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Why Works Won't Work (10 of 34)
Series: Good News from God
The late Alex Haley, who wrote Roots, had on his office wall a unique picture of a turtle sitting atop a fence post. When someone asked him about it, Haley would say, "If you see a turtle on a fence post, you know that he had some help. Anytime I start thinking, 'Wow, isn't this marvelous what I've done?' I look at that picture and remember how this turtle, me, got up on that post."
Obviously, a turtle can't get on top of a fence post unless a hand picks it up and puts it there. If you see a turtle on top of a fencepost bragging his heart out, you know something is terribly wrong! Yet it's so easy to boast, isn't it? We can boast about our accomplishments, our finances, our possessions, our grades, our athletic abilities, our friends, our looks, and nearly anything else. We're braggadocios people. Sadly, our bragging ways can creep into our spiritual lives as well. Have you ever made critical comments about unbelievers calling them "ignorant," stupid," or "blind" because they have refused to trust in Christ? Have you ever claimed that you chose Christ? Or have you ever assumed that God chose you because you were smarter or better than others? If so, you need to adjust your faulty thinking about salvation. We could put it like this: Don't take credit; receive God's credit.
In Rom 3:27-4:12, Paul expounds the great theological thesis of 3:21-26. In what I called "the greatest paragraph in the Bible," Paul expounded the guts of the gospel, but he hasn't yet finished what he wants to say. Having shown what justification is, he now reaffirms that it is available only by faith. In 3:27-31 he states this theme, and 4:1-12 elucidates and elaborates it. In these seventeen verses, Paul explains three essential truths related to justification.
1. Justification excludes pride (3:27-31). Since salvation is by faith, there's no place for boasting. Paul raises three ques ...
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