The Universal Guilt of Mankind

Romans

The Universal Guilt of Mankind

July 11th, 1954 @ 7:30 PM

Romans 3:9-23

What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: Their feet are swift to shed blood: Destruction and misery are in their ways: And the way of peace have they not known: There is no fear of God before their eyes. Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
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THE UNIVERSAL GUILT OF MANKIND

Dr. W. A. Criswell

Romans 3:9-23

7-11-54    7:30 p.m.

 

 

I hope tonight you have your Bible.  Would you with me turn to the third chapter of the Book of Romans?  The third chapter of the Book of Romans; Romans the third chapter.  In our preaching through the Word, we have begun in Paul’s letter to the church at Rome, one of the great books in the Bible, the greatest piece of theological writing the world has ever known.  And the sermon tonight is the key sermon to all of it.  The basic sermon will be this message tonight entitled The Universal Guilt of Mankind.  It is the basic assumption, it is the major premise; without it the gospel message is nothing.  And that will appear as we go along.  But I wanted us to read together tonight starting at the ninth verse, and we are going to quit in the middle of a sentence; we are going to quit at the twenty-third verse; Romans the third chapter, beginning at the ninth verse and reading through the twenty-third.  All right, let us all of us read it together, Romans, third chapter, now the ninth verse:

 

What then? Are we better than they?  No, in no wise:  for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin;

As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:

There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.

They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

Their throat is an open sepulcher; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips:

Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness:

Their feet are swift to shed blood:

Destruction and misery are in their ways:

And the way of peace have they not known:

There is no fear of God before their eyes.

Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law:  that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.

Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in His sight:  for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets:

Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe:  for there is no difference:

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.

[Romans 3:9-23]

 

Now, the message tonight is the basic thesis of the whole preaching of the gospel:  this is the key to the Book and to the meaning of the preaching of Christ.  Romans 3:10, "There is none righteous, no, not one."  [Romans] 3:12, "They are all gone out of the way, they are all together unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one."  Romans 3:23, "For all have sinned, there is no difference, all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God."

I have copied here one from the Confessions of Rousseau, who from the Book of Luke, I have copied the words of two men.  This is from Rousseau, a famous philosopher and writer:  in his Confessions he said, "No man can come to the throne of God and say, ‘I am a better man than Rousseau.’  Let the trumpet of the last judgment sound when it will.  I will present myself before the sovereign Judge with this book in my hand," the one he was writing, My Confessions, the Confessions, "And I will say aloud, ‘God, here is what I did, here is what I thought, and this is what I was.’  No man a better man than Rousseau."  He was a brilliant genius, marvelous philosopher and author; but he was the most despicable character in all philosophy and in all literature.  There never lived a man as lowdown, as sorry as Rousseau.  When he was a boy, he was a trifling thief.  He lived in open licentiousness for twenty years and more.  He had one illegitimate child after another and every one of them he sent to a foundling hospital for strangers and charity to care for.  He was mean, he was vacillating, he was treacherous, he was hypocritical, he was vile and blasphemous.  But he says in his Confessions, "No man can say, when he comes to the throne of God, that, ‘I am a better man than Rousseau.’"

All right, there is an opposite character.  I copied this from Luke 18:10-12,

 

Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.

The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank Thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, impure, or even as this publican.

I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.

 

And either type, either type, for him a Rousseau, or for him a Pharisee, there is no help, there is no salvation, there is no preaching, there is no hope.  Without the knowledge of sin and without the confession of guilt, there is no message from the cross, there is no atonement in Jesus, and there is no need for the death of our Savior.  The first great posit of the gospel of Jesus Christ is this: that all of us alike are sinners, all of us.  The self righteous Pharisee is a sinner, God says.  Rousseau, who lived vilely and yet presented himself as better than other men, he too is lost and undone.  The first major thesis of the gospel of the Son of God is the thesis that Paul begins with in his book to the church at Rome that all of us have sinned, all of us have sinned, all of us are guilty, and all of us are lost alike.

