There is none righteous, no, not one. … There is none who does good, no, not one.
A European had met many a tribe in New Guinea, who had never come into contact with white people. Whenever he took a photograph of a group of them, he made an interesting observation: they could recognize the others on the photo, but never themselves. These people had never looked in a mirror and simply could not believe that they looked like the picture they saw. That could hardly be said of us; we know our outward appearance all too well. Do we know our inside just as well? Have we ever looked at the mirror of the Word of God?
The image of mankind that we find in Romans 3 is certainly not flattering! It unveils the fact that man’s entire being has been affected by sin, so that his most noble deeds cannot be recognized as truly pure and good. We have to write our own name under this picture that God has drawn of people and admit: “Yes, that’s me!” Otherwise we should be like those natives who recognized everyone from their neighborhood except themselves. So let us frankly admit both to ourselves and to God: “That is indeed me!”
Self-recognition is the first step to conversion and salvation, for the Lord Jesus Christ died on the cross as the substitute for all who admit their guilt and confess it. He said Himself, “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Luke 5:32). Everyone who knows himself to be a sinner and comes to Christ by faith obtains through Him the forgiveness of all guilt and peace with God.
Image: By Kotoviski photograph by Henryk Kotowski – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=14987371