Rom 3:9-12 “What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.”
Paul pointed out in the beginning of this chapter that the Jews had an advantage over others in their ability to serve God. Comparatively, we might say there is a chief advantage for church members today in seeking to serve God. That advantage did not lie in anything the Jews had accomplished on their own, nor does it lay on anything we, as members of the church, have done for ourselves. The advantage stands in that the oracles (utterance) of God are committed (entrusted) unto us.
The very idea that something is entrusted to us carries with it the understanding that we did not have original possession. Further, we do not entrust ourselves with anything. For something to be entrusted to us, the one who has the rightful care of it has to give it to us. When something is entrusted to us, it is with the understanding that we are expected to treat it in the same manner the owner would treat it.
Having pointed out the advantage, Paul then tells us something that we really do not like to hear. In spite of the fact that the Jews had the oracles of God committed to them, they were not better than the Gentiles. Just because we go to church does give us the right to esteem ourselves better than others. The simple fact is that we are all (in our own strength) under sin.
Psalms 14:1-3 tells us that “there is none that doeth good.” Were it not for the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ, we would have no righteousness. Paul wrote in Philippians 3:9 concerning the need to be found in Christ, not having our own righteousness but that which comes through the faith of Christ. Notice that Paul did not say that righteousness comes through faith in Christ but through the faith of Christ: our righteousness exists because of Christ’s fidelity.
The above referenced Psalm also assures us that when God examines us, He finds no understanding in us because we have turned aside and become completely filthy. We cannot afford to forget that sin is condemned in our flesh. To forget that we are sinners is to forget that we need a Savior.
If left to our own devices, we are indeed desperate and despicable creatures. Our righteousness is like filthy rags according to the prophet Isaiah (64:6). Our only hope of cleansing is in the blood of Jesus Christ. Our only hope of living righteously is in walking according to the mind of Christ.
May God help us to acknowledge that we have nothing that we have not received from His merciful hand!