All have sinned. No one is good in their own strength (Romans 3:10-12). The human heart is corrupt and selfish. On our own, people do not seek to love and glorify God. Instead, we naturally seek to glorify ourselves in all that we do. All people everywhere for all time have been sinners who need to be forgiven and redeemed by their Creator. We are all born with a broken relationship with God that can only be healed by the blood of Jesus. People left to their own without the intervening influence of God’s grace will become wicked in their words (Romans 3:13-14) and deeds (Romans 3:15-16).
Today’s passage from Romans 3 is the clearest, most direct teaching of the doctrine of original sin all the Bible. Yet we notice that Paul is putting together several Old Testament verses, which shows that the universal problem of our sin nature is taught throughout the whole Bible. And let it sink in, Paul is still addressing the Jews, the religious people of his day. Like them, we might be tempted to see the sin in other people’s lives but be blinded to its power in our own lives.
So how should we respond to such an honest description of our sin problem? With humility before God. We stop talking and get on our faces before the just Judge of all the earth (Romans 3:19). We repent of our evil ways and ask God to forgive us. And we turn to Jesus in faith each day, pleading for His mercy and grace to sustain us and keep us from evil (Romans 3:20). “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (1 Peter 5:5). I would rather have God’s grace in my life than Him be against me. How about you?
The Text (Romans 3:9-20)
9 What then? Are we better than they? Not at all. For we have previously charged both Jews and Greeks that they are all under sin.
10 As it is written:
“There is none righteous, no, not one;
11 There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God.
12 They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one.”
13 “Their throat is an open tomb; With their tongues they have practiced deceit”; “The poison of asps is under their lips”;
14 “Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness.”
15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood;
16 Destruction and misery are in their ways;
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 says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. 20 Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
Questions to Think About
- When do you first remember being humbled by your own sinfulness and need for God’s forgiveness? When was the last time that God taught you a lesson in humility?
- Do you think that our culture acknowledges or denies the doctrine of original sin? How can you tell?
- Have you ever been near a place or group of people that felt so truly evil that you just wanted to get away? What happened?