Romans 3:9-20 “Under Sin”


Paul uses a loaded phrase to summarize mankind’s sinful condition, ” . . . they are all under sin.” (Romans 3:9)  It is a phrase that is packed with profound meaning.  He did not say “they all sin.”  It is certainly true that all sin (Paul will say that later in Romans 3:23).  But, there is more.  It is true that we all commit sin.  We all sin.  We are all sinners.  But it is worse than that.  If we just stop there, it might not sound like a big deal.  Hey, everyone sins!  We are all in the same boat!  Nobody is perfect!  So, sin can be seen as a common, inescapable, even acceptable condition.  Maybe it is part of being human.  But, there is more.  So much more.  Paul insists that we are all “under” sin.  The crushing weight of sin is felt by every human being.  It is not alleviated by the knowledge that everyone else is in the same predicament.  There are many biblical, theological terms that come to mind when we consider what it means to be “under sin.”  It speaks of our guilt.  The burden of our guilt weighs down upon us.  It means that we are condemned.  Apart from Christ, there is no escape from the punishment of sin (Romans 6:23 “the wages of sin is death”).  It means that we are under the wrath of God.  Our Holy God cannot countenance the tiniest sin.  Under sin, we feel the burning heat of God’s holy wrath.  So, concepts such as guilt, condemnation, and wrath are all wrapped up in one little preposition, “under.”  We are not just sinners.  We are all UNDER SIN.  This terrible news sets us up to receive the wonderful news a few verses later, “But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed . . . through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe.”  Praise God, He did not leave us under sin, He sent a Savior to deliver us.  Through faith in Jesus Christ, you can be saved from the guilt, condemnation, and wrath.  If you are IN CHRIST you are no longer UNDER SIN!