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Romans 3:23  (King James Version)
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<< Romans 3:22   Romans 3:24 >>


Romans 3:23

"The glory of God" in this context is the way He lives. Hamartia, sin, is to fall short of the ideal, to miss the mark in the way we live. Combined with sin's definition in I John 3:4, hamartia ties what we might think of as rather minor, unimportant, and secondary issues directly to the law of God.

John W. Ritenbaugh
What Sin Is & What Sin Does



Romans 3:23

Sin is an overwhelming reality throughout the entire world. Regardless of location, race, ethnicity, or gender, nobody escapes committing sin because all are encumbered with a nature at war with God and thus not subject to His law (Romans 8:7). In fact, mankind commits so much sin that it seems that he is barely able to keep it contained. Satan's deception is so thorough that most people on earth commit sin without being aware that they are doing it!

The churches of this world have abandoned the law of God and are badly divided by sectarianism. Buried under an avalanche of false doctrines, they give no indication through the witness of their church members that it can rise to offer any effective defense against sin's pervasive influence. The churches have lost their power.

The world is filled with violence resulting from sin. We are frequently assaulted by lies that are fully intended to mislead us from the truth. Government, business, and individuals try to squeeze every dime out us to increase their profits. We could examine each of the Ten Commandments in this manner, but these few examples give an overview of the undeniable fact that morality - of which God's laws are the standard - is almost completely swamped by a veritable ocean of sin, with our own among the rest of mankind's.

That God has not blown up the entire planet is certainly a testament to His confident vision that He can bring something beautiful and good out of what He has made, despite man's tireless and unrelenting efforts to destroy it. Above all, it speaks superabundantly of His grace. Is there anything in God's great creation we in our enmity against Him have not attempted to befoul, corrupt, and destroy completely through sin?

This situation cannot get any better unless sinning stops or is stopped. History reveals that life in general can be made marginally better in a given culture for brief periods, which happens occasionally after a devastating war. Early on during a period of peace, when people are too disgusted and exhausted to make war any more, they turn their attention to the far more positive labors of reconstruction. Thus, the quality of life rises because not as many people are sinning so egregiously.

Even so, no government or religion has enough spiritual, moral, or physical power to stop sin in its tracks. Overcoming sin is a very personal problem. It is not just the other person who sins: "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). In this context, the glory of God is that He, by way of contrast to us, is holy. He does not sin - ever!

Each person must take it upon himself to stop sinning. Nobody can live life for another; the strong godly character of any person cannot be transferred to another. Because of human nature's deceitful self-centered pull, imitating another's evil example is relatively easy. All one has to do is to go along with the flow of the crowd. But following true moral instruction and imitating the good works of another so that one does not sin are exceedingly more difficult. Each person must face the truth about his own flawed character, allow himself to be convicted of his need to stop it in its tracks, and then put righteousness into action.

One human cannot stop sin in another, for a person can sin within himself in his lustful thoughts, and no one else even knows it has happened. Overcoming sin is an individual burden each must strive to achieve before God.

Many, having some knowledge of sin, sincerely want to do this. However, the Bible reveals there is a major "catch." It can be accomplished only in a close, successful relationship with God because the enabling power to overcome sin must be given by God within that relationship.

Once one becomes more thoroughly aware of the exceeding sinfulness of sin within himself - so aware and concerned about what God thinks of him that he wants to do something about its very real existence in his life - it elicits the question, "What must one do?" Notice the word "do." Does this not indicate activity of some kind? In other words, are we willing to expend some measure of energy - work - to begin stopping sin in our lives?

The person who experiences a deeply felt guilt regarding his sinful nature and broken relationship with God comes to understand from his study of God's Word - a work in itself - that it frequently appeals to the disciple to keep the commandments of God - another work. Yet, the world so often objects that works are not required for salvation, that one could become confused.

Obviously, something or somebody is wrong somewhere along the line. God's Word contains no contradictions, and in many places, it definitely commands the doing of works. At least eight times the Bible says we will be judged or rewarded according to our works. Since the Bible does call for works, could people be confused as to precisely when they are to be done?

John W. Ritenbaugh
Is the Christian Required To Do Works? (Part Three)



Romans 3:23

Every human being who has ever lived - except Christ - has broken God's laws. Therefore, everyone needs to be saved from sin's consequences.

Earl L. Henn (1934-1997)
Basic Doctrines: Salvation



Romans 3:23

Sin is universal, and perhaps this is one reason why the term is so frequently ignored. So many are sinning so frequently that it is a way of life! It has become acceptable because everybody is doing it!

