Thoughts on the Epistle to the Romans (57)

William Blake
‘s The Day of Judgment printed in 1808 to illustrate the Robert Blair‘s poem “The Grave

We have previously charged both Jews and Greeks that they are all under sin. As it is written: There is none righteous, no, not one; there is none who understands; there is none who seeks after God.

Romans 3:9-11.

For his argument that all, including the Jews, are “under sin” Paul now gives the proof from the Old Testament: “There is none righteous, no, not one.” Nobody meets the Creator’s righteous claims either in deed, word, or thought. It is not a question of anyone being better or worse than others. Man’s relationship to God and his fellowmen is in no case as God wished it. That is what the Old Testament states.

One might object that man is an intelligent being. He only needs enlightening, then he would put everything in order. But God’s answer is: “There is none who understands.” A sinner has no clear conception of sin, righteousness, God’s wrath and his own perilous situation. Moreover, of himself he has no comprehension of the way of salvation that God offers.

What about man’s feelings? Could they lead him to God? No, “there is none who seeks after God.” No-one would automatically strive to know God in His holy, righteous character, or to honour Him, do His will and have fellowship with Him. This is a shattering overall picture. It is like a net in which every individual is caught without any possibility of escape. This impels mankind to realize his need to be receptive to the gospel.

Image: By William Blake – The William Blake Archive, Public Domain,