Now in his elaboration of that, in the first chapter, in the second chapter, and in the third chapter of the Book of Romans, he takes mankind and divides them into four parts; and he says all of them are alike, all alike.  First, he starts with the Greco-Roman.  In the first chapter of the Book of Romans, from the eighteenth to the thirty-second verse, he describes the Roman, the Greco-Roman, the Greek Roman.  And you don’t read that description out loud, not in mixed audiences.  I never heard it read in my life.  I won’t read it tonight.  Paul is describing there Rome and the Roman Empire, the Greek of the East, and the Roman of the West; and they were vile and wicked above what a man ought to say in public.  Rome had gathered together the villainy and the rascality and iniquity of all her empire.  She was worse than the gods that she worshiped; and her gods were worse than the people.  The gods out of Egypt, the gods out of the Orient, the gods from the East, the gods from the West, all of them licentiously worshipped in the city of Rome.

The soldiers of Rome had forsaken the battles of their country and had left it to mercenaries.  Those emperors vied with one another in their licentious and luxurious life.  The whole city was a cesspool of iniquity, and the whole character of the Roman people had degenerated.  "The Roman is lost," says Paul, as he begins writing in the first chapter, 18 through 32.

Then in the second chapter, one through the eleventh verse, Paul next picks up the moral pagan, the moral Gentile.  In the first chapter, those who lived in the cesspools of iniquity; in the second chapter he speaks of the moral pagans, the moral Gentile.  And he says that the moral man, the moral man is also a sinner in the sight of God:  he also has fallen short of the expectations and the glory of the Lord.  And wherein that moral man judges another man, he condemns himself; for unconsciously he’s guilty of the same sin, whether he realizes it or not.

Then in the twelfth verse through the sixteenth verse, he talks there about the heathen, the pagan, the man who’s never heard the name of God, the man who’s never heard the gospel, the man who’s never seen a Bible.  And Paul says, "As many as have sinned without the law shall perish also without the law:  as many have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law" [Romans 2:12].  Paul says whether a man has heard the gospel or not makes no difference, whether a man has ever heard the revelations of God or not makes no difference:  if a man has heard the law of God and he sins, then he’s a sinner because the law judges him; if a man has never heard the law of God, then he’s a sinner because he violates the law of conscience. 

 

When the Gentiles, which have not the law – when the heathen have not the law – do by nature the things contained in the law, these are a law unto themselves:  which show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another.

[Romans 2:14-15]

 

Paul says, and anthropology proves it to be right, that there’s not any family, and there’s not any nation, and there’s not any pagan, and there’s not any heathen – no matter how degraded they are – there are no people in this world who have not a conscience.  It may be seared, it may be buried, but there is a moral law and a moral code, there is a conscience in every tribe and every family in this earth.  When God makes a man, He puts on the inside of him a conscience, a moral sensitivity.  And Paul says that the men, the nations, the people, the tribes, and families that are outside of the pale of the knowledge of the revelation of God, these have a law unto themselves; and by that law they also are sinners.  Paul says there’s not any man, or family, or tribe, or nation, or people, who ever lives up to the revelation of the law of God, the natural law in their hearts and life.  They too, he says, are sinners.

Then last, fourth, beginning at the seventeenth verse in the second chapter of the Book of Romans, he talks about the Jew.  The Jew was ready to admit the guilt of the Gentiles; they were all dogs, they were all going to hell.  The Jew was very happy and glad to admit that.  The pagan, the heathen, the Greek, the Roman, the Scythian, the barbarian, why certainly they were sinners; they were all lost and going to hell, "That’s right," said Paul.  "That’s right," said the Jew.  But Paul said, "Thou art called a Jew, and you have the oracles of God, and art confident that thou art a guide to the blind, and a light to them which are in darkness, and an instructor of the foolish, and teacher of babes, and hast the form of knowledge of truth in the law.  But thou who teachest, do you teach yourself?  And thou that preachest that a fellow shouldn’t steal, do you steal?  Are you pure?  You that abhor idols, do you commit sacrilege?  And thou that makest much of the law, do you keep the law?"  Paul says that the Jew, who was most meticulous in all of those little things, walking in the tradition of the elders, he also is a sinner before God.  The pagan, the heathen, the Gentile, the Greek, the Roman, the Jew, all men everywhere, Paul says, are guilty before God. 

