by: Tim Chaney, Lead Pastor of Fellowship Bible Church
None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. Romans 3:10-11
I preached that verse recently and was stunned. Stunned. Isn’t it stunning God would describe us that way? Four times?? Psalm 14 and 53, Ecclesiastes 7, and Romans 3 all say the same thing.
No one gets it. Not you, not me. No one. Not without Him.
That’s why this verse is beautiful. But how is it beautiful? Keep reading to find out...
You cannot get it without Him. You can get it with Him. He doesn’t expect you to get everything. But He gives you what you need to get it. And by “get it” I mean understand. We cannot understand the world without Him. We cannot understand our lives without Him. We cannot understand Him without Him.
We can try. Most of us have. We attempt to control our situation through our own understanding. We limit our lives to things we can understand because it makes life easier. I don’t understand how rockets work, so I’m not a rocket scientist. I don’t speak German (like my daughter, Eden), so I don’t make a fool of myself by speaking German to native speakers. I don’t do makeup either, so when Eden asks questions I point her to my wife, Jess. You see what I mean? I don’t put myself in the realm of things I don’t understand.
What happens when we don’t understand God? Do we limit ourselves to the realm of our understanding? Do we refuse to believe in a God we can’t understand? What if I told you many of us, even those of us who are Christians, do this very thing?
Sometimes we don’t believe in God at all because what we know of God does not seem consistent with what we think God should be like. Why so much suffering? Why so much evil? It’s difficult to understand how these things could be so prevalent if God is real, so therefore he must not be.
Some of us believe in God but limit our belief to the way we think God should be. The God we believe in should conform to our definitions of love and justice. So when we read His words we assume they can’t disagree with our definitions and we try to find a way to reconcile the two, often putting our assumptions over God’s word.
Other times we believe in God but limit engagement with Him to the things we readily understand. I understand that I should believe in Jesus because He died for me, isn’t that all I need? Why should I try to understand the hard stuff?
Do you see what happens when we limit our engagement to things we can understand?
“No one understands.” But now we do.
When the Holy Spirit enters a believer, new understanding comes. The gospel makes sense and God’s words come alive. This doesn’t mean you now know everything or even that you understand God’s ways completely. Many of us aren’t living in the miracle of a transformed mind in the way we long to. If you’re not experiencing the miracle of transformed understanding in the way you expect, don’t give up now. Commit yourself to Him in prayer. Ask Him to “transform you by the renewing of your mind” (Rom 12:2). Remember transformation is His work not yours.
Stay tuned for our next post where we’ll reflect more on what this miracle means.