"There is none righteous, not even one; There is none who understands,
there is none who seeks for God; All have turned aside, together they have become useless; There is none who does good. There is not even one."
"Their throat is an open grave, with their tongues they keep deceiving."
"The poison of asps is under their lips";
"Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness";
"Their feet are swift to shed blood, destruction and misery are in their paths, and the path of peace have they not known."
"There is no fear of God before their eyes."
The above passage was written by Paul, addressing the human condition. In the past I've heard that Paul was referring to the Pharisees when he wrote this, but in the hard-to-digest, but very meaty book "Renovation of the Heart", Dallas Willard purports that "the Pharisee only makes the true human condition more obvious by all his protestations of righteousness and his flamboyant religiosity." Ouch!
Here's another quote from the book, expounding on v. 18, "There is no fear of God before their eyes. Fear of God, the Proverb tells us, is the beginning of wisdom (Pro. 9:10). Although not the end or the outcome of wisdom, to be sure, it is the indispensable beginning, I believe, and the principle part. One begins to get smart when he or she fears being crosswise of God; fear of not doing what he wants and not being as he requires."
"Fear is the anticipation of harm. The intelligent person recognizes that his or her well-being lies in being in harmony with God and what God is doing in the kingdom. God is not mean, but he is dangerous. It is the same with great forces he has placed in reality. Electricity and nuclear power, for example, are not mean, but they are dangerous. One who does not, in a certain sense, "worry" about God, simply isn't smart. And that is the point of the verse."
This book is about spiritual maturity and getting serious about having the character of Christ. It's not full of cliches or formulas, but emphasizes the marred divinity in each of us. It feels trite (and dishonest) to say I'm enjoying it, but it rings true (unfortunately.)
Are you reading anything that is helping grow your spiritual life? I'd love to hear about it.