 

There is none righteous, no, not one. 

There is none that doeth good, no, not one. 

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God

 [Romans 3:10, 12, 23].

 

That is the major premise of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  That is the beginning of the salvation in the Lord:  that all of us are alike, are guilty, lost, undone, without God and without hope in the world.

You know that’s a severe indictment, don’t you think?  A severe indictment, that there are no people good enough to stand in the presence of God, there are no people holy enough to walk by themselves, their own advocate, into the glory of the world that is to come; but that all of us belong to a fallen race, and all of us are lost and sinners alike.  But that’s the major thesis of the gospel of the Son of God.  It is the thing that lies back of every revelation in this Book, that no matter who we are, no matter who we are, fine and strong and good, not fine enough, not strong enough, and not good enough, all of us lost alike.  We belong to a fallen race.

Man has changed in every way except one way.  As the years have passed, we have changed scientifically, we have changed politically, we have changed economically, we have even changed religiously.  The religion of the world today isn’t anything like it was in the days of the Greco-Roman.  We have changed in every way.  But there is one way we haven’t changed at all, and that is spiritually:  we are all, everywhere, just the same.  As a man was in the days of Abraham, as he was in the days of Noah, as he was in the days of David, as he was in the days of Isaiah, as he was in the days of Paul, so is the man today:  spiritually we are still the same, lost and undone, all sinners, all of us, all of us, all of us.

No matter where you place the man, he’s a failure, and he’s still a sinner.  In the garden of Eden, he sinned, and he fell short of the glory of God.  In the days of the antediluvians before the flood, he was a sinner, and God judged him.  In the days of the giving of the law, while Moses was on top of Mount Sinai, the people were down in the camp worshipping at the shrine of a golden calf.  Under the judges, under the kings, under the prophets, he has ever been the same:  he is a lost and fallen creature.  That is the major thesis of the Word of God.  We belong to a fallen race; and all of us, as members of the race, we are born in sin and conceived in iniquity [Psalm 51:5].

The old-timers used to have a doctrine, the doctrine of total depravity.  You don’t ever hear it referred to anymore.  You see, we’ve become dilettante and effeminate and effete, and we don’t like the real message and the revelation of the Word of God.  We love to be complimented, we love to be told how fine we are and how good we are and how great we are.  We don’t like for a man to open this Book and read therein and look at ourselves as God looks upon us.  We don’t like it.  We don’t like it.  Consequently you never hear it referred to anymore, that old-time doctrine of total depravity.  But that’s a doctrine of the Book.  It’s a major thesis of the Bible.

What is total depravity?  This is total depravity:  not that a man is as bad as he can be, but that sin has entered into all of our faculties and into all of our lives; and however a man may try, and however a man may do, there is in him always the presence of mistake and shortcoming.  We never quite measure up of our own selves; we never get to be all that God has for us to be.  We fall short, we fall short, all of us do.  The race does, and when we are born into the race, the virus of that weakness and sin is born into us, and we are identified with our race.  It’s impossible for a man to stand aside and say, "All humanity has sinned, all of us have done wrong, but I, I’m pure, and I’m perfect, and I’ve never done wrong."  There’s no man in the earth who can say that.  He belongs to the race, he’s a part of the race, he is born in the race, he belongs to the family of humanity, and as a member of that family, he too is lost and is in sin; all of us alike, all of us alike.

