9 What then? Are we Jews  any better off?  No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, 10 as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; 11 no one understands; no one seeks for God. 12 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.”13 “Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.” “The venom of asps is under their lips.” 14 “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.” 15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood; 16 in their paths are ruin and misery, 17 and the way of peace they have not known.” 18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” (Romans 3:9-18 (ESV)
Paul strings a series of Bible passages together all applied to the Jewish people, yet having application also for the gentile. His purpose here is to break the security with which the Jews shelter themselves from the gospel, believing they don’t need it. They are not the only ones who do this. Most people try to shelter themselves from the need of the gospel, believing that they if they try their best they are doing good enough. But trying out best doesn’t cut it in this context. And I am not often convinced we are doing our best either. I read through this list and see that God knows me better than I do. I think of the people I have possibly hurt in the last week with the tongue of an asp, when I was trying to be witty. I think of how often I have had murderous thoughts. This isn’t a matter of merely what we do outwardly either. It is a matter of our hearts, the secret and hidden things that we can possibly hide from our neighbors but are read as an open book by God. But God knowing all this about us, and knowing that we won’t seek him, seeks us, exposes us, and then heals us with the blood of his Son Jesus Christ.