as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; (ESV)
Just how wicked are you? Has anyone ever asked you that question? I imagine you might even be a bit offended at the suggestion that you are wicked. Humanity has a great struggle coming to terms with the reality of our own wickedness. We instinctively like to think that we are basically good, not realizing that the notion of our goodness is part of our fallen nature.
My favorite preacher of all history is the great late Charles Spurgeon. He is considered to be the "Prince of Preachers." He is likely the most quoted preacher in pulpits across the world to this very day. I love the way that he described our human nature, including his own. Spurgeon said: "You cannot slander human nature; it is worse than words can paint it.”
Imagine that the vilest words used in human language do not do enough justice to the evil nature that resides in each one of us. I dare say that this concept is hard for us to agree to. Again, we might be willing to concede that we are not completely perfect, but evil? Paul reminds us in this verse, and in the coming verses in Romans, "None is righteous, no, not one."
Not one? We think of various characters in our world and in history. How about Mother Theresa? How about Billy Graham? How about David? Scripture says that David was the "apple of God's eye." Doesn't that count for something? If Mother Theresa, Billy Graham, and David were standing next to you, and you could ask them about their nature, they would tell you, "No one is righteous. Not one."
The reality is our nature is wicked. This is a hurdle too great for many to overcome. But the only way to salvation is by first recognizing our need for a Savior. Spurgeon also said, "I have a great need for a Savior, and a great Savior for my need."
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