Sunday, 25 May 2008

Exposing fear to the light

Pentecost 2 year A Sermon 08
Isaiah 49:8-10 and 15
Matthew 6:24-34

Did you hear what Jesus said?

‘Don’t worry about your life... can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life?’

Are you serious Jesus? Is Jesus really serious?

I think Jesus is serious. If we claim to be his followers we have to his teaching seriously.

‘Don’t worry about your life...’

I want you take a moment to write down just one worry you have... no matter how trivial you think it wont have to show it to anybody...
it’s your private worry

Jesus warns against fear and worry... more than he warns against anything else...except maybe hypocrisy.
Over and over again Jesus tells his friends
‘Do not be afraid.’

Now Jesus isn’t talking about the fear that protects us and makes us run away when an avalanche is roaring down on us off the mountain. That’s good healthy life preserving fear.
No, Jesus is talking about the nagging chronic ongoing kind of fear and worry that starts to take over our lives. The kind of fear and worry Jesus is talking about... distracts us from living lives of faith based on grace ...distorts our view of reality...and twists the truth.

And did you notice Jesus starts out with ordinary everyday worries doesn’t he.

‘Don’t worry about your life, what you’ll eat or drink, or about your body, what you will wear.’

The reality is Jesus says:
‘your heavenly Father knows you need all these things.’

Why is it... when there’s cyclones and earthquakes...
occupying armies... evil and injustice in the world...
why does Jesus start out with such trivial worries?

Well it seems to me... that Jesus knows if we don’t name them...and bring them out into the light of day...
even our little fears...can take over and start ruling our lives...

Instead of setting our minds on God’s kingdom...
we begin to live in the kingdom of fear and worry.

One of my favourite theologians puts it this way... Fear gets so much control over our lives... because we hardly ever recognise it... and name it for what it is.

Why don’t we recognise it?
Because fear will often dress itself up as something more acceptable...something nicer... for the sake of our self-esteem...because none of us wants to think of ourselves... as paranoid or neurotic or cowardly... or even timid.
So chronic fear has to disguise itself as something else...
to get us to embrace it.

Camouflaged in this way...fear and worry start to look like ordinary common sense... or prudent sensible concern.
Disguised this way...fear can take over our thinking with smoke and mirrors... tempting us to believe that by worrying... we can control what we’re afraid of losing. Worry tempts us with the illusion of control.

In the Bible we learn...
the only way evil can gain control over us...
is to disguise itself. Paul draws our attention to this... in his second letter to the Corinthians

‘no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades… as an angel of light.’

Do you ever find it a little embarrassing...
that casting out demons are a large part of Jesus’ ministry? But do you notice these stories...often have to do with... forcing the demons to name themselves...
Jesus commanding them to come out and identify themselves.

This is echoed in that verse from Isaiah we heard before...
‘Saying to those in darkness: show yourself!’

This same principle is important for us today...
as we try to follow Jesus and keep growing spiritually...

To stop our fears ruling over us... you might say we have to name our demons... identify our fears...
to grow spiritually... requires a commitment...
to exposing our fears to the light...

Jesus teaches... what psychology would eventually discover: that anything exposed to the light... will itself become light. Paul put it this way:

‘For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord
…everything exposed by the light becomes visible… for it’s light that makes everything visible.
This is why it is said: "Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you."[i]

Paul understands that "dark" things, like fear and shame, can actually be used for our own good and transformation, if we just hold them up to the light. They can actually become a form of light!

In other words, we can’t just talk ourselves out of our fears. We can’t just pretend we’re not afraid. To begin the process of driving these demons out,
we have to name them and feel them for what they are and we have to expose their disguises and lies.

So why do you think Jesus begins this teaching about not worrying...with all this stuff about
‘you can’t serve God and money’?

Well, I think Jesus understood that fear... is almost always... the fear of losing something.

In many stories and parables Jesus logic goes like this...the more you have...the more you have to lose...
the more you have...the more you have to protect...
the more you hold on...cling to...and even hoard.

And I think Jesus wanted us to realise...
when we’re not used to letting things go...
when we’re not practiced giving things up...
the more fear and worry we’re going to have.

Maybe that’s why wealthy people...
tend to be "conservative" people...precisely because...
they have a lot to conserve.

To be on the safe side they have to be on guard... vigilant... suspicious and wary...

