If the Jews could not pull off righteousness as the Chosen People then no one could. Fact is, nobody’s righteous, no, not anybody! (Romans 3:10)
Paul even breaks it down by body part (throat, tongues, lips, mouth, feet, eyes) in Romans 3:13-18, and there are no free agents in our constitution pursuing goodness and mercy.
13 “Their throat is an open grave,
With their tongues they keep deceiving,”
“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 paths,
17 And the path of peace they have not known.”
18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
I hesitate to use the term “total depravity” here, but in reading this indictment is there any choice? I’m happy and relieved that Paul goes on to pave the “Romans Road” to salvation (starting at 3:23), taking us out of this dismal state, because things look pretty bleak from this vantage point.
It’s good to know for starters that even in this deplorable condition, “while we were yet sinners” (Romans 5:8) God first loved us (1 John 4:19). Actually he “so loved the world” (John 3:16) that he sent his son to fix this problem once and for all; to do a total makeover.