No One is Righteous—Romans 3:9-18

"What shall we conclude then? Are we any better? Not at all! We have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under sin. As it is written: "There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one." "Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit."  "The poison of vipers is on their lips." "Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness." "Their feet are swift to shed blood; ruin and misery mark their ways, and the way of peace they do not know." "There is no fear of God before their eyes" (Romans 3:9-18)

This statement begins the closing argument of the entire case against humanity. The first chapter of Romans highlights the Gentiles’ guilt before God because of their innate knowledge and refusal to glorify Him. Chapter 2 shows the Jews were worse off than the Gentiles because they had the Word of God but did not keep it. So chapter 3 summarizes everyone’s guilt by using several Old Testament passages that support this claim.

The bottom line: Apart from Christ, mankind is hopeless.

Jews and Gentiles alike are all under sin. The Amplified Bible describes this state as “held down by and subject to its power and control.” This grasp is so controlling that there is no hope in us because no one is righteous. This collage of Old Testament scriptures magnifies our desperate need for a savior.

This condition apart from Christ is important to recognize because it frees us to move into a solution in which Paul will spent the next five and a half chapters explaining. But unless we accept that sin has defeated us, we will never fully understand the depth of how Jesus rescued us from its grasp.

Previous: Romans 3:7-8  Next: Romans 3:19-20

Original article published June 19, 2009.

Juli Camarin

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