When we aren’t used to letting go, we can be pretty sure our entire life...will be controlled by fear.

Catholic theologian Richard Rohr calls learning to name and let go of our fears...‘the the art of "releasement,"

Releasement... I looked it up on Google as you do and I found this
Re`lease´ment: the act of releasing… as from imprisonment or duty.

Saying to those living in darkness...come out.

Jesus was onto this amazing spiritual principle of releasing what we’re afraid to lose. Naming these fears for what they are and releasing them to God.

The problem for Jesus’ disciples and for us is...
most of our fears are so trivial and habitual...
we don’t even know what we’re afraid of losing.

And living in fear is compounded for people immersed in our very secular in culture...
because they just assume...
there’s no one to release their fears to... [pause]

Without a belief in a God who calls us and our fears out of darkness...a God who cares for us compassionately... and loves us unconditionally

...there’s no reason to release anything...
and there’s every motivation... to hold on, to protect, and to hoard. Causing people cling desperately...
to their reputation...their image...even other people.

And before you know it...fear becomes the major and controlling "demon" of our time.
Of course Jesus knew that the lives of highly religious people were often ruled by fear...and that religious people even use fear as a way to control or convert others. Naturally, we can think we can see this in other religions...but among Christians fear wears different disguises.

Like when people are told to believe or they’ll burn in hell. That’s not in Jesus teaching and when we use fear that way then fear becomes our religion and our lives are ruled by fear instead of love and grace.

When that happens we live as though we never read the words of 1 John that
‘perfect love casts out fear’

Unless we practice...noticing and naming and surrendering our trivial everyday fears,
its going to be hard to recognize the really big and really disguised fears... that control our politics, our economy... our religious views...fears that maybe even control the future of the planet.

In the shadow of terrorism, climate change, war and poverty... our world is overwhelmingly ruled by fear and not by love.

Denying our fears just gives them more power over us. If you don’t recognize your fear, you risk being totally manipulated it. Or as Jesus would say, "a reed shaken by the wind." Fear lures us and tempts us to put ourselves and our worries centre stage...
When we allow this Jesus’ way of loving and serving others... is lost to us.

Richard Rohr...the Catholic theologian I was talking about says. ‘We must name fear for the true blinding and evil demon it is... or it will govern our world.’

Jesus teaches us to love our enemies not fear them.
Jesus proclaims a God of saving love...not saving fear. Jesus demonstrated the principles of shalom...of peace...
with love and compassion and mercy...
and justice for everyone.

And Jesus shows us that to live this way...
is to set your mind on the Kingdom of God...

So what are we to remember from all this and what are we to do...
One: we have to identify what we’re afraid of losing.
Two: we have to release what we’re afraid of losing into the care of God.
Three: we need to we trust Jesus’ when he says: ‘your father in heaven knows what you first set your mind on the kingdom of God and on his justice and peace...
and all these things will be given to you as well.[ii]
Blank slide Let us sing of this.
[i] Ephesians 5:13ff
In this sermon I have borrowed liberally from Fear Itself. by Richard Rohr, OFM. Sojourners Magazine, October 2004

Sunday, 11 May 2008

What God has done for you

Professor Graham Hill
Roman's Series part 6 Romans 3: 21-31
Justification - REAL, PURE, JOY

1. Introduction
I hope all of us will be agreed that the most vital question that faces all men and women concerns our standing before God and our relationship with him. Here I am a human being with all the nobility and depravity that that expression implies and there is God in all the infinite perfections of his being, my creator and my judge. I came from his hand in the beginning and I shall give an account to him at the end; will he accept me or will he reject me. That is the question and no question can possibly compare with that in importance for it concerns our identity as human beings and it concerns our eternal destiny in heaven or hell.

Over the past 5 weeks from Chapters 1-3 in Romans have learned much about ourselves that is very unpleasant and very unpalatable. All human beings of every race and rank of every creed and culture, the wicked and the good are without exception sinful, guilty, inexcusable and speechless before God. The wrath of God is upon us now and we are storing up wrath for the Day of Judgment if Jesus Christ has not saved us. It is enough to drive anyone to despair for it seems that there is no hope of salvation. Is there any hope for people like us? This was the terrible human predicament described in the first three chapters of Romans. Paul summed it up by saying:
‘All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God’
We are led to ask is there any hope for people like us guilty sinners without any excuse.

