Below are the notes for Romans 3:9-12.  It is Part 1 of our notes on Romans 3:9-22.

I.  All are under sin (3:9)
Paul reminds his audience that regardless of what special exemption a person thinks he may have all are under sin because all have sinned.  Neither your race nor your self-righteousness can help you.

A.  Proof from OT Scriptures (Psalm 14:1-3, Psalm 53:1-3, Eccl 7:20)

  1. There is none righteous, no, not one (3:10)
    No person can say that he is the exemption to the rule.  Of course Paul is not including Jesus here.  Jesus is the God-Man and is not in this class of all sinners as we are.
  2. There is none who seeks after God (3:10)
    What does this mean?  Do not some seek after God? In fact multiple times in Scripture people are instructed to seek God.  See the following references, (Deut. 4:29, I Chron. 22:19, I Chron. 28:8-9, 7x in the book of II Chronicles, 4 times in Ezra, at least 4 times in the Psalms, Isaiah 58:2, Hebrews 11:6; Seek the Kingdom of God – Matthew 6:33, Luke 12:31,).  Yet this verse which is also repeated in the Scriptures states that, “there is none who seeks after God.”

    There are three basic approaches people have when they come to an apparent contradiction in the Bible such as this one. The first is to throw one’s hands in the air and say, “This is beyond me and something I am not supposed to know.”  The second is to just pick which concept you like better, focus on those verses and ignore the others.  The third option is to dig deeper, and it is by far the best way to go.

    I believe here the Apostle Paul is using this phrase in the sense that people do not initiate love for the True and Living God on their own.  God has to reveal at least a base understanding to them through revelation: nature, their conscience, and/or Scripture.  Then the individual can seek God by faith.  We see this time and again in the Scriptures with Abraham as the primary example we will be studying in Romans.  He was called out by God and then responded in faith.  Our understanding of this concept is set in stone by I John 4:19, “We love Him because He first loved us.” So the Apostle Paul is setting out the truth that the Good News about God and salvation are from God.  We did not come up with the idea – God did!

  3. They have all turned aside and become unprofitable (3:12)
    We all are self-centered when we are apart from God, when we are not walking in the power of the Holy Spirit.  Even the religious who appear pious are full of pride, and before God their religion becomes unprofitable.
  4. There is no one who does good, no not one (3:12)
    Not one person is self-sufficient for their own righteousness.  Because there are not scales before God to weigh a person’s good versus bad, one act of sin negates any good a person has done.  We all stand before God as guilty people.