9 What then? Are we better than they? Not at all; for we have already charged that both Jews and Greeks are all under sin … (Romans 3).
Paul is hitting spiritual pride head on. The Jews thought they were better than the Gentiles because they had the law and were circumcised (see verse 1). In fact, a good Pharisee (which Paul had been of course) often included in his prayer a thanksgiving that he was not created as a Gentile. To be touched by a Gentile, much less to set foot in their home, was unthinkable. And yet, the truth is, both Jews and Greeks are all under sin. And I’m pretty sure all means all. No exceptions.
I spent the first twenty years of my life comparing myself to other people and measuring my own spiritual condition against theirs. And, funny thing, pretty much after every calculation, I seemed to come out on top! And, truth be told, now and then I’m still afflicted by such pride: “I’m not as bad as so-and-so.” or “I’d never, ever do such a thing as that.” And so on.
But the grace of God shatters all our measuring sticks. How? It opens our eyes to see that we have been lining them up against the wrong standard. We think we are to measure ourselves against others, eventually making ourselves the standard and others falling short. Yet, God and God alone is the only Standard against which any life should be measured, and all of us “fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
Lord, thank You for the grace You have shown to open our eyes to our pride. Open them every time we close them to this truth. This Day may we have a love for others who are sinners just like us, and let us not grow angry at them when we imagine they think they are better than us. Amen.