The bad news gets worse just before Paul turns to the good news. As he summarizes our natural condition apart from divine grace, the situation couldn’t look more bleak. He first emphatically declares every human sinful – without exception. As if that weren’t clear enough – which it isn’t, since every fiber of our natural, fallen DNA illogically defends our innocence – Paul then gives a human anatomy lesson by attaching sins to the members of our body. Finally, he links our guilty condition to a holy God who will rightly hold us accountable. Conclusion: We are all culpable. We are all guilty. We all have blood on our hands. We are shamed into silence.
Ironically, that is precisely where God meets us in salvation. We don’t encounter a holy God by lifting ourselves up to Him, but by recognizing the lowness of our natural state – and there we will find Him at the cross.
For next week, read Romans 3:21-31.
PP. 536-539 in the Zondervan NIV Bible Commentary (or equivalent in the newly released volume entitled The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Abridged Edition, New Testament)
PP. 113-120 in the New American Commentary.