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.’”
“Have not known the way of peace.” People who sin and reject God cannot live at peace with others; they only know destruction and violence. Paul will revisit this in chapter 14; he lists practical things for working out of peace and unity. For now, it is enlightening to know that sin only digs down deeper and only leads to more brokenness.
“There is no fear of God before their eyes.” Fearing God (i.e., reverencing Him by worship, trust, obedience, and service) is the essence of a godly person. When people sin, they show disrespect for God, at times even putting Him entirely out of their minds. Thus, knowledge of God does not direct their actions or thoughts.
I couldn’t help but think of how I’ve seen this play out recently in the news. North Korea has been ruled by an evil régime for over 60 years. It is one, if not the most, closed societies in history. It has been ruled by three generations of evil men. With each new leader, the evil has gotten worse. It’s gotten to the point where the current ruler is killing off members of his own family to make sure that he maintains power. Sin corrupts everything.
When I first read over verses 13-15, I missed the reference to the body. Paul mentions the throat, tongue, lips, mouth, feet and eyes. It’s like he wants us to see the totality of sin’s corruption; it has affected every part of our being. Notice how Paul used these body parts to illustrate how fully they have corrupted man. We were created so that we might serve people and glorify God. Instead, mankind has used their body to harm people and rebel against God.
One point of clarity in the “list of verses” Paul laid out for us of how sin has affected every part of humanity: Obviously, every man has not committed every sin, but he has a nature which is capable of committing them all. As Dr. J. I. Packer concisely put it, “on the one hand ‘no one is as bad as he or she might be’, while on the other ‘no action of ours is as good as it should be’.”
We must always be on guard against sin in our lives. Sin is not something we should wink at, as if it has no real affect on us. Make no mistake about it; all of us will be affected in some way by sin because sin has consequences (Romans 6:23). Consequences have a way of spilling out over everyone and anyone that comes into contact with us because sin affects all of us.
But again, we are not left without hope… “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
Let’s stop now and confess our sins to God. Remember…if you’ve messed up, then fess up, and then move on. Walk in the light of Christ. Remember that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst (1 Cor. 3:16). May God be seen in the way we act, speak, treat family, work, and think about life.
*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.