As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.”
One of my friends and I were talking one day, and he asserted that without Christ, we are worthless. The Scripture above was what he brought to my attention. Okay. Let’s start there.
In the KJV, the word is unprofitable. According to the Greek Lexicon, it means “make useless, render unserviceable of character.”
The passage itself quotes the following Psalm 14:1-3:
“The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good. The Lord looks down from heaven on the sons of men to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God. All have turned aside, they have together become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one.”
To start with, have all turned away? Is there no one who does good? The Psalm explicity says that ALL have turned aside, thus implying that no one seeks God. Is that true?
The Psalm also gives a condition: Those who say there is no God. This condition is missing from the quotation in Romans.
Interestingly, the idea of worthless/unprofitable is not found in the Psalm being quoted. Instead, the word is corrupt/filthy, which in the Hebrew Lexicon is “to be corrupt morally, tainted.”
I contend that people, by being creating in the image of God, have intrinsic worth and value. God dying for the world (John 3:16), God loving us while we were yet sinners (Romans 5:8), means that people, all people, have to be worth SOMETHING, don’t they?
Now, whether our actions are worthwhile without Christ, that’s a good question. As far as I’m concerned, people can be capable of acts of love, charity, good, and beauty without Christ. I can see that. Are those things valuable in God’s eyes? Certainly those things don’t justify us in His sight. How much ‘use’ are we without knowing Christ? Are we useful? A case could be made that we are not. But are we, as human beings, valuable? Of course.
People wouldn’t be worth loving and redeeming if they were worthless, would they?