According to this quote no one can be perfect. No one can be sinless. All are destined to be no-good, rotten, worthless sinners. Wow, is that really what it is saying? Remember Peter in his letter to the believers? Let’s review what he said about Paul. “His (Paul) letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.” 2 Peter 3:16.
There are two basic concepts we must keep in mind when reading the Bible. Jesus and Jesus only is the Way and the Truth to the one eternal life. Jesus and Jesus only is the Rock that we are to build on. Remember what Paul said about that? “My brothers, some from Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. What I mean is this: One of you says, ‘I follow Paul’; another, ‘I follow Apollos’; another, ‘I follow Cephas’; still another, ‘I follow Christ.’ Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized into the name of Paul?” 1 Cor. 1:11-13. Since Paul did not die for me I must first look to the teachings of Jesus. I can only read and agree with Paul if Paul agrees with Jesus. If he does not agree with Jesus then I must remove Paul’s writings from the Bible. Jesus can’t change His eternal truths. Jesus tells us to “be perfect”, “stop sinning”, “go and sin no more”. Matthew 5:48; John 5:14 and John 8:11. Not even Paul can change that. So the next question is, What is Paul saying in Romans chapter three? We start by looking at it with intelligence. Let’s look at this section that deals with what Paul is talking about. First, we must understand that Paul is not the author of this text. Wow, what a startling discovery. You see, Paul is quoting, not originating the thought. That is a big difference. Verse 10 states it quite clearly, “As it is written:” That should set off flashes of lightening. Written from where? Paul is quoting verses 10 through 18 from the following areas of Scripture. Psalm 51:4; Psalms 14:1-3; 53:1-3; Ecclesiastes 7:20; Psalm 5:9; Psalm 140:3; Psalm 10:7; Isaiah 59:7, 8; Psalm 36:1. Anytime there are quotes in the New Testament that are borrowed from the Old Testament we need to be very careful about how we treat them. Our first move should be to go back and check out the context of the text to find out what the original author was writing about. (Remember, there was no New Testament at the time of Paul. He only taught Old Testament. The New Testament as we have it today did not exist until 300 years after Paul.) When we do this with Paul we make a very interesting discovery. Paul is not talking about “everyone”. He is talking about “everyone” of the wicked. Yes, we were all wicked at one time. Yes, we were all sinners at one time. But some of us have accepted the promises of Jesus and have stopped sinning through the Power of Christ that He offers us. Let’s start with verse 14 and go through verse 18. “Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood; ruin and misery mark their ways, and the way of peace they do not know. There is no fear of God before their eyes.” Now let me ask you, is that YOU? Is there no fear of God before your eyes? If not, you are wicked and not a Christian. A Christian has great fear of God before his eyes. He worships God and reverences Him. If you don’t, I suggest you change real fast. God has warned us what will happen to those who do not change. And that is what Romans is all about: Change! Chapter three and Chapter seven of Romans talk about our past. They talk about what we used to be like. The rest of Romans, and especially chapters six and eight, talk about what we can be with Christ. If chapter three and chapter seven are what we are as Christians, I don’t want to be a Christian. Secondly, Paul would be a liar. Thirdly, he would be making a liar out of Christ. And remember, no liar will be in Heaven. No! Paul is not doing any of those things. Paul is simply contrasting the old way with the new way of living. “What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?… For we know that our old self was crucified with Him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin – because anyone who has died has been freed from sin… But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness… But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life.” Romans 6:1, 2, 6, 7, 17, 18, 22.