Full text of Bible teacher Derek Prince’s teaching on the Book of Romans (3:21 – 3:31) (Part 4) titled ‘Bound to Christ’.
Listen to the MP3 Audio here:
Derek Prince – Bible Teacher
We closed our last session with Romans chapter 3, verses 19 and 20, which are in a sense, the culmination of the first stages of our pilgrimage. And at this point, Paul has proved out of Scripture that the whole world is accountable to God for sin, and that no one can avoid standing before the judgment of God in account of sin.
I think I’ll read those two verses again because they’re so important.
Romans 3:19-20: ‘Now, we know that whatever the law says, it speaks to those who are under the law that every mouth may be closed, and all the world may become accountable to God.’
That’s the destination that Paul has brought us to: The whole world is accountable to God. Both Jews and Gentiles, both religious people and non-religious people, all are accountable to God. And then he goes on to say, keeping rules or the law never changes the fact that we are still accountable to God.
And he says in verse 20, ‘because by the works of the law — or you can leave out the ‘the’ — by the works of the law, by the keeping of rules, no flesh, no human being will be justified in God’s sight, will be reckoned righteous, or achieve righteousness in the sight of God. For through the law comes the knowledge of sin.’
Now that’s a startling statement for religious people: Through the law comes the knowledge of sin.
And I’ve learned by experience that so many, many Christians find it very hard to comprehend why Paul should say the law is what causes us to recognize sin and then to wonder, why did God give the law if all it can do is make us aware that we’re sinners and it cannot make us righteous?
So I’m going to devote this particular section to the parenthesis which you’ll find in your outline: 6 Purposes For Which The Law Was Given.
I’ve learned by experience that if I don’t deal with this, there’ll be a whole string of unanswered questions in your mind and you’ll never really be able to give attention to the positive which Paul is building up to.
So I want to suggest to you out of Scripture: 6 Purposes For Which The Law Was Given.
First of all, to show men the reality and power of sin. First the diagnosis, then the medicine. And this is very true psychologically. It’s no good explaining to people God’s way of salvation if they haven’t realized that they have the disease of sin. A person has to first be convinced that he’s a sinner before he will recognize and receive God’s plan of salvation.
God does the same. He doesn’t offer us the plan of salvation until He’s shown us how desperately we need it, that we’re sick with an incurable disease which is sin. And there’s only one remedy.
Let me give you some Scriptures.
Now we read again. Romans 320: ‘By the works of the law, no flesh will be justified, will achieve righteousness in God’s sight, for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin.’
That’s the first purpose for which God gave the Law, to show us the disease of sin. The Law is God’s diagnostic to make us aware of the condition of sin which prevails in our lives. And apart from the Bible and books based on the Bible, I do not believe there’s any book in the world that reveals the nature of sin.
This is one of the priceless benefits of the Bible. I was a study — a student of one of the greatest philosophers of old, Plato. And Plato was really interested in the issue of righteousness. He called it excellence or virtue. And his conclusion was that knowledge is virtue.
And, I mean, he worked this thing out, he didn’t come to it lightly. And he said, if people know what is right, they’ll do it. Well, that’s flat contrary to human experience, we are continually confronted by people who know what is right and don’t do it, and who know what is wrong and do it, and who know also that doing wrong will cost them dearly and still they do it.
You see, because only the Bible diagnoses this force within us, which is called sin, which causes us to do things against our own best interests, even when we know what we’re doing.
So knowledge by itself is not the solution. The only solution is the Gospel.
Let me read you just a few other passages on this theme from Romans chapter 7. And we will be dealing with Romans chapter seven in good detail later on. So let me just pick out a couple of passages there.
Romans 7:7: ‘What shall we say then? Is the Law sin? May it never be.’ What do we say for that? Perish the thought. ‘On the contrary, I would not have come to know sin except through the Law; for I would not have known about coveting if the Law had not said, ‘You shall not covet.’’
So how did he come to know about sin? Through the Law. That’s right.
And again in verses 12 and 13.
Romans 7:12-13: ‘So then the Law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good.’ Paul is very careful to find out there’s nothing wrong with the Law. The fault isn’t in the law.
Verse 13, ‘Therefore did that which is good become a cause of death for me? May it never be.’ What do we say? Perish the thought. ‘Rather, it was sin in order that it might be shown to be sin by effecting my death through that which is good, that through the commandment, sin might become utterly sinful.’
The purpose of the Law is to bring into the open, the total sinfulness of sin, to show it in all its ugliness, in all its real colors. And there’s no other source of this revelation but the Bible.
All right. The second purpose of the Law is to show men that they are unable to achieve righteousness by their own efforts. And Paul gives us his own experience again in this same 7th chapter of Romans, verses 18 through 23.
‘For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh;’
I have to point out to you, and we’ll see this again, the word flesh is sometimes used in a technical meaning. It doesn’t mean my physical body, but it means the nature which I’ve inherited by descent from Adam. My old Adamic nature. We’ll come back to that further on.