Do you remember the Noah’s story (Genesis 6)? The whole earth was corrupt by the sin of the world. God was so sorry to create the mankind that He decided to send forth the universal flood to wipe out the living things on earth. That was near-zero phenomena ever seen since the Creation. There was no righteous on earth except Noah, the only one righteous (his family was a part of him, though). Wow, Satan was nearly a winning side to stop completely the God advancement to the humankind. How hard Satan was working to deter God’s fulfillment of prophesy as early as possible. If you compare the time of Noah with today, how many righteous can be seen today? More than one, we might say. Supposing if no righteous were existing, you and I (regardless good or bad) were not here today. In other words, the evil cannot continue to exist if the righteous were not living. In this logic, the evil had to be “humble.”
Do you remember another story about Abraham (Genesis 18:20-33)? Abraham was bargaining with the Lord if a certain number of the righteous could be found in Sodom and Gomorrah, the Lord might not destroy the righteous with the unrighteous. Eventually, the only one righteous was spared, that is, Lot (and his family). Again in this scenario, no righteous except Lot was found. How hard Satan was working, wasn’t he?
According to Matthew 24:37-39 and 2 Timothy 3:1-5, it will be like the days of Noah before Christ’s return:
“As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man” Matthew 24:37-39 NIV.
“But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God–having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people” 2 Timothy 3:1-5 NIV.
Roman 3:23 NIV reads, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” This is not talking about the days of Noah nor the last days. It is talking about throughout history. More clearly stated in Roman 3:10-12 NIV, “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.” Psalm 14:1-3 and 53:1-3 say also same things.
Then how people like Noah and Abraham were considered as the righteous? It is by faith that they were regarded as the righteousness of God (projected onto in Christ) as a gift although “there is no one righteous, not even one.” See 2 Peter 2:5 and Genesis 15:6. – T