Calvary Road Baptist Church

“THEY ARE ALL GONE OUT OF THE WAY”

Romans 3.12

 

I want you to imagine yourself as a dad. Even if you are a teen or a female, this evening I want you to imagine yourself to be a father who passionately loves your child. Next, I want you to imagine that you have just seen your youngster commit an extremely serious sin. It is a sin that not only promises to destroy the relationship you have with your child, but also one that experience tells you will certainly destroy your child’s chances for a meaningful life. Having seen your kid do something terribly and destructively wrong, you approach your teen and confront him or her with the sin. You show your teen that it is wrong, that it is contrary to your will, that it will completely sever your relationship with him or her if not resolved properly, but that there is a simple and straightforward way to deal with the sin and bring about forgiveness.

However, when you talk to him, when you tell her of the offense, and when you show him or her exactly what simple and straightforward steps are required to solve the problem, and then you ask if he or she will but do it, your teen says, “Nah,” and nonchalantly walks away. How would you feel then? What kind of agony breaks your heart, dad, when you make a way for your son or your daughter to come back after having deserted you for some horrible sin, but the apple of your eye turns aside? Do you know the grief? Can you feel the pain?

Young person, can you begin to imagine what it is like from a father’s point of view? If you can, then you can begin to understand what is meant by the first statement found in Romans 3.12: 

“They are all gone out of the way.” 

Realizing that so much of what a statement means is the direct result of the context in which it is found, let us examine the context into which Paul places this statement he lifted from Psalm 14.2.

There are five things which context suggests about this statement: 

First, THIS STATEMENT ASSUMES THE SIN OF MAN 

Remembering who Paul’s audience is, the Christians he is introducing himself to in the city of Rome, we have no trouble understanding this to be the context into which this statement is nestled. Viewing Adam as the entire human race, which as the federal head of the human race he is most certainly credited to be by God, we understand that when Adam sinned against God in the Garden of Eden the entire human race sinned against God.

Furthermore, throughout the first two chapters of this Roman letter we see Paul establishing, beyond any shadow of a doubt, the sinfulness of every man, whether he be Gentile or whether he be a Jew. Indeed, later in this chapter Paul will conclude that 

“All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” 

In Romans chapter 5, he will point out that the express reason all men are in sin is precisely because of the sin of that one man through whom sin entered the human race and death by sin.

So understand, when you read Romans 3.12 that you should not expect Paul to attempt to establish your sinfulness or mine. He has already done that. He will certainly establish that fact again. In this statement, the sinfulness of all mankind, as well as your personal sinfulness and mine, is assumed. 

Next, THIS STATEMENT ACCEPTS THE SELECTION OF ISRAEL 

Dad, you have just observed your child behave in a manner that will bring irreparable harm to both the child and to your relationship with the child. Constrained by your integrity and a sense of what is right, you cannot jump in and fix your child’s problem to enable you to pretend what happened did not happen. However, you can take steps that will make it possible for your child to remedy his problem.

All mankind lives under the condemnation of sin. As the manifestation of a plan that God had chosen to implement to make possible a solution to the problem caused by man’s sin, two thousand years before the Apostle Paul wrote our text for this evening God called a man named Abram out of Ur of the Chaldees.[1] Counting Abram’s faith for righteousness and establishing a special relationship with the man, God committed Himself to bless mankind through this man Abraham and his descendants. We find his descendants to be none other than the nation of Israel.

It is through this man; it is through these people that God will do what only He can do to make reconciliation with the human race possible. The promises, after all, have been made to this man, to these people. The Provision, therefore, must come through this man, through these people.[2] The skinheads, Aryans, and Muslims that populate the world can object to the fact of it all they want. Anti-Semites of other stripes can protest all they like. The fact remains that the infallible Word of God, in which this statement is found and a part of which this statement happens to be, accepts the selection of the nation of Israel as God’s chosen people through whom the way back to God has been made known. 

Third, THIS STATEMENT ACKNOWLEDGES THE SINAI LAW 

You cannot establish the sin of mankind without the Law given through Moses at Sinai. As well, you have no constitution and by-laws under which the nation of Israel is to be governed by God without the Law given to Moses on Mount Sinai. However, it was not only to govern the people that the Law was given. It was not only to show sin that the Law was given. According to Galatians 3.24, the Law was given to the nation of Israel to function as a schoolmaster, exercising a non-instructional custody of that people until the Lord Jesus Christ fulfilled the demands of the Law.[3]

Think about it for just a moment. God sees mankind in all his sinfulness. However, mankind, being totally ignorant of spiritual things, must be shown that he is sinful. Enter the Law through the Israelites. Can the Law be kept? No. Can it be adhered to? No. What is to be proven, thereby? Sinfulness. If you cannot do this, you are a sinner. “We cannot do this,” the Jews say. Therefore their sinfulness is established.

However, the Law does not stop there. Being a reflection of the perfect will of God, the Law also provides some positive benefit, for Whoever adheres to the Law perfectly, Whoever abides by the Law, must be different from mere men. He must be without sin. The Law, then, serves a dual function. Not only does it clearly show the sinfulness of mortal men, but it also flags, it also reveals, it also calls attention to and points out for all to see, that One Who fulfilled the Law by His perfect obedience and sinlessness.

Yes, this statement acknowledges the Sinai Law, for it is the Law given on Mount Sinai which serves as a marker buoy, which serves as a pointer, which serves as a beacon, directing men to the path of reconciliation that God has chosen, that God has provided, to bring sinful men back to God. 

