No One, Really? (Romans 3:10-12)

Romans 3:10-12

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.”

It is the second line of verse 11 that has my attention as I ponder this passage this day. The holy, infallible, inspired, inerrant word of God says that no one, not one single person, seeks for God. Can this possibly be true? If so, what must it say for how we do what we do?

First question, is this true? Of course it is true. God has given us his word in order that we might know him and know truth. He reveals to us in a perfect way that no person seeks after God—no one. If we believe the Bible to be the perfect revelation of God, then we understand that it is true that no one seeks after him. But what should we do about those who appear to be seeking after God? It is simple to understand, I think. If people are seeking after God, they are not doing so from themselves. If a person appears to be seeking God, either he is pretending or he has been influenced by God in such a way that God has brought this person to seek him.

How should this change what we do? This is a foundational question. If no person seeks after God, we certainly ought not design our worship services as though they will draw “seekers.” This is not to say that we make things difficult on a lost person who enters our sanctuaries. However, it should logically follow that, if no person seeks after God, we will not draw people to God by somehow compromising our worship services to make them more worldly. We should worship God in spirit and truth. We should preach the word with boldness and power. We should explain our services and practices to outsiders, to be sure. We should even invite lost people to come and observe. But let us not kid ourselves into thinking that our attempts to be hip somehow will draw someone into the family. God draws people in. If they are seeking him, he has already done something to cause that. Thus we give him the credit and glory for winning someone, and we never offer credit and glory to our clever programs or well-packaged routines.

If no one seeks after God, do we still practice evangelism? Without question! In fact, we practice evangelism with greater confidence. If the only people who seek God are those God supernaturally changes, we must understand that any time we share the true gospel of Jesus Christ, there is genuine potential for the hearer to be saved. This is not something that should slow down our evangelism. On the contrary, this fact, the fact that God is the one who truly changes hearts, makes us share with more honesty, more boldness, more prayer, and more hope.

And what about you and me? If you are a believer, this verse ought to cause you to respond to God with more gratitude than ever before. You did not seek God; God sought you. If you are saved, God broke through your heart to bring you to himself. Give him thanks. Give him praise. Thank him for his love and mercy that he had on one who would never have sought him. What a wonderfully merciful God we serve.

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