beautiful garments of your own good deeds-take themoff, Brothers and Sisters-take them off! They are all without merit in the sight of God until you have trusted His Son. Allthat you have done and all that you think you have done are only as so many cobwebs that must be swept away. There standsthe gate through which the most fallen may enter-and you must go through the same gate. There is no private path made fora gentleman like you. There is no royal road to Heaven save only that one royal road which is opened for the very chief ofsinners. Down, Mr. Pride! Here is a man who is born of Christian parents and, perhaps, he has listened to the lying logicof the present age which says, "Children born of godly parents do not need conversion-there is something good in them by nature."I tell you, Sirs, that I begin to tremble for the children of pious parents, for I think that they are more likely to be deceivedthan any others! They often fancy that they are converted when they are not and they get admitted into churches while theyare unconverted. They are not like those who can see a great change in themselves through being taken right out of gross sin-theyare very apt to be deceived and have need to be very careful lest they should make a fatal and eternal mistake. Instead ofboasting of their godly ancestry, high privilege as it is, let them remember that regeneration is not of blood, nor of birth,nor of the will of man, but of God. And to them, as to all others, Christ's words apply, "You must be born again."
There are some who imagine that they can get to Heaven by some special staircase because they are people of rank. Oh, believeme, Sir John, you will have to be saved in the same way as your groom, or not at all! Ah, my lord, everybody bows to you,but you must bow to Christ! You must be saved in the same way as the carpenter, the blacksmith and the chimney-sweep, or notat all. There are no two ways to Heaven! Jesus says, "I am the Way." There is no other way for your lordship, or your ladyship,in spite of your rank. There is a wealthy man who thinks that everything is to be bought, if he can find the price-but youcannot buy Heaven, Sir. The very stones of the street are of pure gold-you could not buy one of them, you have not enoughmoney! Your wealth goes for nothing in the matter of salvation. You must be saved in the same way as the poorest of the poor.The pauper who was born in a workhouse and has never left it, has the same way of salvation as you have, for, "there is nodifference" of any sort, whatever, with regard to birth, or rank, or wealth.
But someone says, "I am a man of great abilities, a man of education, culture and learning." I am very glad to hear of it,my dear Sir. But do you expect the Lord is going to make a way of salvation by competitive examination as when people enterthe Civil Service? Is there to be a special way of salvation for you Masters of Arts or Doctors of Divinity? It is not so!The Lord knew that the great bulk of people would be nothing of this sort, so He made a Gospel which is adapted to the poor-butis just as suitable for all. Those who are illiterate can, nevertheless, understand the way of salvation by faith in Christand so they are saved and, my dear Sir, you will have to be saved in the same way, or else you will never get to Heaven. Ihave heard of a king of Sweden who, when he lay dying, had a bishop to pray with him. And when the bishop had finished hisprayer, the king said, "Somehow I have derived no comfort from that prayer. I remember once hearing a shepherd pray in a hutwhen I had lost my way-will you send for him?" They did so, and when the shepherd poured out his heart in his own simple language,then the king saw the Light of God and died rejoicing! "There is no difference"-the king and the shepherd need the same Savior-andmust go to Heaven by the same royal road. This doctrine dethrones pride, but that is not all that it does.
Further, it is a great uplifter of those who are troubled with fears. "Oh," says one, "I am such a great sinner! I feel thatI am the greatest sinner who ever lived." Ah, my dear Friend, but "there is no difference." You will enter Heaven at the samegate through which great saints go in if you do but trust the Lord Jesus Christ, for that is what they have to do and so theyare saved, and so shall you be! I think that I hear another say, "But I find such evil in my very nature. I have such a hardheart. I cannot feel, I cannot love the Lord as I want to." Yes, I know all about it and I am very sorry for you, but, mydear Friend, "there is no difference." You believe that there are some Christians who are very tender of spirit, but the Lordhad to make them tender-and He can make you tender. The same Lord that saves little children and that brought a young Josiahand an open-hearted Lydia to His feet, can bring you, also, for there is really no difference. It needed a Divine work intheir case and it needs the same in yours. "I am very poor," says one. Yes, but, "there is no difference," blessed be God!You hardly know where you are going to sleep tonight, but I can tell you where you may rest, not only tonight, but all yourdays-that is, in Christ Jesus-if you come and put your trust in Him! He does not look to see whether you have a suit of broadclothor a suit of fustian! "There is no difference" with regard to that matter.
