Posted On May 14, 2021

Romans 3:15–17, “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.”

Head to toe, there is no part of us that is not affected by sin. Outside of Christ, we are under the dominion of sin, and it rules and reigns over us (Rom. 3:9). There is no area where wickedness has not penetrated our bodies and souls. Our minds are darkened by sin so that we lack understanding and suppress God’s truth (v. 11; see 1:21). Our mouths and throats are consumed by sin, and we lie and destroy with our poisonous tongues (3:13–14). Even our hands are inclined to transgression, and all that we do is wicked before the bar of our Creator’s impartial justice (v. 12). Today’s passage also makes it clear that even our feet are corrupted so that we are “swift to shed blood” and walk down paths of “ruin and misery,” not the “way of peace” (vv. 15–17).

Paul’s citations in Romans 3:15–17 are drawn from Isaiah 59:7–8, where the prophet, in keeping with much Old Testament precedent, uses the imagery of walking and pathways to signify the orientation of life and the practice of virtue or vice (see Deut. 8:6; Ps. 81:13). In this case, Isaiah describes Israel’s flagrant transgression of the covenant with the Lord, which makes it the perfect passage for Paul to use to prove that the Jews are no less guilty than the Gentiles of breaking God’s law. Human beings, indeed, are “swift to shed innocent blood” (Isa. 59:7). All one has to do is look briefly at world history to see how often greedy empires and despots have launched wars and murdered innocent civilians in the process. Today the scourge of abortion-on-demand kills millions of unborn children every year in the West. Yet we are all guilty of bloodshed even if we are not directly involved in these transgressions. Jesus Himself tells us that we have broken the commandment against murder if we harbor hatred in our hearts toward others (Matt. 5:21–26). Paul was not the first to use the law of the Lord to demonstrate how deep our fallenness really is. In Romans 1–3, he is following the example of his Master in exposing the deep and pervasive corruption of all people in Adam.

In Adam, our feet are swift to shed blood. That is the bad news of sin that prepares us to understand why we need a righteousness from God if we are to stand before Him unafraid (Rom. 1:16–17). The good news of the gospel is that the Lord provides this righteousness in Christ alone. In Christ, the feet that shed blood can be transformed into couriers that bring God’s good news to the world (Isa. 52:7; Rom. 10:15).

Coram Deo

Although there is a decisive break with our past lives at conversion so that the power of sin is broken, the gospel is not something we need only at that point. As we continue to sin and shed blood through hating others, we are in continual need of forgiveness and the reminder that we still fall short of God’s glory. Repent this day over ungodly anger and hatred and confess your ongoing need for the perfect righteousness of Christ.

Ruin, Misery, and Bloodshed, Copyright (2021), Ligonier Ministries.

Related Posts

Deborah Howard- HELP! Someone I Love Has Alzheimer’s

Deborah Howard- HELP! Someone I Love Has Alzheimer’s

On today’s Equipping You in Grace show, Dave and Deborah Howard discuss Christian friendship and support in and out of the local church, advice for family members and friends with family or friends who have memory loss, the local church, and supporting family members...

When Sinful Comparison Rears Its Ugly Head, Draw Near to Jesus

When Sinful Comparison Rears Its Ugly Head, Draw Near to Jesus

I’d done it again. It was subtle, and neither my husband nor any of our five children sitting in the car with me knew what I had done. That’s how sneaky sinful comparison can be. While reading during a long road trip, right in the middle of a well-crafted sentence in...

The Jews and the Resurrection

The Jews and the Resurrection

Romans 11:13-15, “13 Now I am speaking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry 14 in order somehow to make my fellow Jews jealous, and thus save some of them. 15 For if their rejection means the reconciliation of the...

Riches for the World

Riches for the World

Romans 11:11-12, “11 So I ask, did they stumble in order that they might fall? By no means! Rather, through their trespass salvation has come to the Gentiles, so as to make Israel jealous. 12 Now if their trespass means riches for the world, and if their failure means...

Why God Forgets Our Sins

Why God Forgets Our Sins

On today’s episode, a listener writes in and asks Dave, “Does God forget our sins?” What you’ll hear in this episode The Lord Forgives and Forgets Our Sin. The Christian and Assurance. Forgiveness and Assurance. The Apostles Creed and Forgiveness. Micah and...

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Share3
Reddit
Email
Buffer
Tweet