2. But now --------what is justification?

So we turn to verse 21: ‘But now, one of the great assertitives of the New Testament ----- ‘But now’ - through the black storm clouds of the divine wrath shines the bright light of his mercy:

‘But now’ (verse 21) ‘But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known,--(verse 22) This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.

Let’s put the searchlight on this word righteousness, it was this very word that caused such a stumbling block to a young Professor of Sacred Theology at the University of Wittenberg in East Germany 500 years ago. In late 1515 Martin Luther began a series of lectures on the book of Romans. His growing understanding of ‘the righteousness of God’ changed not only him but the whole course of history! He wrote:
“I greatly longed to understand Paul’s letter to the Romans and nothing stood in the way but that one expression, ‘the righteousness of God’ because I took it to mean that righteousness whereby God is righteous and deals righteously in punishing the unrighteous ……… Night and day I pondered until ...I grasped the truth that the righteousness of God is that righteousness whereby, through grace and sheer mercy, he justifies us by faith.
Thereupon I felt myself to be reborn and to have gone through open doors into paradise. The whole of Scripture took on a new meaning, and whereas before ‘the righteousness of God’ had filled me with hate, now it became to me inexpressibly sweet in greater love. This passage of Paul became to me a gateway into heaven.
Perhaps the meaning is easier to understand when we read the Good News Bible translation of ‘a righteousness from God’:
21 But now God's way of putting people right with himself has been revealed. ---- God puts people right with himself through their faith in Jesus Christ.

Justification is the technical word for God's way of putting people right with himself. Justified is a key word in the Bible. It's a legal term -- a term used in a courtroom. It literally means "to declare not guilty." It means to be acquitted.
Imagine yourself standing before a judge and you know 100% that you're guilty and you're waiting for the verdict. Your knees are trembling. The judge looks at you and says, "You are acquitted." That's justification! God declares you Not Guilty for all of the sins you have committed.
Justification is more than just forgiveness. It means that there is absolutely, no longer, any case at all against you. It's wiped out. You are in a perfect standing with God. All the charges are dropped. It's not like you're just forgiven. The charges are dropped! There's not even a case against you. It is forgiveness plus righteousness.
To Summarise: Justification is something that God does to us. He declares us innocent, not guilty. We don't earn it, we don't work for it. It's just something that God does to us. It is a free gift, the greatest free gift in the world; utterly underserved it is a gift to all who believe in Jesus for God justifies, verse 24, freely by his grace.

3. The grounds of our justification – Christ and his cross
What will now occupy the rest of our thinking about justification which is offered to us as a free gift, free gratis and for nothing because it has been obtained at infinite cost by God in Jesus Christ on the cross. It is only free for us because it was so costly for him.
This is what we now are going to investigate – what did God do in this decisive event in the death of Jesus Christ on the cross that provided a righteous basis upon which he could forgive us as an absolutely free gift of justification, salvation, forgiveness, reinstatement which we do not even to begin to deserve
What is the meaning of the cross? A key question and this is what we should ponder every time we gather around the Lord ’s Table for the Lord’s Supper dramatizes the gospel that is being proclaimed.

Please notice now that there are three expressions: verse 24 ‘and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus’, in verse 25 God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement(or as the KJV says to be a propitiation), through faith in his blood. And in verse 25 ‘He did this to demonstrate his justice’.
Now here are three theological words with which all of us have to grapple if we want to understand the basis of our salvation that will give us assurance so that we can look God in the face and be afraid neither of life nor of death then we must understand these expressions that describe what God did at the cross – the first is redemption (verse 24), the second is propitiation (verse 25) and the third is justice (end of verse 25 and the beginning of verse 26) – the demonstration of the justice of God.

