We all fall short of God’s Perfect Standard
The Bible is God’s words to man, and what He tells us in this Word is not good news about the character of man. God tells us that every person is a sinner, and every person deserves death. This may seem harsh, but we all know that it is true. Even small children evidence this characteristic before they can talk. My wife and I have five children ranging in ages from 11 years old to two months, and every single one of them is a sinner. I know, I’m not supposed to say that about my children, but I know this, (and my wife will attest to it) we are born with a sin nature. We are born from sinful parents and this breeds sinful natures in all of us. Some people may be “better” than others, but everybody has violated the laws of God.
Somebody once told me that even today, in a fairly advanced legal system we measure the degree of an offence by the person against whom the offence is committed. If, for example, a person were to shove me on a sidewalk, it would not be considered a crime, or an assault. But if that same person were to shove a dignitary on that same sidewalk, then they would likely be charged with a crime or a misdemeanor for the same act. Is this fair? Yes! The severity of the crime is measured by the value of the person against whom the crime is committed. Because in the United States we believe that every human being has equal value many crimes are tried on the merits of the crime alone, but the measurement of the severity of the sentencing is still often determined after hearing about the impacts of the crime on the victims.
When we sin, the Bible tells us that we are sinning against God first. King David murdered Uriah and committed adultery with Uriah’s wife. When the prophet Nathan confronts David with his sin his response is recorded in Psalms 51. This prayer to God tells us a lot about sin. David says of his sin of murder and adultery in Psalms 51:4a
Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight….
David murdered and committed adultery, yet he recognizes that his sin is against God FIRST. All sin is against God’s laws. He is the one that we have violated, and any sin – great or small – (the Bible doesn’t claim that any sin is small) is a violation of God’s laws.
The punishment of sin is eternal separation from God. This is administered in Hell. Jesus speaks more about hell in the Gospels than any other topic. Hell is a place for punishment, and God tells us that all of us deserve to go there because we all have sinned. But the story does not end there because God is merciful and provided a gift – His only Son – to pay the price for our sins. Our verse this week tells us the story. Romans 3:23-24
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,
We are justified by His grace through the redemption that is provided in Christ Jesus. What does this mean? How can our offences be wiped out through the gift of another? The Bible tells us that God sent His only Son into the world to pay the price for our sin. Jesus suffered the punishment for our sin instead of us. Jesus suffered on the roman cross – innocent of any sin – and died that God may place upon him the punishment for our sin. Read what the prophet Isaiah has to say about his in Isaiah 53:6
All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
God allowed (by His grace to us) Jesus to bear the punishment for our sins. The Lord has laid on Him (Jesus) the punishment for our sin. Wow! Jesus paid the price for my sin! Jesus stood in for me and accepted the punishment for my sin! Imagine that when God looks at your sin He sees you without sin because Jesus took the burden of sin away. God sees you sinless!
This sin-less-ness is a gift from God. It is called in Romans 3:24 His grace as a gift. Jesus offers this gift of forgiveness to you as a gift. All of us have received a gift at one time or another. Maybe at Christmas, or at a birthday somebody has given you a gift. There are always two people involved in the gift exchange. These two people are the giver, and the receiver. Jesus is the giver of this gift of grace, you are the receiver, and just like you have to humble yourself and accept a Christmas or birthday present to receive it, you have to humble yourself and accept the gift of grace from Jesus. Many people would rather continue in their sin and ignore the impending punishment of God than turn from their sin and humble themselves before Jesus and accept His gift. John 3:16 tells us that:
“For God so loved the world,that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
All that is required to accept this gift is to believe in Jesus – believe in Him for our hope, our peace, and our everlasting life. We do not need to DO anything to EARN eternal life – Jesus did it all for us! His death was enough for our life.
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English Standard Version (ESV)
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.