In the first three chapters of Romans, Paul introduces us to three kinds of people. These three designations typify all people of all time.
- The Godless—The
first group are those who reject God and His ways and go their own way. Some of
these people are simply indifferent toward God, while others are militantly
opposed to Him.
These individuals have abandoned sound thinking and have exchanged them for lies. They are so committed to their lies that they deem all others fools who oppose their lies. They pervert what God intended as holy. “They not only continue to do these very thigs but also approve of those who practice them.” Read more about this group of people in Romans 1:18-32.
Morally Self-Righteous—This group seeks to adhere to a strict moral code.
But they cannot keep the code themselves and are quick to judge others who
don’t abide by it either. Thus, the morally self-righteous are as guilty as
those they condemn. Read more about this group of people in Romans 2:1-16.
- The Religious—This group of people rely on their religion and their devotion to it. Those on the outside looking in see right through these people. They may say the “right” things, but their lives conflict with what they preach. Their religion is dead, lifeless, impersonal. Their religious acts are all external, having no positive impact on their character. They may impress the naïve, but they don’t impress God. You can read more about these people in Romans 2:17-29.
Despite these three categories of people, they all have one thing in common: they are all being held in the power of sin (Romans 3:9). Not one of us by any human means or effort can release ourselves from its power. And as a result, we are all sinners. We have all broken God’s laws. And by doing so, we have disgraced Him and ourselves. (Romans 3:10-20)
Consequently, all of us will be judged for our sins. We’re all guilty. And the penalty for sin is death (Romans 6:23).
BUT, God in His great mercy has made a way to free us from the power of sin and cleanse us from all our sins. Out of His love for us, He paid the price at great cost to Himself. What we could not do for ourselves, He did for us. He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die for our sins. Jesus died in our place. He took the punishment we deserve. All God asks of us is to receive His gift by placing our faith in Jesus Christ.
And when we put our trust in Christ for the forgiveness of our sins, not only does He release us from sin’s power and forgive us for all our sins, but He makes us righteous in God’s sight. It’s true. When you trust Christ, God bestows on you the righteousness of His Son, Jesus. (Romans 3:21-31)
No matter which of the three categories of people once described us, we would be lost without Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection on our behalf. Once we have placed our trust in Christ, it’s easy sometimes to forget what we once were. It’s also easy to forget that the freedom, forgiveness, and righteousness that we now possess is a gift we could neither earn nor manufacture apart from Christ. We also forget to live as those who have been set free, forgiven and made holy.
Therefore, as you deal with those who don’t yet know Christ, it doesn’t matter which category they fall into. In God’s eyes, there’s just once category of people: sinners in need of the Savior, Jesus Christ. Show them the same grace God showed you and tell them about Jesus.
©2019 Rob Fischer