The opening verse of this section poses both a question and it's answer as Paul writes in verse 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,
Every person born into this world has been born under the condemnation that comes from the power of sin. All of mankind is doomed to die because of sin within each and every person. And there is no escaping it in this world.
But when a person looks to God and seeks Him through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, then that is an entirely different matter. We DO have the power to escape sin, condemnation and eternal death, but only through Jesus Christ and only by the grace of God the Father.
But before a person comes to Christ, they are no different to anyone else in the world. They are under the power of sin and are sinners. That is why Paul asks the question, are the Jews any better off than the Gentiles. And then says, “No, not at all.”
So let us look at this section of scripture a little more and see what else it is saying.
Thinking Like Fools
This section of scripture quotes from the Psalms and it is interesting to read the rest of what is written in Psalm 14:1-3 to see who Paul was referring to. It says,
1 The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds, there is none who does good. 2 The LORD looks down from heaven on the children of man, to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God. 3 They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one.
Who is it that says, “There is no God?” Is it not the atheists and non-believers of this world? Yes it is. And it is they who are corrupt in mind and spirit doing abominable deeds, most significantly by rejecting God. And they do such things because they reject god and His authority. They fail to see that the laws, principles and structures that govern the universe are from the mind and hand of God, and if you reject those things you will suffer.
This is why the Psalmist calls them fools, because they are not seeking to understand His ways and learn but rather they do as Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 4:3-4,
3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.
People in the world today do not want to hear what is good and right and true. They do not want to hear the words of the truth that come from God. Instead they seek people who will speak things to flatter and build their egos. They want “nice” words that will make them feel good, when what they need is truth.
And the truth says of mankind in his fallen state that he is a sinner in need of salvation which comes from God through Jesus Christ. And in order to walk the walk with Christ there will be struggles, there will be difficulties and there will be hard times.
There will also be struggles, difficulties and hard times for those who listen to these false teachers who speak “nice” words. But there is a difference.
God said, “I will never I leave you nor forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5) But the false teachers do not give any hope of salvation or rescue from the problems of this world. Instead they just continue to spout smooth words which do nothing to help the person struggling.
Equals in the World
In the world all people are equals in respect to sin and death. As Paul said in Romans 3 we are all born under the power of sin and are in bondage to sin. There is no escape for any person in this world and smooth talk will not help.
Every person who has lived on the earth and been born under the power of sin will suffer the same sentence. They will die.
Paul wrote also in Romans 6:23,
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Because every person sins and is born under sin, they are earning the wages of sin throughout their lives. As each person walks in the ways of this world and does wrong, they add to their sin wages account which is not paid and closed until the day they die.
That is why Paul says the wages of sin is death. We earn death because through our actions and behaviour we work sin in our lives. Death is the payment we each receive for sinning throughout our lives.
But of even greater interest in that scripture in Romans 6:23 is the second part which moves us from sin and death to freedom and life.
Freedom and Equality in Christ
Although we earn death because we sin, God gives mankind the opportunity to receive eternal life through accepting Jesus Christ as a free gift. You do not have to work for this eternal life, and in fact you can't work for it. There is nothing any person on this earth can DO to receive the free gift of life because, it is a GIFT.
Life is given as a gift to those who seek God by accepting the teachings of Jesus Christ and following what He had to say. It is not based on anything that a person can, has or will do because God chose to give this gift not on the basis of works that a person can do, but on the basis of faith.
And this faith is not a blind faith but is active, living and working within us as we continue to seek The Lord and learn the ways of God. We are given very specific things to beleive and accept so as to progress in our walk with Christ, and when we learn these things we grow.
And it is the will of God that His people do grow into maturity in Christ. He wants His people to be strong and able to stand, to make good and right decisions, and to know the difference between right and wrong.
All this is given by the grace of God and no one can have any more or any less than another person. In Christ we are all equal and one with Him. The most recent convert is equal to the Christian who has been walking with The Lord all their life. There is no distinction because the grace of God and faith are the great equalisers.
God chose faith to be the basis of His way so that every person had the same opportunity and the same chance to find Jesus and so be saved. Consider if the basis of salvation were something else. What if it were based on money, good looks, athletic ability, talent, the ability to design and build cathedrals or anything else. As you read that list, and any other you might think of, you begin to see that in all these things people are not equal.
But faith is something that man cannot measure, buy or take from others. You either believe or you do not. That is the simplicity of faith and why every single person ever born or to be born on this planet is equal and has an equal chance of receiving the gifts of salvation, freedom and life in Jesus Christ…if they only believe and have faith.
We all receive the same reward too. There is no second prize, third prize, honourable mentions or whatever. We all receive eternal a life when Christ returns and establishes His eternal kingdom, or we receive eternal death.
So let us not think like fools and condemn ourselves to death. Instead let us seek all that Christ has to offer and come to Him to learn so that we do not fail to meet the test, so that we become mature in Christ and receive the reward He offers all of mankind…if they will just believe in Him.
(Photo sourced from www.freeimages.com taken by Jeff Brown)