In the first, second, and third chapters of Romans, Paul spends a lot of time building his case that man desperately needs the salvation that is offered by God. Created by God, surrounded by the evidence of God’s Divine Nature and His Eternal Power, man chose instead to turn His back on God.
As men pushed God from their minds, He let them go. Their ideas became more and more foolish, as they considered themselves more and more enlightened. Their behavior became more and more idolatrous and self-destructive. Setting aside thoughts of God and our accountability to Him, mankind became more and more evil.
In turning away from God, men have also forsaken respect for parents, mercy, justice, keeping promises, and embraced greed, hatred, envy, murder, and a host of other sins. And once having left God, there was no way any man could make his own way back, even had he wanted to.
This is the state of man without God; and as we look around us, we see that Paul’s description is true. It is a broken world out there. But, as Paul moves on from Romans 1 into Romans 2 and Romans 3, we find that the brokenness is not just ‘out there’. We too, though we are Christian or Jew or just plain good people, have fallen short of God’s glorious plan for our lives. We, too, are candidates for God’s Salvation.