We’re All In This Together!
My Lord God, I know Your Word has much to teach me and I want to learn from it today.
Read ROMANS 3:9-20
 What shall we conclude then? Are we any better? Not at all! 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;  there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God.  All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.”  “Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit.” “The poison of vipers is on their lips.”  “Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.”  “Their feet are swift to shed blood;  ruin and misery mark their ways,  and the way of peace they do not know.”  “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”  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.  Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin. Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
ReflectWhat does the "law" do? What does it not do?
Paul has made careful arguments about the universal nature of sin in our readings so far. He wrote this letter when the world was divided into two groups: Jews and Gentiles. Today’s passage brings to a climax what started in 1:18. All humans are sinful, all break the law of God and all are deserving of God’s righteous judgment.
This is not very palatable, particularly in cultures where tolerance is highly valued and humanism is often the prevailing philosophy. Many people share a belief in the basic goodness of humans. This passage presents us with a very different view—one that many find offensive.
Good news is coming, but Paul takes great care to set out the bad news before presenting the Roman Christians with the way God has solved the human problem. Sometimes we have to be prepared to stare bad news in the face before we can really appreciate how good the good news is. It is not unlike the diagnosis of a potentially fatal medical condition: if the diagnosis is right, then the appropriate treatment can be sought; if the diagnosis is wrong, there is little hope of a good outcome.
Ask for God’s help to strike a balance between presenting the bad and the good news when speaking of the Gospel.
Merciful Lord, I thank You that in spite of the bad news of sin, there is good news of forgiveness through Jesus.
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