What Does Romans 3:23 Mean?

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

Romans 3:23(NASB)

Verse of the Day

The universal truth that ALL have sinned and ALL fall short of the glory of God applies to every member of humanity - no one is exempt. Not only are we condemned for sins of the flesh, like murder and adultery.. we are also condemned for our prideful thoughts, works of the flesh, self-righteous attitudes, and failure to love the Lord our God with all our heart, and honour Him as we ought.

This is quite a shocking concept to the human heart, for we all like to gloss over our faults and magnify our qualities, embellish our gifts and exaggerate our graces! Adam was the federal head of the entire human race, but when Adam sinned in the beautiful garden of Eden, all humanity was catapulted into condemnation and sin, with an old sin nature that was predisposed to sin.

When Adam ate of the tree of knowledge of good and evil he plunged his entire race into the cesspit of sin. It is not only because of our sins that we are condemned sinners - we are born dead in trespasses and sin and are at enmity with God - from the beginning. We commit sin because we are sinners, through and through. When Adam sinned his eyes were opened and he discovered that he stood naked, ashamed, blemished, and fallen before a holy God. 

The inner witness of man’s conscience was activated through sin. The inner witness of man’s God-given conscience ensured that man knew what was wicked and evil, without the ability to resist it. And man knew what was good and righteous, without the capacity to perform it. Sin was imputed to mankind through Adam and sin is inherited from our earthly parents and we all commit sins – because we are all sinners by birth. How true, that we are not sinners because we sin – we sin because we are sinners - born in sin. And the wages of sin for sinful man is death.

The Jews in the time of Christ thought that their earthly lineage protected them from the guilt and penalty of sin in the same way that many Gentiles today consider that their particular level of morality, is sufficient to exempt them from any divine punishment.  But the written witness of God’s perfect Law and the inner witness of man’s God-given conscience, not only condemns the fallen sinner to death, but separates sinful man from their heavenly Creator – through time and into eternity.

There is not one member of the human race that is able to measure up to the glory of God. Neither the perfect standard of the Mosaic Law nor the inner witness of the human conscience is able to justify a condemned sinner in the sight of a holy God. God set out the sinless standard He expects from humanity in His perfect Law. God knew that no one could ever attain the impossible requirements of the Law, but He gave it to Israel to bring man to the shocking realisation, that we are all sinners and all fall short of the glory of God - we have all sinned and can never achieve the perfect standard God desires.

Because God's righteous standard is unattainable to all sinners, every member of the human race is left helpless, guilty, damned, and deserving of death and eternal separation from our glorious Creator. But the amazing gospel of grace was entrusted to Christ's apostles and prophets, and in his epistle to the Romans, Paul joyfully concludes this section on humanity’s condemnation with a wonderful proclamation of God’s eternal plan of salvation. For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God... BUT they are justified freely by His grace, which is through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.

The shocking truth is that the guilty man, who is justly condemned, is justified freely by God’s grace, which is based on the redemption price  that was paid, in full, at Calvary. We can be forgiven of our sin by faith in the shed blood of the sinless Son of God, Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour - Who takes away the sin of the world.

Having been saved by grace through faith in Christ, let us give Him the glory due to His name in our words, our actions, our attitude and our behaviour. May we reject all that is evil and live and work for His praise and glory, every day of our life. May we present our bodies to Him, as a living sacrifice that is holy to the Lord, and may we be conformed into the image and likeness of Christ - as we die to self and live for Him.

My Prayer

How I praise and thank You, Father, that I who am a guilty sinner and deserving of death and eternal separation from You, have been justified freely by Your grace, through the redemption that came through Christ Jesus. In Jesus' name I pray, AMEN.

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