February 14, 2018

The Bad News Before the Good News

Romans 3:9–10

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No One Is Righteous

What then? Are we Jews1 any better off?2 No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, 10 as it is written:

  “None is righteous, no, not one;


[1] 3:9 Greek Are we
[2] 3:9 Or at any disadvantage?

In Context:

4 By no means! Let God be true though every one were a liar, as it is written, “That you may be justified in your words, and prevail when you are judged.” 5 But if our unrighteousness serves to show the righteousness of God, what shall we say? That God is unrighteous to inflict wrath on us? (I speak in a human way.) 6 By no means! For then how could God judge the world? 7 But if through my lie God's truth abounds to his glory, why am I still being condemned as a sinner? 8 And why not do evil that good may come?—as some people slanderously charge us with saying. Their condemnation is just. 9 What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, 10 as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; 11 no one understands; no one seeks for God. 12 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” 13 “Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.” “The venom of asps is under their lips.” 14 “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.” 15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood;

The Bad News Before the Good News

Bio | McKenzie Cranford

Happy Valentine's Day, Journeyers! Whatever our relationship status is today, I pray that we focus on the most important relationship available to us—the one with the Creator and Savior of the world!

That same Creator led me to Watermark about two years ago. Since then, I've had the privilege of serving in the kid's ministry (shout out to the Saturday service), walking through life with an amazing community group, and being transformed day-by-day with the help of God's Word and His people.

Central Truth

Good people don't go to heaven; forgiven people do! No matter how "good" we think we are, the Bible says that we've all fallen short of the glory of God and need a rescuer.

Devotional | Romans 3:9–10

How much do you know about God?

Maybe you grew up in church and can quote huge sections of the Bible. Maybe you just opened the Bible for the first time today. No matter where you fall on this spectrum, the Scriptures...

How much do you know about God?

Maybe you grew up in church and can quote huge sections of the Bible. Maybe you just opened the Bible for the first time today. No matter where you fall on this spectrum, the Scriptures make clear that we are all in the same boat—no one, "good" or "bad," is righteous according to God's standards.

Not. Even. One.

All the good things we've done do not balance out the times we have sinned against the living God, choosing our own desires above the desires our Creator has for us. In this passage, Paul is speaking to the Jews, who believed they had checked off plenty of boxes to be saved. However, salvation is "not a result of works, so that no one may boast" (Ephesians 2:9). Similar to the Jews, those of us who "grew up in the church" face the temptation of forgetting that salvation has nothing to do with our perceived goodness.

So what's the good news?

There was a perfect One who came to earth, died on a cross in our place, and rose from the dead on the third day. His name is Jesus, and He offers salvation to all—no exceptions. Christians are people who have called on the Lord Jesus to be saved (Romans 10:13) and don't think they are better than anyone—just better off because of their decision to trust God with their lives. God cannot overlook our sins because He is just, but He invites all of us to enjoy relationship with Him through an act of faith.

Reflecting on this truth, we can rest in the fact God is not keeping score. He delights in forgiving us (Micah 7:18), and He provides us with the tools and freedom to fight temptations. As we grow in our faith, it will not always be an easy process—but it's always for our good (Romans 8:28).

Let's go, church!

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Discussion Questions

1. Have you ever confessed your sins to God and asked for His forgiveness? Is there something you've been scared to confess? Whatever your situation, God is ready and willing to forgive those who confess and repent from their sins.

2. Are you feeling like everything is going well? Ask God to reveal areas of your life that you haven't fully surrendered. It might hurt, but He disciplines those He loves (Hebrews 12:6).

3. Another's sin is not bigger than our own. Is there someone in your life you need to forgive or ask for forgiveness from?

4. Do you have a church home? We need one another in this crazy journey of life!

11 Comments available

Georgia Littlejohn 9 months ago

I just saw the movie I can only imagine. Wow the emotions that movie brought out. I cried so much. My dad is very similar. He Verbalee abused my sister myself physically abused my mother. He wants nothing to do with us because “we want something from him like love“. In the reading a couple of days ago the devotional said that it of talked about forgiveness yes I can forgive my dad but I can’t forget and I guess that’s for the problem lies. He has said he wants nothing from us doesn’t want to be part of our lives or children’s lives or his grandchildren’s lives. I don’t know how to forgive that. But if someone out there does please let me know how I can forgive him because Jesus said that but God knows and I know

Aaron Young 10 months ago

happy birthday HH!

