Summary: A sermon on the universal nature of sin.
If you were here this past week, you know that I just began a new sermon series entitled “Do Not Conform. Be Transformed.” It was based on a chapter in Romans. Does anybody remember the chapter? 12. Alright. How about the verses? 1 and 2. Good job. Today what we are going to do is to dig in to that series. We are going to look at a different part of Romans. We are going to look at Romans 3:10-12. As I mentioned last week, the goal of the series is to begin to take a serious look at the various patterns that we see in the world, particularly the negative patterns that tend to shape us rather than us shaping the world. As I said before, if you are in the world you are either being shaped by culture or you are being shaped by God. There is no in-between. I talked about how we would look at those patterns and then we would examine the consequences of following those patterns and also then I would make a bridge to a biblical solution related to those patterns.
But before I just dive into the series, I decided that I need to first step back and give you a little bit of the big picture. Because although there are negative patterns in the world such as dishonesty, sexual immorality, drug addictions, violence, and rude behavior, we need to understand that there is overarching pattern of sin. If I begin discussing patterns of the world before talking about the overarching pattern of sin what may happen is that you may begin to isolate sin to a few pockets or segments of culture. Again, we have a big problem in the world and that problem again is called sin. What I want to get across today is sin is a universal problem. It is everybody’s problem.
So what I am going to do today is hit the idea of sin pretty much head on. I am going to start with the definition of sin. Kind of a working definition that says “Sin is the unbelief, distrust, and rejection of God and human displacement of God as the center of reality. It is expressed through concrete thought or actions. As an inherent part of the human condition, sin is universal and it is both corporate and individual.” [Source: Pocket Dictionary of Theological Terms] I know that is a complex definition of sin. Some people prefer more of a simple terminology or simple definition of sin. Some have actually suggested sin simply means “missing the mark”. As some of you know as I have mentioned before, the word sin is actually an archery term that basically means missing the mark. The idea is that, when we sin, we miss the mark of God’s perfection. That is a good definition but to me it is inadequate. Think about archery. I haven’t engaged in archery in a number of years, and when I do it, I am not very good. But let’s say that you pull the bow back and you let the arrow fly and you are going for the bulls-eye and you miss the bulls-eye. But you still hit the target at 100 or 200 yards, you feel pretty good about yourself, saying you know what, I didn’t hit the bulls-eye but I feel pretty good. Unfortunately, that is how people begin to view sin or immorality. I am not perfect but generally speaking if you weigh my good and my bad, I generally have more good than bad. I come pretty close to that mark. But again that is really an inadequate view of sin based on this definition. The definition speaks of the idea that humans in sin replace God from the throne. In other words, they place themselves in the center of reality. At a minimum, that is insanity. At a maximum, it is blasphemy. Especially when you consider the God of the universe that we would dare try to replace God on the throne.
This definition also speaks of the fact that sin is universal. In today’s passage, we see that Paul is pretty clear about the fact that it is universal. He writes in Romans 3:10-12 “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.” You could read this passage and some people like Paul and some people don’t like Paul. I suspect the people that don’t like Paul are saying there goes Paul again just being negative. He is just being negative. He needs to see the good in people. He needs to focus on the positive. That is what he needs to do. Really, a lot of people think that yes there are bad people in the world. There are people out there trying to trip us up and take advantage of us, but generally speaking, people are pretty good. Just good. But according to this, it’s not true. Paul doesn’t mince any words. He says there is no one righteous, not even one. No one who understands. No one. He goes on to say there is no one who does good, not even one. Do you think he is trying to make a point? There is no one good.