God wrote his law in order to show people how they should live. He wanted them, from the law, to understand clearly his standards for their lives. Even without the law, people should have known such things from their conscience, their personal moral judgement (2:14-15). However, Godís law declares clearly what he considers to be wrong. For example, see the commands in Exodus 20:1-17.
It was a shock for Israelís people when God declared his commands to them. They thought that they would die (Exodus 20-18-21). They could see that their lives did not reach Godís standards.
Paul has just given a series of Bible verses about peopleís evil deeds (verses 10-18). Those verses come from the parts of the Bible that God originally gave to Israelís people. So, of course, those verses are mainly about the people who belonged to Israel. However, as Paul says in verse 9, the message in those verses is for everyone, from every nation. Godís standards are the same for all people; all people are responsible to God for their evil deeds, words and thoughts. God is the judge of everyone.
Paul makes an important statement in verse 20, which he will explain further in chapter 4. Many people try to obey the law and by that, to earn a right relationship with God. However, they have not understood Godís law, because we cannot earn a right relationship with God by our own efforts.
From Godís law, we should recognise our own evil deeds. Then we should understand that we need him to save (rescue) us from our own sin (wrong and evil words, thoughts and deeds). We cannot save ourselves; we need Christ to save us, by his death. We must confess our sin to God, and we must come to him in faith (active belief and trust in God). God can forgive us because of his grace (kindness).
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© 2017, Keith Simons.