Fourth, THIS STATEMENT WE ARE LOOKING AT TODAY ADMITS THE SAVIOR’S COMING 

Think about it for just a moment and you will see that it has to be true. There are at least four different logical reasons why the Savior had to come for the deliverance of sinful men if restoring sinners back to sweet fellowship with a loving God was to be accomplished:

First, there is the sin of man. It is the very nature of God to seek the benefit of those who are the objects of His love. Since God loves men, it only stands to reason that God would send a Savior to save the sinful man from his sins.

Second, there is the selection of Israel. One of the prime Scriptural reasons for the selection of this chosen nation was their use by God to bring forth a Deliverer from among them. Remember, this One Who is of the godly seed that is traced all the way from Seth, through Enoch and Noah and Shem, comes through Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, through the tribe of Judah and the house of David. It is inconceivable that the Savior could come from any other people. Since the promises of God are made to the Jewish people, He must come through the Jewish people, since it is He Who will fulfill all of God’s promises.

Third, there is the Law given at Mount Sinai. If the Law, indeed, does act as a schoolmaster and exercise some non-tutorial custody until the One Who delivers from the curse of the Law arrives, there must necessarily be a Deliverer. If there is a type which, as a sacrifice, covers the sins of the sinner, there must be the anti-type, the genuine, the real, Who in fact delivers from sin; One Who does more than cover sin, One Whose sacrifice removes sin once and for all.

Fourth, it is logical that this statement admits the Savior’s advent, the Savior’s coming, to put it another way, His coming and His dying on Calvary’s cross to put it yet a third way. Remember, Jesus Christ, announced that He was the way, the truth, and the life. He said that no one comes unto the Father but by Him. How can sinners go out of the way, as Paul points out in our text unless there is a way to depart from?

Yes, the Savior’s coming is admitted here. Everything God has done leading up to the restoration of mankind to Himself culminate in His Son Jesus Christ. He is the seed of Abraham. He is the greater Son of David. He is the fulfillment of the Law. So, when He came, it was He Who the nation of Israel, chosen by God to lead the nations back to God, should have come to, should have bowed before, should have worshiped, should have adored. He was the Way set before them. 

Finally, THIS STATEMENT AGONIZES THE SINNER’S REFUSAL 

“They are all gone out of the way.” 

Mankind sinned. God set in motion a plan to bring about salvation. He selected the nation of Israel. He gave the Law of Moses on Mount Sinai to point the way. He sent His Son from heaven’s glory to deliver Israel and following them the whole world. However, when God set “the Way” before them, they turned away. John’s Gospel tells of the tragedy with these words: 

“He came unto His Own and His Own received Him not.”[4] 

Simon Peter’s great Pentecostal sermon makes the same indictment with these thundering words: 

“Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain.”[5] 

Can it be that the heart of God is so hard and so cold that He has condescended in such a way, has made such sacrifice of His Own Son, and withheld judgment and wrath to accomplish all of this, and then does not agonize when His people simply turn away from the Way provided for their salvation?

I do not think so. I think that the infinity of God’s universe will forever echo the agonized reaction of God to the response of His chosen people who, when they considered the Savior sent, when they pondered the Prophet provided, when they cast their eyes upon the Lily of the Valley, the Bright and Morning Star, turned about and mumbled to themselves “Nah.” 

“Nooooooooooooooooooooooooo.”

Throughout the ceaseless ages of timeless eternity, we will hear the reverberation of God’s agony over the rejection of His Son.

“Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo.”

Predicted in Psalm 14.2. Fulfilled a thousand years later when Israel rejected the Son of God and asked for the son of a man instead, a man named Barabbas.[6] Recorded after the fact by Paul in his letter to the Romans.

This is the summary of man’s response to God’s loving provision of a way for reconciliation to be made, a way back to sweet fellowship being given; a way set before men by a God Who cares. 

“They are all gone out of the way.” 

Will you go out of the way, as well? Though you are already lost in sin, a Savior is set before you for consideration, and you have a way back to God’s good graces provided to you.

Will you, nevertheless, respond like all the rest? 

“They are all gone out of the way.” 

Does that include you? If not, you come. Come to Jesus Christ and be saved from your sins. Come to Jesus Christ and be rescued from the rest.

__________

[1] Genesis 12.1-3; Acts 7.2-3

[2] Galatians 3.6-29

[3] Bauer, Danker, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and other Early Christian Literature, (Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press, 2000), page 748: “The law as a p. (so Plut., Mor. 645bc tou nomou kathaper paidagogou). Paul evaluates the Mosaic law as a paid. eiV CristoV Gal. 3:24, where the emphasis is on the constrictive function of the law in contrast to freedom in the gospel.” Fritz Rienecker & Cleon Rogers, Linguistic Key To The Greek New Testament, (Grand Rapids, MI: Regency Reference Library, 1980), page 510: “paidagwgos custodian, male nursemaid. He was a slave employed in Gr. And Roman families to have general charge of a boy in the years from about 6 to 16, watching over his outward behavior and attending him whenever he went home, as for example school.”

[4] John 1.11

[5] Acts 2.23

[6] Matthew 27.21; Mark 15.11; Luke 23.18; John 18.40

Would you like to contact Dr. Waldrip about this sermon? Please contact him by clicking on the link below. Please do not change the subject within your email message. Thank you.

pastor@calvaryroadbaptist.org