No Difference

No Difference


“The righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto alland upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: for allhave sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” —Romans 3:22, 23

THE apostle here says that “there is no difference,” yet he does not meanthat all men are alike in all respects. There are very many and importantvariations among men. It would be quite untrue and unjust to say that thereare no differences of character even among unregenerate men, for therecertainly are many varieties and gradations of sinners. There are some whohave, as it were, sold themselves to work iniquity, and there are others whohave, apparently, kept the commandments of God from their youth up.There are some who delight in all manner of evil, and there are others who,though they are not converted, hate the very mention of all the grosservices, and steer clear of such impurity. There are some people, who are notyet on the Lord’s side, who are like that rich young man of whom it is saidthat, when Christ looked upon him, he loved him, for he saw much in himthat was admirable; and, on the other hand, there are some who aremanifestly sons of perdition, like Judas, of whom our Lord said that he wasa devil. All men are not demons, or demoniacal; all are not equallyhardened in heart; all do not go to the same excess of riot; so when Paulsaid, “There is no difference,” he did not mean that there are no differencesof outward character.

Let us not be carried away with the idea that it does not matter what ouroutward character is; it does matter a great deal. It shall be found, at thelast, that the greatly guilty shall be greatly punished. “That servant, whichknew his lord’s will, and prepared, not himself, neither did according to hiswill, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he that knew not, and didcommit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes.” God isnot unjust; even in taking vengeance upon his adversaries, he strictlyobserves justice at all times. It is for your good, and for the good of thoseabout you, that you should be moral, and temperate, and chaste, andhonest; and God grant that you may be all that!

There are, then, differences of character among men; and there are, nodoubt, differences of disposition which show themselves very early. Somechildren appear from the very first to be tender and docile, while othersmanifest a passionate and rebellious disposition. All of us probably knowsome friends who are not yet converted, but they are amiable, loving,considerate, kind; they have almost everything we could wish except theone thing needful; God grant that they may soon have that also! Though asyet they are not brought to Christ’s feet, they seem to have had a religioustendency from their very childhood, and they delight to be found in thehouse of God, and at least externally in the ways of God. even if theirhearts are not at present renewed by grace. There are, alas! others whosedispositions are the very reverse of all this; they seem disposed toeverything that is bad. We have met with cases, in godly families, whereyoung men, from the first moment in which they could have their liberty,have delighted to do that which at last broke their parents’ hearts; theyhave seemed to be, from the very first, fickle, vain, fond of pleasure, proud,wilful, and wicked. Beyond all question, there are differences of dispositionin diferent persons; and when Paul says, “There is no difterence,” he doesnot refer either to character or to disposition.

There are also in men, who as yet are not saved, differences as to theirreadiness to receive the Word. There are some who are like the “honestand good ground,” which is already ploughed and harrowed; all that iswanting is the handful of good seed, and as soon as it is sown, they willtake it in, and in due time yield a harvest in return. Others are like thestony-ground hearers; apparently ready and prepared for the good seed.

They seem to receive the Word with joy; but, as the hard rock underneathhas uever been broken up, and there has been no subsoil ploughing,nothing permanent results from their hearing the gospel message. There areothers, again, who are like the hard-trodden highway; you may sow uponthem as much seed as you like, but the only result will be to feed the birds.The fowls of the air will devour whatever is scattered upon them. Maynone of us be hearers of that sort!

So you see, dear friends, that there are great differences among men incertain respects. The apostle is speaking in this passage about one thing,and you must not stretch his meaning beyond that. There is one point inwhich there is no difference, and that is, that “all have sinned.” All haveforfeited every claim to personal righteousness, all must be made righteousby the imputation of the righteousness of Christ to them, and all whowould have that righteousness must believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, forthere is one way of salvation, and only one, and whatever other differencesthere may be, there is no difference about this matter; if we are saved at all,we must all be saved in one way.

My discourse is to run upon these lines. First, let us enlarge upon thedoctrine that, in the matter of the gospel and of salvation, “There is nodifference.” Secondly, let us show its practical bearing upon ourselves;and then, thirdly, let me rejoice in the doctrine, let our hearts sing over it,for there is the raw material of many a holy song and psalm within thesefew words, “There is no difference.”

