Many people like to quote Romans 3:10 which states "There are none righteous, no not one."
Many people like to say that this verse applies to all people -- Christians and non-Christians alike -- and
that all are unrighteous. But the people who say this are under a strong delusion and leading many astray with this false teaching.
I. First, let's seek the Bible which tells us that many are righteous:
A. People in the Bible who were clearly called righteous:
1. Noah (Genesis 6:9)
2. Joseph (Matt. 1:19)
3. Abel (Matt.23:35)
4. Simeon (Luke 2:25)
5. Lot (2 Peter 2:7-8)
6. Abraham (James 2:21)
B. People in the Bible who were not specifically named but were referred to as being righteous:
There are so very many scriptures in the Bible that refer to the righteous. This is only a sampling of those verses, so please look them up.
1. Matthew- 5:45, 9:13, 10:41, 13:17, 13:43, 13:49, 25:37, 25:46
2. Mark- 2:17
Luke- 1:17, 5:32, 14:14, 15:7
4. Acts- 24:15
5. Romans- 1:17, 2:13, 3:20, 5:7, 5:19
As we can read above, we can clearly see that the Bible teaches that many ARE righteous. However, If we wish to ignore all of those
above scriptures and continue to say that all people are unrighteous, then according to the Bible NONE will inherit the kingdom of God! The Bible clearly tells us this in I Corinthians 6:9-10 -
"Do you not know that the UNRIGHTEOUS
will NOT inherit the kingdom of God? Do NOT be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, will inherit the kingdom of God."
So if ALL are UNRIGHTEOUS then NONE will inherit the kingdom of God! Also, the Lord Jesus taught us clearly in Matthew 25:46 that the unrighteous will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous
into eternal life. We know from such scripture as these that it is virtually impossible that all are seen by God as "unrighteous", so let's move on and try to understand the true meaning of Romans 3:10.
II. What does Romans 3:10 really mean?
The context surrounding Romans 3:10 are the verses Romans 3:9-18 which tells us:
9 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.
10 As it is written: There is none righteous, no, not one;
11 There is none who understands; There is none
who seeks after God.
12 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”;
14 “Whose mouth is full
of cursing and bitterness.”
15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood;
16 Destruction and misery are in their ways;
17 And the way of peace they have not known.”
is no fear of God before their eyes.”
When we look at the above verses we can clearly see that Paul is referring to the FOOLISH when
Paul wrote these verses because he was quoting from Psalm 14:1-3 which tells us:
1 The FOOL has
said in his heart,
"There is no God.”
They are corrupt,
They have done abominable works,
There is none who does good.
2 The Lord looks
down from heaven upon the children of men,
To see if there are any who understand, who seek God.
3 They have all turned aside,
They have together become corrupt;
There is none who does good,
No, not one.
I have put phrases in bold lettering that shows the quoted comparisons between these two scripture sections and here we understand that Paul was NOT quoting
literally ALL people were unrighteous, but that ALL the FOOLISH (those who won't listen to God's full teachings) are unrighteous.
Paul was also quoting from Psalm 36:1-3 when he wrote the
scripture in Romans 3:9-18 and Psalm 36:1-3 is referring to the WICKED. Psalm 36:1-3 tells us:
1 An oracle within my heart concerning
the transgression of the WICKED:
There is no fear of God before his eyes.
2 For he flatters himself in his own eyes,
When he finds
out his iniquity and when he hates.
3 The words of his mouth are wickedness and deceit;
He has ceased to be wise and to do good.
when Paul was quoting various phrases from Psalm 14:1-3 and Psalm 36:1-3, he was NOT saying that all Christians were unrighteous, but rather that ALL OF THE FOOLISH AND WICKED (Jews and Gentiles alike) were being referred to as unrighteous! Paul then
goes into detail and shares the specific traits of those who live in unrighteousness to include:
- they do not fear God,
- their words are full of wickedness and deceit
- they don't seek or understand God but turn aside from Him
- none of them does good.
Obviously, those types of traits as described
above do not describe a true child of God.
III. We can become righteous!
The Bible teaches that one must repent (turn from sin and turn to God), or he will perish. The faith needed to
be considered righteous is not a dead faith but is a true and submissive faith -- one that obeys God.
If you are not sure that you are a true child of God and want to know the biblical Gospel message and know the real confidence that you
are truly saved please read the following Gospel message: - The TRUE Gospel Thank you and
God bless you!
Article was written by F. A. Butler