“No one is truly wise; no one is seeking God. All have turned away; all have become useless. No one does good, not a single one.”
Romans 3:11-12 NLT
Paul’s grasp and memory retention of Scripture verses from what we call the Old Testament was extraordinary. Google didn’t exist in those days. Not only did Paul remember Bible passages, but he also knew how to use them, or how to interpret them, in connection with his daily life, and the lives of those around him. So here he is continuing to remember and write down Scriptures that apply to what he had been told about the Christians in Rome. He hadn’t been to visit them of course, so the intelligence he had received must have been solid enough for him to write the words he did. And we’re grateful that he did, because his words are just as relevant today as they were two thousand years ago.
In the verses we are looking at today, Paul is quoting from Psalms 14 and 53. The implication behind Paul’s thinking is that wisdom is associated with God and all that He demands. Perhaps we can rationalise and say that the societal factors applying in Paul’s day were different to 21st Century Western societies. Two thousand years ago, the pre-Christian pagan society in places like Rome was being influenced by the early Christians, who brought with them the wisdom of God and all His ways. But Paul mourned the apostasy of those early Christians, quoting well-worn scriptures penned in a day when people had largely turned their backs on God.
It is said that we in the West now live in a post-Christian society, where the reality of the Godly roots that founded our laws and society have been hijacked by ignorant and foolish people, who claim them for their own. And now such people are introducing a new morality not based on God. Just look at recent legislation introduced by the Scottish government. The verses that Paul quoted still apply today, as they always have done. Mankind hasn’t changed, with sin often getting the upper hand in the minds of our leaders and politicians, drawing them into paths that are unwise. Rather than seek God for the right way, they follow their sinful inclinations and choose a wrong way.
Paul wrote the words that he did in the hope and expectation that something redemptive would happen in the hearts of those who heard them. We often remember that God never changes, and we are so fortunate that his unchanging character and ways are recorded for us in faithfully-translated books we call Bibles. Collections of God’s sayings that are founded on the willingness of faithful people to record what He said to them through His Spirit. Paul’s letter was addressed to God’s people who had lost their way a bit. And it probably brought many of them back on track, as the Holy Spirit brought Paul’s words to life in their day to day lives.
We pilgrims too have an opportunity to dig into the Holy Scriptures, seeking God there for the sake of our societies. Bringing to life the wisdom of God, influencing a godless society largely populated by people who “have turned away”. We look for opportunities to provide alternative Bible-based morality and laws because we know that therein lies the wisdom of God.
Father God, we thank You again for Your Word, the Bible. So full of wisdom and Your thoughts. Please encourage us to read and re-read it, because it contains the Words of eternal life. Amen.