2 The LORD looks down from heaven on the children of man, to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God.
3 They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one. – Psalm 14:2-3
This is the passage which Paul quotes in Romans 3 to show the universal need for a Savior. The psalmist says that the LORD looks down from heaven on the children of man, to see if there any who understand, who seek after God. This is poetic. It’s not as if God needs to look down and see. He is omniscient, knowing all things at all times. But it paints a vivid picture for us of the surprising reality about what the psalmist says next.
The Lord finds that they have all turned aside, that is, from Him. Together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one. Not one child of man does good?
It may sound like an extreme, unfounded statement to human ears, but it really isn’t. While, yes, we see acts of goodness all around us, they’re only good according to our standards. Measured up against perfect standards, they fall short. For all of our acts our sullied by sin.
For example, if I were to give money to homeless person, I’d be curious to see who was watching. And I’d wonder whether they were impressed. Or if the homeless person decided to not thank me, I may feel inclined to take back my “gracious” gift. So, what I measure to be good and what even bystanders might consider good is ultimately not good because of sin, as it’s not done totally in faith nor for the glory of God.
So, no one is good. No one does good. Is there any hope? Yes, indeed. This psalm begs for a Savior, and Jesus Christ would come to earth to trade our sinfulness for His righteousness, for all of we who believe in Him. Now, the Lord looks down at us and sees no longer our sinfulness, but Christ’s righteousness, and now, we are able to do good in His sight.
Thank you, Lord, for saving your people, even though there was no one good.