Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit. The poison of vipers is on their lips. Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood; ruin and misery mark their paths, and the way of peace they do not know. There is no fear of God before their eyes. Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. Therefore, no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather through the law we become conscious of our sin. (Romans 3:13-20)
No one will be declared righteous by God for keeping the law, because no human being is capable of keeping it. God knew that mankind could not keep the Law when He gave it to Moses, but He gave us the Law to reveal 3 things: to know what sin is and to become conscious of it, to make us accountable, and most of all to make us know that we need God to make us holy. This passage covers our speech from our throats where sound comes from, to our tongues where words are formed, through our lips, where the words leave our mouths and can’t be taken back. Matthew 12:34b states, “For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.”
Today’s passage also says three things about our feet: 1) they are swift to shed blood. Proverbs 1:16 and Isaiah 59:7 say it a little better: Their feet rush into evil and sin; they are swift to shed innocent blood. 2) Ruin and misery mark their paths. 3) The way of peace they do not know. We are always in a rush. The enemy counts on that so, without thinking, we let him lead us down the path of evil, leading us to ruin and misery. The other path, God’s path, leads to peace. Look at the picture on my home page of the man standing at the fork in the road. I hope that is you and me being thoughtful and praying, consulting God, so we take the path that leads to peace so that our hearts can be full of love and so that our mouths will encourage. If you’re reading this (I pray for all my readers.), then I am praying for you.
But now a righteousness from God, apart from the law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. (Romans 3:21) We have learned to love, not by the Law, but through Jesus. Outwardly we remain the same, but on the inside God has given us the power of a new life, the life of Jesus himself, in the Holy Spirit. We are all looking for self-worth. What people spend their whole life working for, righteousness, is simply given to us when we believe in Jesus. Paul first says that righteousness is apart from the Law because no one can measure up to God’s standards. The Law testifies that we cannot keep it because it provided a systems of offerings and sacrifices which pictured the death of Jesus (through sacrifices) and the intervention of the High Priest (which Jesus is for us now), and the Prophets told of the coming of Jesus