I. First, then, LET US ENLARGE UPON THIS DOCTRINE; and, in so doing,we will make four observations.

The first is this, there is no difference as to the message of salvation whichis to be delivered to men. It may be my privilege, at one time, to speak to aconvocation of highly-intelligent well-educated men; if so, I am to preachto them the gospel of salvation by faith in the blood and righteousness ofJesus Christ. On the other hand, it has often been a great joy to me topreach to assemblies which certainly were not composed of the learned andgreat, but were gathered from the lowest class of the people. How glad Ihave been to preach to them! And I had exactly the same message todeliver to them as to the other congregation: “He that believeth and isbaptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” If thetrue preacher of Christ were called to preach before a pit full of kings,— asNapoleon once said to a noted singer, “If you will come to me, you shallsing before a pit full of kings,” — if it were the preacher’s business toaddress such an audience as that, he must preach nothing but “Believe andlive.” And if he were callers to speak before an assembly of murderersabout to die, the very scum of the earth, he could have no more suitable orappropriate message than this, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thoushalt be saved.” Go where you may, my dear brother, you need not puzzleyour head about the sort of gospel you are bound. to preach. To the jailorat Philippi, to the Areopagites on Mars’ Hill, to the Sanhedrim atJerusalem, to Nero at Rome, to barbarian, Scythisn, bond, or free, to thevery chief of sinners, to the greatest or the least of mankind, you have todeliver but one message, “God hath set forth his Son, Jesus Christ, to bethe propitiation for sin, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish,but should have everlasting life.” There is the essence of the one messagewe have to deliver to all men: “There is no difference.”

And, next, there is no difference as to man’s need of this gospel. There aresome, as we have already admitted, who have been preserved from grossvice, whose lives have been moral and upright; yet they have as much needof the gospel as those who are confined in our goals, or those who flaunttheir unchastity in our public streets. The gospel comes to deal with sin;and if a man has but one sin, he cannot get rid of that one sin apart fromthe atonement of our Lord Jesus Christ. But all men have not merely onesin, but many sins; they may not all be equally clear and manifest, some ofthem may be secret sins, but the secrecy of sin does not render it less sinfulin the sight of God. There are no secrets from him, he sees everything; andwhether sin be open or covert, whether it be less or more than that of othermen, it needs the atoning sacrifice of Christ to remove it. The putting awayof the sin of the most moral person who ever lived. requires thepropitiation of the Son of God. There is no bath that can take away a singlestain of guilt except that —Fountain filled with blood, Drawn from Immanuel’s veins.

All men have evil hearts; albeit their hearts may not all be equally inclinedto the coarser vices in which some indulge, yet there is in every sinner theblack spot of alienation from God, forgetfulness of God, love of sin anddislike to God when he is thoroughly known; and, to get this out of theheart, requires a divine operation in every case. No man can make his ownheart clean. If it were possible for a man to change his arm or his foot, yetit would be clearly impossible for him to change his heart; that is so vital tohimself that there cannot be a change there except he that made all heartsshould make that heart anew. To change the heart of the most amiablemaiden, requires the work of the Spirit of God as truly as to change theheart of the most debauched wretch that lives. It is no more possible forthe honest man than for the practiced thief to make his heart right in thesight of God; it is equally impossible to either of them. Both cases arebeyond human power; and therefore the need of the work of the Spirit ofGod is the same. All of us, at this moment, either stand stripped nakedbefore God, without a rag to cover us, or else we are wrapped. in theglorious and resplendent righteousness of Jesus Christ. The need of thegospel is the same to every individual in the world; those who are elevatedabove their fellow-creatures do not stand on high before God; the Queenneeds the grace of God to save her just as much as the poorest of hersubjects. “There is no difference” as to the need of salvation.Next, this declaration is equally true as to the method of salvation. Theway in which men are saved is the same in every case: “There is nodifference.” They do not all feel the same terrors, they do not allexperience to the same extent the common joys; each path is peculiar insome respects, yet there is but one road, and that is the narrow way thatleadeth unto life eternal. The plan of salvation is this,— that we do confessand acknowledge that our own righteousness is but filthy rags, that there isnothing in us that can merit anything of God; and, next, that we apprehendthat the Lord has put his dear Son into our place, has laid on him our sin,and smitten him with the strokes that ought to have fallen upon us; he, onhis part, willingly becoming our Surety and Substitute. We must believethis if we would be saved. That being done, we must accept what Christhas endured as being borne for us, and trust in it with our whole hearts. Wemust, in fact, change places with Christ; — let him stand, as he did stand,and be reckoned as the sinner, that we might stand here, and be lookedupon by God as if we had been like his Son, perfectly righteous andwithout sin. He clothes himself in our rags, and he puts on us his royalrobes. Faith appropriates to itself the righteousness of the Lord JesusChrist, and so is clothed with what is called in our text “the righteousnessof God.” God’s plan of salvation is a grand one, and there is no other thatcan avail anybody in the whole world. This is the one way of life,— thatthou dost acknowledge thyself to be nothing, and dost take Christ to bethine All-in-all; — that thou, with thy sin and misery, dost, by a simple actof faith, take to thyself Christ to be thy righteousness and thy strength; and,this being done, thou art accepted in the Beloved, for now is it true of theethat the righteousness of God, which is by faith of Jesus Christ, is unto theeand upon thee seeing that thou hast believed in him. “There is nodifference,” then, about the method of salvation.

