Romans Chapter 3: Salvation
Paul boldly declares that we are all sinners. It is difficult at times for us to admit that we are sinners. And we are often warned against using broad generalizations that may not always apply. It seems that there always will be exceptions, and we should allow some wiggle room in our rhetoric by using qualifiers like “some,” “many” or “most” instead of the more inclusive “all.”
However, if we are honest with ourselves and we revisit our own past transgressions, it is easy to come to the conclusion that Paul was, in fact, right: “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
There is great power and relief for us sinners in what Paul tells us in the same verse. He goes on to say, “and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” This is one of those power-packed Bible verses that succinctly articulates a key element of Christian theology.
Paul uses the term “justified” numerous times in Scripture. Essentially, we can think of it as God declaring those who believe in Christ as their Savior as righteous (or alternatively, “not guilty”).
Paul’s message is that no one (Jew or Gentile) lives a perfect life, all are sinners, and no one will be justified or declared righteous simply by observing the law. Instead, under the new covenant, Christ died to pay the penalty for our sins, and those who put their faith and trust in Him will be declared righteous.
A Moment to Reflect:
Do you have trouble acknowledging that you are a sinner? Do you believe sinning is inherent in the human condition? Do you feel you have carried a burden of prior sins for a long time?
If you are willing to be greatly humbled, go through the exercise of listing the notable sins of your life, and one by one, ask God to forgive those sins. I warn you — if you are like me, it will be a long list, but it will also be a cathartic experience. If you take my advice, you can put these matters behind you in the knowledge that Christ atoned for your sins, and you are declared justified by our gracious God.