Read Romans 3:1-20
We’re All In The Same Boat
What shall we conclude then? … 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…”
Digging Deeper: The problem with the whole of the human race—Jew and Gentile, religionist and pagan, you and me—is that we are all horribly infected with sin. Not hopelessly…I’ll come back to that in a moment.
Though it’s not too popular to talk about sin these days—particularly personal sin—that, nonetheless, remains what is wrong with the human race. We are all in that same sin boat, headed for an eternal maelstrom of deserved destruction. At the core, sin has separated us from our loving and righteous Creator. He made us for himself—a loving, intimate, unfettered moment-by-moment relationship between Creator and the highest of his creation—mankind; a relationship where we would not only literally live in his presence, but we would truly know his person and personally experience his Divine power as our very own.
But we blew it! The father and mother of our race, Adam and Eve, deliberately chose to walk away from the deal of a lifetime in order to be like God, to be equal with God, to be their own god. And in that sad moment, the genetic code of the human race was horribly corrupted by sin. Not hopelessly…I’ll get to that in a moment.
Moreover, as a race, we willfully and inexorably plunge forward down that same road the proto-couple chose, insisting on being like God, being equal to God, being our own god. And compounding our tragedy, we don’t seem to get it. (Romans 3:11) Or even worse, we do get it (which is more likely the case; see Romans 1:20-23), and we still knowingly insist on doing our own thing:
“All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.” (Romans 3:12)
And it gets worse…just read on in Romans 3:13-18. But enough of the bad news—we’ve already dealt with that in Romans 1-2. Let’s just cut to the chase of what results from our insistence on going it alone without God, which Paul sums up in Romans 3:16-17:
“Ruin and misery mark their ways, and the way of peace they do not know.”
Yes, we have been horribly infected with sin. Our genetic code is horribly corrupted with willful disobedience to the God who created us for intimacy with him. Horribly infected! Horribly corrupted! Yet all is not hopeless.
One word changes that tragic equation, interrupts the inexorable plunge and trumps our sin: “But…” Paul pens one word that delivers the death blow to sin, splits the wide road to destruction with an off-ramp to redemption, throws a life-saver to a sinking human race so we can get out of the proverbial boat we’re all in: “But…”
Though it is not in our reading for today, take a look at the first word of the next section; venture a sneak peak at this grand verse, Romans 3:21, along with its cousin verses in Romans 3:22-26, and let your heart be lifted yet again by the unstoppable power of our Gospel. Take a moment to read these amazing verses in the horrible context of the first twenty verses of this chapter, and just let the deep, deep love of the Father who lavished on sinners like you and me wash over your being.
Yes, the condition of humanity is horrible, “but” thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord, it is not hopeless!
“The law works fear and wrath; grace works hope and mercy.”
This Week’s Assignment:
- Memorize Romans 3:10 and 3:23-24: “As it is written: ‘There is no one righteous, not even one’ … for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”
- Meditate on the contrasting horror of universal sin and the hope of eternal redemption that Paul speaks of here in Romans 3.
- Write out a prayer of gratitude to God for the undeserved righteousness that was imputed to you through Christ’s work on the cross. If you are open to it, post your prayer as a comment on this blog.