Once more, there is no difference as to the efficacy of the plan ofsalvation. This man believed in Jesus Christ, and was saved; so shall thatother man be if he believes in Jesus Christ. All who believe in Christ arejustified. from all things; all who trust in Christ have eternal life, and shallnever perish. The blood of Jesus was never yet applied. to a consciencewithout giving it peace. A persecutor is washed, and his crimson stains aregone. A thief believes, and he is that day with Christ in Paradise. MaryMagdalene believes, and seven devils are cast out of her. A roughPhilippian jailor believes, and that night he is baptized, rejoicing in Godwith all his house. Never sinner yet did try this blessed remedy and find itfail; and none ever shall, for “there is no difference.”

II. Now, in the second place, I want to TURN THIS TRUTH TO PRACTICALACCOUNT by showing its bearing upon us. My first observation is, what aleveller this doctrine is for pride! There is self-righteousness up there as acrown upon your forehead; it will have to come down, friend. You arecovered with the beautiful garments of your own good deeds; take themoff, brother; take them off. They are all without merit in the sight of Goduntil you have trusted his Son. All that you have done, and all that youthink you have done, are only as so many cobwebs that must be sweptaway. There stands the gate through which the most fallen path enter, andyou must go through the same gate. There is no private path made for agentleman like you, there is no royal road to heaven, save only that oneroyal road which is opened for the very chief of sinners. Down, Mr. Pride!Here is a man who is born of Christian parents, and perhaps he has listenedto the lying logic of the present age which says, “Children born of godlyparents do not need conversion; there is something good in that by nature.”I tell you, sirs, that I begin to tremble for the children of pious parents, forI think that they are more likely to be deceived than any others; they oftenfancy that they are converted when they are not, and they get admitted intochurches while they are unconverted. They are not like those who can see agreat change in themselves through being taken right out of gross sin; theyare very apt to be deceived, and have need to be very careful lest theyshould make a fatal and eternal mistake. Instead of boasting of their godlyancestry, high privilege as it is, let them remember that regeneration is notof blood, nor of birth, nor of the will of man, but of God; and to them, asto all others, Christ’s words apply, “Ye must be born again.” Some thereare who imagine that they can get to heaven by some special staircase,because they are people of rank. Oh, believe me, Sir John, you will have tobe saved in the same way as your groom, or not at all! Ah, my lord,everybody bows to you, but you must bow to Christ! You must be saved inthe same way as the carpenter, and the blacksmith, and the chimney-sweep,or not at all. There are no two ways to heaven; Jesus says, “I am the Way.”There is no other way for your lordship, or your ladyship, despite yourrank. There is a wealthy man who thinks that everything is to be bought, ifhe can find the price; but you cannot buy heaven, sir. The very stones ofthe street are of pure gold; you could not buy one of them, you have notmoney enough. Your wealth goes for nothing in the matter of salvation;you must be saved just in tlute same way as the poorest of the poor. Thepauper who was born in a workhouse, and has never left it, has the sameway of salvation as you have, for “there is no difference” of any sortwhatsoever with regard to birth, or rank, or wealth.

