10 As it is written: “There is none righteous, no, not one;
At root, sin lies in the failure to reconcile our being and our acts with the absolute character of God. All men are not “right” with God. The following quotations from Scripture show universal condemnation due to universal sin. Paul here began to indict all men with specific charges.
Note the chain of quotations from Scripture running from Romans 3:10-18: This string of citations shows the power of sin over all people. Notice the outline of these verses:
Verses 10 to 12 set forth the universality of sin.
Verses 13 and 14 focus on sins of speech.
Verses 15 to 17 give the damaging results of sin in conduct.
Verse 18 is the root cause of sins.
As [just as] it is written [stands written]:
Paul quoted from a sequence of six Old Testament passages in 3:10-18 to corroborate his charge resulting in an indictment. He brought compelling evidence that all are under sin.
Romans 3:10-12 is a quote from Psalm 14:1-3.
Romans 3:13 is a quote from Psalms 5:9; 140:3.
Romans 3:14 is a quote from Psalm 10:7.
Romans 3:15-17 is a quote from Isaiah 59:7, 8.
Romans 3:18 is a quote from Psalm 36:1.
The perfect tense in the Greek “stands written” indicates the permanency of God’s Word that applies to all subsequent generations. This carries the authority of divine inspiration.
Now we come to the first quotation from Psalm 14:1-3. This first quotation carries 6 of 14 charges or indictments:
There is none righteous (Ro 3:10).
There is none who understands (Ro 3:11).
There is none who seeks out God (Ro 3:11).
They have all turned aside (Ro 3:12).
They have together become useless (Ro 3:12).
There is none who has integrity (Ro 3:12).
The other charges in 3:10-18 are the following:
Their throats are open graves (Ro 3:13).
They deceive with their tongues (Ro 3:13).
The poison of asps is under their lips (Ro 3:13).
Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness (Ro 3:14).
Their feet are swift to shed blood (Ro 3:15).
Ruin and misery are in their paths (Ro 3:16).
The way of peace they have not known (Ro 3:17).
There is no fear of God before their eyes (Ro 3:18).
“There is none righteous [justified or one conformed to a standard],
Now we come to the first of these 14 indictments.
The four-fold repetition of the word “none” and other statements that carry the idea such as “all” or “no one” give great emphasis to the universality of sin in all mankind. The whole world is equally under the influence of sin.
Paul delivered his first warrant against mankind. All people are, without exception, not righteous. The Greek says, “Not even one.” Paul put the universality of sin in the strongest possible terms. No one is right before a God who is perfectly right. This does not mean that man is not right compared to other men. Men are relatively righteous, but they have no absolute righteousness before God. Many non-Christians are morally right people.
The concept of being “righteous” is a central idea in the book of Romans. There are over 60 occurrences of the various forms of the root word, such as “righteousness,” “justify,” “justification,” and “just.” To be righteous is to be right with God. A righteous person, then, is someone who is what he ought to be before God. We can gauge whether we are right before God by comparing ourselves with Jesus Christ. By doing this, we realize that we desperately need a Savior.
no, not [even] one;
There is no exception to being not righteous. All races and classes of people are under this indictment. Paul used the idea of “none” six times in verses 10 to 18, showing man’s complete lack of righteousness before God.
This is the issue of “some good” versus “no good.” Man’s opinion of himself is that he has “some good.” There is no point in arguing further that man has some good to offer God. God crushes the entire being so that He can bring new life.
If a person is not as righteous as God is righteous, he or she is not acceptable to God.
No person other than Christ is as righteous as God is righteous. There are no degrees of righteousness in God’s eyes. We can only have this kind of righteousness when God puts in us that kind of righteousness (imputation). The good news of the gospel is that God can declare us as righteous as God is righteous.
Christians need to take the corpus of God’s special revelation seriously in their lives. Scriptures will show us exactly what we are. We may struggle with what it says, but it will tell us the truth. We cannot change our lives without the truth.
Salvation is a take-it-or-leave-it proposition. We have to play according to His rules regarding how a person stands before God in eternity.