Stringing together statements from Psalm 14:1-3, Psalm 53:1-3, Psalm 5:9, Psalm 140:3, Psalm 10:7, Proverbs 1:16, Proverbs 3:15-17, Isaiah 59:7-8, and Psalm 36:1, Paul (or rather, God through Paul) drops the hammer.
"None is righteous" he says in verse 10. None! And to be sure it's clear, he continues, "no, not one." He marches forward, "All have turned aside; together they have become worthless, no one does good." What?!? Surely Paul isn't saying there isn't a single person on earth that does good? "Not even one" he retorts. He continues on and it's not pretty. It's sad statement of the state mankind and it's true.
This indictment is offensive to everything our flesh feels. It's abrasive to the message preached by society. And there is good reason for it. It's true and failing to see this truth and subsequently surrendering under the weight of it is our path to God's wrath. Paul has spent the better part of three chapters trying to convince his readers of their own sinfulness because he's about to reveal the good news of the gospel. Paul is about to proclaim the way of salvation in addition to the way to a joy filled life with God.
Paul will show us that we can't save ourselves but there's one who saves. We'll see that we are undeserving even of life but the free gift of life is available to us through the blood of Jesus Christ. We exchange our wickedness for Christ's righteousness, only made possible by the grace of God. Paul is hard upfront because he deeply desires that we feel this truth. Death is on the line and Paul is deadly serious.
These words should drive us to worship and praise of God, yet we often hear them as some empty fact or Christianeese. We should weep at the beauty of it, yet we hardly shed a tear. Is this because we've failed to see the depravity of our souls without Jesus? Is it because we've yet to feel the weight of Romans 3:9-20? Are we taking for granted the magnitude of our salvation because we fail to grasp the depths from which we've been saved?
It's my hope you will discuss this in your house fellowships next week and join us for worship as we celebrate our salvation that comes only from Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
Soli Deo gloria!
*Picture by pixabay.com photographer, "succo."