The Bible says in the tenth chapter of the Book of Acts that Cornelius was a good man and a righteous man, and he prayed to God always, and he gave alms to the poor, and he succored and encouraged the people of the Lord [Acts 10:2].  But the angel of the Lord came to him, and said, "Cornelius, you send down there to Joppa and ask for one Simon Peter; he is in the house of one Simon a tanner.  And have him come up, and he will tell thee words whereby thou and thy house may be saved" [Acts 10:3-6].  May be saved?  May be saved?  What do you mean?  He was one of the best men in the world.  But he was lost:  he was good, but not good enough.  We belong to a nature and a family that doesn’t bear fruit acceptable to God.  And however a man may be wicked as you say he’s wicked, or however he may be good as you say he is good, in God’s sight, his human nature is depraved and lost.

Moody one time gave an illustration, talking about this very subject of everybody being lost.  Moody one time said, "If I have two trees, they’re sour apple trees, and one tree has five hundred apples on it all sour, and the other tree has two apples on it, both sour, the nature of both trees are exactly alike:  they are sour apples.  So in the life of a man:  one man may be vile and iniquitous, with five hundred evil deeds; another man may be relatively good, with a few evil deeds; but the basic nature of both of the men is alike: they are fallen and undone." 

That’s the way Moody illustrated it.  Could I illustrate it my way?  When Jesus was passing by, He saw a funeral procession.  The widow of Nain had lost her boy, and he was dead, the lad just died; and in sorrow, they were taking the boy out to the cemetery to bury him.  The boy was dead; he had just died [Luke 7:11-15].  Upon another occasion, the Lord came by, and He stopped in the house of Mary and Martha.  Their brother had been dead four days [John 11:17].  And in that hot, subtropical country, with no embalming and no care for the body, you could sympathize with the cry of Abraham, who said, "Let me put my dead out of my sight" [Genesis 23:4].  Corruption, mortality, four days – one had just died, and the other had been dead four days; one was in corruption, the other, mortification was just beginning to set in; but they were both alike.  They were dead:  one dead in corruption, the other dead in the beginning of corruption.  But for them both to live took a miracle of the strength and the power and the ableness of God.

So with us:  we all are dead, God’s Book says, in trespasses and in sins, all of us [Ephesians 2:1].  Some of us the evil of the life would be impossible to describe; some relatively free; we’re all alike dead, all alike dead in trespasses and in sins, all short of the glory of God [Romans 3:23].  And the same miracle, the same great power from heaven to raise a Lazarus dead four days [John 11:43-44] is the same great power that is needed to raise the widow’s son, just died [Luke 7:14-15].  All dead alike, all resurrected alike; in the power of God  there is no difference, no difference – all of us lost alike.

The distinction in sin is a man’s distinction, it’s a human distinction.  To us wrong shades off into right, and right shades off into wrong.  And over here is more right, and over here is more wrong, and we kind of see it shaded together.  But in God’s sight, there is no such thing.  There is an abrupt break between right and good in God’s sight.  The two are never inter-comingled, it is never gray; it is either black or it is either white.  It’s one or the other in God’s sight.  And our lives, our hearts, our souls, our thoughts, our days, this mundane terrestrial existence, we live it not in white; we live it in the black.  It’s a debt before God; it’s in sin.  Our soul, our heart, our life, God says is a lost life, and an undone life, and "there is none righteous, no, not one" [Romans 3:10].

While I was back there dressing after the baptismal service, you were singing a song out here that is one of the great gospel messages of the world, "I am Only a Sinner," you, you, you, you, you.  "I am only a sinner," you and you.  "I am only a sinner;" some of us just saved by grace, but all of us sinners alike in the presence of God.

The root of that sin, the root of our wrong, the root of our shortcoming is in the soul.  It’s not down where you can grasp it, where you can eradicate it, where you can pull it up.  It’s in the soul; it’s in the nature, its way down deep.  It’s not a stumbling upward, as some of these pseudoscientists would have us believe, that evolution was gradually pure:  "Just give us time to evolve, and we’ll get away from the tiger’s claw, from the tooth and the fang, and the doubled fist.  We will evolve out of our sin and iniquity."  With the evolution of the days and the ages, we still are all alike!  When we talk about the people and the race that we read of here in the Book of Romans, it’s not a distant race, it’s not an extinct race, it’s us!  This generation today, as it was a generation yesterday, as it is a generation tomorrow; all sinned, all sin.