(a) Firstly then the cross is a Redemption from slavery
Sin in the bible is often likenened to slavery and being sinners we have lost our freedom. As Malcolm Muggeridge has said we are prisoners in our own dungeon of our egos – prisoners of our own guilt Verse 23, ‘for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.’
What is redemption? It means to release by paying a ransom. It was a word used in Paul's day in the Roman Empire. It was used to refer to slaves. Every day you could go downtown Rome to the open market and there was a slave market. You could go and buy slaves. There were over a half million slaves in Rome when Paul wrote this letter. Over half the population in Rome was slaves. If you had the money you could buy slaves that were put up on the auction block and do whatever you wanted to with them. You could kill them. You had total rights to those slaves in the Roman Empire. They had no rights at all. When you would go to a slave market and buy a slave you would pay a redemption, a price to release that slave. You could either take them home with you or you could set them free. That's the term Paul is using here. Paul later on talks about how we are in a sense spiritual slaves. We are slaves to our habits that we can't break, to our passions, to our own desires, to sin. Jesus Christ came and paid the ransom to set us free.
As we partake in communion let us ponder Christ’s work of redemption. Our justification rests on the fact that God, so loved us that he gave himself in the person of Jesus Christ and redeemed us, bought us out of slavery, shedding his blood as the ransom price. In consequence of this purchase we now belong to him.
(b) Secondly the cross is a propitiation of God’s wrath
Verse 25: ‘God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement (KJV to be a propitiation), through faith in his blood.
To propitiate someone means to turn aside their anger.
Some ask why is propitiation necessary? The pagan answer is because gods are bad tempered, subject to moods and fits and capricious. We have offended the Gods so we must turn their wrath aside. The Christian answer is because Gods holy wrath rests on evil. There is nothing unprincipled, unpredictable or uncontrolled about Gods anger; it is aroused by evil alone. We have no means whatever to turn aside the righteous anger of God. But God in his undeserved love has done what we could never do by ourselves: as verse 25 ‘God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement – he gave himself in the person of Jesus Christ to die in our place.
Prof Cranfield an influential theologian put it this way:
‘God, because in his mercy he willed to forgive sinful men, and being truly merciful, willed to forgive them righteously, that is, without any way condoning their sin, purposed to direct against his very own Self in the person of his Son the full weight of that righteous wrath which they deserved.’
In summary:
God’s own great love propitiated his own holy wrath through the gift of his only son, who took our place, bore our sin and died our death.
Thus God himself gave himself to save us from himself.
(c) Thirdly the cross demonstrates God’s justice
In verses 25 and 26 we learn that in the cross of Christ God, through redemption and propitiation, has demonstrated his own justice. Both justice (the divine attribute) and justification (the divine activity) would be impossible without the cross.
To summarise what we have learned about the grounds of our justification:
What God has done in his grace is that he has redeemed us from slavery, propitiated his own wrath and demonstrated his own justice: tremendous mind boggling truths that all of us ought to understand.

4. The means of our Justification – faith

The means of our Justification is faith; one of the great catch cries of the Reformation was:
sola fide – by faith alone
Sometimes I talk to Christians who, when they're asked if they're Christians say, "I'm trying." It's like being pregnant: You either you are or you aren't! It's not a matter of trying to be a Christian; it's a matter of trusting in Jesus Christ. It's by faith.
There are two mistakes people make when it comes to faith in Christ.
1. They say "I don't have enough faith." It doesn't matter how much or how little you've got. It's not the amount. It's the object that you put it in. It's not the size of your faith; it's the size of your God. You don't have to have a lot of faith. Everybody has faith. You have faith when you sit down in a chair that it will hold you up. You have faith when you drive away in your car in the morning. You have faith when you eat your porridge that your wife didn't poison it! Everybody has faith, it's just what do you put it in?

2. The second mistake is putting faith in faith. They think their faith in their faith is going to get them to heaven. No, it's faith in a person. Your faith is only as good as the object you put it in.

Faith doesn't save you; Christ does. A famous pastor says: a lot of people are going to miss heaven by 18 inches -- they have a head knowledge but not a heart knowledge. Faith in Greek means to trust in, cling to, rely on, adhere to. For instance, I believe in Hitler, but I'm not a Nazi. But I believe in Jesus and I'm a Christian. Commitment is the difference. It's faith in the person Jesus Christ who is the means of your justification.

Faith is a simple open hearted attitude to God which takes him at his word and gratefully accepts his grace.
No other system, ideology or religion proclaims a free forgiveness and a new life to those who have done nothing to deserve it but a lot to deserve judgment instead. On the contrary all other systems teach some sort of self-salvation through good works or religion, righteousness or philanthropy.
Christianity, by contrast, is not in essence a religion at all; it is a gospel, the gospel, good news that’s God’s grace has turned away his wrath, that God’s son has died our death and borne our judgment, that God has mercy on the undeserving, and there is nothing left for us to do, or even contribute. Faiths only function is to receive what grace offers.