Hope Harris 10 months ago

Happy Valentines Day/Single Awareness day. Today is also my Ninth Spiritual Birthday. I honestly value this Birthday more than the the first one.

I am a sinner saved by grace. That is my confession today.

greg jones 10 months ago

Love those people who “get” hanging out with kids. Thank you McKenzie. I like your reference to Ephesians 2:9, not by works so no one can boast. I would like to add next verse too, created for God’s good works…we don’t get to coast either. Good works provide for people without. We are not saved from being without good works, we are saved to engage with the world in those good works. Great devotional today.

John Sherman 10 months ago

In my opinion, mankind’s biggest problem is not sin but it’s a lack of righteousness. Consider 1 John 3:7 (KJV) “Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.” A corollary is, the one who is unrighteous does unrighteousness. To fully appreciate what God accomplished for us in the Lord Jesus Christ’s death on the cross, one must understand righteousness: God’s righteousness, man’s unrighteousness, and how the work of Christ at the cross bridged that impassable gap. God’s amazing solution to our unrighteousness while maintaining His righteousness is introduced in Romans 3:21-26. Until we journey there, consider 1 John 2:29 (KJV) “If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him.” See also Romans 5:19 and 2 Cor 5:21.

Larry Miller 10 months ago

Preach it! That WAS church! Thank you so much for your devotional. I am so encouraged by your simple articulation of the truth on who goes to heaven. So grateful today to be among the “forgiven”.

Christopher Hyland 10 months ago

Thank you McKenzie, Wonderful reminder that the only entrance requirement for Christianity is to admit we are weak, blind, lost and need of a Savior. That God in Christ not only forgives us but we are given the righteousness of Chris - perfection!! Also an admonition to never forget that without Christ we are still weake, lost, blind and hopeless and to treat others with the same Grace given to us.

Michael Scaman 10 months ago

“None is righteous no not one.”

In Psalm 14 none is righteous Ps 14:3 In Psalm 15 you might wonder, who can ascend the mount of the Lord (if no one is righteous) Ps 15:1 In Psalm 16 there is one who can climb the mountain of the Lord who is even a victor over death Ps 16:10 ( Psalm 16, 17 and 18 are all resurrection psalms as I see it Ps 16:10, Ps 17:15 , Ps 18:3-6 )

It paints a picture of a need for a savior and the one who met the need

Sue Bohlin 10 months ago

Thanks, McKenzie. The goodness of the truth in today’s verses is highlighted for me by the memory of the gentleman’s JTJ comments last month that people were too negative in referring to themselves as sinners because God created us in His image, and He is good–therefore, so are we. While that is true, so is the fact that “there is none righteous, no not one.” The fact that both apparently contradicting facts are true, shows both the glory of a biblical understanding of mankind, and the glory of our brilliant God who is able to work out apparent contradictions and oxymorons so all the pieces fit.

Lindsey Driscoll 10 months ago

McKenzie - great question #2 as we know we are all under sin. (3:9) Our sin nature does not change, the root of our sin doesn’t change, but the outward action of our sin may change. This is a good question for all of us to ask, that means ALL. For we know Paul is addressing Jews and Gentiles and reminds us we all sin and fall short of the glory of God. (3:23)

Hugh Stephenson 10 months ago

Hello McKenzie! Good people versus forgiven people. Well said.

The phrase that I am reflecting on today is “under sin”. No matter how hard I try, I am “under” it. At the risk of taking license, my sinful nature puts me “under” its authority. I am “under” its thumb. I am “under” its spell. I am “under” this huge rock that is crushing me. I am tired of falling back into “under” performing.

Sin in Greek is “hamartia”. I like some of the definitions: miss the mark, (I am actively aiming, I just missed); wander from the path, (I am on the path but somehow wandered off). Others are more convicting: violate God’s law, commits offense.

Paul’s indictment is so detailed and complete! I have nowhere to hide. The words “no excuse” ring in my ears daily.

I look forward to hearing about being “under” grace.

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