Several years ago (decades now), a pastor friend of mine was teaching on how we all fail to measure up to God’s standard.
He used a line from the song At the Cross -“Would He devote that sacred head, for such a worm as I?” When Isaac Watts wrote those words he had a clearer understanding than I did at the time. I didn’t like to be referred to as a worm and, true to form, I told my friend so. Repeatedly.
Times have changed and I now concede the point of my friend and Isaac Watts. Maybe it is because I am older, but I think it is because today I have a clearer understanding of how completely unholy I am without Christ, thanks to more than one occasion of coming to the end of myself.
Consider Paul’s words in Romans…
What shall we conclude then? Are we any better? Not at all! We have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under sin. As it is written:Romans 3:9-12
“There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good,
not even one.”
Even when we think we have a standard of righteousness and we’re all dressed up and looking good, God sees us for what we are…dressed in our own “righteousness as filthy rags”(Isaiah 64:6).
Jews and Gentiles, Republicans and Democrats, Rich or Poor… “there is no one righteous”.
Notice how Paul zeroes in on our mouths….open graves…poisonous..cursing…bitterness. Finally, Paul writes that our very mouths will eventually be silenced as we are convicted by the law of God (Romans 3:20). This is not a pretty picture, but it is accurate isn’t it?
But we are not without hope, are we? God provided a plan, because none of us is able to stand up to God’s standards of righteousness and holiness. His law is a wake up call to those of us who will hear and become conscious of our sin.