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Romans 3:18

ESV “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
NIV There is no fear of God before their eyes.'
CSB There is no fear of God before their eyes.
NLT 'They have no fear of God at all.'
KJV There is no fear of God before their eyes.

What does Romans 3:18 mean?

In the longest string of Old Testament quotes in Paul's letters, he has shown how human beings use our bodies to express our sinful natures. When we speak, sin comes out. Everywhere we walk, we leave sin behind. And now, he points out that we never use our eyes to look at the fear—or "respect"—of God.

This final quote comes from Psalm 36:1, where David describes "the wicked" as having no fear of God before their eyes. Paul insists that all of us, every human being, Jew and Gentiles alike, meet this description (Romans 3:10). We are not righteous. We each deserve God's angry judgment for our sinfulness.

Our sin, in this case, is that we ignore or trivialize God. We bring Him down to our size in our hearts. Perhaps we pretend that He does not exist, in spite of the fact that God has revealed Himself and His nature by what He has made (Romans 1:20). Or we might deceive ourselves into thinking that God cannot find out our sin (Psalm 36:2), or that He will not judge us for it. That lack of respect for God's righteousness, His power, and His willingness to act, is eternally fatal.

However, Paul will soon show that there is hope for us through faith in Christ.
What is the Gospel?
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