“What shall we conclude then? Are we any better? Not at all! We have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under sin. 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. Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit. The poison of vipers is on their lips. Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood; ruin and misery mark their ways, and the way of peace they do not know. There is no fear of God before their eyes."
This all kind of sounds like – how many different ways can Paul say the same thing?
But, what I think he’s trying to get us to understand is, unless you know and admit that you are a sinner, you don’t know you need a savior. And this is hard for people to accept because one of the results of being sinful is treating sin lightly. But, we need to come to terms with this. Without an accurate knowledge of our sin we will never come to know the meaning and extent of God’s grace. God’s grace is total.
Our efforts don’t add to it or take from it.
Otherwise we would be able to boast in heaven. Martin Luther wrote, “Our only proper role is humbly to acknowledge our sin, confess our blindness and admit we can no more choose God by our enslaved wills then we can please Him by our sullied moral acts. All we can do is call on God for mercy, knowing even as we seek to do so that we cannot even call for mercy unless God is first active to convict us of sin and lead us to Christ for salvation."