(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)
Paul doesn’t pull any punches! He tells it like it is! Such is the case in Romans 3:9 through 18:
...both Jews and Greeks...are all under sin. As it is written: “There is none righteous, no, not one; there is none who understands; there is none who seeks after God. They have all turned aside; they have together become un- profitable; there is none who does good, no, not one. Their throat is an open tomb; with their tongues they have practiced deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips; whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood; destruction and misery are in their ways; and the way of peace they have not known. There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
The phrase “Jews and Greeks” is simply the New Testament way of saying, “Everybody.” ‘Greeks’ is a term that means everybody who isn’t a Jew! So the apostle is saying, everyone is a sinner! And he’s not the only one in the Bible who states that truth! A sampling:
- Ecclesastes 7:20 – “…there is not a just man on earth who does good and does not sin.”
- Isaiah 64:6 – “But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses [the very best we can do] are like filthy rags; we all fade as a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.”
- Romans 5:12 – “…death spread to all…because all sinned….”
- Galatians 3:22 – “…the Scripture has confined all under sin….”
So we are all sinners! But, you might say, nobody is perfect! The problem is, I have met people who make light of sin, who might tell me, “Oh yes, I have sinned. Why I remember that in fourth grade I stole a pencil off the desk of another student!” It makes me want to scream, “Is that it? Is that the only sin you have ever committed? Have you been sin-free ever since?”
Jesus had been invited to dine with a Pharisee named Simon. The meal was served in the courtyard of Simon’s house, a courtyard that was generally open to all who wanted to stop in, even if it was just to see what was going on or who was there.
- The position assumed by those at the ‘table’ is important. For the ‘table’ was most likely a large clean cloth spread on the floor of the courtyard upon which the food was placed. Around that ‘table’ those dining would recline on their left side, supporting their head with their left hand and arm, and eating with the fingers of the right hand. Their feet would be out behind them, away from the ‘table’.
- Luke 7:37 and 38 – “And behold, a woman in the city who was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at the table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of fragrant oil, and stood at His feet behind Him weeping; and she began to wash His feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head; and she kissed His feet and anointed them with the fragrant oil.”
- Luke 7:39 – Pharisees tended to be self-righteous! And Simon was no different! “Now when [Simon]…saw this, he said to himself…, ‘This man, if He were a prophet, would know who and what manner of woman this is who is touching Him, for she is a sinner.’ ”
- Jesus knew what Simon was thinking! (see John 2:24, 25). So He spoke this parable to him:
There was a certain creditor who had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing with which to repay, he freely forgave them both. Tell Me, therefore, which of them will love him more? (Luke 7:41, 42).
- Simon gave the right answer: “I suppose the one he forgave more.” (Luke 7:43).
- But Simon, apply it now to yourself!
Jesus...said..., “Simon..., Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has washed My feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head. You gave Me no kiss, but this woman has not ceased to kiss My feet since the time I came in. You did not anoint My head with oil, but this woman has anointed My feet with fragrant oil. Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.” Then He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven....Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.” (Luke 7:40-48, 50).
The picture at the top of this Gem represents how we often see ourselves, compared to what we really are, that is, how God sees us!
- We are good and saintly people………in our own eyes!
- But in Jeremiah 17:9, it says from God’s point of view, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it? ”
We dare not tell only the Pharisee Simon to correct his thinking! We must also apply this truth to every one of us! I am not a little sinner! NO! I am a big sinner!
- I have sinned greatly before God!
- I have caused pain to the heart of God!
- I, as much as anyone else, have wounded Jesus Christ!
- I cost Him His death on the cross to pay for MY sins!
- Jesus Christ died for ME!
Paul, in Romans 3:19 and 23, adds this piercing statement of conviction: “…that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God….for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God….” He does not paint a very pretty picture of who we are, but he gives an accurate view! We are sinful human beings – big sinners! – when we are measured against the righteousness of God! (see Matthew 5:48).
We are told in the Great Commandment of Mark 12:30 to “…love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.”
- But if we are only forgiven for a few little sins, we will love God only a little bit!
- And since Jesus challenged us in John 14:15, “If you love Me, keep My command-ments.” Or, “If you love Me, obey Me…,” if we are only forgiven for a few little sins, we will obey the Lord Jesus Christ only a little bit!
The woman who washed Jesus’ feet with her tears, dried them with her hair, and anointed His feet with precious oil had a lot to be forgiven, for she was a big sinner! But, she heard His words, “Your sins are forgiven….Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.” Luke does not tell us who this woman was. But one thing we can for certain know: Thereafter, she loved Jesus, the Lord her God, with all her heart, with all her soul, with all her mind, and with all her strength – following Him and obeying Him!
Little Sinner, Big Sinner!
Little lover of God, Big lover of God?
Where are you in all this?