March 6, 2017 – Monday
Read: Romans 3:21 – 26, NIV
Focus: vv. 23 & 24, NIV
“. . . for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” “and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”
This is a rather bold statement made by the Apostle Paul when he wrote to the church at Rome (also the church at Rome, NY). I added that last, not as an addition to Scripture, but rather as an addition to understanding it since I pastored a church there for 7 years. The word “all” in this writing does not refer only to the members of the church at the seat of the Roman Empire which was called Rome. It is really meant to include ALL the people of this world – past, present, and future – with absolutely no one left out, except of course Jesus, the only sinless being to ever live on this planet.
In God’s economy, His view of the world, we are all sinners and cannot stand in His holy presence. This makes for a difficult conundrum because it is His desire that we would be able to do so. He wants us to be in fellowship with Him so that means we need to be able to meet with Him. We can’t find a way to do this so God did it for us. First he set up a system of sacrifices and laws (called, The Law) which temporarily (from our stand point) enabled mankind to interact with a holy God. All the while God set in motion a plan to help mankind to become able to stand before Him. He knew we could never do that by ourselves. That is where His Son, Jesus Christ, came into it. He actually stepped into the sacrificial system in the role of “perfect sacrifice” to make God’s plan work on our behalf. The old system of yearly, monthly, daily or even moment-by-moment sacrifices is no longer necessary. It was based on temporary substitutes for our own blood but that has now been made null and void through the perfect sacrifice of Jesus.
In the Jewish view of the world there are either Jews or non-Jews, called Gentiles, and this is the only conformation that Paul is alluding to in verse 22 – “There is no difference between Jew and Gentile.” He is talking about the “righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.” Theologians speak of this as “imputed or imparted righteousness.” In other words, it is not our righteousness but that of Jesus, the Son of God which is given to us. So that is what God sees instead of what we, on our own, would be able to show Him. All of us are in the same boat whether Jews or Gentiles, we have all sinned and are sinners. To “fall short of the glory of God” indicates that if we try to stand before God on our own we could not! We are justified only because of Jesus’ act of redemption on the Cross. Praise the name of Jesus!