January 9 - Romans 3:9-20

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Romans 3:9-20 – No One is Righteous

Paul returns to the original question. Are Jews any better off than the rest of the world? And he replies with a firm ‘No.’ Everyone is under sin. The Jew’s responsibility was to be a light to the world, showing the world what it meant to be in God’s grace. The only benefit they had was they were given the Law so as to have a better understanding of God’s expectations in the covenantal relationship. His love for them should have translated into the Jews showing that same love to the world, drawing all mankind into God’s kingdom. They were not better off. Humanity has been sinful from the dawn of time.

Paul then uses several quotations from Scripture to prove what he says is true. He doesn't quote them exactly, maybe he is citing them from memory or summarizing them. He also strings them together to create one idea.

The first (Romans 3:10-12) is from Psalm 14:1-3 (also, Psalm 53:1-3). No one is righteous. All have turned aside; together they are worthless. No one does good, not even one. Sinners look everywhere else for goodness, they ignore God who is always standing just in front of them.

The second comes from Psalm 5:9 (Romans 3:13a) – their throat is an open grave. In other words, a mouth which consistently speaks unclean things. In Romans 3:13b, Paul turns to another Psalm: “They make their tongue sharp as a serpent’s, and under the lips is the venom of asps” (Psalm 140:3).

For Romans 3:14, Paul uses Psalm 10:7 to express that people who utter bitterness and curses do it all the time. It is common with them.

By Romans 3:15-17, he lands on Isaiah 59:7-8. These people are destructive and bring great collateral damage. This is a way of life for them. Not only have they never walked in the way of peace, they have never known what peace is.

He finishes with Psalm 36:1b. They have no fear of God. From Proverbs 1:7, we know that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. They don’t know true wisdom because they refuse to fear God.

All have sinned. No one is free from sin. And no one will be justified simply by observing the Law. The Law which is written on our hearts is there to bring us to an awareness of our sin, so that we might approach God with repentance and find grace in the salvation he offers through Jesus Christ.