We’re all ‘SHORT’ by God’s STANDARD of EXCELLENCE: "There is none righteous, no, not one; there is none who understands; there is none who seeks after God. They have all turned aside; they have together become unprofitable; there is none who does good, no, not one. For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus". (Romans 3:10-12, 23-24)
In this first major section of Romans (1:18–3:20), Apostle Paul proves the universal sinfulness of humankind. He first shows the sins of the general populace who totally disregard God (1:18–32). Then he deals with the sinfulness of self-righteous people in particular (2:1–3:8). Finally, he concludes by showing that the Old Testament also taught the total depravity of every human being (3:9–20). Sin has affected everyone born of human parents (3:10–12) and also sin has affected every part of humans (3:13–18). There is not a single righteous person in this world! "The Lord looks down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there are any who understand, who seek God. They have all turned aside, they have together become corrupt; there is none who does good, no, not one." (Psalms 14:2-3)
Thus, humans are immersed in sin, and are guilty of being content in committing sin against God. No one even turns back to God and seeks after Him. It can be safely said that the entire humanity is under the power and condemnation of sin! Everyone is rotten to the core, and no one is capable of living up to God’s perfect standards. That’s what Paul means when he writes, “all are under sin” (Rom. 3:9) and then cites a number of Old Testament passages to back up his claim (3:10–18). In the light of God’s holy (morally perfect) character, which is the ultimate standard against which people’s goodness is measured; people are indeed far from perfect!
The good news however that Paul writes is that God has reached out to humanity despite their imperfect ways. His attitude has not been one of rejection but one of grace and compassion towards us. Justified means to be declared righteous in God’s sight and being justified freely by God’s grace indicates that not only is our justification without prior conditions being met but, on the other hand, it has been graciously given to us. Our justification is only by the grace of God through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. The price of our redemption is the blood of Jesus Christ (I Cor 6:20; I Pet 1:18–19). Therefore, we are justified in the sight of God when the righteousness of Christ is placed upon us by the grace of God, freely and without cause!
Arthur T. Pierson in his book ‘Shall we continue in sin?’ describes this matter: “God in justifying sinners actually calls them righteous when they are not—does not impute sin where sin actually exists, and does impute righteousness where it does not exist.” Through Jesus Christ, we have been justified freely by His grace through faith in Him, and made righteous in the sight of God.
Today let us realize that we are short by God’s standard of excellence! So…"let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need." (Heb. 4:16)
"But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast." (Eph. 2:4-9)