What then? Are we better than they? Not at all; for we have already charged that both Jews and Greeks are all under sin; as it is written, “THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NOT EVEN ONE; THERE IS NONE WHO UNDERSTANDS, THERE IS NONE WHO SEEKS FOR GOD; ALL HAVE TURNED ASIDE, TOGETHER THEY HAVE BECOME USELESS; THERE IS NONE WHO DOES GOOD, THERE IS NOT EVEN ONE. THEIR THROAT IS AN OPEN GRAVE, WITH THEIR TONGUES THEY KEEP DECEIVING, THE POISON OF ASPS IS UNDER THEIR LIPS; WHOSE MOUTH IS FULL OF CURSING AND BITTERNESS”; THEIR FEET ARE SWIFT TO SHED BLOOD, DESTRUCTION AND MISERY ARE IN THEIR PATHS, AND THE PATH OF PEACE HAVE THEY NOT KNOWN. THERE IS NO FEAR OF GOD BEFORE THEIR EYES.” Romans 3:9-18 (NAS)
We began last week looking at our text from Romans 3:9-18 containing the various passages the apostle Paul cited from the book of Psalms (six passages) and Isaiah (one) that described the corrupted image of mankind ravaged by the infection of sin.
Just by way of reminder, we noted that all the quotes from the book of Psalms (14:1b-3; 53:1b-3, 5:9, 140:3, 10:7a & 36:1b) are directly attributed to and were penned by King David through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
Thoughts lead to actions—Mind, Mouth and Motion
The scripture teaches, and brother Mark Miller has observed, that there is a process to manifestation of actions in one’s life. What fills the mind (referred to as the heart in Scripture), flows freely from the mouth which then directs the motion (actions) of our lives. If you take the time to reread the apostle Paul’s lengthy citation of Old Testament passages in our text you’ll recognize that pattern as well.
Last week we referenced the fact that sin deceives. The deceit of sin is built upon two big lies belched from the abyss: “There is no God”; and, once deceived into believing there is no God, “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” Stated more simply, no consequences for actions. Folks are always looking for a way to justify their sinful behavior and both these lies serve that purpose.
The fact that sin deceives should be no surprise to us right? Sin entered the world through deception and the one at the controls in the garden was the serpent of old, the devil, who John the Revelator says “deceives the whole world” (Rev. 12:9).
What was Satan’s initial attack in the garden and how did he deceive Eve? Through the lie “You surely shall not die” (Gen. 3:4) assisted by the devil’s mind altering drug—L.S.D. Uh, that’s the LSD that James refers to in James 1:14-15. First, Satan tempted her by getting her to thinking about the forbidden fruit. Once convinced there would be no consequences, She was enticed by her own Lust. In reaching for the fruit to eat it, she gave birth to Sin, and once she bit into the fruit she brought forth Death, separation from God. Satan’s ends were accomplished. Ever since, Satan’s been engaged in advancing his agenda by influencing what goes into the minds of men. Be it outright lies or subtle twisting of the word of God, which is the more effective and deceptive killer of men. That’s why Jesus warned in the Gospels, “Take care what you listen to.” (Mark 4:24) and “Therefore, take care how you listen.” (Luke 8:18). Remember, “For as he thinks within himself, so he is.” (Proverbs 23:7a)
What’s the Christian’s responsibility in combating the prince of the power of the air (Eph. 2:2) waves? Renew the mind through the word of God!
Once the mind has fallen headlong into the depths of declivity, the words that spill forth reflect that fallen nature. The old childhood nursery rhyme said “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me!” Another big lie that doesn’t jive with the word of God. That’s why the apostle quoted part of Psalm 5:9, “There is nothing reliable in what they say; their inward part is destruction itself; their throat is an open grave; they flatter with their tongue.”; and Psalm 140:3, “They sharpen their tongues as a serpent; poison of a viper is under their lips.” in Romans 3:13. If words are so harmless, why does David say that these words that flow from the heart (inward parts) are “destruction itself”. In Psalm 140:1b-2 he says these words flow from “violent men who devise evil things in their hearts; they continually stir up wars.” The ones that speak these words are the wicked in hot pursuit of those they can afflict. Paul quotes David in Ps. 10:7, “His mouth is full of curses and deceit, and oppression.” the passage that forms Romans 3:14. See, the mind’s evil desires are being verbalized and visualized which soon gives birth to..
We now see in Romans 3:15-17, quoted from Isaiah 59:7-8 the full blown outward manifestation of that which fills the heart and has been reinforced through their words. These are men separated from God (Isa. 59:1-2), their minds fixed upon evil continually, never really knowing peace, they’re not about to let others experience it either. The words spoken from the open grave of their throat are now putting men in their graves through the shedding of their blood. Innocents are poisoned by their deceptions and lies. The root of bitterness and jealousy defiles many, continually stirring up war, pitting one class of people against another (sound familiar?). In our personal experience and the recorded history of mankind, we’ve each seen this pattern repeated. Outside of Christ there is none righteous, not even one. Mankind none, Christ’s the only one! Amen.