This is one of those verses that is often quoted by Christians as evidence of the sinful nature of man and showing that all mankind are sinners. The verse says,
“…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…”
And it is true. All of mankind has sinned and all of mankind has fallen short of the glory of God.
Ever since Adam and Eve fell from God's grace in the garden of Eden, man has been under the power of sin and it has brought death to all men.
But do we have to stay that way? Do we have to stay under the power of sin? Is there a way of escape by which we can once again be reconciled to God and be restored to the glory of God? And if so how does it work?
Well the answer is YES we can escape sin and be restored for God has established the process. So let us today look at how we overcome sin and come back to a relationship with God.
What Does Sin Do
Sin is the great separator. It is the barrier that stands between man and God. It is the uncleanness that places us in opposition to God.
It is sin that drove a wedge of unrighteousness, disobedience and evil between man and God.
It occurred when man chose to go his own way rather than to stand and obey the will of God. It was when man said, to paraphrase the words of Frank Sinatra, “I did it my way.”
But the way man chose to go was evil for I he was enticed and lured by Satan to accept what he wanted rather than what God wanted. Satan enticed and lured Eve and then Adam to commit sin and so condemn all of mankind to die.
Pride was at the heart of sin and it is why God hates pride for it leads to arrogance and disobedience rather than obeying the will of God and receiving His blessings in humbleness.
And ever since Adam and Eve every man and woman born on this earth has suffered under this bondage to sin for, as the scripture says, “All have sinned…” Not just some, not a few, not even the majority. ALL have sinned.
Because all have sinned it has done two key things.
- It has created a level playing field where all mankind is equally in need of salvation
- It has allowed God to show His grace to all mankind equally.
So now we see that all mankind is in the same boat…and the ship is sinking. We are all lumped together in a rust bucket of filth that is the world as we know, full of sin and evil and without a hope in the world.
And worst of all, we chose the path we are on. Because ALL have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, we are all in the same mess. Equally ugly.
Hope In God
But wait a minute…although there s no hope in the world, there IS hope for man, but it is not of this world.
Our hope comes from the most unlikely source for it is the one whom we sinned against and who we caused such pain to who now offers hope to the world.
The hope of salvation from sin comes from God the Father, given to us by His loving grace through faith in Jesus Christ. And that is why we praise God because without His offer of grace and salvation, we are without hope.
He has given us a chance to reverse the failure we were born with and inherited from Adam and Eve. He has shown us a way (remember Jesus said, “I am the way,”) to be redeemed from this world, to be released from our sins and to receive the offer and promise of eternal salvation. Praise be to God for His wonderful gifts, His love and His mercy to those who seek Him.
How Does It Work?
As I continue the study of Romans we will cover the mechanics of how this redemption works in more detail. The basis of it all though rests on faith. We receive when we believe.
And it is not blind faith. We are instructed to believe some very specific and very logical things so as to understand how we are set free. These are the foundation teachings of Christianity, which I have detailed in my free eBook that you can find here.
In a nutshell, this first part of salvation is about death! You gotta die and be born again to be saved!
Huh? I hear you ask. How can I die and be born again?
Well you are in good company if you are asking this question because it was the same question Nicodemus, who was a ruler of the Jews and a high ranking Pharisee, asked of Jesus.
You see there is no forgiveness of sins without a death. That was why the Jews had all those animal sacrifices to atone for their sins. The blood of the animals was given in place of the blood of the sinners so they could be forgiven. It's because the penalty for sin is death. As Paul wrote, the wages of sin is death. We all “earn” death because we sin throughout our lives and the debt cannot be paid until we die. So the answer to Nicodemus question to be set free from our sins is we have to die and be reborn.
We are fortunate that Jesus provided the answer and it was written down for us and that Paul and the other disciples and apostles continued to expand the teaching to make it easy to understand. It goes like this.
Jesus died. Jesus was resurrected a new creation, no longer man but spirit. With me so far? Good.
When we get baptised we are baptised into the death of Jesus Christ. It is by baptism that we take on His death as if it were our own and so we “die.” Just as the Jews were covered by and took on the death of the animal sacrifices to receive a cleansing of their sins, albeit temporary, we too take on the blood of Jesus to cleanse us from our sins. And because He was the perfect sacrifice we only have to be baptised once, not repeated over and over again as the Jews had to do with the animal sacrifices.
OK so far? Right! The next step occurs when we are lifted up out of the waters of baptism for in that symbolism we are resurrected like Christ and reborn as new creations. We no longer live as citizens of planet earth because we are dead. Instead we now live as citizens of the kingdom of God.
This is the mechanics of what we are called to believe. This is the what and the how of this faith we are called to. It is all quite logical and sensible and we need to change our thinking to accept this new life on faith as Paul wrote,
“So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 6:11)
This is how we are to think of our lives now. We are dead to sin. Sin no longer has no power over us because we have been set free from it through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We are dead to this world and the captivity of sin that all mankind is under when we receive and believe in the freedom God gave us in being baptised into Christ Jesus.
Baptism is so important and yet many churches fail to recognise its significance. Many downplay it as just some kind of initiation and some say it is not necessary at all.
To those who believe such things let me ask why Jesus insisited on being baptised when He was questioned by John the Baptist? Why when Jesus initiated the Great Commission did He instruct the disciples to go out and make disciples “baptising them” when they came to Him? Why did the disciples throughout Acts baptise all who came to Jesus as one of the first things they did?
Baptism, and more importantly what it represents and what we believe and have faith in regarding baptism is so critical to all Christians. It is by this process that, as Jesus told Nicodemus in John 3, we can see and enter the kingdom of God. It is by baptism that we, like Jesus before John the Baptist fulfill what is required to receive the righteousness of God. Without baptism and faith in what it is all about, we can't receive that promise. Look what Jesus said to John in Matthew 3:14-15.
14 John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” 15 But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he consented.
So although we see that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, all is not lost. We are just equalised so that we can choose to come to Christ and in making the right choice, receive His righteousness by grace, through faith in our baptism into Jesus Christ's death.
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