Monday, November 20, 2006

Romans 3:10-12

As it is written: "There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one" [Psalms 14:1-3; 53:1-3; Ecclesiastes 7:20].

Our condition is in our hearts. Paul in v.10-12 says that our sin runs deep into the core of our being. We talked about total depravity a while back, and this is it again. There is no one righteous, not even one. All our righteous acts or good deeds are like filthy rags to the Holy One of Heaven. There is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. This is the big one. And in the Greek, ekzeteo (ek-ze-TAY-o), and in the Old Testament Hebrew, Darash (daw-RASH), it means exactly what it says: “to seek out, search for; to seek out for one’s self, beg, crave; to resort to, seek, seek with care, enquire, or require.” Nobody craves the One, True God, and it’s due to our sinful heart condition.

There is no one who seeks God. Now this is hard to grasp in our day and age of seeker-sensitive church movements. But what Paul is saying here is that no one desires the One, True God. He’s too demanding, He’s too Holy, He’s a consuming fire that will undo us at His presence.
Remember what Job said after being confronted by God? “I am unworthy—how can I reply to You? I put my hand over my mouth. I have no answer; I will say no more….I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.” Look what happened to Isaiah when he was brought into the presence of God. He was undone, literally turned inside out and cut open at the sight of the Theophany. Look what happened when Peter was confronted by Jesus Christ while fishing in Luke 5. He was convicted that Jesus was more than a mere man, and he said, “Go away. I am sinful.” Look again in Luke 8 when Jesus calmed the sea. Those with Him were filled with “fear and amazement.” “Who is this?” they asked. So no one, with the exception of those already believers, desires our God. Isaiah 53:2-3 “He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to Him; there was nothing in His appearance that we should desire Him; He was despised and rejected, like one from whom we would hide our faces; He was despised, and we esteemed Him not.”

Unbelievers do not seek this God. Paul makes that very clear. We do not become God-seekers until we are found by Him. Once we are made believers, then it is true that we seek Him. He has made us willing, and because of that, we want Him; we desire Him. Because we have been changed, we do good; but still, even then, it is God Who works in us. I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. So it’s God working through us. It’s never just us. Paul concludes this point: All have turned away and become worthless; no one does good, not even one. We must understand this to properly understand grace. There is nothing valuable in me. I contribute nothing to the equation of salvation. It’s all of grace. It has nothing to do with me. These are hard words to hear, but that’s exactly what Paul has been saying since Romans 1:18.

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