You have heard, “Beauty is only skin deep.” Some wise guy has added, “But ugly is all the way to the bone!” Irrespective of our outer appearance and actions—spiritually—we are bad to the bone.
In the first three chapters of his epistle to the Romans, Paul the Apostle, takes his stand in the Supreme Court of heaven. The thrice holy God is the Judge. You would not wish to oppose Paul in this courtroom. He possesses a brilliant mind, persuasive powers of argument, and the chief thing: all the evidence is on the side of the prosecution.
Paul first puts the heathen on trial in 1:18-32. Though they have the witness of conscience within them, and the witness of creation to them, they suppress the truth and turn from God to deeper and deeper degradation. The heathen stand guilty as charged.
Then, the Apostle indicts the hypocrite in 2:1-16—the moral man who says he isn’t that bad. But when the secrets of his heart are exposed then the hypocrite is found guilty as charged.
Paul moves on to try the Hebrew in 2:17-3:8 and despite their privilege as the chosen people and their practice of religion, they too are found guilty.
Finally, he will make the summation of his entire case—the final argument. The Apostle moves from the heathen, the hypocrite and the Hebrew to place all humanity on trial.
9 What then? Are we better than they? Not at all. For we have previously charged both Jews and Greeks that they are all under sin.
10 As it is written: “There is none righteous, no, not one;
11 There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God.
12 They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one.”
13 “Their throat is an open tomb; With their tongues they have practiced deceit”; “The poison of asps is under their lips”;
14 “Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness.”
15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood;
16 Destruction and misery are in their ways;
17 And the way of peace they have not known.”
18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
19 Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.
20 Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
(Romans 3:9-20 NKJV)