Sin and Its Effects

All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God– Romans 3:23

In one short statement Paul sums up both the gravity and the scope of the human condition.

What is the great damage that sin inflicts? Worst of all, sin causes us to fall short—not just of parental expectations or personal potential—but of the glory, or praise, of God. God will not praise anything that is flawed, that is evil, that is contrary to the perfection and goodness of His nature. And so God will never be satisfied with the sin-stained actions of sinful people. In other words, it is impossible for us to please God on our own.

How widespread is this problem? It is absolute; it is universal. “All have sinned” and so all have fallen short of the good standard of the righteous God. There are not exceptions to this pitiful human plight. Every human is in need of alien, other-worldly righteousness in order to please God.

The only solution to this universal and dire condition of humanity, Paul tells us, is “the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe” (3:22). Only the perfect righteousness of God can earn the praise of God; but that righteousness is by faith of Jesus Christ, to all who believe.

Are you still hoping to please God with your own goodness, which falls infinitely short of God’s good standard? Or are you trusting in the righteousness of God by faith of Jesus Christ?