"FOR ALL HAVE SINNED, AND COME SHORT OF THE GLORY OF GOD" Romans 3:23By Ian Potts
Here is one of those verses in the Bible that you just can't run away from. It is addressed to us all.
It says "For all have sinned".
"ALL have sinned". Everyone. That means you and me.
"But I'm not a sinner!" you say. "Not like others anyway."
"I'm not a criminal or anything like that" you say.
In fact compared to many people you probably consider yourself a pretty good, upright, honest member of the community.
But that's in your eyes, looking on the outside, comparing yourself with others.
But in God's eyes you're a sinner. "All have sinned".
God looks on the hidden things of the heart. All those things you think and imagine and feel inside that you manage to hide from everyone else. But He sees it. Everything.
Do you know your own heart? That it is "desperately wicked" and "deceitful above all things"? - that "out of it proceeds evil continually"?
And do you know that you have broken God's law, the Ten Commandments? Not just some of it - all of it.
All men have stolen, committed murder, lusted, coveted, taken the Lord's name in vain, told lies, worshipped idols.
"Not I!" you cry, "I've never stolen anything."
Maybe not OUTWARDLY but you have inwardly - probably every day of your life. We have all had angry thoughts towards our neighbour, we've all lusted after possessions and people and power. We've all lied even to ourselves.
But you were created to worship God, not live for yourself. You have never loved God with all your heart and all your mind. None of us has worshipped God with all our energies and all our time, perfectly. We all seek the things which please us, the things of this world.
How often do you think of God? How often do you thank Him for all He has given you, life and health, friends and family?
Do you consider God's majesty? His holiness? His almighty power demonstrated by the way He created the world and all things in it just by His word?
Have you considered the size of the Universe? That God is greater than that - that he is everywhere and knows everything that is happening at any moment in time? He knows everything about you, everything that has ever happened and ever will happen. He is completely righteous and just. He does all that He say He will. He knows the innermost thoughts and intentions of every man and woman on earth. Nothing is hidden from Him.
Have you ever considered these things? Ever worshipped God as you should do?
Then you have sinned. And you are guilty before God, because you've failed to keep the law in its entirety.
"Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God."You are a debtor before God. Your sins have mounted up a huge debt which you cannot repay!
Now do you see the hopeless state you find yourself in? Even if you attempt to keep the law all it does is condemn you - it shows just how sinful man is. How far short he falls.
"For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God."
Romans 3:20 reads, "Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin."But sin is not just the breaking of God's law. It is like a disease which affects our very being. It entered into man when Adam fell by disobeying God in the garden of Eden. And it affects everything that man does. He just CANNOT please God. The law shows us this sin within ourselves, and the utter impossibility of our meeting its demands, and satisfying God's righteous requirements.
We are all guilty. We are all under the curse and condemnation of the law, unless God should deliver us.
"For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men..." Romans 1:18In fact although our consciences may show us that these things are true, that we are sinners and there is a judgement that awaits us, yet sin has such a grip on us that not only do we continue in it but we wilfully enjoy it. As Romans 1:32 tells us:-
"Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them."But God is not mocked. Continue in this way and the day of wrath will come sooner than you think.
And on that day all men will have to stand before God and give an account of themselves. And if they are found wanting then justice will be excercised and their sentence will be an eternity of separation from God. An eternity in Hell.
"The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.Do YOU have ears to hear?
"But", you say, "isn't God supposed to be a God of love? Can't he just forgive people their sins? Overlook them perhaps?"
Yes, God is a God of love. He is a merciful God and slow to anger. But he is also a righteous and a just God who cannot look upon sin. Sin must be dealt with - justly. The broken law demands a penalty which must be met, a price must be paid.
Is there no hope for anyone then? How can anyone stand before a holy God?
How can anyone be saved? How can anyone escape the wrath to come?
Only if they are righteous. "Except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven." It's all a question of righteousness. God's law describes a righteousness for man, which if he was able to keep he would live. But he is utterly incapable of keeping it because of his sinful nature. No matter how hard we try to live a life pleasing to God, no matter how religious we try to be we will always fail to come up to God's standards because everything we do is tainted by sin!
"Even our righteousnesses are as filthy rags."
"For ALL have sinned", says the verse.
Then how can anyone be righteous?
How? When all have sinned?
Through another! We need righteousness in another. We need the price of the law to be paid, a ransom to be made. God's justice to be satisfied. Sin to be washed away. We need our sinful nature to be dealt with, we need a new heart.
"Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me", cried David in Psalm 51, when he saw just how sinful he was before God.Praise God He HAS made a way!
In Christ - the sinner's substitute - and in Him alone.
God sent His only begotten Son into the world to die in the place of sinners. To suffer the punishment that they deserve. To appease God's wrath and provide a way for sinners to be just before a Holy God.
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."Oh what love this shows towards wretched, guilty sinners! That God should give His own Son to suffer in their place!
God in the person of His Son, co-equal with the Father took upon Himself human flesh. Christ humbled himself to the point of becoming a man. Born of a virgin he took human nature into union with His divine nature. He was completely human just as we are. He knew our state, what it felt like to hunger, to thirst, to be weary, to suffer, to be tempted as we are. But with this exception - he knew no sin. Completely sinless, perfect in every way He was the only sacrifice acceptable unto God to pay the price of people's sin.
No amount of sacrificial lambs or goats offered up by human priests could ever atone for sin, because they were tainted by sin. But Christ, the perfect Lamb of God from the foundation of the world laid down His life on the cross once for all shedding His blood, the just for the unjust.
He was "wounded for our transgressions". He was "brought as a lamb to the slaughter".
When Jesus Christ the Son of God was crucified on the cross he laid down His life for His people. He died in the place of sinners to suffer for them. To actually take the punishment that was rightfully their's - the innocent died in the place of the guilty.
Christ came into this world not to save the righteous but sinners!
"For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.
Christ died to pay the price of His people's sins, while they were yet sinners!
"But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;God has brought in a righteousness for sinners, even the righteousness of God to all that believe on His Son. There is no other way to find forgiveness of sins or to escape the wrath to come and an eternity of separation from God in Hell but to turn from your sin and believe on God's Son the Lord Jesus Christ.
What love God has shown unto sinners! What grace he shows - what unmerited favour towards sinners that hate him and are at enmity to him.
Lost in your sin things may seem hopeless - how could God have mercy on you? The more you try to please Him the more into sin you fall.
But it isn't hopeless! God has brought in a full and free Salvation through Jesus Christ the Lord. Through faith in His sacrifice on the cross for sinners such as you and I!
"Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:
THIS is the Gospel of Christ. The Good News of Salvation through Him.
"And thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins."
"When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost."Yes, it is a finished work. Christ did all that was necessary to save His people - there is nothing more to do, but look to Him and believe. What love!
What a Saviour!
And, "he rose again the third day according to the scriptures". 1 Corinthians 15:4Death had no power over Him - He rose again and is even now seated on the right hand of God the Father having made His enemies His footstool.
Now, do you remember the verse?
"For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;"
ALL have sinned? All but one, Jesus Christ the Righteous.
Reader - are you a sinner? Are you still lost in your sins? If you don't know Christ then the Bible says that you are, and that you need to be right with a Holy God!
Repent of your sins and believe on Christ, who alone can make you just, and grant you eternal life. Plead for mercy! Seek Him while He may be found and turn to Him who alone can forgive you and set you free.
"For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of Salvation."