As it is written; “There is none righteous, no, not one; there is none who understands; there is none who seeks after God. They have all turned aside; they have together become unprofitable; there is none who does good, no, not one”…. For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:10–12, 23—NKJV)

The Gospel good news that God has sent His Son to be the Savior of the world means nothing to someone who mistakenly thinks that he is a good person and God duty-bound to approve of him because he is generally a good guy. The total blindness and inability of man to discern his eternal jeopardy is a crucial area for biblical instruction. It seems the older a man becomes the harder he seems to grow in his spiritual insensitivity. If he starts on an evil track early he only becomes confirmed in his evil ways sooner. What little inkling there may be available to him in the creation around him concerning his Creator is quickly drowned out by the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life (1 John 2:16). All manner of superstitions rule the heart of men when God’s truth is absent.

So what is the believer to do in order to awaken a superstition-sated sinner to the impending judgment of God? How can a man’s soul be alerted to his “lostness” so that he might fully appreciate the bounty found in the Gospel of Jesus Christ? It will be a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God (Hebrews 10:31, 12:29). It is a recurring theme in the Bible that all will one day be revealed (Revelation 20:11–15). There will be nowhere to hide, no remedy, and no grace period. A man must first recognize he is lost in order to realize his condition and be prompted into action. Our text is an excellent starting point.

It is actually the first mile marker along what is known as the “Roman’s Road” of salvation. All men are lost, without exception—lost to heaven, to the cause of goodness and to fulfilling their task of bringing glory to their Creator. “There is none who is righteous…for all have sinned!”(vv. 10, 23).

Most people who would justify themselves begin to quibble with you when it is revealed to them that God views all men as equally in need, regardless of station, virtue, religion, and “goodness.” For this reason Paul continues to prove that every man needs the Savior. He teaches us that the state of a man’s righteousness is God’s call. For this reason Paul says, “As it is written” all men fail to rise to the perfect standard of righteousness established by God. Romans 5:12 explains how this happens to every single man on earth: “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned.”

Because we are all sons of Adam and because we sin from our earliest days until this very hour, confirms our unrighteousness. Hence, Paul says, “There is none righteous, no, not one.” Every single person on this earth is at a huge deficit in perfection before God. Paul continues quoting from Psalms and from Isaiah in order to illustrate our shortcomings (vv. 11–12). I have added a practical question God may be able to use to awaken a sinner to his lostness.

  • “There is none who understands [grasp firmly]”—Did you ever meet someone who understands the Bible easily and can explain it to you?
  • “There is none who seeks after [seeks out fully] God.”—Are you satisfied in the belief that you really know God?
  • “They have all turned aside [deviate, lean out away]”—Do you have a sense that you have lost your way in the issues of life that really matter?
  • “They have together become unprofitable [go bad like sour milk, unserviceable, rejected]”—Do you wonder if you are doing what God put you here on earth to do?
  • “There is none who [habitually] does good, no not one.”—Do you believe that God is satisfied with you right now?

Once an unsaved man honestly faces himself in such a mirror he can no longer honestly see much righteous credit remaining before God. This is why Paul quickly follows these observations with verses 13–18 showing that every man is evil, from the top of his head to the bottom of his foot. He is evil in thought and speech such that his inner evil nature becomes known to others (v. 13). He is surprisingly quick to jealousy and he quickly thirsts for vengeance (vv. 13b–14). He leaves human wreckage behind him (vv. 15–16) through human error. The very fact that a man is willing to think that he will be let into heaven because of his good works proves that he has not the slightest comprehension of real peace with God nor the capacity to hold the holy God in the esteem and awe due His Name (vv. 17–18).

Therefore, Paul says, “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” All are alike condemned before Him, all need the Savior, the One whose perfect and sinless life can alone atone for man’s sin. Without this quickening, enlightening work of the Holy Spirit, a man cannot come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Share the Gospel good news by first displaying to a sinner his lostness so that he may be rescued from sin. Trust and obey.