1 Chronicles 22:1-19; Romans 3:9-22; Psalms 12:6-8; Proverbs 5:22-23
NT: “As it is written: There is no one righteous, not even one. There is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. All have turned away; all alike have become worthless. There is no one who does what is good, not even one… Now we know that whatever the law says, it speaks to those who are subject to the law, so that every mouth may be shut and the whole world may become subject to God’s judgment. For no one will be justified in his sight by the works of the law, because the knowledge of sin comes through the law. But now, apart from the law, the righteousness of God has been revealed, attested by the Law and the Prophets. The righteousness of God is through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe, since there is no distinction.” (Romans 3:10-12, 19-22 CSB)
At this point in Romans, Paul states his case: the entire world (Jew and gentile alike) are guilty of sin and unrighteousness. To back up his assertion, he quotes several Old Testament scriptures:
“The fool says in his heart, “There’s no God.” They are corrupt; they do vile deeds. There is no one who does good. The Lord looks down from heaven on the human race to see if there is one who is wise, one who seeks God. All have turned away; all alike have become corrupt. There is no one who does good, not even one.”Psalms 14:1-3 CSB
“There is certainly no one righteous on the earth who does good and never sins.”Ecclesiastes 7:20 CSB
Righteousness has been revealed to the pagan and gentle world through creation and conscience. Righteousness has been revealed to the Jews through the Law and Prophets. No one is without excuse for knowing what is right and good, yet no one is able live a completely righteous and sinless life. Not only that, humanity as a whole has given up on living righteously and has stopped seeking God altogether – turning their backs to God and seeking their own version of righteousness. For those few people who do try to obey all of the Law, if they are honest with themselves, will discover how incapable they are. The law itself can never make someone righteous, for no one can ever fully and perfectly obey it. All the law is effective at doing is revealing how unrighteous we all are, and how much we need God’s mercy. Thankfully, God’s mercy is completely expressed and received through Jesus Christ. While we are not able to live righteously, Jesus was. While we are deserving of God’s judgement, Jesus Christ was not – yet He took upon Himself our judgement and died ab excruciating death in our place. As we place our faith in Jesus Christ and accept His payment for our sin, we experience the mercy of God and are made righteous. This is part one of the good news of Christ – and it is available to anyone who believes.
Psalms: “The words of the Lord are pure words, like silver refined in an earthen furnace, purified seven times. You, Lord, will guard us; you will protect us from this generation forever. The wicked prowl all around, and what is worthless is exalted by the human race.” (Psalms 12:6-8 CSB)
In our attempts at self-righteousness, humanity has become quite adept at spinning facts to our own benefit. Instead of admitting to wrong, we reframe and divert, lie and deceive to make ourselves look good while placing blame on others. This was going on in King David’s time and still goes on today. While the world pursues worthlessness and covers up their misdeeds through spin and deception, the Lord’s words are ever pure and true. Perhaps that is one reason why people avoid the refining words of God: they don’t want to face their own imperfections, and would rather live in their delusions of “goodness.” As painful as God’s words may be to our ego, when we listen to His words, believe His words and obey His words, He refines us – removing the filth and making us pure – and leads us into all righteousness.