…Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips:Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness:Their feet are swift to shed blood:Destruction and misery are in their ways:And the way of peace have they not known:There is no fear of God before their eyes.(Romans 3:14-19)
Romans 3 contains as a conclusion of the teaching of the first two chapters of Romans, a fourteen count indictment of the human race; all of it, gentile and Jew. The indictment consists of quotations from the Hebrew scriptures, especially Psalms and Isaiah.
The reason so few ever receive the salvation God has offered us in Christ, is because they just don’t believe this indictment. They don’t realize just how God sees the human race. It is difficult for people in this humanistic and psychologized age to accept the Divine evaluation, that truly, “there is none righteous…there is none that seeks after God, they are become useless…”
Do you believe it?
How bad are we , really? What is the character of sin ? The true effect of the fall ? What position does fallen man, made in the Image of God, yet having shattered that image, hold before God? How does God really see us ? Hearken unto the Word of God!
Their throat is an open sepulchre… Depravity reveals itself in our words. Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaketh, in God’s sight, the throat of man is likened unto the putridity of an opened grave with all of it’s decay, stench, disease and death.
With their tongues they have used deceit…Literally their tongues are smooth, lying with glib ease, misrepresenting, misinforming each other, flattering, pretense, masking hatred… lying is what comes naturally after the fall, truth-telling is what needs to be taught and trained into children.
For there is no faithfulness in their mouth; their inward part is very wickedness; their throat is an open sepulchre; they flatter with their tongue.(Psalm 5:9)
Paul here and in the next clauses quotes Psalm 5- of note is one translation of verse 9 There is nothing reliable in what they have to say…
The poison of asps is under their lips…Even deeper than the foul, rotten, putrid speech, and the hypocritical pretense that humanity is so adept at, is the utter hateful venom that is so near the surface of every man and womans tongue.
How many times has the rancour towards others, (that we usually try to hide), slipped, oozed and sometimes poured out of our lips, poisoning others opinions and outlooks of people and circumstances ?
Words are powerful. Filthy, poisonous words spoken even in jest have so polluted the imaginations of others, especially the young,that families have been separated, lives shattered and multitudes have gone to hell because of them. And yet we won’t be restrained!
Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness…This is what the Most High God hears day in and out, of his rebellious creation, the mouth reveals all! Not everyone curses, and expresses bitterness but it is there in our hearts, and is always expressed one way or the other.
What is cursing really all about anyway? It is puny man, taking on something or someone bigger, greater , and more majestic than he, and by his mouth attempting to belittle Him,(or it), to wipe his feet on it as if to say,”see there is nothing special about God, sex , marriage”… or anything else sane people hold sacred.
How many millions have been inflamed unto wars and slaughter by the power of false witness against others. By what people say and by what they deliberately omit, to put the worst possible construction on an event. Bitterness compels people to slander, gossip, even blaspheme, anything to put the enemy in a less than favorable light. yet God sees it.
Their feet are swift to shed blood…Murder is never far from any human being’s breast. Though this is morally true, not everybody is an actual murderer. But everybody at heart is always for self, always seeking in some way to diminish, belittle, even to “take out” any other person who crosses the will, or in any way slights the self of a given person.
Look at our entertainment! Look at how bloody and coarse we have become, since we have abandoned the worship of the God of Life. How swiftly when it suited us did abortion become legal, anything at all to promote our agenda of hedonism. How brutal Hollywood has become, how raw, and yet crowds line up to see and experience vicariously !
Truly Proverbs speaks when it declares in the person of Wisdom,”All they that hate me Love death!”.
And even the genteel have murder in our hearts. For even if they would never think of physically hurting another person, how many times have scorching, withering words sprung forth in a heat of passion, which have cut others to the very heart?
Destruction and misery are in their ways…Every where people are, no matter how advanced the technology, or how productive they become, there will be strife, dissension, and discord. Every where man goes, even in the best circumstances, destruction and misery follow.
The twentieth century was the century of Utopia’s, experiments were done in the name of “scientific socialism”, “Agrarian reforms”, wealth redistribution , brotherhood, egalitarianism, etc. They were going to show us how we can all live in harmony, they were going to get it right! Communism, fascism, religious communes, etc, and all of them ended in disastrous destruction and misery !
This is because there is something so wrong with man, so crooked and misshapen, that no scheme, technology or the best of intentions can ever straighten out!
The Way of Peace they have not known…lets face it, we are lost, and don’t know the ‘way of peace’. I am convinced that most people would like peace, but look how elusive it is. Man is incurably warlike but his first war is with God. We have rejected God, and cannot find peace without him.
There is no fear of God before their eyes… All of our problems are theological in nature, all moral, spiritual, personal and marital problems come down to this fundamental problem, We don’t really worship, love and fear God. Hopefully you can see by this a clue to the way back…