All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” (ESV)
Imagine if you were a commander of an army. You plan for the day of battle. You lay out a map of where the enemy is camped. You look at where you will engage them. You organize plans for all of your troops, and your strategy looks perfect. There is just one problem. As you go into the camp of your soldiers you find that they have all run away. You are all alone.
I may have created a ridiculous story, but consider for a moment that the "Lord of Hosts," God himself is the commander. Would you fight for him? Would you stand with him against the enemy? We would all love to answer yes to that question. The fact is, all of humankind is like the scenario I described at first. We have all run away.
When Paul says that we "all have turned aside," he is using a term that was used to describe an army deserter. We have all turned aside. We are all deserters. We are together worthless. No one does good, not even one! I don't know about you, but that is kind of sobering to me. This tells me that in my heart, without God's intervention, I am a deserter. I am worthless. I do not do good.
We love to celebrate how we are not worthless. We are all wonderful, we tell ourselves. Without God, we are not wonderful. It is an amazing thing to think that for us to receive the wonderful gift of God's love, which makes us have worth, we have to acknowledge just how unworthy we are. This may be an uncomfortable reality, but it is essential truth. My worth comes from his gift.
If you recognize in yourself a tendency to run from God, to be a deserter, you have stumbled upon important truth. Stop running. Admit you are unworthy of God's grace. He will respond by giving you his grace! It is for those who know they do not deserve it.