“…For we have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under the power of sin. As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God.” (Rm 3:9-11)
After briefly describing what the gospel is, and his passion for it, Paul started to talk about sin. Why do you think Paul talked about sin first before he explained the gospel?
Who needs the gospel? The gospel is really good news to us and we definitely need it, but there are people who despise it. Do you need the gospel? Why do you need it? What’s the difference between you and the people who don’t need it?
We can find a hint for the answer from what Jesus said.
“When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Mk 2:16-17)
This is what Jesus said to Pharisees and the teachers of the law. They saw Jesus eating with the sinners and tax collectors and talked about this in whispers and asked His disciples why He associated with known sinners. This was Jesus’ response. He said that the sick needed a doctor. That’s right. However, we know that not every patient goes to see a doctor. Then, who does?
Only those who realize that they are really sick see a doctor. At that time, sinners and tax collectors loved Jesus and followed Him because they knew that they were sinners and they hungered for Him.
However, Pharisees and the teachers of the law often tested Jesus and ignored His miracles and messages because they thought of themselves as righteous. They didn’t need Jesus. To them, Jesus was kind of like an unwelcome guest.
Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Mt 5:3).
Who are the poor in spirit? They are those who realize that they are unforgivable sinners and that only Jesus can save them. They desperately seek Jesus because they know that He is the only way to eternal life. They don’t get satisfaction from the world because they know that only Jesus can truly satisfy their souls with a spring of water welling up to eternal life.
Only patients who know that they are sick go to see a doctor; in the same way, only sinners who realize their sinfulness and the terrible result of it run to Jesus.
Sad to say, however, even though all have sinned before the Lord, not all people try to find Jesus, the only perfect doctor for their souls, because they don’t know that they are sinners.
That’s why Paul first talked about sin before he explained what the gospel is. He wanted the Christians in Rome to realize that they were sinners because only after realizing it could they desperately seek Jesus and accept the gospel.
And, that’s why we should talk about sin first when we deliver the good news of Jesus to someone else. As I said before, when we talk about the gospel, there are important topics that should be included in it. Sin is one of them. I know that it’s harder to say ‘You are a sinner’ than ‘Let’s go to church. If you believe in Jesus, you’ll live a happy life.’
Nevertheless, we should let them know that they are essentially sinners before the Lord and that they’re going to hell because of their sins because only then they will feel the need for Jesus. In evangelization, talking about sin is not optional but essential.
At the beginning of his letter to the Romans, Paul had to prove that all people—Jews or Gentiles—needed the gospel before he explained that the gospel and its salvation were equally given to the Jews and Gentiles. That’s why he emphasized that all Jews and Gentiles were under the power of sin and God’s wrath would be poured out on them.
Paul said, “…For we have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under the power of sin. As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God.” (Rm 3:9-11)