Part 3 – Depravity, Self-Esteem, and Our Worth In Christ
In this section of Romans 3 (verses 10-18) Paul quotes nothing but Old Testament verses to make his point (of the first three chapters) crystal clear – all mankind is dead in their sin and separated from the Lord God, and have no desire, nor ability to worship, love, and glorify the Lord God.
Verse ten and eleven gave us three “no ones”:
No one who was righteous
No one who understands
No one who seeks God
Paul obviously wants us to see that sin is universal. “No one” means everyone is included, or that ‘no one on planet Earth’ is righteous, understands, or seeks God.
Verse twelve continues this theme by telling us that, “All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.”
Once again, this is a universal indictment against all mankind. In their natural state of ‘fallenness’ all humans have turned away from God; all have become ‘worthless’ (better words are unprofitable or useless) and there is no one who does the ultimate good of worshiping the Lord God, loving Him, and glorifying Him.
Humans can do good, and some people are ‘good’ in comparison to other ‘not so good’ humans, but the Lord God is the ultimate standard of goodness, and we all fall short since we have no desire, nor the ability to do the truly spiritual ‘good things’ of worshiping the Lord, loving Him and glorifying Him. We need Christ’s life within us to makes us ‘good’. He must crucify the old sinful nature and replace it with His Spirit, then we become the righteousness of Christ.
But the main theme of this message was in regards to Paul’s point that all humans are ‘worthless’ (unprofitable). Many within the church throughout history (and the secular world jumps on us for this) over-emphasize the ‘worthless’ part and we are accused of crushing people’s spirit/self-image by saying that we are lower than cow’s dung. But what Paul is saying is that we are unprofitable, meaning that we can’t do anything of ‘worth’ to bring ourselves to the Lord.
We are made in God’s image – ALL humans are, so ALL humans have intrinsic VALUE and WORTH as image bearers of the Lord God, BUT we are still born as rebels and spiritually dead enemies of God. So, we can value life – we can have a sense of ‘worth’ as humans and treat all humans with dignity, but that doesn’t make us righteous before God. We still need Christ to save us and transform us.
So, it is important that a Christian have a healthy attitude about himself. Yes, we are sinners separated from the Lord God, but we are still valuable. And the Lord in His rich and undeserving mercy, chose to save us – not because of any spiritual ‘worth’ within us, but rather because of His grace.