Paul has been explaining that you & I & everyone stands guilty before God. He’s addressed some common excuses to think we aren’t guilty:
- “There is no God” (1:18-32)
- “I’m not as bad as others” (2:1-16)
- “I’m a church goer” (2:17-29)
This first 20 verses are like a courtroom setting. In 1-8 we hear the opening arguments. The Jews were very privileged to be the first who are offered faith through the Word of God. Then the faithfulness of God as judge is discussed (3-4). God is truth (John 17:17) and He is faithful! We are the ones who are not! He is also “just” (5-8) = right, perfect. Then in 9-12 we see the verdict: “There is no one righteous, note even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.” GUILTY! And if you read 13-20 it gets even uglier! Our sinfulness separates us from God who is perfect and holy. It would totally stink if God left us in this condition without hope, but He doesn’t! He provides a way back to Him!!!!!
So – how do we get back? THIS IS the most important question in life! Job asked, “How can a man be right before God (9:2)? The rich young ruler asked “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” The Philippian jailer asked “What must I do to be saved?” Because “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” we need GOD to do something about it and Paul tells us how He did it in the remainder of the chapter! Here is the paraphrased version from the Message:
“Since we've compiled this long and sorry record as sinners (both us and them) and proved that we are utterly incapable of living the glorious lives God wills for us, God did it for us. Out of sheer generosity he put us in right standing with Himself. A pure gift. He got us out of the mess we're in and restored us to where he always wanted us to be. And he did it by means of Jesus Christ. God sacrificed Jesus on the altar of the world to clear that world of sin. Having faith in Him sets us in the clear……………to set the world in the clear with himself through the sacrifice of Jesus, finally taking care of the sins he had so patiently endured.” Well said!
*If you were to die today and stand before God in heaven and He were to say to you “Why should I let you into My heaven” – what would you tell Him? I helped people? I went to church? I even gave to the student missions trip? If your attempt is to explain to God that you’re not really that bad, He would have to deny your entrance (& mine). NO ONE can be good enough to make themselves acceptable before God. Only by grace through faith in believing what JESUS did for us in our place can we ever be made right with God. If you’ve never done that, you can right now! Just confess to God you’re a dirty, rotten, stinkin’ sinner but that you believe Jesus took the punishment you deserved when He was crucified, buried and rose again for your sins!
*For those of us who are believers, let us never forget that even our very best is gross before God (Isaiah 64:6).