This is a vital and powerful message to a lot of Christians that believe in the laws and statutes of God as the only assurance of justification by God.
If you tell someone that, for one to be saved, such person must first accept to be a sinner, it will sound weird in the first place. This is one of the essence of the gospel and that is why the present time Christians are more enlightened to this fact as the gospel is spreading very fast.
It does not matter if you are born into a Christian home or how long you have been in church. Romans 3 verse 23 says,
“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,”
All means all. The righteousness of God apart from the doctrines is revealed through faith in Jesus Christ, to both believers and unbelievers and this is because the glory of God is the standard, and no one meets up to that standard except Jesus.
Who wrote Romans 3:23 and when was it written?
The book of Romans 3:23 was written by Apostle Paul. It was written while he was in Corinth in the mid-50s AD.
What is the context of Romans 3?
The context of Romans 3 is about God’s just judgment, the sinful nature of men, and God’s righteousness through faith.
In the previous chapter (Romans 2), Paul taught the Jews about the righteous judgment of God whether you are a Jew or a Gentile. He admonished them to be Jew by practice not only by identity for there is no partiality with God.
This chapter, therefore, commenced with a question from the Jews,
What advantage then has the Jew, or what is the profit of circumcision? (Romans 3 verse 1)
They want to know the purpose of their circumcision and If God will judge them and the Gentiles equally.
Apostle Paul cleared the objections of the Jews explaining to them that the law could not save them from sins but only gave them advantages for obtaining salvation.
Truly, to them were committed the oracles of God but this is just an opportunity of grace and to be used as good examples for reaching out to and conversion of many especially the Gentiles.
He went further to charge them that all have sinned and are all under sin whether you be a Jew or a Gentile. He emphasized to them that both types of people were considered sinners in God’s eyes and will be judged equally.
He made references to this statement in the holy bible using some old testaments scriptures.
Romans 3 verses 10 to 18,
“As it is written: “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.” Their throat is an open tomb; With their tongues they have practiced deceit”; “The poison of asps is under their lips”; “Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness.” “Their feet are swift to shed blood; Destruction and misery are in their ways; And the way of peace they have not known.” “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
The Jews were made to understand that no one will be justified in God’s sight by following the deeds of the law or the works of the law for the law only brings knowledge of sin but not hope of salvation (Romans 3:19–20).
Paul finally delivered the main purpose of the chapter after he had cleared the doubts of the Jews concerning God’s righteous judgment.
He reveals that there is a way to be declared righteous in the eyes of God apart from the law and this way is through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe.
He reiterated to them that truly all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God as he earlier taught them but we all can be justified. This justification was made available through the sacrifice of atonement of Jesus’s blood when He died on the cross to pay for our man’s sin.
Jesus Himself said in Matthew 26 verse 28,
“For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.”
Jesus was conscious of this during His ministry. The shedding of his blood is the ticket to the remission of our sins. God is the one who gave His only Son Jesus to be sacrificed in this way to show His righteousness. John 3 verse 16 says,
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
Paul concluded the chapter by saying that there is one God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith. Faith does not make void the purpose of the law but rather establishes the law.
What is the message of Romans 3:23?
The message of Romans 3:23 shows that righteousness in God’s sight is revealed only through faith in Christ and this is available to everyone equally.
This message refers not only to the sin of the flesh but failure to accept that we are all born in sin because of our spiritual lineage. This oftentimes results in pride and self-boasting attitudes. All have sinned and fall short of glory
Psalms 14 verses 1 to 3 talks about the sinful nature of men,
“The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none who does good. 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. ”
Therefore, for anyone to be counted righteous in the sight of God, such must be humble to accept Jesus as the Lord and personal savior.
There is a spiritual transaction that takes place when we give our lives to Christ. God’s righteousness is exchanged with our sinful nature the moment we believe in our hearts and make a confession of faith with our mouths.
Everyone has sinned, we have all fall short of the glory of God in various ways. Obeying the commandments of God is not enough to justify us or to keep us away from sin.
No one is sinless except Jesus. Jesus is the free gift in the new testament. The only way to access His glory is by being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.
“For all have sinned,” meaning
“For all have sinned,” means we are all sinners by our acts of disobedience and also by nature.
According to this scripture as stated by Paul. Gentiles and Jews are equal and are all sinners. The fact that the Jews are being trusted with the oracles of God does not make them different as far as God’s judgment is concern.
In the same way, believers and non-believers are all sinners by God’s standard.
To sin means to violate God’s rule, when we do what He forbids and when we fail to do what His commandments but much more we became sinners by our lineage.
Romans 5 verse 12 says,
“Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned.”
