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All Have Sinned
May 26, 2017
Relevance: Chapter 6, Restored by Grace

All have sinned

The apostle Paul says, "For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God's glorious standard" (Romans 3:23). Here he talks about a human condition that nobody is outside of. But how could he be so sure?

Paul wrote in Greek to the Romans. The Greek Old Testament widely used in his days was the Septuagint. There's a verse in the Old Testament book of Judges that describes the incredible skill of some Benjamin soldiers. It says, "Among Benjamin’s elite troops, 700 were left-handed, and each of them could sling a rock and hit a target within a hairsbreadth without missing" (Judges 20:16).

The word "sinned" in Paul's letter and the word "missing" in the book of Judges have the same stem in Greek. So Paul is saying that we sin when we miss the target. Any deviation from the standard is sin. What then is the target? The second part of Paul's sentence tells us it's God's glorious standard, which can only mean his creation intention or the image of God in the original human nature. So sin is not reflecting God as he intended in our nature. It means more than law breaking. Even thinking or saying bad things is below the target. That makes us all sinners. No wonder Paul says everyone has sinned. (See RG, 132-3)

What brings God's judgment on us are our sinful thoughts, words, and deeds. "The person who sins is the one who will die ... wicked people will be punished for their own wickedness" (Ezekiel 18:20). We sinned against our Maker because we took from him what's rightfully his, which is a creature he originally intended. Our relationship with our Maker is the ground of the entirety of life. So when we sin, it always means that we sin against God. (See RG, 133)

How we see things often makes a huge difference. Sin is not a transgression against an arbitrary set of laws God imposed on us. When one acknowledges a sin in his life, he's not comparing himself with others and seeing himself as the worst. We should have a strong abhorrence of sin, but this revulsion is not directed at any person––yourself or others.

"We look at sin from the vantage point of the justice of God. Any sin before his holiness is an intolerable burden that condemns us to the most severe penalty. We should be horrified by our sins and terrified by the wrath of God. As much as we know the intensity of this fear, we truly know the greatness of his forgiveness and love." (RG, 144)

Surely, we are condemned by the sins we willfully commit. But the biggest problem is the refusal to respond to the grace of God through Jesus Christ. Jesus said, "The world's sin is that it refuses to believe in me" (John 16:9).


From Darkness to Light
170504, Ch.1, What is Heaven?
170512, Ch.5, Good and Evil
170519, Ch.5, Image of God
170526, Ch.6, All Have Sinned
170602, Ch.6, Isaiah Prophecies
170609, Ch.6, Lamb of God
170616, Ch.6, Decision Prayer

New Life in Christ
170623, Ch.7, Fruit of the Spirit
170630, Ch.7, Time with God
170707, Ch.7, Life Together
170714, Ch.7, Messiah's Return
170728, Ch.7, Audacious Faith
171006, Ch.7, Mark of the Christian
171027, Ch.7, Christian Identities

Growing in Christ
171110, Know the Bible
171210, Christ is Central
180302, Satan Exposed

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