Thursday in the Fourteenth Week of Ordinary Time

Romans 3:9-20

Not Even One

So God is righteous though every man be a liar, we read yesterday.  And everywhere in Scripture we read of God as glorious, too righteous even to behold evil (Habakkuk 1:13).  Today, we read the Bible’s estimation of ourselves, and it is not complimentary.  It is a commonplace that men think themselves good and strive to be honest and upstanding citizens.  We admire those who are kind and generous.  We raise our children teaching them to share, to mind their elders, to study hard in school—in short, to be good boys and girls.  All of this is as it should be.  But please understand that this is all relative to how human beings treat one another.  I may call someone a good man and mean it with all my heart; but, in saying such, I am only speaking of him as I have experienced him among others.  I know not the man’s heart, his secret sins, or his inward contradictions.  As Paul described in chapter two, he could very well be just another kind pagan who helps old ladies across the street.

But the Bible describes man in relation to the Almighty and Holy God who is all-knowing and all-wise: “Man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).  And what the Lord sees is what Paul describes weaving various psalms and other Old Testament passages together making it clear that we are not good people who happen to sin every now and then but evil and wicked people in rebellion against the Lord our God.  In and of ourselves, there is nothing good at all, and as the Lord said about man long ago, “Every intention of the thoughts of his heart [is] only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5).  I have heard Christians say something to the effect that God is so holy and His standard of righteousness so high that if a man were to commit only one sin, he could not stand before Him.  Though true, this completely misrepresents the actual situation and does God the injustice of making Him look like an ogre.  The actual situation is that we have treacherously rebelled against a loving God and do so every day of our lives: No one is righteous, no one seeks God, not even one.

And this is where the law leaves us; be it the Mosaic for the Jew or conscience for the Gentile, the law serves the purpose of condemning us before God such that no one even has a word to say in his defense.  The law told us plainly what sin was, and we did it anyway.  Thus, no one, NOT ONE, will be justified, considered right, or acquitted, before God on judgment day.  But do not despair: Our condemnation by the law paves the way for God to save us by grace through His dear Son.  Did you hear that?  God saves us.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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