There is none that understandeth - In the Hebrew Psalm 14:2, God is represented as looking down from heaven to see, that is, to make investigation, whether there were any that understood or sought after him. This circumstance gives not only high poetic beauty to the passage, but deep solemnity and awfulness. God, the searcher of hearts, is represented as making investigation on this very point. He looks down from heaven for this very purpose, to ascertain whether there were any righteous. In the Hebrew it is not asserted, though it is clearly and strongly implied, that none such were found. That fact the apostle “states.” If, as the result of such an investigation, none were found; if God did not specify that there were any such; then it follows that there were none. For none could escape the notice of his eye; and if there had been any, the benevolence of his heart would have led him to record it. To understand is used in the sense of being wise; or of having such a state of moral feeling as to dispose them to serve and obey God. The word is often used in the Bible, not to denote a mere intellectual operation of the mind, but the state of the heart inclining the mind to obey and worship God; Psalm 107:43; Psalm 119:27, Psalm 119:100; Proverbs 5:5; Isaiah 6:10; “Lest they should understand with their heart,” etc.
That seeketh after God - That endeavors to know and do his will, and to be acquainted with his character. A disposition not to seek after God, that is, to neglect and forget him, is one of the most decided proofs of depravity. A righteous man counts it his highest privilege and honor to know God, and to understand his will. A man can indulge in wickedness only by forgetting God. Hence, a disposition “not” to seek God is full proof of depravity.
It was taught by the Jews that before God's love is extended to the sinner, he must first repent. In their view, repentance is a work by which men earn the favor of Heaven. And it was this thought that led the Pharisees to exclaim in astonishment and anger, “This man receiveth sinners.” According to their ideas He should permit none to approach Him but those who had repented. But in the parable of the lost sheep, Christ teaches that salvation does not come through our seeking after God but through God's seeking after us. “There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way.” Romans 3:11, 12. We do not repent in order that God may love us, but He reveals to us His love in order that we may repent. COL 189.1
When the straying sheep is at last brought home, the shepherd's gratitude finds expression in melodious songs of rejoicing. He calls upon his friends and neighbors, saying unto them, “Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost.” So when a wanderer is found by the great Shepherd of the sheep, heaven and earth unite in thanksgiving and rejoicing. COL 189.2
“Joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.” You Pharisees, said Christ, regard yourselves as the favorites of heaven. You think yourselves secure in your own righteousness. Know, then, that if you need no repentance, My mission is not to you. These poor souls who feel their poverty and sinfulness, are the very ones whom I have come to rescue. Angels of heaven are interested in these lost ones whom you despise. You complain and sneer when one of these souls joins himself to Me; but know that angels rejoice, and the song of triumph rings through the courts above. COL 189.3Read in context »
The commandments of God are comprehensive and far reaching; in a few words they unfold the whole duty of man. “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength.... Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (Mark 12:30, 31). In these words the length and breadth, the depth and height, of the law of God is comprehended; for Paul declares, “Love is the fulfilling of the law” (Romans 13:10). The only definition we find in the Bible for sin is that “sin is the transgression of the law” (1 John 3:4). The Word of God declares, “All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). “There is none that doeth good, no, not one” (Romans 3:12). Many are deceived concerning the condition of their hearts. They do not realize that the natural heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked. They wrap themselves about with their own righteousness, and are satisfied in reaching their own human standard of character; but how fatally they fail when they do not reach the divine standard, and of themselves they cannot meet the requirements of God. 1SM 320.1Read in context »