"But I am so ignorant," says one, "I cannot even read." I am very sorry for you and I think that you ought to try and learn.At the same time, there is many a man who can read his title clear to a mansion in the skies who does not know A from B! Itdoes not need that you be a scholar in the schools of men to become a scholar in the school of Christ, but, just as you are,trust your soul in His hands and He will teach you all that is essential to be known, for in this matter, "there is no difference."I thought I heard someone say, very indistinctly, "Ah, Sir, but I am so old!" Yes, yes, and I think I hear a little boy orgirl over yonder say, "But, Sir, I am so young!" Well, come along, both of you! Give me your hand, old Friend, and give meyours, dear child, for "there is no difference" between the oldest and the youngest as to this way of salvation! The childbelieves and is saved! And the old man believes with a childlike faith and is saved, too!
My text also has a practical bearing in another direction, it helps to meet singularity of disposition. There are many personsin the world who believe that they are different from everybody else. I always sympathize very heartily with them becauseI know that I am, myself, a very odd body, a lot out of all catalogs, I often say, and so are you. You think there never wasanother like you! Perhaps you think it is a pity that there should be and very likely that is true. You are all by yourself,you say. Well, just listen to me, for my text can set you right-God grant that it may! After all, "there is no difference."Come, you strange Jack-you singular Mary-you that seem to be the odd bird in the nest-there is, after all, no difference!Your heart is evil, your life has been sinful-so has my life been, and so is it with all those round about you! And thereis only one way of salvation for you odd people and for all you even people as well! There is not anybody that is so cut onthe cross, so strange and so altogether out of harmony with the rest of mankind that he may say, "God left me out of His calculations."No, there is really no difference whatever between you and others in this matter of salvation!
I must make yet one more practical use of my text and that is, to encourage you who labor for Christ. Where are you goingto serve the Master, my Brother? "Oh," you reply, "I have a very tough bit of ground to till. I teach in a Ragged School onStint Street and I visit the lodging houses." Another says, "I am trying to do something for Christ in Bethnal Green." Well,Friend, I reckon that I have about as hard a field of labor as you have. "Oh," you say, "but these look like very respectablepeople." Yes, they look so, but if you could read their hearts, you would see that they are uncommonly like those people onStint Street and Bethnal Green among whom you are working. "As in water, face answers to face, so the heart of man to man."We all belong to the same race. There is but one blood in all of us. There is the same tendency to sin and the same need ofa Savior for these respectable-looking folk as there is for the very roughest and the very dirtiest of mankind!
I think I hear another say, "I am going to Africa as a missionary and I am sometimes afraid as to how I shall get on withthe unenlightened people there." Another says, "I am going to India and I do not know how I shall succeed with those learnedBrahmins." Another says, "I am going to China. I cannot hope to see many converted among those who are so devoted to Confucianism."Why not? "There is no difference." After all, it is the same sort of soil which we all have to plow either at home or abroad.There may be a slight contrast on the surface, but it all needs the same kind of plowing, the same sort of sowing and thesame Divine power to cause the seed to grow! The gate of salvation is just as widely open to men in China as it is to youwho have long been sitting under the sound of the Word. At bottom, "there is no difference" between man and man-they are allsinners, they are all depraved. "They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none thatdoes good, no, not one." I believe that it takes as much Grace to save an Englishman as it does to save a Hottentot. The Graceoperates, too, in much the same way. The experience of the two men, when it is related, may sound different because of thevarying measure of knowledge of the parties concerned, yet the essential items of all true Christian experience will be foundto be the same in every case. Do not, therefore, say, dear Brother, "I shall not go to that place! It is such a difficultplace." I have a notion that such a spot as that is the very best place to which anyone can go. "But there are such crowdsof people there." All the better! It is good fishing where there are plenty of fish. "But, oh, they are so wild!" Just so.But if I were ever to go hunting, I would not hunt poor timid hares, I would like to go after lions, tigers, bears and wolves-thereis excitement in such sport as that!
