Romans 3:10-12

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.”

There is no better passage to define God’s grace than Romans 3:10-12; for it speaks the truth about who we are in relation to a holy God. None of us are righteous, none of us understand or seek after God, and none of us do good. While this picturesque view of man appears to be bleak, faith founded in grace leads to hope.

John 1:14-17, explains that grace has now come in the form of Christ. Verse 16 states, “And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace.” Out of the fullness of Him we receive all. All has been given to the world, nothing has been left in secret; the notion that there is a further secret knowledge does not hold up against this passage or others found throughout the New Testament. For literally grace instead of grace—complete grace beyond all measure—has been gifted to us.

Additionally Paul tells us, “But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:21-23). The idea that all fall short is exactly what Paul was getting at in verses 10-12: none of us is righteous, none of us understand or seek God, and none of us do good. However Paul does not leave us in a state of disparity, he continues, “being justified feely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (Romans 3:24-26). Hope is founded in grace, for grace comes through faith: “That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9). The security given to us through God’s grace allows us in turn to go out and proclaim the wondrous gift freely given to all.

Looking back at the Apostle John’s writings (John 1:14-17) we see that nothing can be further added unto that which is eternally perfect; i.e. God’s grace completely realized in Christ Jesus (see also Romans 5:1, 8:1 and Hebrews 10:14). Therefore the notion that good works are needed to facilitate continued grace in a believer’s life is outright unfounded, and the entire law system completely ceases to hold any relevance to a person saved under grace.

Since we who are righteous still sin and given that salvation once gained is eternally secure, does the daily conduct of a believer matter? Yes, because grace teaches us how to live a holy life. God’s standard of living is high; not because salvation could be taken away, but because we love our God who first loved us. We are commanded to “grow in grace and the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:10). Furthermore, God told us in Leviticus 11:44 and Peter reaffirmed it proclaiming, “as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, ‘Be holy, for I am holy‘” (1 Peter 1:15-16). Christians are obedient simply due to our love for Him who died to free us from sin.

In conclusion, Romans 3:10-12 is grace in its rawest most pure form. It describes where we all come from and the simple reality that nothing we do gains us access into heaven. It also brings us hope in the form of Jesus Christ by placing our faith in His life, death, resurrection, and return. Lastly, grace teaches us how to live our life, and in response to be so filled with joy in the gracious gift of salvation that we have no other desire than to do that which brings glory back to the one who first taught us what grace is.