Romans 3:9 20
At least at one point all men are the same. At many points they are obviously different. They are different in
abilities, in possessions, in culture, and in a thousand different ways. But one thing the whole human family
has in common is sin. Before the eyes of holy God, the whole human family shares the problem of human
sinfulness.  In this most searching section of Scripture, the Apostle sets forth the charge concerning human
sinfulness, the evidence of human sinfulness, and the verdict concerning human sinful-ness.

Our inclination is to readily assent to the sinfulness of the whole human family ¬but with one exception. We
find it most difficult to personalize that and say, "I am a sinner before God." These have been called the most
difficult words in our language to speak. But the only hope man has for salvation is in the Gospel of Jesus
Christ, and it is a Gospel for sinners alone. Unless you admit that this portion of Romans is about you, then
the beautiful section concerning salvation is not about you. All have sinned -therefore I am a sinner, you are a

The Apostle is acting as the prosecuting attorney for Holy God. He lays before us the sobering charge against
us. "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." The Apostle writes as a Jewish man addressing other Jewish men.  “Are we Jews
any better than then Gentiles?" It is a question of excelling morally or religiously. Do the Jews have any
reason for believing themselves to be superior to the Gentile with reference to sin-fulness? The answer of the
Apostle is an emphatic no. With reference to sin, the human race is equal.

He reminds us of the thing he has already done. "We have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they
are all under sin." "Before proved" is a legal word that means to charge, to impeach, to accuse. It does not
technically mean to prove the charge, but to make the charge. So far the Apostle has made the charge that
Jew and Gentile alike share a common plight of sinfulness before Holy God. The word used here is "under
sin." This expression is used in the Gospels to indicate being under authority. This preposition is used of the
soldier being under the authority of the commanding officer. The charge then is that sin is the commanding
officer in the life of man. His racial or religious background makes no difference at this point     he is still under
sin. Sin tells him what to do. Sin calls the shots in his life. Sin is the manager of his affairs.

Since man is under the authority of sin, it means that he is filled with the pollu¬tion of sin. The evidence of
sin's authority operating in one's life will be moral and spiritual corruption. The expression also indicates that
man's situation is such that he cannot escape. He is under the power of sin in such a way that he cannot
deliver himself. This is the charge that has been lodged against him by God. You are charged, my friend, with
being under the authority of sin instead of the authority of God. The bent of your life is to break the rules of
God rather than to obey them. You are under sin.

The Apostle supports the charge with some impressive evidence. He strings together a list of fourteen
different inspired statements from the Old Testament Scriptures. Each of them gives us an insight into what
Holy God sees in the life of His creature man. These divine statements become the evidence presented to
bring about the conviction of man. This is an important point! The witness of God can never be accused of
being anything less than truth. God does not lie. He does not commit perjury. He has given a witness against
the whole human family, and you arc included.

"As it is written, there is none righteous, no, not one." This statement is taken from the fourteenth Psalm in
which God is viewed as looking down at the humans as they move about on the earth. He is looking to see if
there is one righteous man on the earth. By righteous we mean one man whose life squares with what God
defines as being right  Is there one man who will measure up to God's standard of righteousness? God's
conclusion is that there is not even one. By human standards there are some good men, but by God's
standards not one can be found. There is not one perfectly righteous man on the earth. This summation of
the evidence should be enough, but more follows.

"There is none that understandeth." This refers to an understanding of God and the things of God. The
human family is marked by spiritual foolishness and ignorance. Apart from the grace of God, man will never
come to an understanding of the things of God. They are foolishness unto him. Furthermore, "there is none
that seeketh after God". The word means to seek out, to seek diligently. The Bible gives ample witness to
man's flight from God, not his search for God. God is the one searching for man, and man is the one being
sought. Is this not evidence enough of man's sinfulness? Is it not evidence of a flaw in human character when
the creature attempts to escape from the influence of his Creator?

