“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;”
Though Paul had desired to visit the saints in Rome, various circumstances prevented him (Romans 1:9-13). Out of concern, Paul wrote an epistle in which he shared the Gospel he would have preached to them had he been there. We marvel at the wisdom and sovereignty of God in preventing Paul from visiting Rome when he wanted to thereby moving the great apostle to produce one of the most important documents in Christian history. Today’s verse passage articulates in the clearest terms possible, man’s double estrangement from God. First, we have all sinned; we have all broken God’s wise moral laws. As John explained, “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law” (1 John 3:4). Because God’s laws reflect His morally-perfect character, all sin is ultimately directed at him (Psalm 51:4). Until our sin debt is atoned for, there can be no forgiveness and reconciliation with God. Secondly, we have all come short of the glory of God. That is, we have all inherited a sin nature from original man, Adam, our physical and spiritual progenitor, who was also our representative and federal head. In short, not only our sin debt but our sin nature disqualified us from heaven. In the Gospel of John the third chapter, we are confronted with three important “musts.” John recorded Jesus’ reply to Nicodemus: “Verily, verily, except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God . . .Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again” (John 3:3,7). This “washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;” (Titus 3:5) effectively solves the problem of our corrupt spiritual natures. The Lord went on to declare that, as the serpent was lifted up in the wilderness in the days of Moses, He too must be lifted up (Numbers 21:7-9; John 3:14). Here the Lord was speaking of His being crucified, where He would bear our sins in His body on the cross (1 Peter 2:24). He was truly the Lamb of God who bore away the sin of the world (John 1:29). He Himself is the atoning sacrifice (1 John 2:2); the ransom for all (1 Timothy 2:6). In Christ our sins are forgiven and gone. In Christ we have new, uncorrupted and incorruptible spiritual natures. Though sin still resides in our flesh at the present time, we have what is needful to overcome it (1 Corinthians 10:13). In the future, Christ will solve even this problem, granting to us glorified bodies fashioned like His own (Philippians 3:20-21). In response to these amazing blessings and promises, let us follow the example of John the Baptist, who declared to his astounded audience, “[Jesus] must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30). May we, too, strive to submit more consistently and more completely to the lordship of Christ, for His glory and for the good of others.
God bless you,