Monday, January 24, 2022

The Depth of Sin (Romans 3)

There is none righteous, no not one; there is none who understands, there is none who seeks after God" (Romans 3:10–11).

Most people believe in their hearts that when they stand before God on judgment day they will be exonerated because of their worthiness. They will admit they have not been perfect, but they will say they haven’t been too bad either. They believe that what counts is that they tried to do their best. This is a grave error. To assume that a holy God winks at sin and grants eternal life on the basis of our performances is the greatest deception plaguing mankind.

Too often people consider sin to be an external blemish, but the problem goes much deeper—it is rooted in man’s very nature. This is original sin. When we speak of original sin, we are not referring to Adam’s first sin, but the effects of that sin on his progeny. Every person is born with a sinful condition. They sin throughout their lives because they are, by their very nature, sinners.

According to God’s Word, man is not basically good but is altogether unrighteous: “There is no one who does good, not even one.” Man’s definition of good is not God’s. Paul says, “there is none who understands, there is none who seeks after God.” We don’t have right behavior because we have no understanding of God’s standards and we do not seek after God. Some people think man can seek after God, but Scripture clearly says the opposite. People who say they seek God are actually looking for peace of mind, relief from guilt, or significance in their lives. While they seek these things, they are running way from God. It is part of our fallen nature to flee from a holy God. Those who truly seek Him do so by His Spirit—and they find Him. Apart from His grace no one seeks God.

Only by God’s grace can a person realize that God’s standard of goodness is unattainable by natural man. People diminish the seriousness of sin by believing they can attain that standard. Many believe they have conformed to God’s law, but His commands go much deeper. Not only are we to conform to His law, but our obedience must flow from a heart that loves God. But because sin touches us in every part, we cannot love God and meet His standard. Without Jesus Christ, we are sinful to the core and enemies of God. Only in Christ is there redemption and cleansing from sin.

Read Luke 19:16–30. What did the rich young man want from Jesus? On what basis did he believe he could receive eternal life? Why did Jesus say only God was good? What standard did Jesus give the young man for attaining eternal life? What truth did he not understand? How does this apply to your life?