In Romans 3:9 Paul wraps up what he’s been talking about over the previous couple of chapters and says, “So are we Jews better off? Not entirely; for I have already made the charge that all people, Jews and Gentiles alike, are controlled by sin.” He then quotes from some Old Testament (Tanakh) sources when he says, “As the Tanakh puts it, ‘There is no one righteous, not even one! No one understands, no one seeks God, all have turned away and at the same time become useless; there is no one who shows kindness, not a single one!” (Romans 3:10-12 Complete Jewish Bible) During that time, to the Jewish way of thinking, there were only two People types, Jews and everyone else. So basically what he’s saying is that the whole of humanity is under sin and in need of a Savior. “There is no one righteous.”
While the known world may be a bit bigger now, expanding across the entire face of the globe, and we may acknowledge other people groups, the rest has not changed. No one is righteous, not even one! The entire human race is still in need of a Savior.
In this particular section of Scripture Paul is talking about how the law of the the Jews is basically just telling people that they are in sin. It doesn’t tell people how to get out of the situation. It’s kind of like telling someone, “Hey, you’re really dirty,” but not telling them, “You need to go take a bath, and by the way, use some soap!” All the law does is make us aware of sin, it doesn’t tell us how to get out of the situation.
Once we become aware of our need, once we understand that we are in sin and need to be cleaned up, then we can be made aware of the need of a Savior and how to apply the soap. And that Savior/soap is not just any savior, but the Savior, Jesus Christ.
The world needs Him so badly. There’s a pain, an emptiness in the world. So many people think that they’re okay, they’re good people. And they are “good people” when you compare them to the “bad people.” They put a bag of canned goods out for the mailman’s food drive, or they drop a toy in a box at Christmas time. They’ll even take care of the neighbor’s kids for a couple hours so Mom and Dad can get something done. But where did the canned goods come from? Fresh from the store, or the back of the cupboard? Was the toy from the center aisle, or the clearance aisle? (What did their kids get for Christmas?) When the neighbor kids go home and the internet comes on, what are they watching? (What do their own kids see when they don’t think the kids are watching?)
Before I knew Jesus, I thought I was a pretty good person. I believed in God, I did good, I even prayed sometimes. But deep inside there was a place that no one (including myself) was ever allowed to see. There was a hole, an emptiness that just would not be filled. I tried to fill it with new age stuff, crystals, runes, tarot, I Ching. The hole didn’t fill. I tried to fill it Buddhism, Taoism, Hinduism, Islam. I even tried reading the Bible. But the hole didn’t fill. I tried to fill the hole with food. The hole didn’t fill, and I got bigger. I tried to fill the hole with alcohol, sex, drugs, rock ‘n’ roll. The hole didn’t fill and I lost my job.
Finally some friends said, “Hey, come check out our church.” I told them I don’t do church. They said this place is different. I said I don’t do church, I’m dirty. They said this place is like a come as you are party, you don’t need to be clean. Every excuse I came up with, they had an answer. So I said Okay, I’ll try it once. And I did. And a little bit of the hole filled in, so I went back. And people talked to me. And I went back again, and they smiled when they saw me. One time I even went straight from a 5K race, in shorts and running singlet, number still pinned on, dripping sweat… And they smiled and asked me how I did!
All the while, the hole was still there. It had filled in a bit, but it was still there. And then it happened. One night, after a special presentation, the presenter started talking about allowing Jesus in to be the Lord of your life, that without Him we would never be able to have the best life available. The good and the better, as good and better as they may be, will always get in the way of the best. And the way to the best is through Jesus.
I said yes to Jesus that night, inviting Him into my life to rule and reign as my King of kings and LORD of lords. And the hole is filled! My life changed that night. It’s been quite a ride since then. While it’s not been all up hill, it’s certainly been more uphill than down. From unemployed drug addict/alcoholic to a possibly soon retiring homeowner. I know in my heart of hearts that if I had not let Jesus into my life that night, I’d be dead. But now, I will have everlasting life with Him, even when this body passes from the earth.
If this is something you want, contact me. I’ll pray with you and for you. Just admit that you’re a sinner, and know that you can’t clean yourself up. Invite Jesus in. Ask Him to help. Tell Him that you believe in Him, and that He died for you, and give Him permission to come into your life to reign as your King. It’s the easiest hard thing, or the hardest easy thing you will ever do.