But someone says, “I am a man of great abilities, a man of education, andculture, and learning.” I am very glad to hear of it, my dear sir; but do youexpect the Lord is going to make a way of salvation by competitiveexamination as when people enter the Civil Service? Is thereto be a specialway of salvation for you Masters of Arts or Doctors of Divinity? It is notso; the Lord knew that the great bulk of people would be nothing of thissort, so he made a gospel which is adapted to the poor, and is just assuitable for all others. Those who aro illiterate can, nevertheless,understand the way of salvation by faith in Christ, and so they are saved;and, my dear sir, you will have to be saved in the same way, or else youwill never get to heaven. I have heard of a king of Sweden who, when helay dying, had a bishop to pray with him; and when the bishop had finishedhis prayer, the king said, “Somehow, I have derived no comfort from thatprayer. I remember once hearing a shepherd pray in a hut when I had lostmy way; will you seal for him?” They did so, and when the shepherdpoured out his heart in his own simple language, then the king saw thelight, and died rejoicingly. “There is no difference,” the king and theshepherd need the same Savior, and must go to heaven by the same royalroad. This doctrine dethrones pride, but that is not all that it does.Further, it is a great uplifter of those who are troubled with fears. “Oh!”says one, “I am such a great sinner; I feel that I am the greatest sinner whoever lived.” Ah! my dear friend, but “there is no difference.” You will enterheaven at the same gate through which great saints go in, if you do buttrust the Lord Jesus Christ, for that is what they have to do, and so theyare saved, and so shall you be. I think that I hear another say, “But I findsuch evil in my very nature; I have such a hard heart; I cannot feel, I cannotlove the Lord as I want to.” Yes, I know all about it, and I am very sorryfor you; but, my dear friend, “there is no difference.” You believe thatthere are some Christians who are very tender of spirit; but the Lord had tomake them tender, and he can make you tender. The same Lord, that saveslittle children, and that brought a young Josiah and an openhearted Lydiato his feet, can bring you also, for there really is no difference. It needed adivine work in their case, and it needs the same in yours. “I am very poor,”says one. Yes, but “there is no difference,” blessed be God! You hardlyknow where you are going to sleep to-night; but I can tell you where youmay rest, not only to-night, but all your days; that is, in Christ Jesus, if youcome and put your trust in him. He does not look to see whether you havea suit of broadcloth or s suit of fustian; “there is no difference” with regardto that matter. “But I am so ignorant,” says one, “I cannot even read.” I amvery sorry for you, and I think that you ought to try and learn. At the sametime, there is many a man who can read. his title clear to a mansion in theskies who does not know A from B. It does not need that you be a scholarin the schools of men to become a scholar in the school of Christ; but, justas you are, trust your soul in his hand, and he will teach you all that isessential to be known, for in this matter “there is no difference.” I thought Iheard someone say, very indistinctly, “Ah, sir, but I am so old!” Yes, yes;and I think I hear a little boy or girl over yonder say, “But, sir, I am soyoung.” Well, come along, both of you; give me your hand, old friend, andgive me yours, dear child, for “there is no difference” between the oldestand the youngest as to this way of salvation. The child believes, and issaved; and the old man believes with a childlike faith, and is saved, too.My text also has a practical bearing in another direction, it helps to meetsingularity of disposition. There are many persons in the world whobelieve that they are diferent from everybody else; I always sympathizevery heartily with them, because I know that I am myself a very odd body,a lot out of all catalogues, I often say, and so are you. You think therenever was another like you; perhaps you think it is a pity that there shouldbe; and very likely that is true. You are all by yourself, you say; well, justlisten to me, for my text can set you right,— God grant that it may! Afterall, “there is no difference.” Come, you strange Jack,— you singularMary,— you that seem to be the odd bird in the nest; there is, after all, nodifference. Your heart is evil, your life has been sinful; so has my life been,and so is it with all those round about you; and there is one way ofsalvation for you odd people and for all these even people as well. There isnot anybody that is so cut on the cross, so strange, and so altogether out ofharmony with the rest of mankind that he may say, “God left me out of hiscalculations.” No; there is really no difference whatever between you andothers in this matter of salvation.

