Saturday, 2 March 2013
As it is written: “There is none righteous, no, not one;… Romans 3:10
Today is the start of a rather long set of quotations selected by Paul directly from the Scriptures in order to justify his statements and prove his case. He starts with, “As it is written…” If the Old Testament (the Scriptures of his day) are truly the word of God (and he takes this as an axiom), then what they say is absolute truth and is binding as guidance and instruction.
The verses he selects will continue through verse 18 and come from Ecclesiastes, the Psalms, and Isaiah. They will speak of God in verses 10-12 first as a judge, then in verses 13-15 as an anatomist, and finally in 16-18 as an anthropologist.
Today is a close quote of Ecclesiastes 7:20 –
For there is not a just man on earth who does good And does not sin.
From the first man, Adam, there has been none who have not sinned. Adam was created as a perfect man, but he lacked the knowledge of good and evil. This was not a flaw, merely a lack. Something lacking something else is not necessarily flawed and we cannot ascribe his innocence as such. In his innocent state, he was given one command. But, exercising the free will was given, he chose to disobey this command. This became “fault” or as we would term it “sin.”
From this one man’s sin, sin entered not only the world at large, but into the stream of humanity as well. Sin transfers through man to the next generation and therefore we are born in sin. David understood this when he penned these words –
Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me. Psalm 51:5
The NIV clearly translates this, “Surely I was sinful at birth.” All people are born into sin and therefore, “There is none righteous, no, not one.”
But this isn’t just a philosophical concept of Solomon which is repeated by Paul. Rather, it is a truth born out in the historical record of the Bible as well. In Genesis 4 this truth is highlighted several times. In verses 3 through 5 offerings are brought to the Lord and yet there is no record of Cain or Abel having committed any sin. The Bible therefore implies that because no demonstrable sin was committed, they had inherited their father’s fallen state. This concept continues to be born out in Cain’s murder of Abel and on through the rest of the Old Testament.
And yet, from the same early pages of the Bible, all the way through to Malachi, there are pictures and promises of One who would come to right the wrong of Adam and thus restore the fellowship that was lost so long ago. Yes, there is none righteous who is born of man. But Jesus wasn’t born of man; He was born of the Holy Spirit and through a woman. The sin of Adam didn’t transfer to Him.
Life application: Are you doing works in order to please God and get you to heaven? Guess what, it won’t work. You have already inherited a problem which works can’t fix. You have inherited a nature which infinitely separates you from God. But there is a remedy. By faith, put your trust in Jesus and what He did and He can be your bridge back to a right relationship with His Father. Only then can your works be found pleasing to God.
Heavenly Father, thank You for the plan of redemption which includes me… a sinner in need of a Savior. Thank You for Jesus who would give up His perfect life in order to restore me to You. I stand in awe of the majesty of what You have accomplished on my behalf. May my lips ever sing Your praises, O God. Amen.