And our problem does not lie in intellectual darkness that education could eradicate.  Educate, train, teach, read, and we still are a fallen people and a lost race, all of us alike.  Do you know what communism is?  If communism is any one thing above anything else it is this:  that through technology and through study and through science in the fields of philosophy, of economics, of anthropology, of politics, in all of these fields, by study, by worshipping the ability of man, we can finally achieve a final and a glorious salvation.  You have a wrong idea of communism in America.  Whenever you read the newspapers in America, you get the idea of the communist that he’s a murderer – well he is!  That he’s a materialist – well he is!  That he’s anti-God; that he is.  But man, every people has to have a great ideal if they try to march, and the communist has tremendous ideals.  And for it they are fanatically laying down their lives and glad to do it.  Well what are those ideals?  The ideals are this: that in ourselves, in mankind we have an all-sufficiency to solve all of our problems, enough for everybody.  The whole race sharing in the wealth of the world; they don’t need any God, and they don’t need any Christ, and they don’t need any Bible.  You don’t need any religion and you don’t need any church.  They can do it themselves.  And they do it through science, and technology, and education.  What kind of people are they?  They’re just like the fascists.  Whether you are a fascist under Hitler, or whether you are a communist under Malenkov, you are still the same: you are lost and undone and fallen!  However we train the mind, it never reaches to the cleansing and the saving of the soul.

And sin is not a cultural inferiority that we can eradicate by taking our children and teaching them all of the finer things of life.  Do you know if I were looking for the cruelest kids in this city of Dallas, do you know where I’d look for them?  All over in Dallas; over in West Dallas, I might find some kids that are cruel and full of the spirit of vandalism, and destruction, and iniquity, and wantonness; and wastrels, I’d find them over there.  But I’ll tell you, if I were looking for the kids that have the least regard for property, for right, for justice, for humility, for all of those graces that we think make a people lovable and acceptable to God, you know where I’d look for them?  I’d look for them in those gangs that drive those big Cadillacs that go up and down these streets in a certain part of the city, and they come out of our finest homes.  That’s where I’d look for them.  I’d look for them in that bunch.  They have every cultural advantage in the world; but they are rotten to the core.  Why, because they’re any different from anybody else?  No; because they’re like everybody else.  Culture is a veneer.  Culture is on the outside.  Culture is skin deep.  The heart and the bloodstream is lost before God.  Whether they live in a big house or a shanty in West Dallas, whether he’s a big executive or a tramp trying to break into a railroad car to steal a can of tomatoes, they’re all alike:  their hearts are lost before God.

Oh!  The more spiritually sensitive you are and the closer you get to God, the more this truth comes home to your heart.  Paul said, who wrote this book, Paul said, "I am the chief of sinners.  I am the chief of sinners."  Can you imagine that?  Can you imagine that?  "I am the chief of sinners" [1 Timothy 1:15].  Simon Peter, when he saw the miracle of the draft of fishes, fell at the feet of Jesus, and said, "Lord, depart from me; I am a sinful man" [Luke 5:8].  Isaiah, when he saw the glory of the Lord, Isaiah said, "Woe is me! for I am undone; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the Lord, the glory of the Lord" [Isaiah 6:5].  As you near God, instead of feeling more righteous and more holy as you get closer and closer to God, you feel more unrighteous, more unholy, more undeserving of the grace of the Lord.  "All of us have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" [Romans 3:23].

