Ask God to orient or reorient you to Himself. Confess any known sin. Thank Him for His forgiveness. Be still and reflect on Jesus and His sacrifice for you. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart and mind to God’s Word. Pray for others in your life that they, too, would know and love God today.
“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.”
Over these first three chapters of Romans, Paul has been relentlessly driving home the point that we, all of humanity, are guilty of falling short of God’s righteousness. We’ve all sinned and are guilty; we’re all deserving of God’s judgment.
In our passage for this week, we see Paul moving to his closing argument. You might think of it as a lawyer giving their closing statement; He’s wrapping up his case he’s just laid out. As clearly as he can, he has made the indictment that all of humanity, Jews and Gentiles alike, are all under sin.
His closing argument makes it clear that there is no fear of God and that no one seeks God. What he is saying is this: there is no room for thoughts of God in our minds at all; we don’t love Him with all our powers. Humanity’s default is to turn to self, to make life all about us. In doing so, we reject any kind of knowledge about God; we just don’t want to hear it. It doesn’t matter whether it is general or special revelation, mankind rejects it. This is sin, and sin at its essence is the revolt of the self against God.
Paul clearly laid out sin’s pervasiveness; it affects every part of us…our minds, emotions, sexuality, conscience and will. What’s his point? It is simply this: The entire human race is under rebellion from God.
Thank God this is not the end of the story…there is hope in the gospel of Christ Jesus! The gospel is truly good news!
Remember that Paul experienced it first hand on the road to Damascus. There he encountered Christ; all that he had strove for all of his life left him completely empty and helpless at that point. He saw how all his striving had not brought him closer to God but only made him guilty before God. This is why I think Paul was so persistent in driving home the point that all of us fall short of God’s righteousness.
He wants us to know the power of the gospel, the power he experienced in his encounter with Christ.
As we will see moving forward in Romans, our hope is in Christ alone, through grace alone by faith alone.
Our hope is found in Christ! What does that mean? The New Testament idea of hope is the recognition that in Christ is found the fulfillment of the Old Testament promises. Hope is rooted in faith in the divine salvation found in Christ alone. Our hope is brought into being through the presence of the promised Holy Spirit. It is the future hope of the resurrection of the dead; the redemption of the body and of creation. Hope is our eternal glory, eternal life and the inheritance of the saints. It’s the return of Christ and our transformation into the likeness of Christ. And finally, it is the salvation of God.
*From what you have just read and considered: What is a personal implication/application for your life today?
(Personalize this prayer today; make it specific to the circumstances that face you.)
Ask God to lead you through His Spirit as you go through your day. Ask Him to bring to mind the truth of the gospel and its implications for what you will encounter today. Tell Him “Yes” to His will and ask Him for His power and protection to live this “yes.” Ask God to create and reveal opportunities to proclaim the good news today. KEEP PRAYING THROUGHOUT YOUR DAY.
Inspiration and insight for the devotionals came from the following books: Reading Romans with John Stott; The Message of Romans: God’s Good News for the World (The Bible Speaks Today Series), Stott, John; Romans (The NIV Application Commentary Book 6) Moo, Douglas J.; Encountering the Book of Romans: A Theological Survey (Encountering Biblical Studies) Moo, Douglas J.; Believers Bible Commentary; The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, with the New International Version, Romans through Galatians; NIV Life Application Bible.