Sometimes we get to the point where we believe that there really isn't anybody in the world that is righteous. Is this incorrect on people's part? A favorite Bible verse for many church goers today is one that proclaims, "There is none righteous, no not one." You will find this verse in Romans 3, but it is quoted from its predecessor, the book of Psalms (written much earlier in history). Psalm 14 has this to say concerning their being none that are righteous:
"The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good. Yahweh looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God. They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one." [Psalm 14:1-3]
There is a parallel verse in a later Psalm (53) as well which basically reiterates what is stated above. The obvious context of these verses is that the author is speaking about those who say in their heart that there is no God, no Creator. These men are corrupt and partake in abominable works. However, in the Romans passage where Paul cites the verse we see that there is a broader meaning to the text. Paul quotes the passage, but in context applies it to all those who have sinned against the law of Yahweh (Romans 3:9,19). Have you ever transgressed the law of Yahweh? I certainly know that I have, and I meet people everyday that have as well. If you have ever fell short from perfect obedience to Yahweh's law, then you fall under the category of those who have sinned (Romans 3:23), and in this sense there truly is no righteous person, that is, no perfectly righteous person. The point of Romans 3 is to show that there is a need for a Savior, something the Old Covenant saints readily recognized.
See, this wasn't something that Paul "concocted" during his lifetime. I remember speaking to a woman on the phone one time who was telling me that she believed Paul was a false apostle. I had heard this before, but had never experienced someone telling me in such blatant terms. One item of disagreement she had with Paul was that he said there was none that were righteous, yet she read of many people in the Bible who were righteous. I attempted to explain to her that I believe there were are righteous people in the earth, made righteous first and foremost by the grace and mercy of the Almighty, but Paul's point was that there are none perfectly righteous. I then tried my best to show here that just before Paul made his claim he wrote "as it is written," meaning that he was quoting from earlier texts of Scripture. It wasn't that people like David and Solomon believed people were righteous and then Paul came up with the idea that nobody was righteous. David understood the need for a Savior in Psalm 130:3-4 when he stated:
"If thou, Yahweh, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand? But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared."
Solomon also understood this fact when he wrote long ago:
"For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not." [Ecclesiastes 7:20]
The point is that all of Yahweh's children have understood the need for salvation. They have recognized that they cannot save theirselves, that they need someone to pull them out of sins captivity, the slavery of transgression. We need to always keep this in mind and never think that we have come to the point where we are somehow justified by our works. We should rather trust in Yeshua, the Son of Yahweh, rely on him for our salvation, placing our faith in Yahweh's word.
Blog by Matthew Janzen. Lover of Yahweh, Yeshua, my wife and 5 children. All else is commentary.