“… for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
— Romans 3:23 (NIVUK)
ALL those who call Christ “Lord” know about this particular verse. We know it’s theologically marvellous, doctrinally adroit, and philosophically astounding. But I find I don’t often enough internalise its graphic truth.
These two truths I feel God’s Spirit impressed upon me, on a day like today, any day, to bring to both myself and you, the reader:
1. For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God… yes, and that includes me. I’m a sinner. I’m a Christian leader, a pastor, a counsellor, but I’m also really flawed, and morally prone to corruption. I would even argue that my proneness to corruption is inherent. I’m not here to argue theology, but my sinfulness shows me something. Because it’s part of me, because I’ve sinned, will sin, and will continue to sin, shows me something. I need a Saviour. I need grace. I need God’s forgiveness. And I need my fellow human beings’ forgiveness. The first point that I need to make to myself is sin is part of me. I’m marred.
2. For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God… yes, and that means others, too. Others all around me, and others all over the world, like me, have sinned, will sin, and will continue to do so. They’ll continue doing the wrong things, and falling short of what’s right. This teaches me a basic truth: they need my understanding and forgiveness. Even where their sin is intentional, I need to understand the root of sin is devious. It’s part of the human condition.
Sin. It makes us who we are… fallible, fallen, foolish at times, people.
God has forgiven us all because he knew we could obtain his favour no other way. But we must accept God’s forgiveness, proffered because of Jesus, for if we spurn it we refuse to acknowledge the truth: I’m a sinner needing saving.
I need the forgiveness of others and others need my forgiveness. I sin and they sin. Sin betrays our humanity. Forgiveness reconciles us to our humanity — to God’s original design for life. Sin separates, but forgiveness reconnects.
Acknowledging the truth, we know we sin and need grace — others’; we have God’s — and we know others sin and need grace — ours; they have God’s.
Most important is most basic: I sin and need forgiveness. Others sin and need forgiveness. All God’s glory.
The fact I’m a sinner solves two huge problems for me: 1) I can give up trying to be perfect; and 2) I can stop expecting others to be perfect.
© 2015 Steve Wickham.