Use one or both of these questions to introduce the lesson:
1. What are some of your favorite books, plays, films, or TV shows based on courtroom dramas? Why does that sort of story appeal to many?
2. With what character in such a drama do you most identify: the judge? the defendant? the prosecutor? the defense attorney? Why do you think that is?
Read Romans 3:9-12.
1. At the beginning of a trial, the charge (the crime the defendant is accused of committing) is given. According to verse 9, who is the defendant? What is the charge?
2. The following verses can be viewed as a prosecutor’s opening arguments. In verses 10-12, the charge made in verse 9 is clarified with four clauses that begin with none or no one. List those four sub-charges and try to tell how each one relates to the main charge of being under sin.
Read Romans 3:13-20.
3. Skim verses 13-18. Underline each mention of a part of the body in these verses. In some court cases, the guilt of the accused is mitigated or excused to a degree with the claim that the accused did not fully understand or intend to commit the crime. How does this list of body parts refute that idea?
4. After the prosecutor makes those opening arguments, put yourself in the place of the defendant. According to verses 19 and 20, what can the defendant’s mouth say in his defense? What does the defendant’s knowledge/consciousness tell him about his guilt?
Read Romans 3:21-26.
5. The next words in our courtroom drama come from the defense attorney. Typically, the defense might argue that the defendant either did not commit the crime or in some way is not guilty because of his or her circumstances. In view of that, why are the words of verse 23 surprising? How does this admission move us to the next stage of a trial—the sentencing of the accused?
6. When a wrong is done, somebody must pay for the wrongdoing. At the end of the sentencing, a judge might say, “Bailiff, take him away!” But in this trial, who is being taken to experience the punishment demanded by the law? (See also Isaiah 53:10-12.) Circle the words justified, redemption, and atonement in verses 24 and 25. If necessary, look up these words in a dictionary to help you clarify their meanings. How do those words explain the result of this strange trial?
7. In this courtroom drama, you are the defendant. You now walk out of the courtroom guilty as sin, but free as a bird! What do you do next? How will this verdict make a difference in your daily life?