9 What then? Are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; 10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: 11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. 12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. 13 Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: 14 Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: 15 Their feet are swift to shed blood: 16 Destruction and misery are in their ways: 17 And the way of peace have they not known: 18 There is no fear of God before their eyes. (The King James Version, 1769)
Are Gentiles better than Jews? Christians?
Are Jews better than Gentiles? Christians?
Are Christians better than Gentiles? Jews?
Depending on which group you belong, the answer would be yes. And they would be wrong! Even Christians go astray. Why else would Paul the apostle warn us to keep vigilance against false doctrine, false brethren, false apostles and a false faith. Whatever level of truth a person has it is at risk of being diverted into the darkness. Even Peter went astray when the "brothers" came down from Jerusalem and he withdrew from the Gentile Christians because of fear. Galatians 2 vs 11—>
Briefly, what is at work here? We must always remember three things. First, that Satan is the father of lies and he is constantly going about spreading lies to pervert the truth of God. Secondly, we are always in a struggle with our own desires of the flesh. Thirdly, we struggle with our own emotions, such as fear of: add your own list of things that you are afraid. Is it any wonder that after a time the truth gets twisted, perverted and then lost.
The Gentiles had the display of the universe and the order of nature. They had a basic understanding of right and wrong. They got lost along the way. Jews received the law at Sinai but they too went astray and became sinners under the law. What of us Christians? Are we any different? Haven't we also developed our own "traditions of men" and risked losing the power of a changed life?
Exceptions? Of course, for God always intervenes in the affairs of man to bring about redemption. We have Noah, Abraham, Moses and Jesus as stellar examples of God's intervention. Yet in time, the Devil being busy and we being weak through the flesh, people have stepped away from the grace of God and have done what was right in their own eyes. The scriptures of this chapter, verses 10 through 18 are just as true for us today as it was for all mankind throughout history. God is not lying when speaking through the prophets and apostles, "for all have sinned" and "all fall short of the Glory of God."
No one is righteous, no one understands, none seek after God. All have gone astray, have become unprofitable and does not do what is good. This judgment comes from God and is repeated in the Psalms. Ahem! Of course there is one exception... Jesus, the perfect man walking in harmony with God the Father in the power of the Spirit. The rest of us, trying to live up to some standard, have failed at some point.
The throat is an open tomb, the tongue practices deceit and under our lips is the poison of asps. Where does all this come from? The heart! For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. Cursing and bitterness spew forth. Even those with a golden tongue are no better. They just make what they say sound good while their subtle poison does its work. All of us have done it. None of us are immune. If we try to walk in our own strength, with our own understanding, we will fall short. We can never match God's standard. The rest of the verses? True, too true, if the only difference between people is a matter of degree of violation.
Some are like David and others are like Judas. Perhaps you can come up with a more extreme pair of people to show the difference between good and evil people. No matter the extremes, at some point they all fall short. They all exhibit the truths in the above verses.
What then? Is there no hope? Nonsense, God is God and he will do what is right. He sent his Son in fulfilment of prophecy to redeem what was lost. How? That glorious information is to be revealed in the pages to come. For now what is important, for this essay, is that we grasp the truth...
On some point,
at some time,
in some way,
we fell short.
It is not the end of the story,
it is only the first step
on everyone's road...
Website administrator: Joseph A Raymond
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada