For “no human being will be justified in his sight” by deeds prescribed by the law, for through the law comes the knowledge of sin (Romans 3:20).
In Paul’s letter to the Christians in Rome, he showed that everyone needs faith in Jesus Christ to be freed from the consequences and power of sin. First, he showed that those without the Bible were accountable to God because God had given them reason, evidence from creation, and a conscience that revealed to them that God exists and what God requires for people to be right with Him, others, and themselves. Next, he showed that those with the Bible (the Old Testament) were also accountable to God for their actions. Having the Hebrew Scriptures while disobeying God did not give the Jews an advantage over others but revealed their responsibility and guilt. Whether the law of God is revealed through reason, nature, conscience, or the Bible, people know they do not act perfectly toward others or themselves—sometimes they realize they have not behaved perfectly toward God, all of which is sin. As the Holy Spirit works through the law of God, people become conscious of the fact that they need God to free them from the controlling power of sin in their lives and save them from the other consequences of their disobedience. When they see how wrong they have been in their treatment of God, others, and themselves, they know that if they lived perfectly from that moment forward (which is humanly impossible), they could never make themselves right with God. They know they need God to remove from them the crushing baggage of their sins; so, Paul shows people how God will make believers right through faith in Jesus Christ.
1. What are some advantages of having the Bible to read?
2. What does it mean to be under the power of sin?
3. How do most people live when they refuse to repent and turn to God, preferring instead to live the way they want?
4. What did Paul say happens to someone when they turn away from God?
5. Do you think sincere followers of Jesus Christ should still study the law of God? Give a reason for your answer.