Every mouth may be silenced.

Last night, Stuart Baggs dramatically talked himself out of the firing line in Alan Sugar’s boardroom. It had seemed to be the end of the line for Stuart, who had lurched from moments of brilliance to moments of stupidity and annoyance. With Lord Sugar’s sword of judgement hanging over Stuart’s head, Stuart launched into a dramatic soliloquy that won him over and led to the reluctant dismissal of Liz.

It seems that, despite Stuart’s mistakes in this task where the teams had to sell tickets for and run a London Bus Tour,  Stuarts achievements pre-Apprentice were enough to save him. Now 21, he moved out and bought his own house at 18, drove around in nice cars all on money that he had earned through his business exploits. He was a self-starter and that impressed Lord Sugar. His defence saved him – for the moment. In the end only one will be saved for the privilege of a job in the Sugar empire.

This morning I was reading some verses from Romans 3, nicely expounded by Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Rom 3:19 Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God.

In this section of Romans (from 1:18 to 3:20), Paul has been making the case that no-one can stand on their own merits before God. The Jews were wanting to rely on their status as citizens of Israel, members of God’s people, and the bearers of the law (the Old Testament) but systematically, Paul has deconstructed their arguments. Before God, the Jews cannot stand by their good works, because they are not sufficient; they cannot stand by their birthright (circumcision) as this was a sign to them of being set apart to keep the law, which they were not doing; And they cannot rely on the fact that they were the nation to which God gave the law. The whole world, Jew and Gentile, will be held accountable to God. Because of this every mouth will fall silent. He is making the point the status of everyone who will stand before God is accountable and guilty. Everyone has chosen their own way. God’s judgement is good, righteous and consistent and is always according to truth (Rom 2:2). The good news is to follow, that righteousness and truth are given freely from God to everyone who wants them by a generous act of grace through Jesus Christ.

I’d much rather have it this way than any other. Imagine being faced with a divine Lord Sugar waiting to declare those fateful words “You’re Fired” and left with only my own ingenuity and arguments to make my case. I cannot think what I would say to justify myself and win my approval. I certainly wouldn’t be able to think on my feet and big-up my own achievements like Baggs and Co. because my achievements are not worth that much, and more importantly, God cannot be fooled. His judgements are right and just.

This is why ‘Every mouth may be silenced’ (Rom 3:19) – There will be no self-justification and no arguments because there are no words that can do. Simply a knowledge that I, as we all are, stand guilty before God and am entirely reliant on his saving acts to place me ‘in the right’. The Judge is also the Saviour.

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