Now dear people, that’s the beginning message.  That’s the major premise of the Bible.  It’s the major thesis of the Book of Romans, that we’re all lost and all in sin.  Now, I’m not going to close on that kind of a note.  I’m going to close in just a word about what Paul has to say for us.  It’s in Romans 11:32, "For God hath concluded all in unbelief, that He might have mercy upon all."  That’s the thing that Paul is leading up to as he writes this Book of Romans.  Beginning, all of us are lost, all of us are lost, all of us, that’s his beginning thesis; all of us are lost.  That little sweet little girl in your home, sweet little child in your home, she’s like a little doll, she’s just a little gift out of heaven, but as the days pass and she reaches the age of accountability, lost, and needs to be saved.  And that little boy, like those sweet little fellows that I baptized tonight, in your home, some of you fathers and mothers out there bring that little fellow to sit down by me in my study, and I talk to him about becoming a Christian, and I talk to him about God, "Why, pastor, you don’t mean that little boy is lost without Jesus?  That little fellow, that he needs to be saved?"  According to the Book, according to the Word and the revelation of God, the little fellow, he needs to be saved too.  All of us are alike:  "God hath concluded all in sin, all in unbelief, that He might have mercy upon all."  The Jew is lost, and he needs God.  The moral man is lost, and he needs God.  The   heathen is lost, and he needs God.  The Greek and the Roman is lost, and he needs God.  All of us need God alike; all of us must confess our faith in Him, all of us must come to God, all of us must.

And then that is the gospel message:  that in Christ all alike can be saved.  Like the ark, one door, on the inside of that door the great elephant lumbered, and the little snail crawled, and the eagle swooped out of the blue of the sky, and the little wren hopped in; and Shem, Ham, and Japheth, and their wives; and Noah and his wife; all went in that one door, and all were saved alike, all lost under judgment of the flood, all into that one door, and all of them saved [Genesis 6:16; 7:13,16].  The Passover:  any Egyptian, any Hebrew, anyone sprinkle the blood on the lintels and the doorposts, when the death angel passed over that night, if he saw the blood, the family under the blood, whoever they were, under the blood, under the blood, not that they were the best, not that they were the wisest, not that they were the most righteous, but they were under the blood, and as the death angel passed, when he saw the blood he passed over that house [Exodus 12:7,13, 24].  Or John 3:16, "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son; that whosoever," whosoever.  "Whosoever" surely meaneth me.  All of us alike lost, but all of us alike under the blood, in the grace and mercy of God:  not that we are righteous, but that He is righteous; not that we are lovely, but that He is lovely; not that I am sinless, but that He died for my sins, "that whosoever, whosoever trusts in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

You know, when you break up in the congregation, you’re not able to notice – but oh, I wish I could have stopped you this morning – there came down the aisle this morning, came down the aisle this morning after our benediction, there came down the aisle a young fellow, took me by the hand, and I recognized him, I recognized him.  That boy was converted; he was saved in a morning service in the church that I pastored in Oklahoma.  He was saved in a morning service; and I’ll never forget that hour, I’ll never forget it.  There were eighteen people that morning who were converted.  Just an ordinary morning service, not a revival; there were eighteen.  And down that right aisle came that little boy, came that little fellow.  It’s been, oh, twelve years ago now, and he’s a grown young man.  But down the aisle came that little boy – he was very small for his age – and gave me his hand.  And he said, "Today I want to trust the Lord Jesus as my Savior," and he sat down.  And I looked down that aisle, and down the aisle was coming Mickey McFarland, who was seventy-four years old, and the most famous outlaw of Indian Territory days.  Down the aisle came Mickey McFarland, and he took me by my hand that morning, and he said, "Today, I take the Lord Jesus as my Savior," and he sat down there.  And I looked down the aisle, and there was coming down the aisle on a cane, just kind of feeling his way down the aisle, there came a full blood Cherokee Indian, one hundred three years old, by the name of Bird Doublehead.  He came tottering down the aisle, and came up to me, and took me by the hand, and he said, "Today I want to take the Lord Jesus as my Savior," and those three sat down there together.  My little boy – who shook hands with me again this morning, now a grown young man – the little boy, next to him Mickey McFarland, the famous outlaw of Indian Territory days, and next to him old Bird Doublehead, one hundred three year old Cherokee Indian; those three sat right down there together; and then fifteen others across the front, coming to God:  all of them saved alike; all of them in the kingdom alike.  As the days passed, I buried the old Cherokee Indian.  And as more days passed, I buried Mickey McFarland.  And some of these days, that boy will live out his life, and they’ll lay him somewhere in the heart of the earth.  But in glory, all shall appear before the throne of God, however erred in this life, however drifted and transgressed in this life, however undone and lost in this life, all saved alike in the great glory of God in the by and by.  That’s the message of heaven. It’s the gospel of Jesus.  All of us need Him, and Christ died for us all, for us all.