I must make yet one more practical use of my text, and that is, toencourage thee who labor for Christ. Where are you going to serve theMaster, my brother? “Oh!” you reply, “I have a very tough bit of ground totill. I teach in a Ragged School in Mint Street, and I visit the lodginghouses.”
Another says, “I am trying to do something for Christ in BethnalGreen.” Well, friend, I reckon that I have about as hard a field of labor asyou have. “Oh!” say you, “but these look very respectable people.” Yes,they look so; but, if you could read their hearts, you would see that theyare uncommonly like those people in Stint Street and Bethnal Green amongwhom you are working. “As in water face answereth to face, so the heartof man to man.” We all belong to the same race, there is but one blood inall of us, there is the same tendency to sin and the same need of a Saviorfor these respectable-looking folk as there is for the very roughest and thevery dirtiest of mankind.
I think I hear another say, “I am going to Africa as a missionary; and I amsometimes afraid as to how I shall get on with the benighted. peoplethere.” Another says, “I am going to India, and I do not know how I shallsucceed with those learned Brahmins.” Another says, “I am going to China;I cannot hope to see many converted among those who are so devoted toConfucianism.” Why not? “There is no difference.” After all, it is the samesort of soil which we all have to plough either at home or abroad; theremay be a slight contrast on the surface, but it all needs the same kind ofploughing, and the same sort of sowing, and the same divine power tocause the seed to grow. The gate of salvation is just as widely open to menin China as it is to you who have long been sitting under the sound of theWord. At bottom, “there is no difference” between man and man; they areall sinners, they are all depraved: “They are all gone out of the way, theyare together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, notone.” I believe that it takes as much grace to save an Englishman as it doesto save a Hottentot. The grace operates, too, in much the same way. Theexperience of the two men, when it is related, may sound differentlybecause of the varying measure of knowledge of the parties concerned, yetthe essential items of all true Christian experience will be found to be thesame in every case. Do not, therefore, say, dear brother, “I shall not go tothat place; it is such a difficult sphere.” I have a notion that such a spot asthat is the very best place to which anyone can go. “But there are suchcrowds of people there.” All the better; it is good fishing where there areplenty of fish. “But, oh, they are so wild!”Just so; but, if I were ever to gohunting, I should not hunt poor timid. hares, I should like to go after lions,and tigers, and bears, and wolves, there is some sense in such sport as that.And if you go in for soul-winning, do not be picking and choosing whichsouls you will try to win; the worse the region is, the more it needs thegospel of Jesus Christ. I think that, if I were a lamp, and I could have mychoice as to where I would be hung, I should not wish to be in one of thefine streets where there were plenty of other lamps, but I should like to godown some wretched court where there was no lamp at all, where thepeople break one another’s heads, and steal one another’s goods in thedark, for I should be of more use there. So, dear friends, be you willing togo where you can be of most use; and wherever your sphere of service is,do not be discouraged, for over all men there hangs this motto, “There isno difference.” They have all to be saved in the same way, and theomnipotence that can save one will abundantly suffice for the salvation ofanother.

III. Now, in closing my discourse, I want to spend a minute or two inbidding you REJOICE OVER THIS GREAT TRUTH.

I rejoice over the fact that there is no difference, in the matters of which Ihave been speaking, concerning the whole human race. I saw a picture ofthe Tower of Babel by an eminent painter. All the various races of mankindwere represented as going off in diferent directions,some to the North,others to the South, to the West, or to the East, all being scattered over theface of the whole earth; it was a painful sight to see the great family brokenup, never, as far as we could see, to be reunited again. Rut, dear friends,hear how this text collects the whole family of mankind into one; andgathers all these scattered ears of corn, and just makes one sheaf of them:“There is no difference.” All men are fallen through sin, but whosoever outof them all believes in Jesus Christ shall have eternal life, There is oneblessed bath of salvation in which all may be washed, whiter than snow;there is one remedy, and only one, for the disease of sin, and all who apply to the great Physician are healed for ever. I love to see thehuman race thus reunited.

