V99What then? Are we better than they? Not at all; for we have already charged that both Jews and Greeks are all under sin;. After having disproved the evil objections of unbelief in verses 3-83What then? If some did not believe, their unbelief will not nullify the faithfulness of God, will it?4May it never be! Rather, let God be found true, though every man [be found] a liar, as it is written, “That You may be justified in Your words, And prevail when You are judged.”5But if our unrighteousness demonstrates the righteousness of God, what shall we say? The God who inflicts wrath is not unrighteous, is He? (I am speaking in human terms.)6May it never be! For otherwise, how will God judge the world?7But if through my lie the truth of God abounded to His glory, why am I also still being judged as a sinner?8And why not [say] (as we are slanderously reported and as some claim that we say), “Let us do evil that good may come”? Their condemnation is just., in verse 99What then? Are we better than they? Not at all; for we have already charged that both Jews and Greeks are all under sin; Paul referred to verse 11Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the benefit of circumcision? where he asked about the advantages of being Jewish. He then showed that everything in which the Jews boasted actually witnessed against them. Had God’s Word been entrusted to them? Well, God’s Word was quite clear about man’s nature and practice. At this point the Jew was not far superior to the Greek.
V10-1110as it is written, “There is none righteous, not even one;11There is none who understands, There is none who seeks for God;. The accusation that all are under sin is emphatically stressed by some Old Testament quotations. The description is held before them (and before you and me) as a mirror in which they must recognize themselves (as we also must). There is no one righteous. No one understands and none seeks after God. This account used to describe you. Maybe you previously thought you conducted yourself righteously and had understanding, but when God met you it became clear you were living for yourself.
V1212All have turned aside, together they have become useless; There is none who does good, There is not even one.”. You had disregarded God’s goal for your life and you had become useless and unprofitable. Maybe you thought you were useful to those around you, but when God met you, it turned out you weren’t living for Him. Consequently you realized you had never done anything good by yourself, even if perhaps you had boasted in your many good deeds. True good deeds are only those which are done out of love for God.
V13-1713“Their throat is an open grave, With their tongues they keep deceiving,” “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,16Destruction and misery are in their paths,17And the path of peace they have not known.”. What is on the inside will find its expression through your body – through words and deeds. We read some examples of this in verses 13-1813“Their throat is an open grave, With their tongues they keep deceiving,” “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,16Destruction and misery are in their paths,17And the path of peace they have not known.”18“There is no fear of God before their eyes.”. The throat, tongue, lips and mouth are all connected with death and corruption. The words we spoke, when we were ignoring God, lacked life. These can still be heard in what people say around us. This should no longer be the case with us.
Regarding our feet and ways, we misused them before our conversion and therefore the same must be said. The way of peace was “not known” to us. We were willing to teach someone a lesson if they hurt us. Maybe we have not committed murder, but we sought revenge on someone with or without literally shedding blood. To shed blood means to make life impossible for someone. Behind us we left a trail of destruction and misery.
V1818“There is no fear of God before their eyes.”. How many have been hurt by our godless behavior? It was all because the “fear of God” was not before our eyes until God met us and held this mirror up to us. Then we recognized ourselves in it. Not that we were all guilty of these things to the same degree, but all of this was in our hearts. And since we still have an old nature, it is still in our hearts.
The above was directed especially at the Jews to convince them of their sins from their Scriptures in which they boasted. Yet every person who checks himself honestly using this description will recognize it applies to him as well.
V1919Now we know that whatever the Law says, it speaks to those who are under the Law, so that every mouth may be closed and all the world may become accountable to God;. Then in this verse a conclusion is drawn. This conclusion applies to the whole portion of Romans beginning with chapter 1:18 until here. The conclusion is “that every mouth” – both of the heathen and the Jew – “may be closed and all the world may become accountable to God”.
V2020because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law [comes] the knowledge of sin.. It is impossible to obtain God’s approval for our acts carried out under our own strength. The law makes it clear we have sinned because we have transgressed it.
Only one Man exists to whom the preceding doesn’t apply. This is the Man Christ Jesus. All through His life He lived completely God-centered and did everything for Him. And so, He is God’s answer to all guilt and sin which man has heaped on himself and from which he could never free himself. This is what the next portion covers.
Now read Romans 3:9-20 again.
Reflection: In what way can you now be useful to God?