“There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” - Romans 3:22-23
Many Bible scholars call Romans 3:21-26 the most important verses in the Bible. Some call it the heart of the New Testament…the ground zero of our spiritual universe. Martin Luther called these verses, “the chief point of the whole Bible.” In this passage, the Apostle Paul is acting like a prosecuting attorney and the court case is God v. humanity. He is indicting the entire human race to show why every single person on the planet needs grace.
It is true that we all need God’s grace. But why? Because we can never be good enough for God. His standard is perfection – meaning keeping every one of His commands. This is why Paul says in Romans 3:21 that, “now, apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known.” We have all broken God’s commandments, so there has to be another way. The only way to be righteous (in right standing with God) is through faith in Jesus Christ (verse 22).
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” In this statement, Paul makes his case. The verb, “to fall short,” in verse 23 is in the present tense in the Greek language, which means it is something you do continuously. In other words, all human beings of every race and rank, of every creed and color, Jews and Gentiles, good people and bad people, religious and irreligious, without any exception are sinful, guilty, and without excuse before God. We are all in the same boat. We all have the same problem. We’ve all made the same mess. We all continuously fall short of the goodness of God, the greatness of God, and the glory of God.
I know this sounds harsh, not to mention politically incorrect. But if you don’t understand sin you will never understand the Bible or the Gospel of Jesus Christ. If you don’t understand sin you will never realize your desperate need for a Savior to make you right with the God who loves you but hates your sin. Sin identifies every one of us. It is who we are apart from Christ. We all sin and we are all sinners who are right now falling short of God’s righteous standard.
The evidence is overwhelming and the verdict seems clear. We are guilty unless God intervenes. We cannot clean up our act and make ourselves good enough. We cannot save ourselves. We need a Savior.
Father, thank You for showing me my sin so that I can understand my need for You. In Jesus’ name, amen.