Main point summary
Good works cannot justify man in God's sight. The fact that the Jews received the oracles of God does not change their guilt before God because of their failure to obey it. The whole human family failed to live up to the righteous standard of God.
What then? Are we better than they? Not at all.
For we have previously charged both Jews and Greeks that * they are all under sin.
As it is written: *
“There is none righteous, no, not one;
There is none who understands;
There is none who seeks after God.
They have all turned aside;
They have together become unprofitable;
There is none who does good, no, not one.”
“Their * throat is an open tomb;
With their tongues they have practiced deceit”; *
“The poison of asps is under their lips”;
“Whose * mouth is full of cursing and bitterness.”
“Their * feet are swift to shed blood;
Destruction and misery are in their ways;
And the way of peace they have not known.”
“There * is no fear of God before their eyes.”
Now we know that whatever * the law says, it says to those who are under the law,
that * every mouth may be stopped,
and all the world may become guilty before God.
Therefore * by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight,
for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
Chiastic structure? A(B-C) & (C'-B')A'
v. 9 All are under sin. The Jew is not better than the Greek. "under sin" is a legal term. It's like to be a citizen of Israel or Greece. So, you are either a citizen of sin or of grace (cf. 6:14). v. 10-18 Paul speaks of the fallen man as David wrote in Psalm 14 and 53. None who understands. Selfishness distorts the right view of reality. Everything has to be interpreted by the truth and not by any distorted selfish motives. None seek after God. Where the Jews not seeking God? Aren't many people searching for God today? Sad to say, but people are after what they can get out of God, and not to truly know, enjoy and live with and for God. It is a miracle when someone seeks God! All turned aside. All went their separate ways apart and without God. v. 19-20 Refers back to 3:1-2, 9. Even though the Jews had the privilege of receiving the oracles of God, yet they are not better because they broke the law. (Rm 2:24) Someone who receives much is in danger to think better of himself in comparison to others. The truth is that God grads gifts not based on men's performance, rather He keeps men accountable for what they did with what He gave them.