But there is something better than that. What glory it isto the Lord JesusChrist that he shouldbe the only Savior, and that faith in him should be theonly way of salvation! I feel sure that we do not wish the Lord Jesus Christto be put into competition with someone else in his work as our Savior.No; we want our Lord to have the monopoly in this matter, and he has it.None can be saved except by faith in him, by the application of his preciousblood, glory be to his holy name! I feel a very peculiar joy over this truth. Iwas thinking, as I came along to this service, “Suppose I had to preach adifferent gospel for every man.” There is a little book entitled, Every manhis own lawyer. Well, nowadays, according to some people, it seems as ifevery man is to be his own saviour; but if I had, say; a dozen gospels, and Ihad to sort them out, and give the right gospel to the right man, what a fixI shouldst be in! I believe that, oftentimes, I should be giving your gospelto someone else, and someone else’s gospel to you; and what a muddle itwould all be! But now we have one universal cure; we have a divinecatholicon. The blood and righteousness of Jesus Christ will save everyman who trusts him, for “there is no difference.” Wherever Christ isreceived, there shall be salvation. This makes it easy work for the preacher,and see what a blessing it is to you who are believers; for, suppose you hadto say, “Well, I have believed in such-and-such a salvation,” but somebodymight say, “That will not save you; you are a No. 2 man, and you want No.2 gospel, not No. 1.” Suppose you should lay hold of that, and one of thesedays your conscience should say to you, “No. 2 is not the medicine thatyou want, you ought to have No. 6.” Suppose that it ran up to No. 14, No.17, or No. 20. Why, when you lay dying, you might say, “I have taken theremedy No. 1, but I am afraid that I am a No.20 man. I took this one, andit did give me some kind of relief; but I am afraid that I took the wrongmedicine.” But now it is one medicine for every disease,— one Christ forevery sinner,— one blood with which to wash us,— one salvation withwhich to rescue us,— one righteousness with which to cover us.Therefore, such doubts as I have just mentioned can never come into theminds of those who believe in Jesus, blessed be God for that!And so to you, dear hearers, who are seeking after Christ, is it not a greatmercy that there is but one name whereby you can be saved? Otherwise,the same awkward occurrence might happen to you; and you would besaying, “At which door am I to go in?” You might get to the wrongentrance, and the man in charge of it might say, “This is not the door foryou; you have come to the wrong one, you must go to No. 6, or 7, or 8.”How puzzled we are when we go to Clapham Junction, or some suchrailway station, to know which staircase we are to go up; and a poor sinnerwould be much in the same kind of worry to know which way he was to besaved; but when it is just this, “Believe and be saved; look and live; trustyourself to Christ, rest in his atoning sacrifice, and you are saved;” all canunder stand it. When God. gives us, by his Spirit, a simple faith in Jesus,we at once receive eternal life, and every soul that believes in Jesus Christhas that life. I pray God to bless this message to you who are still unsaved.Quarrel not with your only hope of salvation. Accept what God provides;yield. yourselves to the divine decree, for God has decreed that no soulshall enter heaven but by his Son, “the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” Thisname — this one name — you must rely on if you would be saved. Thisway — this one way — you must run in if you would enter heaven. you to enter it at once, for our Lord Jesus Christ’s sake! Amen.