Mr. Souther, while we sing the song, while we sing the song, somebody you tonight, give your heart to Jesus, somebody you come into the fellowship of His church, while we make appeal, while we sing, into that aisle and down here to the front, and stand by me, would you come?  Would you come?  In the balcony, from side to side, anywhere, somebody you, a whole family of you, two of you, one of you, while we sing this song, "I Am Resolved."  "Here I come, preacher, and here I am."  While we sing it tonight, would you come?  Would you make it now?  Into the aisle, down here to the front and by my side, while we make this appeal, while we prayerfully sing tonight, will you make it now?  "Here I come, preacher, and here I am."  While we stand and while we sing.

THE UNIVERSAL GUILT OF MANKIND

Dr. W. A. Criswell

Romans 1:18-3:23

7-11-54

 

I.          Introduction

A.  Basic thesis of the whole preaching of the gospel – all are lost alike(Romans 3:10, 12, 23)

1.  Rousseau’s Confessions – "…no man better than Rousseau…"

a. Brilliant philosopher, but despicable character, vile, blasphemous

2.  The Pharisee’s prayer – "…I am not as other men are…"(Luke 18:10-12)

B.  Without the knowledge of sin and confession of guilt, there is no message from the cross

 

II.         The beginning thesis of Romans – all have sinned

A.  Paul divides mankind into four parts, all alike

1.  The Greco-Roman – vile and wicked above what ought to be said in public (Romans 1:18-32)

2.  The moral Gentile – in judging another he condemns himself, for he’s guilty of the same sin(Romans 2:1-11)

3.  The heathen – the man who’s never heard the gospel violates the law of conscience(Romans 2:12-16)

4.  The Jew – most meticulous in tradition of the elders, but also a sinner (Romans 2:17-24)

B.  Severe indictment – there are no people good enough to stand in the presence of God

 

III.        We belong to a fallen race

A.  Man has changed in every way except one – spiritually

B.  No matter where you place the man, he is a failure and sinner

C.  The nature of the race (Psalm 51:5)

1.  Doctrine of total depravity

2.  Cornelius was a righteous man, but still needed to be saved (Acts 10:2-6)

3.  Moody’s illustration of the two sour apple trees

4.  Son of the widow of Nain and Lazarus – one had just died, one dead four days, but both dead alike; both required miracle of God to live (Luke 7:11-15, John 11:17, Genesis 23:4)

a. So with us – we are all dead in sins, requiring the same resurrection power(Ephesians 2:1, Romans 3:10, 23, John 11:43-44, Luke 7:14-15)

5.  Distinction in sin is a human distinction(Romans 3:10)

 

IV.       The root of sin is in the soul

A.  Beyond our grasp to eradicate it

1.  Not a stumbling upward, cured by evolution

2.  Not intellectual darkness, removed by education

a. Communism has tremendous ideals

3.  Not social inferiority, cured by cultural training

B.  The more spiritually sensitive you are, the more aware you are of your sin

1.  Paul called himself "chief of sinners" (1 Timothy 1:15)

2.  Simon Peter recognized himself a "sinful man"(Luke 5:8)

3.  Isaiah a "man of unclean lips"(Isaiah 6:5)

 

V.        All alike depend upon the mercies of God(Romans 11:32)

A.  In Christ all alike can be saved

1.  The one door of the ark (Genesis 6:16, 7:13, 16)

2.  The blood of the Passover (Exodus 12:7, 13, 24)

3.  The atonement of the cross (John 3:16)

B.  Young man who came down the aisle this morning – saved as a boy in my church in Oklahoma on a morning that eighteen were saved, including outlaw Mickey McFarland and full-blood Cherokee Bird Doublehead