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Sermon Notes

Main Verse: (Romans 3:21-30)

Key Thought: In order for salvation to take root each person needs to come to terms with their inability to save themselves. Paul has made clear that we are guilty under God’s holy standard (Romans 2-3).  But God cannot ignore his own standard of justice and perfection (which would violate his holiness). Instead, he took action to deal with our sin while at the same time honoring his standard of holiness. And this is our salvation. But this is a drastic departure from the limitations of religion.

Majority of Religions (Summarized from C.S. Lewis’ Abolition of Man)

  • Don’t harm others in word or deed.
  • Honor your parents.
  • Be kind to siblings and elderly.
  • Be honest in your dealings with others.
  • Don’t Lie.
  • Don’t have sex with another person’s spouse.
  • Care for the weak.

Law-based Religions often Look Like his:

  • Here are the Rules – Do this and Don’t do that
  • Here is the Problem – You messed that up
  • Here is the Fix – Follow this Ritual or Practice

3 Results of Religion

  • Legalistic approach (leads to pride)
  • Loophole approach (leads to pretending)
  • Looser approach (leads to powerlessness)

Christianity is different

Paul’s Key Words

  • Righteousness (δικαιοσύνη) = the condition or state of being right blameless, without fault.
  • Faith (πίστις) = assurance, belief confidence in something. An assent of the mind that predicates action
  • Justified (δικαιόω) = the act of making someone right.

Supporting Points:

1. Our sin cannot be fixed by the law (3:19-20)

(Watch – recorded interview with radiologist Dr. Randall Barker)

2. Our sin is interrupted by God’s work (Romans 3:21-26)

  • Faith is the trusting point (and trust is the proper environment for relationship)

3. There is no room for boasting (Romans 3:27)

  • Pride in one’s social standing are incompatible with those who are saved by the Gospel (Its shut out- this is used to describe a how a town in Galilee shut the gates to the Romans soldiers) You can’t manipulate God into saving you.
  • And it doesn’t matter your background (29-30)

But remember we don’t cancel the law (vs. 31) (we -uphold it)


What are some areas of Christian development that you are likely to boast about?

How can you celebrate the gift of salvation this week?

Pastor Rusty’s Areas of Boasting

  • Bible Knowledge
  • Discipline
  • Position as Pastor

Discussion Questions


  1. In the Abolition of Man, C. S. Lewis noted most religions teach people to do the following: 1) Not harm others in word or deed, 2) Honor your parents, 3) Be kind to your siblings and the elderly, 4) Be honest in your dealings with others, 5) Don’t Lie, 6) Don’t have sex with another person’s spouse, 7) Care for the weak. Why do you think most religions tie one’s relationship with God to a set of rules?  
  1. Pastor Rusty makes the point that for salvation to take root in someone they must come to terms with their inability to save themselves. Why does acknowledging we cannot be right with God on our own go against the grain for most of us?  
  1. Law-based religions often look like this: 1) Here are the rules— do this and don’t do that, 2) Here is the problem— you messed that up, 3) Here is the fix— follow this ritual or practice. The problems with these religious systems are listed above, so why do many find a degree of comfort in religious system like these? 
  1. Pastor Rusty shared the downside of religion by demonstrating three different approaches: 1) A legalistic approach leads to pride, 2) A loophole approach leads to pretending and, 3) A looser approach leads to powerlessness. How is Christianity different than religion?  
  1. According to Romans 3:19-20, our sin cannot be fixed by the law. In your own words describe how the law can help us see our sin? 
  1. In Romans 3:22, righteousness, or being declared blameless is said to come through faith in Christ. How can faith in Christ make us blameless?  
  1. Pastor Rusty says, “faith is the trusting point and trust is the proper environment for relationship.” In your own words explain what this means. 
  1. In Romans 3:27 we learn that in our relationship with God there is no room for boasting. Pride in our social standing is incompatible with those who are saved by the Gospel. Why does this mean no one can manipulate God into saving them?  
  1. According to Romans 3:29-30, we’re justified by faith regardless of our background. Why does this fact remove personal pride and focus our attention on the Gospel?   


  • List several areas of Christian development you are likely to boast about.  
  • Honestly evaluate yourself. Are you relying on the areas you just listed to make you right with God, or are you trusting God to do for you what you know you could never do for yourself spiritually? 
  • Make a list of ways you can celebrate the gift of salvation this week.