ROMANS 3.Verses 1, 2.
What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there ofcircumcision?
Much every way; chief, because that unto them werecommitted the oracles of God.
If it be so that, after all, no outward rite or birth privileges can bestowgrace, what advantage did the Jews possess? “Why!” says Paul, “they hadthis very great privilege, ‘that unto them were committed the oracles ofGod.’” It is no small blessing to have a revelation from Jehovah, and tohave the means of knowing what that revelation really is.
3. For what if some did not believe.?Many of the seed of Israel did not believe the revelation that was made tothem; yet the privilege of hearing it was just as great, even though theyslighted it.
3-5. Shall their unbelief made the faith of God without effect? God forbid:yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thoumightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou artjudged. But if our unrighteousnese commend the righteousness of God,what shall we say? Is God unrighteous who taketh vengeance?Vengeance on a sin which is nevertheless made to turn to his glory?5-7. (I speak as a man) God forbid.: for then how shall God judge theworld? for if the truth of God hath more abounded through my lie unto hisglory, why yet am I also judged as a sinner?
Yet I shall be. If God shall overrule my sin to his own glory, that will mateno difference to my responsibility. If I have lied, if I have done wrong insay way, I must be judged and condemned on that account, whatever maybe the ultimate result of my sin.
8. And not rather, (as we be slanderously reported, and as some affirmthat we say,) Let us do evil, that good may come? whose damnation is just.If any man dares to say that, “Since God turns even evil into good, and bythe forgiveness of sin brings glory to himself, ‘Let us do evil that good maycome,’” he is wrestiug truth to his own destruction, and his “ damnation isjust.”
9. What then? are we better than they?Are Jews better than Gentiles? Or, are Gentiles better than Jews?9. No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, thatthey are all under sin;Nobody can read the first chapter of the Epistle to the Romans, and followit by reading the second, without seeing how completely Paul has proved“that they are all under sin.”
10. As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:There is not, and there never has been, one of the human race, save ourLord, who also is God, who ever continued to live s righteous life. Adamcommenced righteously, but how soon he fell; and all his descendants haveboth commenced and continued to be sinners: “There is none righteous,no, not one.”
11. There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.That is, none do so by nature; those who seek after God are led to do sobya work of grace upon their hearts. Otherwise, men are blind, they do notsee the right path; they are wilful, and do not seek after God.
12. They are all gone out of the way, they are together becomeunprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.This is God’s verdict upon the whole human race. He has the bestopportunity of seeing them, and he has the best capacity for judging them;and this is what he says of all men as they are by nature, “There is nonethat doeth good, no, not one.”
13. Their throat is an open sepulcher;A reeking mass of corruption;13. With their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is undertheir lips:They are pleased to say a bad word of their neighbor; they are eager torepeat any slander that they hear, and they are not unwilling even to inventit themselves.
14, 15. Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: their feet are swiftto shed blood:And when, by fear of the laws of the land, they are prevented from carryingout their evil purposes, yet their anger is itself murder in intent; and intowhat human heart has not that sin glanced?
16-19. Destruction and misery are in their ways: and the way of peacehave they not known: there is no fear of God before their eyes. Now weknow that what tidings never the law saith, it saith to them who are underthe law:All these passages, which Paul has put together in this dreadful mosaic, aretaken from the Old Testament, so they apply to the Jews; and he hadalready proved, in the first chapter, the intolerable vice of the Gentiles, sothat now he has shown that both Jews and Gentiles are guilty.19. That every mouth may be stopped, and all the world map becomeguilty before God.The nineteenth-century world as well as the world of the first century, allthe world, in all time, has “become guilty before God.”
20. Therefore by the deeda of the law there shall no flesh be justified inhis sight:Talk not, therefore, of righteousness by your own works. Dream not ofmeriting eternal life by any attempt to keep the law; for this is thedeclaration of God’s Holy Spirit, “By the deeds of the law there shall noflesh be justified in his sight: “
20. For by the law is the knowledge of sin.The law is a looking-glass; you see your spots as you gaze into it. But noman ever washed his face in s looking-glass; it shows the spots, but itcannot remove them. The law is the indicator and the revealer of sin; but ithas no power whatever to put away sin.
21-24. But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested,being witneesed by the law and the prophets; even the righteousness ofGod which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them thatbelieve: for there is no difference; for all have sinned, and come chart ofthe glory of God; being justified freely by hie grace through theredemption that is in Christ Jesus:That is a very wonderful verse, every word of it is full of meaning.“Justified”; — that is, accounted just, made to be righteous in the sight ofGod. “Justified freely”; — without any merit or purchase money. “Freelyby laic grace”; — not an act of justice, but an act of mercy has madesinners just in the sight of God. “Through the redemption”;— there is thefoundation of it all, we are redeemed by precious blood: “Through theredemption that is in Christ Jesus.”
25-27. Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in hieblood, to declare his righteousnees for the remission of sins that are past,through the forbearance of God; to declare, I say, at this time hisrighteouaness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him whichbelieveth in Jesus. Where is boasting then?Boasting is sure to be somewhere handy, ready to creep in if it can, for weare all prone to it; it is the common sin of our race: “Where is boastingthen?”27. It is excluded. By what law?It is shut out; but by what law is it shut out?27. Of works?No; for, whenever we think that we have been performing any good works,we begin to boast at once.27. Nay: but by the law of faith.For if we are saved by believing, if we are justified freely by God’s grace,through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, then there is no room forboasting.
28. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without thedeeds of the law.“We conclude” — we are shut up to this belief, “that a man is justified byfaith without the deeds of the 1aw.”
29. Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, ofthe Gentiles also:He saved Abraham by faith, and he saves us by faith. The same savingprinciple is applicable to all parts of the human race.
30, 31. Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith,and uncircumcision through faith. Do we then malice void the law throughfaith?Some will be sure to say so; but it is not true.31. God forbid: yea, we establish the law.There is no one who so much loves the law of God, and delights in it afterthe inward man, as the one who is justified by faith. There is nothing thatso honors the law as “the righteousness of God which is by faith of JesusChrist.” It establishes for ever the law, even as Christ said to his disciples,“Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am notcome to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven andearth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all befulfilled.”

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