“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” – Romans 3:23
Is Romans 3:23 Only About Sin?
This is one of the first verses many of us ever memorized. But, I suggest many of us haven’t really thought about what it is saying.
The reason we are encouraged to know this verse is to impress on us our need of Jesus. “All have sinned.” Follow this up with Romans 6:23a… “the wages of sin is death,” eternal separation from God. If we want to go to heaven and miss hell, we need to believe on Jesus, because as Romans 6:23b finishes… “the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Since our focus has always been the beginning of Romans 3:23, we miss the implication at the end. Sin is defined as to fall short of the glory of God.
What is the Glory of God?
When Moses wanted to see God’s glory, God let all of His goodness pass in front of him (Exodus 33:18-19). It is the goodness of God that elicits praise and draws all to Himself.
If He was just all powerful or all knowing, then while amazing, it would only produce fear if it wasn’t for His goodness. His goodness creates a safe place for us all to come and trust in His mysterious ways. We may not understand what He is doing, but His goodness reassures us we can trust Him.
Are We To Attain To God’s Glory?
But since Romans 3:23 says we all fall short of God’s glory, then there is a suggestion that all of us are meant to actually attain His glory. God may call us to do things that are hard, but He doesn’t ask anything of us that He doesn’t mean for us to do. And, if He asks, we know that He will help us do it.
We know that Jesus was without sin (Hebrews 4:15), so He attained to the glory of God. Hebrews tells us that Jesus is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation His being (Hebrews 1:3).
While we cannot attain to the glory of God without Jesus, there is something inside each one of us that looks to radiate God’s glory. Sometimes we focus so much on the sinfulness of man that we forget there is also something in each of us wanting to reflect the goodness of God. We are all made in His image.
Why Do We Focus So Much On Sin?
When we focus on sin, we produce sin. When we call out the sinfulness of non-believers, we will only notice their sin.
Jesus didn’t die to remind us of our sinfulness; He died to take care of sin so we can live out all the goodness God put in us. God wants us to stop falling short of His glory.
Let’s focus on the goodness in each person. Remind people of the goodness that is in them. Tell them how much God loves the things He sees in them and how He wants to work with them to help them become all He created them to be. Let this motivate our prayers and fuel our expectation of what God can do in others.
- What do you think? Do you think God would rather us focus on people’s sinfulness or the potential for them to bring about God’s glory? Let me know what you think in the comments below.