9 What shall we conclude then? Do we have any advantage? Not at all! For we have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under the power of sin. 10 As it is written:
“There is no one righteous, not even one;
11 there is no one who understands;
there is no one who seeks God.
12 All have turned away,
they have together become worthless;
there is no one who does good,
not even one.”
13 “Their throats are open graves;
their tongues practice deceit.”
“The poison of vipers is on their lips.”
14 “Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.”
15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood;
16 ruin and misery mark their ways,
17 and the way of peace they do not know.”
18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
19 Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. 20 Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.
What we find in God’s creative work is that all people are created in His image, and because of that we have equal value.
And before the fall, all were equally righteous.
Then sin came and we lost the ability to be righteous altogether. That is the situation that is described in the verses above.
But that is not the way that we think about ourselves and others. We typically make distinctions! And it has negative effects on our relationships with others, we can easily think too lowly of others and too highly of ourselves. After all, look at their behavior.
Here is the reason why we do this. Our eyeballs are inside of our heads looking out. We don’t see ourselves the same. It hurts our relationship with other people and it hurts our relationship with God.
- Are We Better than Others?
- Reasons to think this is true
- Have the law: I know the Bible.
Jews have two ways of salvation: A Jewish way, 700+ laws. And a Gentile way 300+ laws.
- Have the experience: Interactions with God: I have seen God work in my life.
- Have the covenants: God has made promises that I have accepted by faith.
- Have outward signs of obedience that others do not
I was baptized, go to church and no not drink, cuss, etc.
It is easy to find ourselves thinking that we are better than others. If you are not comfortable with this language, it is easy to find ourselves thinking that we are not as bad as others. God’s solution is for us to abandon this type of standard altogether.
- According to whose standards?
- If the standards are yours, then you will always be better
- If you do not understand the standards, then you will have difficulty evaluating the issue. (Common core math)
- Different ones establish standards that fit whatever worldview or cultural value are embraced.
- God defines righteousness very strictly
- Dead people do not argue about who has decayed less.
- In a falling elevator, thinking that jumping in the air right before you hit the ground will not do any good.
If you have to jump the Grand Canyon, the Olympic long jumper will die. It doesn’t matter than he jumps further than you.
- God has the right to define because He is creator.
- People who behave in a more righteous manner are not righteous. They are just less dead. But because God is patient, merciful etc. folks assume they are good.
- Why Does God Want All People on Equal Footing
- Because it is true
- Because it prevents hateful disasters
Relationships between people require respect!
Purging the evil of others from the earth.
Social pressure of evil is removed when removed from the social pressure.
The disgust of the Nazi leadership
We hold these truths to be self-evident and difficult to follow
- Because comparison with others is a disaster in itself
Relationships with God require humility. You cannot see God and you must trust Him anyway.
It leads to self-righteousness, not repentance.
It causes me to resist thinking about repentance.
This ideas of comparison and judgement of others is recognized in many different worldview. Native American proverb: Walk a mile in his moccasins.
This idea is rooted in pleasing men instead of God and therefore is rooted in idolatry. We are all prone to social pressure.
Paul: Romans 14:
Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters. 2 One person’s faith allows them to eat anything, but another, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. 3 The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them. 4 Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand.
5 One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind. 6 Whoever regards one day as special does so to the Lord. Whoever eats meat does so to the Lord, for they give thanks to God; and whoever abstains does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. 7 For none of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone. 8 If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. 9 For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living.
10 You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. 11 It is written:
“‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord,
‘every knee will bow before me;
every tongue will acknowledge God.’”
12 So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.
13 Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister. 14 I am convinced, being fully persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for that person it is unclean. 15 If your brother or sister is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy someone for whom Christ died. 16 Therefore do not let what you know is good be spoken of as evil. 17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, 18 because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and receives human approval.
19 Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. 20 Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a person to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble. 21 It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother or sister to fall.
22 So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who does not condemn himself by what he approves. 23 But whoever has doubts is condemned if they eat, because their eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin.
III. Together We Are NOT Righteous
- Together, All, No one, Not one
“There is no one righteous, not even one;
11 there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God.
12 All have turned away, they have together become worthless;
there is no one who does good, not even one.”
- Examples of the problem
Understanding: Do you compare yourself with others? Do you look down on others because of their bad behavior? Do you reflect the faithfulness, love and mercy of God?
Seeking God (whole heartedly?) If you do not see God clearly, do you set that as the number one priority for your time, energy and heart?
Wasted opportunities, talents, time etc.
Word problems: We communicate what is in our hearts so we are deceptive, complaining, attacking others, gossiping etc.
Sow chaos instead of peace
Do not respect God’s existence and character
- God desires mercy for all
Romans 11:32 For God has bound everyone over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all.
And this is the foundation of how we are to see ourselves,
how we are to see God and
how we are to see others.
I need mercy, I am humble. I do not think that I am better than you.
You need mercy, I help you to understand and turn to God. Because I know that you need mercy as a fundamental premise, I am not surprised at your bad behavior, I understand. I extend mercy and seek to attach you to God’s mercy in order that you might have life.
I thank, praise and submit to God out of love because I see that He has loved me purely out of the depth of His being.
(I blew it and missed God’s love and grace in creation, but I see it in Redemption!)
He has chosen me purely out of the depth of His being.
I am the bride chosen by the best groom who ever was. I am the most honored, the most loved, the most forgiven, and the most favored!