5. Contemplating the Cross of Christ
As you contemplate the meaning of the Cross of Christ each time you participate in communion you might find it helpful to recall the theological words and there meaning by remembering a simple mnemonic: wonderful theological words every time you participate in communion.

Real – R = Redemption
Justification = Pure – P = Propitiation
Joy – J = Justice

‘Faith apprehendeth nothing else but the precious jewel Christ Jesus’
(Martin Luther 1531)
1. What do these verses teach about “righteousness from God’?
2. Can you define ‘justification’?
3. What parallels can you identify between the picture of ‘redemption’ and our situation as sinners?
4. What does ‘propitiation’ mean?
5. Apart from redeeming sinners and propitiating God, what else does Paul identify here as achieved by the cross?
6. Why is it vital to affirm that there is nothing meritorious about faith?
7. What three words are helpful when we are contemplating the cross during the communion service?

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Paul sums up his case

Easter 7 year A Sermon
Romans part 5

Don’t you dare preach to me young lady!
Don’t lecture me young man!

Did your teachers ever use that tone with you?
or your mum or dad? Implication being? You’re trying to teach your grandmother to suck eggs.

You……are trying to correct or persuade… someone who thinks they know a lot more than you do …you…who were only born yesterday…are talking to someone whose been around a long long time. Don’t preach to me! [pause]

Well that’s just the kind of response the first Christians used to get…when they tried to share the gospel… especially with people…who thought they already had … all the religious qualifications they needed thank you very much.

Over the past four weeks… we’ve studied the first part of Paul’s letter…to the struggling new church in Rome… Paul is trying to prepare and equip them for the daunting task of making disciples of Jesus Christ… and sharing the gospel of salvation... especially with difficult people who ask tricky question like: ‘Why do I need salvation? What do I need to be forgiven for?’

In his letter Paul teaches the early Christians in Rome how to approach three very different types of people who need the gospel…
who need forgiveness.

First remember Paul tells them about approaching
rebellious godless people…who hurt themselves and others by ignoring the revelation of God in creation...

then remember… Paul wrote about sharing the gospel with
respectable… self righteous people who think they have the right to judge others…when only God has the right to judge.

And today Paul’s talking about the hardest nuts of all to crack in the evangelism game
religious people…people who think "I'm not just a respectable citizen of this fair land… I'm religious." These were the people… who were likely to say… ‘don’t preach to me young lady!’

These were the religious Jews… in synagogues all over the Roman Empire… trusted their religion to save them.

Having been one himself…Paul knew religious Jews were going to be the hardest people to evangelize… so he wants to give the new church some powerful arguments… to convince even religious Jews…
of their need for the gospel of Jesus Christ…the power of God for the salvation of those who believe..

Paul wants the early Christians to realize…no matter how intimidating …no matter how pious religious Jews come across…they need their relationship with God healed…they need forgiveness…they need salvation… possibly even more… than atheists and pagans and respectable citizens of Rome...Why?

Because religious people think they’ve done it all themselves...simply by being religious…relying on religious rituals like circumcision...
to prove they’ve done it.

...never mind their judgmental selfish hearts

it's not your job to make people religious…
Paul’s telling them…it's your job to share Christ and his teachings with them… and because these religious types are such stiff opposition…you’re going to need some pretty strong arguments.

And so we come to today’s verses…where like a skilled crown prosecutor…in a courtroom drama...Paul sets out his closing arguments...and rests his case…that everyone… even religious Jews…everyone…needs the salvation that comes from a healed relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Even people who feel entitled because of their religion to eternity with God...

And like a good Jewish barrister ...Paul expects opposing counsel to yell out…I object your honour!

And so in today’s verses of Roman’s…
Paul masterfully anticipates… all possible objections his former brothers might make…and knocks them down… one by one....

First Paul imagines religious Jews would be asking... ‘Your Honour… is Paul seriously suggesting there’s no point at all… in being a Jew? No point having our sweet little boys circumcised?

Notice Paul asks rhetorically in verse one
What advantage then is there… in being a Jew,
or what value is there in circumcision?

Your honour… Paul responds....I’m certainly not saying there’s nothing special about Jews...I’m not saying there’s no value in being a Jew...
not by any means

‘First of all... above everything a people...
they’ve been entrusted with... the very words of God.’ Which was intended for all humanity...

