Romans 3:9-17

In Romans 3:9-17 Paul tackles the question about whether the Jews have a better position because of their heritage. And he’s talking to the guy in the mirror as he was himself Jewish by birth so ‘we’ means me in his case. “What then? Are we Jews any better off?” The point is that by nature, the Jewish person is no more right with God than anyone else, even the Gentiles who were thought of as a lower class by his Jewish brothers and sisters. The reality is that all mankind is guilty of falling short of God’s requirements – which is what sin is – and as a result we are all under condemnation as sinners.

Paul says it clearly – there is no difference between Jews and Greeks – we are all ‘under sin’ which really means we are slaves to sin. The literal meaning of what he wrote is that we were ‘sold under sin’ and are guilty and identified as sinners. We cannot break free on our own. We are captives of our sinful human nature and have only one way out of that sinful slavery – Jesus Christ. “No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, as it is written: None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God.” None of us are righteous on our own.

Scripture has many places it talks about our failure to live up to God’s righteous expectations. We all come up short. When God finds none righteous, it is because there are none. It isn’t as if there were some and God couldn’t see them. There has never been a truly righteous man apart from Jesus Christ. “All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” We deceive ourselves into thinking that man, on his own, really does seek after God. While it may appear we are seeking God, we end up creating idols that we can control and really aren’t seeing communion with God at all.

Paul writes that we’re ‘worthless’ which describes the idea of rotting fruit in the original language. This isn’t a temporary place of not doing the right things. We’ve turned away and are permanently on the wrong course. It isn’t some surface issue Paul calls out all parts of our human body as sinful. “Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive. The venom of asps is under their lips.” We use every part to rebel against God and His righteousness. “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.” Sin penetrates our entire being and we quickly allow all of our body to be consumed by our sinful nature. “Their feet are swift to shed blood; in their paths are ruin and misery, and the way of peace they have not known.”

One response to this post.

  1. Reblogged this on Matthews' Blog.


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