Paul, in documenting the global need for Gods help, gave a composite view from written scripture (only what we call the Old Testament was in writing then) to declare everyone needs Gods help. In that way, some people then were like some people today. These people were certain they (1) understood God, (2) understood Gods teachings, (3) did nothing wrong, and (4) were primarily to teachthey did not need to know anything else. They had the let me tell you what you need to do mentality. They saw themselves as Gods finished product, Gods righteous people. They were certain they were spiritually okay. Their deeds made them okay! What they perceived as obedient acts was the foundation of their confidence, not their faith in God and what He did in Jesus.
In Pauls composite statement of our problem, he used thoughts from Psalms 14:1-3; 53:1-3; 5:9; 140:3; 10:7; 36:1; and Isaiah 59:7-8. Basically, scripture says, People are evil. None of them are righteous! What we want to do is to scream, I am not evil! I do nothing wrong! Look at my acts, and it is obvious I am righteous!
First, consider a statement made by this same Paul. It is found in 1 Corinthians 4:1-4 with emphasis on verse 4. Basically, Paul said, I am Gods servant. What I do in Gods service is not made better or worse by your opinion of me. Even if I know nothing bad about me, that does not make me good. The only person whose opinion counts is the Lord.
Second, have you considered all the EVIL God sees dailyall the hate, murders, acts of lust, adulteries, fornications, stealing, greed, injustices, exploitations, and indifference/unconcern He sees? Add to that He knows all the contributing motivations to every evil act. Do each of us realize that something we said, did, or shared contributed to another persons evil in some way (even when we did our best)? That says nothing of the evil we commit without even being aware of the evil. That gives rise to an incredible question: How can a God in whom there is not even the slightest speck of evil stand to look at a humanity that does not even know what complete purity looks like?
There is no person, male or female, who is not in desperate need of Gods help. Not one human can stand on the foundation of his (her) acts or motives. None of us of ourselves are righteous! Every one of us would wither in the presence of Gods total righteousness. All of us can only plead for Gods help. We are a mess, and we need to know it! The failure to realize our personal mess is the height of arrogance before God! Without Gods intervention we are helpless. We are not the answer! God is!
Link to other Writings of David Chadwell