“What then? Are we better than they? Not at all. For we have previously charged both Jews and Greeks that they are all under sin” (Romans 3:9).
No one can appreciate the unfathomable greatness of the gospel of God’s grace without having a clear understanding of the immensity of the problem it solves. As Paul brings the first major section of the book of Romans (1:17-3:20) to a final crescendo, he cannot be more plainspoken: ALL are under sin (v. 9). EVERY person—Gentile or Jew—is under the enslaving, tyrannical, oppressive power of sin.
To authoritatively prove this gruesome truth, Paul quotes nine verses of Scripture (Romans 3:10-18). With his point demonstrated beyond the shadow of any doubt, every mouth of dispute has been stopped: ALL the world is guilty before God, because everyone has sinned and fallen short of His glory.
Without the overwhelming and painful conviction of sin which cuts to the heart (Acts 2:37), the glory, wonder, and power of the gospel and its invitation of salvation are not compelling. A sinner’s prompt obedience to the gospel arises from his painful and horrifying realization that he is under sin.
Under sin’s crushing guilt.
Under sin’s tyrannical bondage.
Under sin’s inescapable death sentence.
Without knowing the problem of sin’s scope and magnitude, one cannot know and begin to appreciate the gospel’s power.