“The Weightiness of Sin”
July 17, 2016
Every year for the past four years, Zimbabwe has hosted a most unusual pageant. You know there are beauty pageants for women and there are a few for men, but this one in Zimbabwe is quite different. It has been held now for four consecutive years; the last time was last November when a new “Mr. Ugly” was crowned:
Judges…chose 42-year-old Mison Sere, citing his numerous missing front teeth and a wide range of grotesque facial expressions, over William Masvinu, who had held the title since 2012.
Masvinu and his supporters mobbed the judges upon hearing their decision, claiming that Sere was “too handsome” to win and his ugliness wasn’t natural since it was based on missing teeth.
“I am naturally ugly. He is not. He is ugly only when he opens his mouth,” maintained Masvinu, gesturing at his rival.
“Do we have to lose our teeth to win? This is cheating,” shouted another contestant, Patrick Mupereki. While no one was injured, there was a great deal of pushing and shoving as the results were announced and insults were hurled at the judges.…
Sere dismissed the critics as just “sore losers” as he pocketed the $500 in winnings.
“They should just accept that I am uglier than them,” he said. “I hope to get a TV contract. I already moved around schools performing and showcasing my ugliness so this is a chance to make it on TV.” [“Cheating accusations mar Zimbabwe’s ‘Mister Ugly’ contest”; accessed 2/5/16]
There are many ugly things in this world, and while Mr. Sere doesn’t look too good, what is infinitely more ugly is sin. For the better part of three chapters, Paul has been delineating the sinfulness of mankind. In chapter 1, verses 18-32, he demonstrated how Gentile pagans are unrighteous and under the wrath of God. In chapter 2 verse one, through chapter three verse 8, Paul argues that Jews without Christ are unrighteous, sinful, and deserving of God’s wrath.
And now in chapter three verse nine through verse 20, Paul is going to assert that all men everywhere are sinners. In the first 2-1/2 chapters, his emphasis has been on God’s right to judge all who reject Christ; the emphasis in these verses is slightly different — it is more on the nature of sin itself rather than on the righteousness of God in judging sin.
In verse 9, Paul provides a summary statement for the nature of sin, and then he develops how that sin is manifested in the lives of sinners (vv. 10-18):
- Sinners are rebellious against God (vv. 10-12)
- Sinners are rebellious in their speech (vv. 13-14)
- Sinners are rebellious in their relationships (vv. 15-17)
- Sinners are rebellious in their lack of a fear of God (v. 18)
What this section demonstrates is that sin has touched every area of man’s life — he is “totally depraved” and completely unable to do anything to save himself.
As Paul opens this final portion of his first section in Romans, his theme is —
The weightiness of sin is that it overpowers and enslaves all men.
In this verse, Paul makes two primary assertions about the nature of sin —
- No Man Is Better Than Anyone Else (without Christ)
- The Gentiles are condemned (1:18-32)
- The Jews are condemned (2:1 – 3:8)
- Paul and the Romans were condemned (3:9a)
- Sin Weighs Down Every Man (without Christ)
- Men are sinners because they are born that way
- Men are sinners because they sin
- Men are sinners because they are controlled by sin (3:9b)
Download the rest of this sermon from Romans 3:9.
The audio will be posted on the GBC website later today.