And if you go in for soul-winning, do not be picking and choosing which souls you will try to win. The worse the region is,the more it needs the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I think that if I were a lamp and I could have my choice as to where I wouldbe hung, I should not wish to be in one of the fine streets where there were plenty of other lamps, but I should like to godown some wretched court where there was no lamp at all, where the people break one another's heads and steal one another'sgoods in the dark, for I should be of more use there! So, dear Friends, be willing to go where you can be of most use! Andwherever your sphere of service is, do not be discouraged, for over all men there hangs this motto, "There is no difference."They have all to be saved in the same way and the Omnipotence that can save one will abundantly suffice for the salvationof another!
III. Now, in closing my discourse, I want to spend a minute or two in bidding you REJOICE OVER THIS GREAT
I rejoice over the fact that there is no difference, in the matters of which I have been speaking, concerning the whole humanrace. I saw a picture of the Tower of Babel by an eminent painter. All the various races of mankind were represented as goingoff in different directions, some to the North, others to the South, to the West, or to the East, all being scattered overthe face of the whole earth. It was a painful sight to see the great family broken up, never, as far as we could see, to bereunited again. But, dear Friends, hear how this text collects the whole family of mankind into one and gathers all thesescattered ears of corn and makes one sheaf of them-"There is no difference." All men are fallen through sin, but whoever,out of them all, believes in Jesus Christ, shall have eternal life! There is one blessed bath of salvation in which all maybe washed whiter than snow! There is one remedy, and only one, for the disease of sin-and all who apply to the great Physicianare healed forever. I love to see the human race thus reunited.
But there is something better than that. What glory it is to the Lord Jesus Christ that He should be the only Savior and thatfaith in Him should be the only way of salvation! I feel sure that we do not wish the Lord Jesus Christ to be put into competitionwith someone else in His work as our Savior. No, we want our Lord to have the monopoly in this matter and He has it! Nonecan be saved except by faith in Him, by the application of His precious blood, glory be to His holy name! I feel a very peculiarjoy over this Truth of God. I was thinking, as I came along to this service, "Suppose I had to preach a different gospel forevery man?" There is a little book entitled, Every man his own lawyer. Well, nowadays, according to some people, it seemsas if every man is to be his own savior! But if I had, say, a dozen gospels, and I had to sort them out and give the rightgospel to the right man, what a fix I would be in! I believe that, oftentimes, I should be giving your gospel to someone elseand someone else's gospel to you-and what a muddle it would all be! But now we have one universal cure! We have a Divine catholicon.The blood and righteousness of Jesus Christ will save every man who trusts Him, for "there is no difference."
Wherever Christ is received, there shall be salvation. This makes it easy work for the preacher and what a blessing it isto you who are Believers, for, suppose you had to say, "Well, I have believed in such-and-such a salvation," but somebodymight say, "That will not save you! You are a No. 2 man and you need No. 2 gospel, not No. 1." Suppose you should lay holdof that and one of these days your conscience should say to you, "No. 2 is not the medicine that you need, you ought to haveNo. 6." Suppose that it ran up to No. 14, No. 17, or No. 20? Why, when you lay dying, you might say, "I have taken the remedyNo. 1, but I am afraid that I am a No.20 man. I took this one and it did give me some kind of relief, but I am afraid thatI took the wrong medicine." But now it is one medicine for every disease-one Christ for every sinner-one blood with whichto wash us-one salvation with which to rescue us-one righteousness with which to cover us! Therefore, such doubts as I havejust mentioned can never come into the minds of those who believe in Jesus-blessed be God for that!
