10 as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one;
11 no one understands; no one seeks for God.
12 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.”
13 “Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.” “The venom of asps is under their lips.”
14 “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.”
15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood;
16 in their paths are ruin and misery,
17 and the way of peace they have not known.”
18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
(To read all of Romans chapter 3, click here.)
Many churches today discount the power and pervasiveness of sin in mankind. However, when we read passages like the one above, we are reminded that sin is man's greatest problem. In verses 10-18, Paul paints an ugly picture of man's state apart from God.
In this passage, Paul strings together several passages from the Old Testament. He proves in graphic fashion that both Jew and Gentile are guilty before God. Additionally, Paul shows us that sin is not some sort of little problem. Sin pervades all of humanity, making all of us evil rebels before a holy God.
Several points stand out from this passage. We see that "none is righteous." None of us can do anything to justify ourselves before God. Also, "no one seeks for God." On our own, none of us even looks for God or has interest in Him. Furthermore, "no one does good." None of our acts count as good in God's sight if we do not know Him.
Later in the passage, Paul uses several specific examples to illustrate the depravity of man. Paul closes by stating, "There is no fear of God before their eyes." No person, on his own, ever fears, respects, or stands in awe of God.
So what do we learn from this passage? It is clear that all people are sinful. Beyond that, we see just how depraved we really are. Sin is not a little issue. Rather, it is a rebellious condition that we cannot overcome. In fact, based on this passage it seems that we actually enjoy it.
Since no one is righteous, no one seeks God, no one does good, and no one fears God, it is quite obvious that we are 100% guilty in God's sight. We cannot rescue ourselves, nor would we even want to do so. We certainly would not choose God over the things of this world.
In light of Romans 3:10-18, we have to admit that someone pure and holy must rescue is from our sinful state. Someone sovereign must change our wicked hearts.
Thanks be to God that He regenerates the hearts of sinners!