Bible Reading: Romans 3:9-18
“None is righteous, no, not one: no one understands; not one seeks for God” (Romans 3:10-11)
When we look at ourselves and at humanity itself, what do we see? If we asked the question, “how good are you?”, what would be your answer? Naturally, our instinct would be to shrug off at that question, and we, “well I’m not too bad”. As long as the sins we have committed are small in nature and not doing too much harm, we consider ourselves good enough.
That is not what Romans teaches us. It is quite the opposite. Though we may think it is good that lies within us, and within the human race, Paul teaches us, “All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one” (Romans 3:12).
This is the reality of sin. Sin is more than just a lie or an impure thought. Sin is an all-out rebellion against God. Sin lies deep in our hearts, and it is our heart’s desire. Lying, murder, and slander are all fruits of sin. The core source of sin is every one of our desires to rebel against God.
Take a look at Adam and Eve. God had said to them they could enjoy all the fruits of the Garden except for the tree of knowledge of good and evil. God is the one who defines what good and evil are, and mankind doesn’t have a place to go about deciding it for themselves. We can see this in action as God proclaims, “it was good” at the end of each day of creation.
However, notice Eve’s response when tempted with the fruit. Genesis 3:6 says, “So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.”
Eve looked upon the fruit and thought it was good for herself even though God had explicitly told her not to eat from it. Instead of delighting in God, Eve decided to delight in the fruit, desiring to become wise like God. This is rebellion against God. Our heart's desires have turned from cherishing and worshipping our God and Creator. Instead, we have sought ways to delight ourselves and judge what is good and evil ourselves.
From this desire comes out all the fruits of sin. We lie because we desire to hide something for ourselves. We murder because others wrong us in a way that displeases us. The mark of what is good and right has fallen upon our own judgement.
This is sin, and the Holy God is wrathful! He deserves the authority to tell us what is right and wrong. We have usurped His position as King. What saddens Him the most is that His plan for ruling the world was not one of evil and tyranny. He created us with the sole purpose of being fully satisfied in Him when we worship and praise Him. He designed us so that our greatest joy and pleasure would be to honour and serve Him in obedience.
Yet, we have turned away. The consequences of our sin are so evident in the problem of evil that surrounds our world. We will not see it as a problem until we realise how deeply evil and abhorrent our rebellion against God is. Romans 3 describes how from head to toe, our whole being has been corrupted by our sin.
“Their feet are swift to shed blood; in their paths are ruin and misery, and the way of peace they have not known. There is not fear of God before their eyes” (Romans 3:15-18).
We all deserve to be put to death by God with eternal wrath. That is the just extent of the rebellion each of us has committed before the Holy God. We don’t deserve life, yet again, eternal life.
Only when we understand our total depravity will we understand and fear the grace of God. Christ came to rebellious and abhorrent people who decided to crucify Him to keep their power and way of tradition. Even when Christ came, we decided to rebel against Him. However, in His love, He fulfilled the Father’s plan of salvation on the cross so that anyone who repents of their sins and believes in Him may be saved.
Have you accepted Jesus? And if you have, how much does Jesus’ sacrifice mean to you? You were worthless and sinful, deserving of God’s wrath and eternal death. If Jesus has given you life, He should be worth everything to you.
Lord, help me understand the extent of my sin. Forgive me when I take Your grace for granted. Teach me to understand how rebellious I am so that I may understand how big Your grace really is. Help me to grow in love to You and help to turn from sin and live my life as one that has been forgiven and renewed in Christ. In Jesus’ name, amen.