And so to you, dear Hearers, who are seeking after Christ, is it not a great mercy that there is but one name whereby youcan be saved? Otherwise the same awkward occurrence might happen to you and you would be saying, "At which door am I to goin?" You might get to the wrong entrance and the man in charge of it might say, "This is not the door for you. You have cometo the wrong one, you must go to No. 6, or 7, or 8." How puzzled we are when we go to Clap-ham Junction, or some such railwaystation, to know which staircase we are to go up-and a poor sinner would be much in the same kind of worry to know which wayhe was to be saved. But when it is just this, "Believe and be saved; look and live; trust yourself to Christ, rest in Hisatoning Sacrifice and you are saved"-all can understand it!
When God gives us, by His Spirit, a simple faith in Jesus, we at once receive eternal life-and every soul that believes inJesus Christ has that life. I pray God to bless this message to you who are still unsaved. Quarrel not with your only hopeof salvation! Accept what God provides! Yield yourselves to the Divine decree, for God has decreed that no soul shall enterHeaven but by His Son, "the Way, the Truth and the Life." This name-this one name-you must rely on if you would be saved!This way-this one way-you must run in if you would enter Heaven! God help you to enter it at once, for our Lord Jesus Christ'ssake! Amen.
EXPOSITION BY C. H. SPURGEON: ROMANS3.
Verses 1, 2. What advantage, then, has the Jew? Or what profit is there in circumcision? Much every way; chief, because thatunto them were committed the oracles of God. If it is so that, after all, no outward rite or birth privileges can bestow Grace,what advantage did the Jews possess? "Why," says Paul, "they had this very great privilege, 'that unto them were committedthe oracles of God!'" It is no small blessing to have a Revelation from Jehovah and to have the means of knowing what thatRevelation really is.
3. For what if some did not believe?Many of the seed of Israel did not believe the Revelation that was made to them. Yet theprivilege of hearing it was just as great, even though they slighted it.
3-5. Shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect? God forbid! Yes, let God be true, but every man a liar; asit is written, That You might be justified in Your sayings, and might overcome when You are judged. But if our unrighteousnesscommends the righteousness of God, what shall we say? Is God unrighteous who takes vengeance? Vengeance on a sin which isnevertheless made to turn to His glory?
5-7. (I speak as a man) God forbid: for then how shall God judge the world? For if the Truth of God has more abounded throughmy lie unto His glory, why yet am I also judged as a sinner?Yet I shall be. If God shall overrule my sin to His own glory,that will mate no difference to my responsibility. If I have lied, if I have done wrong in any way, I must be judged and condemnedon that account, whatever may be the ultimate result of my sin.
8. And not rather, (as we are slanderously reported, and as some affirm that we say), Let us do evil, that good may come?Whose damnation is just. If any man dares to say that, "Since God turns even evil into good, and by the forgiveness of sinbrings glory to Himself, 'Let us do evil that good may come,'" he is twisting the Truth of God to his own destruction-andhis "damnation is just."
9. What then? Are we better than they? Are Jews better than Gentiles? Or, are Gentiles better than Jews?
9. No, in no way, for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin. Nobody can read the firstchapter of the Epistle to the Romans and follow it by reading the second, without seeing how completely Paul has proved "thatthey are all under sin."
10. As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one. There is not, and there never has been, one of the human race,save our Lord, who also is God, who ever continued to live a righteous life! Adam began righteously, but how soon he fell!And all his descendants have both began and continued to be sinners. "There is none righteous, no, not one."