The scripture above says all sinned the same way Romans 3 verse 23 says all have sinned. The use of the word sinned is what made the point clearer.
It was used in past tense. It did not say all will sin or all may sin. It is not referring to your own actual transgressions or your present transgression. It is simply something that happened a long time ago and we are beneficiaries because of our spiritual family.
The entire human race is born under the power and the curse of sin. All men have sinned in Adam and, are referred to as guilty sinners.
“And fall short of the glory of God” meaning
“And fall short of the glory of God” means our human nature cannot measure up to God’s righteousness.
To come short means to lack, loss or, the inadequacy of something and in this case the glory of God. The biblical background of sin is “failing to glorify God,” Human race fell short of the glory of God from the beginning with Adam.
Genesis 2 verses 16 to 17,
“And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”
Death as mentioned in the above scripture did not mean physical death. It is the spiritual disconnection of Adam from God and His glory.
When Adam ate the forbidden fruit, his eyes were opened and he discovered that he was naked, and, had fallen before God. God’s glory is utmost in His plans and purpose.
He does everything for His glory and He does not share His glory with any man.
For My own sake, for My own sake, I will do it; For how should My name be profaned? And I will not give My glory to another (Isaiah 48 verse 11)
What is the difference in biblical translations of Romans 3:23 (NKJV, KJV, NIV & ESV)?
Romans 3:23 NKJV biblical translation “ For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
Romans 3:23 KJV biblical translation “ For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God”
Romans 3:23 NIV biblical translation “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
Romans 3:23 ESV biblical translation “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,”
There is no difference in the four translations between NKJV, KJV, NIV, and ESV.
KJV biblical translation used “come short” which also means to lack something.
The four translations have the same meaning.
Three Steps to Tap into Glory of God
The Hebrew word which is used for glory in the old testament means heaviness. This is God’s wholeness, everything He is and everything He has. When you tap into the glory of God, people no more see you but see God in you and they begin to honour you.
Desire the Glory
Every good thing we have attained in life started with desire including the things of the kingdom. As you do so, you must position yourself properly to receive the glory when it comes.
The first step is to confess your sins and make sure you forgive others so that God can also forgive you. You cannot experience what you don’t crave. Mathew 11 verse 12 says,
“And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.”
Expect to see the glory as you yearn for it, for expectation is the mother of manifestation. Let your expectation be mixed with faith. Jesus said to Martha, the sister of Lazarus in John 11 verse 40,
“Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?”
Ask for the Glory
Every good and perfect gift comes from God but we must ask in prayer. Mark 11 verse 24 says,
“Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.”
Each child of God can manifest God’s glory here on earth, but we must desire, ask and believe that we shall tap into it.
Walk in the Glory
Walking in the glory of God is living a life that reflects the nature and attributes of God. To walk in His glory, we must live in love.
1 John 4 verse 16,
“And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.”
When you abide in God’s love, God is domicile in you and nothing can stare at your face.
To continue to walk in the glory of God you must be filled with the Holy Spirit.
2 Corinthians 3 verse 18,
“But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.”
How do I apply Romans 3:23 to my life?
Applying Romans 3:23 to my life is to understand that no believer is better than another.
Christians today need to be reminded of the fact human being are all equal before God. Some religious people feel their good works in the church are enough to mark them righteous.
Every soul is worth the same with Him. Our value with God is measured by our relationship with Him and not our titles.
Ezekiel 18 verse 4 says,
“But Behold, all souls are Mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is Mine; the soul who sins shall die.”
We all have sinned and we all must confess our sins and accept Jesus for us to access the glory of God. Remember, our Christian life is fruitless without tapping into the glory of God. Walk in a manner worthy of God and He will call you into His kingdom and glory.
What is Romans 3:23 prayer?
Merciful Father, I come to you today as a sinner. Forgive me all my sins and wash me with your blood. I believe you died for me and on the third day, you rose again that I will be justified.
Right now, I believe I am sanctified, I am saved, I am born again and I am a child of God. Thank you for saving me, in Jesus’ mighty name. AMEN.
Man is not perfect but God is. No man can boast of perfect life because man’s conduct is evil. No one can measure up to the glory of God for God set out His righteousness standard according to His holiness.
Morris, quoting Moule: “The harlot, the liar, the murderer, are short of it; but so are you. Perhaps they stand at the bottom of a mine, and you on the crest of an Alp; but you are as little able to touch the stars as they.” Everyone falls short, but everyone can be justified freely by His grace.
The good news is we are now free from our sin nature and former sins in times past and all justified freely by His grace through the redemption in Christ Jesus, through faith, to demonstrate the righteousness of God.