Sin is not like a disease that some contract and others escape. Some may self-righteously think they are better than others because of outward appearance - living by sight - but we have all been soiled by it. "There is none righteous, no, not one" (Romans 3:10). Perfection is gone. Because of sin, we have all come short of the glory of God.

The phrase in Romans 5:12, "And thus death spread to all men" can be translated into more modern English as, "When death entered the race, it went throughout." It means death indiscriminately affected all because all sinned. It almost seems as though sin is like an amoebic blob whose tentacles reach out to encompass all in its path, absorbing and sweeping everything to its death.

John W. Ritenbaugh
What Sin Is & What Sin Does



Romans 3:22-28

This does not exclude our responsibility to work for the purpose of sanctification. Works are not for justification but for sanctification. Works do not save us, but they are essential for transformation! To put it bluntly, we have to practice being God; we have to learn to live as God lives. Is that not how one becomes proficient at something?

God shows in many places in the Bible that He is pleased with our obedience. Our works do not save us, but they please Him (see Hebrews 13:16; Colossians 3:20; I John 3:22; etc.). He is so happy when we work at sanctification because they assist in the transformation process.

Parents ought to understand this. We are pleased by the stumbling efforts of our child to please us. So is God! He looks on our motives, intentions, and the principles involved in what His child is doing. He does not just look at the quantity or the quality—He looks at us as His children, who are trying to imitate Him.

Sanctification is absolutely necessary to prove to God our righteous character and belief in Jesus Christ.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Covenants, Grace, and Law (Part 9)



Romans 3:21-26

God can forbear with us because Jesus Christ came to this earth and died for all of us. If we repent and ask God forgiveness, then Christ's blood covers all of our sins. Justice has been done. The sin has been paid for by the blood of Christ. God can thus forbear with us and allow us to "get away" with our sins for a while, because if we repent, then Jesus Christ's blood covers our sins, and justice is done. A person died for those sins—our Creator, Jesus Christ.

But if we do not repent, what happens? We die, and the penalty is paid. So this is a kind of legal maneuver by God. His forbearance is allowed under His legal system because Jesus Christ's blood pays the penalty for our sins. He can be merciful and lenient for a while, and whether we repent, or whether we do not repent, justice is ultimately served because a death occurs—either Jesus' or ours. This is the legal basis for why He can be forbearing. He has already taken care of it, one way or the other.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Forbearance



Romans 3:20-31

We are justified through faith in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. He is the payment for our sins, thus freeing us from sin's penalty, and at the same time, God accounts—or imputes—Christ's righteousness to us. The righteousness that enabled Him to be the perfect sacrifice is accounted as if it is ours! This then makes it possible for us to have access into the presence of the holy God.

But this does not do away with law. It establishes it! It places the law in its rightful position in our understanding of what God is working out in our lives.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Covenants, Grace, and Law (Part 29)



Romans 3:19-23

This passage shows us the foundation of understanding justification by faith and thus where we stand in the relationship. Paul explains that, regardless of who one is and what he has done that might be considered as righteousness, God owes Him nothing but death because "all have sinned." Sinners are those under the law, and the law condemns them, making them subject to its power to take the sinner's life. Each person's own transgressions against the law and God place him in that position.

Sin is something each sinner is responsible for, and once the individual has sinned and earned the death penalty, the sin cannot be forgiven simply because he does good to make up for it. God did not make him sin. A clear example is Adam and Eve: God obviously did not make them sin; each of them chose to sin. Romans 3:20 clearly states that no sinner can justify himself through law-keeping. The law's purpose is to make known what sin is.

Once a person sins, everything is seemingly stacked against him. The sinner can in no way make up for what he has done. Therefore, since justification cannot be claimed as a right due to his keeping the law, if a person desires to be forgiven, the only alternative is that justification must be received as a gift.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Living By Faith and God's Grace (Part Two)




Other Forerunner Commentary entries containing Romans 3:23:

Leviticus 16:15-16
Psalms :
Proverbs 13:6
Matthew 6:9-13
Matthew 9:10-13
Matthew 9:27-30
Matthew 13:45-46
Matthew 23:23
Matthew 24:12-13
Mark :
Luke 7:41-50
Luke 7:49
John 3:26-27
John :
Romans 3:23
Romans 6:14-15
Romans 6:23
Galatians 3:24
Galatians 6:16
Ephesians 4:11-15
Hebrews 2:9
Hebrews :
Hebrews 7:1-3
Revelation 2:9-11
Revelation 3:16

 

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