Why, the Ark of the Covenant, and the Temple in Jerusalem… had been built to hold and protect…
the precious Word of God. The tablets of stone...
the oracles of God... the scrolls of the prophets...
Why the Jews were to be evangelists to the rest of the world…called to take the Word of God and share it. But they majored on protecting it didn’t they.

And yes there were those who were religious but didn’t really believe. keeping up the rituals for appearances sake saying the right prayers on the right holidays...
though of course they didn’t see the need…
to keep up an actual relationship… with God.

Paul acknowledges them too… in verse three.
So what… if some didn’t have faith? Will their lack of faith nullify God's faithfulness? No your honour

Not at all!

Let God be true, and every man a liar.

I swear to you here Paul is as much an artist in his language as Shakespeare was in his...listen to the words...Let God be true, and every man a liar.

Every Jew…had memorized the words of the Law and the Psalms and the prophets…hadn’t Psalm 89 said "if they violate My decrees and fail to keep My commandment I will punish their sin ...but I will not take My love from him, nor will I ever betray My faithfulness.’

Paul knows among religious Jews the word of God would always prevail...and quotes as evidence a prayer from Psalm 51

"So you may be proved right when you speak and prevail when you judge."

By now Paul expects his opponent to cry out...
but I object your honour...Paul’s already argued God’s wrath is being poured out on sinful humanity.
Paul imagines their objections... In verse five...

But if our unrighteousness brings out God's righteousness more clearly, what shall we say:
that God is unjust in bringing his wrath on us?

If our sins show the world how good God is in contrast… isn’t it unfair for God to pour out his wrath...on the Jews too!!!!!!!!

And in verse six Paul comes back...

Certainly not your honour. If that were so, how could God judge the world? That argument is ridiculous Someone might argue, equally crazily "If my falsehood enhances God's truthfulness and so increases his glory, why am I still condemned as a sinner?" Why not say—as we’re being slanderously reported as saying and as some claim we say—
"Let us do evil that good may result"?

your honour these arguments are bogus
Their condemnation is deserved.

Your honour...ladies and gentlemen of the jury...Paul says with a flourish…

'What shall we conclude then?'
can the Jews argue they don’t need salvation...they don’t need forgiveness?

'Are we'… the Jews… 'any better?'

No your honour

'Not at all!'

Your honour 'We’ve already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under sin.'

In support of my argument I submit six Psalms from the Jews own scriptures...a quote from Ecclesiastes the preacher....and another from the prophet Isaiah.

Exhibit A:
10As it is written: "There is no one righteous, not even one; 11there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. 12All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one."[1]

Exhibit B:
"Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit."[2]

Exhibit C: "The poison of vipers is on their lips."[3]

Exhibit D:"Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness."[4]

Exhibit E: "Their feet are swift to shed blood; ruin and misery mark their ways, and the way of peace they do not know."[5]

And finally your honour Exhibit F:

"There is no fear of God before their eyes."[6]

You honour Paul sighs... All this is completely logical...since their very value… keepers of the Word...and the law… of it must be concluded that...

‘… whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law [your honour]
so every mouth may be silenced…[pause]
and the whole world… held accountable to God.

Therefore your honour…no one will be declared righteous in Gods sight merely by observing the law; rather, through the law we Jews have simply become conscious of sin.’

Why do the Jews need the good news of Jesus Christ if they’re already God’s chosen people?

Your honour...Paul is saying...
I have sought to argue that everyone on earth needs salvation... everyone needs the gospel of Jesus Christ...everyone needs...the power of God…
for the salvation of those who believe.

Whether respectable, rebellious or religious.
Even and especially the Jews. If the bad news applies to everyone...then so does the good news... Your honour. I rest my case.

Questions for reflection:
Why do the Jews need the good news of Jesus Christ if they’re God’s chosen people?

How does Paul’s message encourage us to share the gospel with those who seem to have it all together already?

What parallels might there be between ‘churched’ people and religious Jews in relation to the gospel?

[1] Psalms 14:1-3; 53:1-3; Eccles. 7:20
[2] Psalm 5:9
[3] Psalm 140:3
[4] Psalm 10:7
[5] Isaiah 59:7,8
[6] Psalm 36:1