God’s testimony concerning man is, that he is a sinner. He bears witness against him, not for him, and testifies that “there is none righteous, no, not one;” that there is “none that doeth good;” none “that understandeth;” none that even seeketh after God, and still more none that loveth him. God speaks of man kindly, but severely; as one yearning over a lost child, yet as one who will make no terms with sin, and will “by no means clear the guilty.” He declares man to be a lost one, a stray one, a rebel, nay a “hater of God;” not a sinner occasionally, but a sinner always; not a sinner in part, with many good things about him; but wholly a sinner, with no compensating goodness; evil in heart as well as life, “dead in trespasses and sins;” an evil doer, and therefore under condemnation; an enemy of God, and therefore “under wrath;” a breaker of the righteous law, and therefore under “the curse of the law.”
Man has fallen! Not this man or that man, but the whole race. In Adam all have sinned; in Adam all have died. It is not that a few leaves have faded or been shaken down, but the tree has become corrupt, root and branch. The “flesh,” or “old man” – that is, each man as he is born into the world, a son of man, a fragment of humanity, a unit in Adam’s fallen body, – is “corrupt.” He not merely brings forth sin, but he carries it about with him, as his second self; nay, he is a “body” or mass of sin, a “body of death,” subject not to the law of God, but to “the law of sin.” The Jew, educated under the most perfect of laws, and in the most favorable circumstances, was the best type of humanity, – of civilized, polished, educated humanity; the best specimen of the first Adam’s sons; yet God’s testimony concerning him is that he is “under sin,” that he has gone astray, and that he has “come short of the glory of God.” The outward good cannot make up for the inward evil. The good deeds done to his fellow man cannot be set off against his bad thoughts of God.
This is God’s testimony concerning man, and we know that this witness is true.