The Whole World is Guilty Before God
As it is written: “There is none righteous, no, not one; there is none who understands; there is none who seeks after God. They have all turned aside; they have together become unprofitable; there is none who does good, no, not one.”
“Their throat is an open tomb; with their tongues they have practiced deceit”;
“The poison of asps is under their lips”;
“Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness.”
“Their feet are swift to shed blood; destruction and misery are in their ways; and the way of peace they have not known.”
“There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin. (Romans 3:9-20)
Like a rapid fire courtroom prosecutor, the Holy Spirit uses the apostle Paul to close His case. All have sinned, all deserve God’s wrath and judgment—all men need a Savior. If Paul’s argument had not been clear so far in Romans, it is now crystal clear.
Using quotations from the Psalms, Proverbs, and Isaiah, one charge after another is brought with great power. The last indictment is the bottom line, the root cause for all the sins listed. Men do not fear God. That is, mankind does not revere or respect God, or consider that He is watching and holding us accountable.
Some would object to several of the charges. “Paul, are you saying that no one seeks after God?’ That no one does good?” The answer is yes to both objections. The only person who actually seeks after the true and living God is the one who has been sought after by Him; God is the initiator. And though good deeds are sometimes done, the heart from which they spring is self-focused and self-serving.
God’s purpose for the law is simple: He gave it to close our mouths. We constantly seek to justify ourselves and our behavior. We think that we’re good enough … we say that we will take our chances with God in the Day of Judgment; when that day comes we’ll argue our case. We don’t actually need to get radical and trust Christ for our salvation; our good deeds will save us. That’s the kind of thing we humans say. But God’s Word puts an end to all of such nonsense. He wants us to shut up, open our eyes and heart, and see Jesus dying for our sins at Calvary. Only when we realize that we’re as guilty as sin will we trust in the risen Savior, and receive eternal life as God’s free gift.
For Further Review
1. Why is it merciful for God to use the law to close our mouths? What is gained by that?
2. Why is it that we humans think that we can argue our defense before God, and convince Him that we are righteous in His eyes? What are your thoughts?
3. Have you concluded that you are a sinner? If not, what will it take to convince you? If so, what have you done about it?
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