9 What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, 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.”
19 Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. 20 For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.Romans 3:9-20
Paul continues to chip away at leanings toward trying to stand in our own self-righteousness. He points out to us that we are all under sin. This is an interesting term that means to be a slave to sin. It means that we have no power to free ourselves from it. We are captive to it. He points out that under sin we are thoroughly sinful from head to foot. Outside of Christ the picture of how fallen mankind had become is uncomfortable to read. As Paul describes this picture of humanity, he says, “no one seeks for God… all have become worthless.” In our day, saying someone is worthless is about as close to what we think blasphemy might be! Our culture prides itself on pumping words, as if it were, a self worth guru. Much of what it speaks is nothing more than sound bites of affirmation and emotional syrup. We will never feel the worth we are looking for, outside of and without the One, who created us to be something of worth.
This word, worthless, used in these scriptures means unprofitable, like rotten fruit. You can’t eat rotten fruit and its value is tarnished. It’s the ability to nourish and supply sustenance is gone. Paul goes on to paint the picture of what this looks like. It’s a throat that is like an open grave, a tongue of deceit, with venom under their lips, and a mouth full of cursing and bitterness. He ends with a picture of feet that run fast to shed blood on a pathway of misery and ruin. A way without peace. Ouch! It doesn’t matter if you are Jew or Gentile, we are all slaves to sin, and in need of a Redeemer. The human race had become so steeped in sin that, “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” Paul is saying there is nothing that bridles them, there is nothing that restrains their wickedness.
Many think that the Bible is a book of rules that they have to keep. Paul is pointing out that the law is to show us just how sinful we are and how unable we are to keep it. …For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes the knowledge of sin. The law isn’t a rule book, it’s a revealer of truth. We don’t have what it takes to keep the law. But Jesus did!
Thanks for listening,