BAD NEWS, GOOD NEWS
Patient One, I thank You for Your wise and loving care. Today, may Your Spirit lead me, and Your shield protect me.
Read Romans 3:9–20
No One Is Righteous
9 What shall we conclude then? Do we have any advantage? Not at all! For we have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under the power of sin. 10 As it is written:
“There is no one righteous, not even one;
11 there is no one who understands;
there is no one who seeks God.
12 All have turned away,
they have together become worthless;
there is no one who does good,
not even one.”[a]
13 “Their throats are open graves;
their tongues practice deceit.”[b]
“The poison of vipers is on their lips.”[c]
14 “Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.”[d]
15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood;
16 ruin and misery mark their ways,
17 and the way of peace they do not know.”[e]
18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”[f]
19 Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. 20 Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectIs there a particular pattern of behavior that you feel stuck in? Do you ever feel sick of yourself or trapped in a negative way of relating to a particular person?
When I was young, I went to an Anglican church. The service would begin with a prayer of confession. The congregation would stand and say together words such as these: ‘Most merciful God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we confess that we have sinned in thought, word and deed. We have not loved you with our whole heart. We have not loved our neighbors as ourselves.’
In today’s reading, Paul comes to the crux of his argument and reminds us that we are all, equally, helplessly, enslaved to sin (vs 10–12). Sometimes we can put on a good show or create a convincing facade. But ultimately, it’s important to remember that we are all in need of God’s help. The social consequences of this bondage to sin are significant. Read verses 13 to 15 again.
In this sense, nobody can claim any superiority to anyone else. This was particularly important in Paul’s divided church context, where the differences between Jewish and Gentile believers had led to severe judgment. The reminder that we are all ‘in the same boat’ and have all been given the gift of God’s grace is very important for the way we view ourselves and others.
Pray for God’s Spirit to shape you and those you love into the people he wants you to be.
Forgive me Lord, for rebelling against You, my rightful and loving King. Forgive me for the disappointment I have caused You.