I’ve been reading through Romans for the past few days. Whenever I study, my main source is my Reformation Study Bible. I’m all about the ESV translation so that + the study notes in it make it a great tool for studying and actually diving into the Scriptures. I also use my John MacArthur commentary and sometimes my Matthew Henry commentary. Because the MHC can sometimes be hard for me to follow, I usually keep it closed unless I need a ‘3rd opinion’.
As I was reading Romans 3 the other day, I came across the ’14 Indictments’ which are in verses 10 through 18. Although I’d read them in the past, they took on new meaning. Paul’s constant use of ‘none’ and ‘all’ reinforced that none of us are good, not even the Christian.
… as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” “Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.” “The venom of asps is under their lips.” “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.” “Their feet are swift to shed blood; in their paths are ruin and misery, and the way of peace they have not known.”, “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
Romans 3:10-18 ESV
- None is righteous; no not one.
Man is universally evil. All men, not just some.
- No one understands.
Man cannot really understand God’s standards, their sinfulness, etc. On our own, we’re incapable.
- No one seeks God.
Man seeks his own interests.
- All have turned aside.
Man pursues his own way.
- All together have become worthless.
- None do good; not one.
Man is universally evil.
- The throat is an open grave.
This one had a CRAZY description in the JMC. Johnny Mac says – As an unsealed tomb allows those who pass to see and smell what is inside, the unregenerate person’s open throat, that is, the foul words that come from it, reveal the decay of his heart. What an explicit narration J Mac gave. Made me see that verse in a whole new light.
- The tongue is used to deceive.
Men lie, flatter, etc.
- The venom of asps is under their lips.
When an asp bites, it has the ability to, with its venom, kill on contact. In Greco-Roman times, it was used as an execution tool. The poison of an asp moves quickly through the body and produces death quickly as well. Man’s words are many times as venomous and destructive as the poison of an asp.
- Mouths full of cursing and bitterness.
The mouth is FULL of cursing and FULL of bitterness. It doesn’t just have a little bit; it’s full of it. To curse is defined as to wish or invoke evil or to blaspheme. And bitterness ? It’s defined as intense antagonism or hostility. The mouth is full of these things. Truly, out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks (Matthew 12:34).
- Feet swift to shed blood.
This comes from Isaiah 57:9. Man is quick to sin. His feet rush into it. He doesn’t slowly walk or linger around it; he rushes into it. Sin takes more than one part of the body. It’s an entire act. In Barnes’ commentary, this is said – Instead of treading the paths of righteousness, and hastening to execute purposes of mercy and justice, they were employed in journeyings to execute plans of iniquity. The words â€˜run,â€™ and â€˜make haste,â€™ are designed to intimate the intensity of their purpose to do wrong. They did not walk slowly; they did not even take time to deliberate; but such was their desire of wrong-doing, that they hastened to execute their plans of evil. People usually walk slowly and with a great deal of deliberation when any good is to be done; they walk rapidly, or they run with haste and alacrity when evil is to be accomplished.
- In their paths are ruin and misery.
Man damages and destroys. What follows man’s sinful nature ? What is his path ?
- The way of peace they have not known.
Man has a natural tendency / inclination towards strife and conflict.
- No fear of God before their eyes.
Man fails to render God what He is due. The sinner’s life is a life that fails to properly respond. There’s the absence of proper submission to God along with the absence of awe and reverence.
Human sin and rebellion are universal. It’s with EVERY man. I don’t care how good a person thinks they are, they are not. The wicked and deceptive heart fools us into thinking we are good. As Paul said, none do good, not one. The 14 indictments that Paul delivered in his letter to the Romans outline character, conduct, and the conversation of man.
I am thankful for Christ’s righteousness being given to me through faith alone… an awesome free gift of God indeed.
Romans is an eye opener. My brother in Christ, Xavier, once told me that Romans is the favorite book of the Reformed Christian. I think I am beginning to agree. And as my brother in Christ, Shai, says in the song at the top of this entry, it feels so good to be justified, wow.
Grace and peace.