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.”
In verses 19-20 Paul talked about the law. He made it clear that it was possible for people to observe these laws ceremonially, but at the heart level still fall short of observing everything in the law, such as completely loving their neighbor, avoiding lust, idolatry, or covetousness.
When talking about the law, it’s important for us to remember that we could never know what a crooked line is unless we also know a straight line. The Believer’s Bible Commentary captures this thought well when it says: “The law is like a straight line. When men test themselves by it, they see how crooked they are. We can use a mirror to see that our face is dirty, but the mirror is not designed to wash the dirty face. A thermometer will tell if a person has a fever, but swallowing the thermometer will not cure the fever. We must remember that the law is good when it is used to produce conviction of sin, but it is worthless as a savior from sin.” As Luther said, “It’s function is not to justify but to terrify.”
He concluded that because of Humanity’s universal sinfulness, the law does not lead to justification. Instead, it leads to the knowledge of sin (v. 20)
So what do we do with the universality of sin?
We don’t need to dance around it; we need to call a spade a spade. The sin we have in our lives is not because of our need for self-esteem, it’s not a bad set of genes or a raw deal we may have been dealt. We all are responsible to God… we’re all responsible for what we do. The only diagnosis for the sin in our lives is the gospel of Christ Jesus. If we’ve taken care of this by placing our faith in Christ alone, then we have a responsibility to share the truth with others who don’t know the loving grace of Christ Jesus.
*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.