"They are all gone out of the way." Instead of seeking God everyone of them has turned away from the way of
God. They have chosen paths for life that seemed right to them instead of those indicated by God as being
the right paths. This leads to the certain results, "They are together become unprofitable." This is an inclusive
indictment. Before God the whole human family has become "unprofitable". The word was used of milk that
had soured and was good for nothing but to pour out. It was used of vegetables or meats that had ruined and
were good for nothing but to be discarded. "Useless", "good for nothing", this is God's evaluation of man in his
present sinful condition. This word makes an interesting contrast to man's proud evaluation of his usefulness
to God and the world. So many vain men imagine that God could not get along in His world with¬out them, but
God says "good for nothing".

Furthermore, "there is none that doeth good, no not one." Could anything be stated more emphatically?
Remember this is the witness of God! "Good" here is goodness in action, goodness expressing itself in deeds.
It is a man doing the upright thing. There are none who do this as the consistent pattern or expression of their
lives. This is human character as it is!

From the sinful character of man, God turns His witness to the sinful actions of men. "Their throat is an open
sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: whose mouth is full
of cursing and bitterness." One good sign of human sinfulness is the speech of man. The open sepulcher is
an open grave from which comes the terrible odors that mark decaying human flesh. Because of the Jewish
feelings about the dead corpse being so unclean, this was an especially forceful word. There is so much
corruption in the human heart that it gives forth these terrible odors through words spoken continually. Their
tongues are schooled in giving forth smooth words. This week I have been reading a book by the trained
Christian doctor, Paul Tournier. He claims that there is not a one of us who does not deliberately speak words
of deceit every day. We are all masters at lying. Under the tongue of man there is a bag of poison just like that
under the tongue of poisonous snakes. With our words we inject these deadly poisons into people. Are you
going to protest that you never tell dirty stories or use blasphemous words? What about your words of
criticism? What about the times you cut members of your family down with bitter words? There is poison in
such words. The truth is that our mouths are full of cursing and bitterness. These words may be directed
toward God or toward one's fellowman. The direction does not matter for the essence is the same. The
corruption of our speech is evidence of our sinful nature before God.

And there is more. "Their feet is swift to shed blood." "Destruction and misery are in their ways." Someone has
pictured God bearing witness as a historian here. The history of man is one cluttered with broken lives and
dreams. Man is a destroyer. He destroys himself and others who get into his way. Man is such that he will
destroy whatever gets in his selfish way. For a long time, Americans wanted to believe that our nation was
different from the other nations of the world in our conduct of national affairs. Recent events seem to indicate
that we are just as sinful and selfish as any other people in the earth.  "The way of peace have they not
known". This is true of nations of men and it is true of individual men. Peace is always eluding man. He talks
much about it, but never seems to find it. What is the cause of the whole thing? "There is no fear of God
before their eyes." This is the root of man's problem. He has displaced God and refused to render to God the
reverence and honor of which His name is worthy. Instead of fearing God, man rebels against Him. This is the
evidence that God gives against the whole human family. The evidence is overwhelming. It is on this basis that
the conviction is handed down.

The verdict is guilty. "Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the
law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.  Therefore by the
deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justi¬fied in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin." The
Jewish man was seeking to hide behind the law, but it is no safe hiding place. The law is designed to reveal
sin, not to remove it. The result of the law is that the whole world stands before God without a word of self
defense or protest. The result is that man is utterly without excuse. Furthermore the whole world is declared to
be "guilty" before God. The word guilty means "accountable".

Are you ready to accept the guilty verdict? Are you ready to acknowledge to the Judge of all the earth that
you deserve eternal condemnation? Such readiness is the first step toward salvation from utter
condemnation, and the first step toward God’s complete salvation. Jesus came to save “sinners”. If we never
confess our sinfulness we will never know His saving love. Why not tell God right now, “Lord God, I am a
sinner. I have broken Your law. I deserve the sentence that You have declared, but I ask You for mercy.” You
can know the saving work of God in your life right now.