Route 10 - The Salvation of a Good Moral Man - Romans 3:9-23
Many times in personal study with a prospect the question arises concerning the "good people in other churches".
Someone will ask, "How can you conclude that all these good people in these other churches are not saved?"
Experience has helped us to devise a response to these types of questions.
We would never deny that there are good people in other churches, because there are. Many of them are morally
good and rich in alms. However, that is not the issue. Is the fact that they are "good" and rich in "deeds" going to
save them? Certainly not! The issue is whether or not they have believed in Christ, but whether or not they have
believed unto the saving of the soul (Hebrews 10:39).
It is always a little surprising that those who place so much emphasis on "grace" are the first ones to turn to "works"
as proof that one is saved. This helps you as a teacher to understand how confused some folks are on the matter
In this study, we will consider how a good moral man is saved: we will learn what is involved in bringing him to Christ.
We hope to answer the following:
- What about relatives who are moral and religious, but disobedient to Christ in the first things of the Gospel?
- Is it our own works or the works of God's righteousness that save the sinner?
- What must the student do to obey the commands of Christ?
Church of Christ
Locks Cross Roads
Man Needs a Saviour
10 - Romans 3:9-23
- We begin with this text because it is an affirmation of the universal need of mankind for the remission of sins.
Verse 23 is the principal text because it clearly states God's universal indictment of accountable men.
- Verses 9-18 are a series of quotations from the Old Testament intended to prove to the Jews that God had
revealed this indictment to them through their own Law. The application you should make of the text is that
there is no one who can stand before God and proclaim his own goodness except Jesus Christ.
- There is no one that has been so good and moral that they are without the need of the Saviour Jesus Christ.
10 - Proverbs 20:9
- Solomon recognized that it was impossible for a man to work enough in order to bring about his own atonement.
We are all desperately dependent upon the grace and mercy of God in order to be accepted by Him.
10 - Galatians 3:10-12
- The Law of Moses required perfect, flawless obedience in the strictest detail in order to declare a man just or
righteous. For those who failed in this sinless perfection there was only the condemnation of death
- Deuteronomy 27:26
- Paul states the reality; no sinner is justified before God by or through the Law of Moses. If I am stopped for
speeding, the posted speed limit does not justify my error. It points it out.
- Paul offers the alternative of justification by faith.
10 - Romans 4:4
- This passage contrasts the basis of the two systems of justification: law and grace
- In a system of justification by law, rewards are reckoned on the basis of what one earns. Perfect, sinless
compliance results in a reward. It is not a matter of grace but of debt.
- However, under such a system the sinner receives punishment - death. Why? That is what he has earned. The
very best among men has sinned and is, therefore, worthy of death.
10 - Ezekiel 18:24
- The prophet makes it clear in this text that our good deeds which we do while in fellowship with God do not
accrue or store up for us to draw against in the day that we sin.
- It seems that some folks think that God is keeping a great ledger book in heaven of our good deeds and that our
goal is to have a zero balance at the end of life.
- Rather, the truth is that our righteousness does not offset our wickedness. What we need is a Saviour.
10 - Isaiah 64:4-7
- Isaiah presents two sides of the question we are considering in this text.
- Those that are contrite, repent and obey God shall be saved. This is the principle of justification by faith.
- Habakkuk 2:4 and Romans 1:17
- However, those that continue in their rebellion, refusing to call upon the name of the Lord and be saved will be
consumed by their iniquities, and lost.
10 - Titus 3:3-7
- Verse 3 indicates our plight without God's grace. We are caught in our sins and no amount of good deeds on
our part will secure atonement for them. We must have a Saviour!
- The mercy of God is given to us through Jesus Christ, believing the Gospel and being baptized
- Mark 16:15-16
- It is important to contrast "works of righteousness which we have done" to the mercy of God. Baptism is not a
work of our righteousness. Rather, it is as Paul says, "the operation of God."
- Colossians 2:12
10 - Hebrews 5:8-9
- You want to make it clear to your student that justification by grace through faith does not exclude obedience to
Jesus Christ as Saviour. This may be a difficult concept for them to understand and accept at first.
- The issue is: "Can the sinner save himself apart from Christ by his own deeds of righteousness?" He cannot.
- However, God has said He will accept the sinner who repents and believes the Gospel, the Gospel that demands
obedience to Christ. There is nothing meritorious about trusting in Christ as the Saviour and yielding to His will.
A Good Moral Man
10 - Acts 10:1-6
- Now let's consider the actual conversion of a good moral man: Cornelius, the Roman Centurion.
- He was:
- Feared, that is, reverenced God
- With his Entire house
- Gave alms to the people
- Fasted Acts 10:30
10 - Acts 11:13-14
- However, this man was in need of being saved, and in order to obtain that salvation, he needed to hear what
Peter had to say and obey it
- Acts 10:6 and Hebrews 5:8-9
- If one is saved on the basis of morality or just having sincere religion, surely Cornelius was saved. But he was
NOT. How do we know he was not saved? Acts 11:14 says so.
10 - Acts 10:29-35
- Notice that Cornelius' prayers were not effective to gain his salvation apart from his obedience to the Gospel.
He could not "pray through" at the altar.
- However, they were a "memorial" and a "remembrance" before God to keep His promise to the Gentiles to justify
them by faith in Christ even as He had the Jews.
- Acts 2:39 and Isaiah 2:2-3
- Cornelius and his guests were present to "hear" everything that God had commanded Peter. Peter affirms that
God had taught him by a dream that all men were accepted by God through Christ if they would "fear Him and
work righteousness," that is, believe and obey.
- Acts 10:9-16
10 - Acts 10:43-48
- Verse 43 is equivalent to verse 35
- Acts 10:43 and Acts 10:35
- That is to say, "believing in Christ" is the same thing as "fearing God and working His righteousness." This is a
truth that applies to whosoever, Jew or Gentile, to "everyone that believeth."
- Romans 1:16-17
- Then the Holy Spirit came upon the Gentiles directly and they spoke in tongues. Seeing this sign, Peter
commanded that Cornelius and his house be baptized.
- Acts 10:48
- Note the question in verse 47, "Can any man forbid water..." To whom is that directed if not to the Jews present?
- Acts 10:23 and Acts 11:12
- Peter's conclusion regarding the gift of the Holy Spirit on this occasion is that to refuse to baptize uncircumcised
Gentiles was equal to "withstanding God."
- Acts 11:17
10 - Acts 15:7-11
- Later, Peter used these events to quell the influence of the Judaizers in the Jerusalem church. Notice the order:
- They heard the Gospel
- They believed
- God gave a witness that He put no difference between Jews and Gentiles
- Their hears were purified by faith - they were baptized
- Acts 10:48
- Therefore, they were saved.
- The application to our study is that the good, moral man is saved just like every sinner is saved. He must hear,
believe and obey the Gospel - faith, repentance, confession and immersion into Christ.