Romans 3:18
There is no fear of God before their eyes.
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(18) The fear of God, which is properly a subjective feeling, is here projected, as it were, and regarded as an external rule of life.

3:9-18 Here again is shown that all mankind are under the guilt of sin, as a burden; and under the government and dominion of sin, as enslaved to it, to work wickedness. This is made plain by several passages of Scripture from the Old Testament, which describe the corrupt and depraved state of all men, till grace restrain or change them. Great as our advantages are, these texts describe multitudes who call themselves Christians. Their principles and conduct prove that there is no fear of God before their eyes. And where no fear of God is, no good is to be looked for.There is no fear of God - Psalm 36:1. The word "fear" here denotes "reverence, awe, veneration." There is no such regard or reverence for the character, authority, and honor of God as to restrain them from crime. Their conduct shows that they are not withheld from the commission of iniquity by any regard to the fear or favor of God. The only thing that will be effectual in restraining people from sin, will be a regard to the honor and Law of God.

In regard to these quotations from the Old Testament, we may make the following remarks.

(1) they fully establish the position of the apostle, that the nation, as such, was far from being righteous, or that they could be justified by their own works. By quotations from no less than six distinct places in their own writings, referring to different periods of their history, he shows what the character of the nation was. And as this was the characteristic of those times. it followed that a Jew could not hope to be saved simply because he was a Jew. He needed, as much as the Gentile, the benefit of some other plan of salvation.

(2) these passages show us how to use the Old Testament, and the facts of ancient history. They are to be adduced not as showing directly what the character of man is, now, but to show what human nature is. They demonstrate what man is when under the most favorable circumstances; in different situations; and at different periods of the world. The concurrence of past facts shows what the race is. And as past facts are uniform; as man thus far, in the most favorable circumstances, has been sinful; it follows that this is the characteristic of man everywhere. It is settled by the facts of the world, just as any other characteristic of man is settled by the uniform occurrence of facts in all circumstances and times. Ancient facts, and quotations of Scripture, therefore, are to be adduced as proofs of the tendency of human nature. So Paul used them, and so it is lawful for us to use them.

(3) it may be observed further, that the apostle has given a view of human depravity which is very striking. He does not confine it to one faculty of the mind, or to one set of actions; he specifies each member and each faculty as being perverse, and inclined to evil. The depravity extends to all the departments of action. The tongue, the mouth, the feet, the "lips," are all involved in it; all are perverted, and all become the occasion of the commission of sin. The entire man is corrupt; and the painful description extends to every department of action.

(4) if such was the character of the Jewish nation under all its advantages, what must have been the character of the pagan? We are prepared thus to credit all that is said in Rom. i., and elsewhere, of the sad state of the pagan world.

(5) what a melancholy view we have thus of human nature. From whatever quarter we contemplate it, we come to the same conclusion. Whatever record we examine; whatever history we read; whatever time or period we contemplate; we find the same facts, and are forced to the same conclusion. All are involved in sin, and are polluted, and ruined, and helpless. Over these ruins we should sit down and weep, and lift our eyes with gratitude to the God of mercy, that he has pitied us in our low estate, and has devised a plan by which "these ruins may be built again," and lost, fallen man be raised up to forfeited "glory, honor, and immortality."

18. There is no fear of God before their eyes—(Ps 36:1): that is, "Did the eyes but 'see Him who is invisible' (Heb 11:27), a reverential awe of Him with whom we have to do would chasten every joy and lift the soul out of its deepest depressions; but to all this the natural man is a stranger." How graphic is this picture of human depravity, finding its way through each several organ of the body into the life (Ro 3:13-17): but how small a part of the "desperate wickedness" that is within (Jer 17:9) "proceedeth out of the heart of man!" (Mr 7:21-23; Ps 19:12). This last assertion gives us one true cause of all the aforesaid evils, taken out of Psalm 36:1: See Poole on "Psalm 36:1".

There is no fear of God before their eyes. The place referred to is Psalm 36:1, by the "fear of God", is not meant a fear of God's wrath, of hell and damnation; nor a fearful distrust of his presence, power, providence, and grace; much less an hypocritical fear; but a reverential affection for God, and which is peculiar to the children of God, which springs from a sense of divine goodness, is attended with holiness of heart and life, is consistent with faith, even full assurance of it, and with spiritual joy in its highest degree; it stands opposed to pride and haughtiness, and is a blessing of the covenant of grace: now this is not to be found in unregenerate men, for this springs from grace, and not nature, and is only implanted in the heart in conversion; it appears from the whole life and conversation of unconverted men, that the fear of God is not in their hearts, nor before their eyes. There is no fear of God before their eyes.
Romans 3:18. Psalm 35:2, LXX, with αὐτῶν for αὐτοῦ. This verse at once sums up and explains the universal corruption of mankind.

Romans 3:18. Οὐκ αὐτῶν) so the LXX., Psalm 36:2, οὐκἀυτοῦςφόβος, fear), not to say love, of which man in his natural state knows much less. Of several passages, in which human depravity is expressed, either in the complaint of God and of the saints, or else in the confessions of the penitent, Paul has written out a part of the words, and intimates that all the rest are to be sought for out of the same places.—ὀφθαλμῶν, their eyes) The seat of reverential awe is in the eyes.

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