Verse of the Day Devotion: Romans 3:23
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” – Romans 3:23
This particular section of Romans deals with the idea that we all have sinned, and none of us can address our own sins before God. Earlier in this chapter, we read “What then? Are we better than they? Not at all; for we have already charged that both Jews and Greeks are all under sin; as it is written, “There is none righteous, not even one;” Romans 3:9-10. In speaking to the church in Rome, Paul declares that both Jews and Gentiles are guilty of sinning. The Jews believed that they were in a much better situation because of their being descendants of Abraham. However, just because they follow the law and performed the duties within the law gave them no greater advantage.
He now goes on to describe what he means by “None is righteous, no, not one”. “no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one. Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive,The venom of asps is under their lips. Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood; in their paths are ruin and misery, and the way of peace they have not known. There is no fear of God before their eyes.” Romans 3:11-18. This is not a pretty picture of mankind. What we see is a string of OT quotations confirming the universality of sin, along with a variety of sins that define what we see in humanity. (Note: see Psalm 14 as an example). He then ends this section by declaring that the law speaks to those under the law, but only declares what sin is, not how to address it. “Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.” Romans 3:19-20.
Now, the next two verses declares the righteousness of God is apart from the law. “But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it—the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction:” Romans 3:21-22. And then he states in our focus verse, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” Romans 3:23, after which he says, “and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,” Romans 3:24. Yes, we all have sinned. Yes, we could not rectify this situation on our own. However, Christ came to rectify it for us, not based on anything we have done, but what He has done.
Now, based on all this, we have several things to remember. First, all people have sinned, from Adam and Eve to all alive today. None of us are innocent in the sight of God prior to giving our life to Him and accepting the work Christ did for us. It is through justification that we are absolved of our sins and declared not guilty, for He paid the penalty for us. We did nothing but accept His work. Therefore, it is important that when we go out and present the gospel to the lost, we are to help them understand their guilt, but also see the remedy. We should not look down upon anyone who needs to accept the work of Christ in their lives. We can and should denounce the sin, without denouncing the sinner. For as much as they need Christ, we also needed what He did in order to be declared righteous. Stealing a candy bar may look less bad than killing someone, but both were enough to require Christ’s justification for us. No one, no matter what they have done, is beyond salvation, and our focus should be on leading them to Christ. We must not look at anyone as being beyond Christ’s ability to save, just as we should not look at someone as having an advantage because of a good heart. God sees us all as sinners who can be saved. We need to see them this way as well, and then help to make it happen.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.