11. There is none that understands, there is none that seeks after God. That is, none do so by nature-those who seek afterGod are ledto do so by a work of Grace upon their hearts. Otherwise, men are blind. They do not see the right path. They arewillful and do not seek after God.
12. They are all gone out of the way, they are all together become unprofitable; there is none that does good, no, not one.This is God's verdict upon the whole human race! He has the best opportunity of seeing them and He has the best capacity forjudging them. And this is what He says of all men as they are by nature, "There is none that does good, no, not one."
13. Their throat is an open sepulcher. A reeking mass of corruption!
13. With their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips. They are pleased to say a bad word abouttheir neighbor. They are eager to repeat any slander that they hear and they are not unwilling, even, to invent it, themselves!
14, 15. Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: their feet are swift to shed blood. And when, by fear of the laws ofthe land, they are prevented from carrying out their evil purposes, yet their anger is, itself, murder in intent- and intowhat human heart has not that sin glanced?
16-19. Destruction and misery are in their ways: and the way of peace have they not known: there is no fear of God beforetheir eyes. Now we know that whatever the Law says, it says to them who are under the Law. All these passages, which Paulhas put together in this dreadful mosaic, are taken from the Old Testament, so they apply to the Jews. And he had alreadyproven, in the first Chapter, the intolerable vice of the Gentiles, so that now he has shown that both Jews and Gentiles areguilty.
19. That every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. The 19th Century world, as well as theworld of the 1st Century-all the world, in all time, has "become guilty before God."
20. Therefore by the deeds of the Law there shallno flesh be justified in His sight. Talk not, therefore, of righteousnessby your own works! Dream not of meriting eternal life by any attempt to keep the Law of God, for this is the declaration ofGod's Holy Spirit, "By the deeds of the Law there shall no flesh be justified in His sight."
20. For by the Law is the knowledge of sin. The Law is a mirror-you see your spots as you gaze into it. But no man ever washedhis face in a mirror-it shows the spots, but it cannot remove them! The Law of God is the indicator and the revealer of sin,but it has no power whatever to put away sin.
21-24. But now the righteousness of God without the Law is manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets; even therighteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference; forall have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; being justified freely by His Grace through the redemption that is inChrist Jesus. That is a very wonderful verse, every word of it is full of meaning. "Justified"-that is, accounted just, madeto be righteous in the sight of God. "Justified freely"-without any merit or purchase money. "Freely by His Grace"-not anact of justice, but an act of mercy has made sinners just in the sight of God! "Through the redemption"-there is the foundationof it all-we are redeemed by precious blood. "Through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.'"
25-27. Whom God has set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His blood, to declare His righteousness for the remissionof sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; to declare, I say, at this time His righteousness: that He might bejust, and the justifier of him which believes in Jesus. Where is boasting, then?Boasting is sure to be somewhere handy, readyto creep in if it can, for we are all prone to it-it is the common sin of our race! "Where is boasting, then?"
27. It is excluded. By what law? is shut out! But by what law is it shut out?
27. Of works?No, for whenever we think that we have been performing any good works, we at once begin to boast.
27. No, but by the law of faith. For if we are saved by believing, if we are justified freely by God's Grace through the redemptionthat is in Christ Jesus, then there is no room for boasting.
28. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the Law. "We conclude"-we are shut up to thisbelief, "that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the Law."
29. Is He the God of the Jews only?Is He not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also. He saved Abraham by faith, andhe saves us by faith. The same saving principle is applicable to all parts of the human race.
30. 31. Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith. Do we thenmake void the Law through faith?Some will be sure to say so, but it is not true.
31. God forbid! Yes, we establish the Law. There is no one who so much loves the Law of God and delights in it after the inwardman, as the one who is justified by faith! There is nothing that so honors the Law of God as "the righteousness of God throughfaith in Jesus Christ." It establishes forever the Law, even as Christ said to His disciples, "Think not that I am come todestroy the Law, or the Prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, Till Heaven and earthpass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the Law, till all is fulfilled."