What then? Are we any better? Not at all! For we have previously charged that both Jews and Gentiles are all under 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.
All have turned away;
all alike have become useless.
There is no one who does what is good,
not even one.
Their throat is an open grave;
they deceive with their tongues.
Vipers’ venom is under their lips.
Their mouth is full of cursing and bitterness.
Their feet are swift to shed blood;
ruin and wretchedness are in their paths,
and the path of peace they have not known.
There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
Now we know that whatever the law says speaks to those who are subject to the law, so that every mouth may be shut and the whole world may become subject to God’s judgment. For no one will be justified in His sight by the works of the law, because the knowledge of sin comes through the law.
Earlier we learned that God reveals himself to each and every person in the world through natural revelation; that is through nature and through a person’s conscience. So much so that no person will be able to stand before God at the judgement and declare that they never knew him. God has said that no person lives up to the standard they have of right and wrong in their own conscience. So no person without the law will be innocent on the day of judgement.
Now Paul speaks to the people who have the law. He was particularly speaking about the Jewish people, but he is equally speaking to us as well, for we have the law. And it is through the law, or the Bible comes the knowledge of sin. We not only have creation and our conscience to convict us of sin, we have the laws and commands of scripture. All of this combined leaves us broken and undone before the Holy Lord.
When people group themselves together for a common purpose, good and bad things can happen. But one bad thing that can happen is we become passive in regard to the purpose of our unity. We begin to write songs called “Nobody’s Perfect,” and glory in the fact that we are all in the same boat. And if we are in the same boat, then we can be passive in regard to seeking forgiveness for being in the group called “sinner.”
The purpose that the Apostle has for leaving all of humanity undone before God is not that we would be passive about our sin, but that we would be actively seeking daily forgiveness through Jesus Christ.
- Do you know yourself to be a sinner in the sight of God?
- Do you know yourself to be innocent or guilty in the courtroom of God’s justice?
- Let’s remind ourselves of what the solution is.