During the 2013 season, Bill Belichick, coach of the New England Patriots, made a controversial call to run a play on fourth down rather than punt the ball back to the Indianapolis Colts. The Patriots failed to convert that fourth down and they lost the game. Media and fan scrutiny was blistering. As Belichick spoke to the team days later, he told them not to listen to all the negative noise, but to focus on their preparation for the next week. That was good advice.
In the context of many in his day vocally rejecting his new Gospel of Grace, the Apostle Paul writes Romans Chapter 3. Critics used three basic arguments. First, he writes, “For what if some did not believe” (vs. 3). Apparently, when Paul proclaimed forgiveness of sins through faith in the payment that the Savior made for us on the cross, many dismissed his message as only nonsense or man-made fiction. They simply would not consider or accept God’s offer of forgiveness by grace alone. Most Jews either clung to a system of works in an empty attempt to merit eternal life, or they placed their confidence in their heritage as God’s chosen people. Secondly, some chose not to believe that a loving God would punish people who sin for all eternity in the torment of the Lake of Fire. Paul responds by asking, “Is God unrighteous who taketh vengeance?” (vs. 5). His point was that our “unrighteousness” is in such contrast to the holiness of the Lord that our sinful works magnify the righteousness of God. In other words, our pure, sinless, and holy God cannot dwell in the presence of sin. Therefore He is right to banish sinful souls away from His presence for all eternity, especially since they rejected His offer of eternal life through His Son. Third, others simply thought salvation by grace alone was too easy. So, they mocked this message when they “slanderously reported” that Paul taught it was okay to live it up in sin since grace covers all our sin (vs. 8). Throughout Paul’s letters, he constantly proclaims that grace teaches us to live “soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world” (Titus 2:12).
These three arguments sound familiar because Satan is still using the same lies to blind lost souls to their need for salvation in Christ. Don’t you believe them or listen to all the noise. “Let God be true, but every man a liar” (Romans 3:4). Stand firm in your faith.
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