A Devotion from President Davey
To read the previous post in this series, click here.
Paul is talking to everybody. The word all is comprehensive; it is inclusive; it is all embracing and all encompassing. All leaves no one out or behind. Not one person can say, “Paul is only talking about the Romans, he is only writing to the first century Italians.”
No. All is a reference to everyone from time past until time stops.
Notice earlier, in 3:19, Paul says,
And all the world may become accountable to God.
There is that word, all, again. There’s just no wiggle room in that word!
And in what are we all included?
An Irrevocable Condition
One of the key words in this phrase that we are most likely to skip over is the word “have.” It is as important as the next word in the verse. This verb, in the Greek text, refers to something that happened in the past.
This verse is a reference to all of humanity sinning in Adam – in the past. Adam, the representative of the
human race, sinned. That corrupted the fountainhead of the human race, so the water is now polluted. No
matter how far downstream you are from Adam, which is thousands of years now, the water is still polluted.
And every day we simply prove that we are just like our father – Adam. We act just like him!
Paul explains this further in Romans 5:12,
Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned.
So, Paul, in chapter 3, is viewing the entire human race as having sinned in Adam. And the proof of having Adam’s sin nature is the fact that we, by nature, sin.
My wife and I thought there were some little birds in the rafters of our house, just outside our bathroom.
We thought the nest was somewhere under the outside gutters. Then, Marsha was outside the other day, working in the yard, and she saw a vent open on the side of our house, outside of the bathroom wall, and a bird fly out. As she watched, that same bird flew back with a worm in its beak. The mother bird carefully pulled opened the metal flap on the vent and disappeared inside. That nest of little birds was actually inside the vent that ran from the ceiling of our bathroom to the outer wall. The sounds we had been hearing made sense to us now. We could hear the slam of the vent door and immediately, the loud chirping of those baby birds vying for as much of that worm as they can get. Then, we’d hear the vent door slam shut again and the little birds stop chirping. The vent door opened and the chirping would begin all over again, as if a conductor had begun to wave his wand at the little chorus.
That mother bird never gave her little ones any chirping lessons. She never taught them, “Now, if you want some of this worm, you’re gonna have to chirp first!”
No. They chirp for their mother’s attention instinctively. And, in a couple of weeks that mother is going to push those little birds out of that vent and they are going to instinctively flap their wings and fly away – thank the Lord. There isn’t a Driver’s Education, followed by twelve months of flying with a permit. Nope. They will never be taught how to fly. They will fly, by nature.
Just as a bird flies, by virtue of its nature, so we sin, by virtue of our nature. Just as a bird, because of
its nature, loves to eat worms, so we, because of our nature, love to sin. Just as a bird flies without
ever having to learn how, so we sin without ever having to be taught. We never had one lesson in how
Our parents never taught us how to lie, cheat and steal. We knew how to do those things instinctively.
That doesn’t excuse our sinful behavior, it merely reveals how corrupt our nature is and why we are guilty before God.
Notice that Paul is not referring, in verse 23, to the amount of our sins. He is not saying, “for all have sinned . . .” If he said that, someone might say, “Well, I don’t fit in this verse because I don’t sin as much as my cousin Frank or my sister Sue . . . so this verse doesn’t refer to me.”
Sorry; the Bible isn’t referring to the number of our sins, but the nature of our sinfulness.
You could read verse 23 in this way, “for all have the nature of a sinner and because of that nature, instinctively sin.”
This devotional is an excerpt from President Davey’s book, What the Cross of Christ Destroys. Want to read more? Check out the next excerpt in this series.