The Apostle’s work in this part of Romans 3 is to paint a word picture of the unrepentant. And I doubt any of the great artists in human history could have done more with oil and canvas that Paul did with pen and paper. It’s a sobering and stunning description.
The details are in the video below. And an edited transcription is posted below the video link.
Soli Deo Gloria!
We are going to see a graphic description of sinful actions. Paul’s argument for the universal nature of Man’s sin was concluded in verse 9. He then turned to Scripture to support his conclusion. You can see that in our previous session.
So, one might ask: what does pervasive sin look like? It’s as if Paul anticipated the question. He begins verses 13 and 14 to deal with Man’s language – his speech. Paul equates the speech of unrepentant people with death and poison. He mentions an open grave in verse 13. Just imagine how that would smell if you were to walk by such a place. We are repulsed by the thought. Yet, that is Scripture’s view of the language – the communication – of the unrepentant. Their mouths are open and the stench of deceit and corruption pours out. It is marked as being unclean, unkind and laced with lies.
The next adjective used is venom. A snake injects poison through its fangs in order to kill its victim. In the same way, the words of the unrepentant do not bring life because it is filled with cursing and bitterness. This speech is harmful to others and offensive to God. Jesus warned in Matthew 12 that Man will be held accountable at the judgment for every idle word spoken.
There is hope for our speech – what we say to others. Scripture describes a word fitly spoken as being like apples of gold in pictures of silver. And that is just one part of the transformation that takes place in the hearts of those who cast themselves on God’s mercy – repenting of their sins.
How The Unrepentant Act
Next, we see the sinful actions of the unrepentant in verses 15 -18 ed-italia.com. It says:
Their feet are swift to shed blood.
We should note a couple of things. One, murder was the second sin recorded in the Bible. Adam’s sin broke the fellowship between God and Man. When Cain killed his brother Abel, that was sin breaking the fellowship between men. Second, Jesus showed us in the Sermon On The Mount that the root of murder is anger. So, anger with others is something to be avoided. But the unrepentant do not heed that warning.
And then we move on to destruction and misery in verses 16 and 17. Paul is showing us a progression. Poisonous words give way anger and murder. The result is destroyed relationships with Man and with God. And the lack of healthy relationships is responsible for the misery experienced by so many. But this could be rectified by seeking peace. First, peace with God and then peace with others. But the verse says the unrepentant to do know the way of peace. Sadly, they also lack a knowledge of the Prince of Peace!
And finally, the condition of the unrepentant is further characterized as having no fear of God. Not only do they not know the Prince of Peace or a kind, loving Heavenly Father – they don’t want to know Him. And their lack of reverence (fear) for Him drives the continuation of their harmful words and actions.