for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. [romans 3:23]
the shame of sin
if you have ever felt ashamed, condemned, forgotten, or alone, you know what sin feels like. in our fallen world, sin is woven into the fabric of what it means to be human, and even without a theological definition, all of us can recognize it. sin is not just ‘doing bad things’: sin corrupts who we are created to be, and separates us from a relationship with God we are designed to have.
the truth is that we are all born sinful, and that within our own power we have no means to escape our sin. as paul writes earlier in chapter 3, there is not a single person who is righteous on their own, or can even say that they are ‘a good person’ [romans 3:11-12]. there is nothing we can think or do or say that will free us from sin.
this seems harsh, but any parent knows what it looks like. no parent has to teach their child to lie. no child needs to be taught selfishness, greed, or anger. left to our own devices, we all come by these emotions naturally, and have to be taught how to avoid them. this is sin at work within us.
the glory of God
fortunately, this is not where things have to end! the sin that entangles itself into everything we do can lead to hopelessness, until we understand that there is a way to be cleansed of it. this is the good news! leading up to this assertion of sin, paul writes “our unrighteousness” serves a purpose, as it “serves to show the righteousness of God” [romans 3:5]. our sinful nature is not where we are designed to stay. the fact that we cannot make ourselves ‘good’ only serves as proof that God alone is good, and that through Him, we can have everything that sin held us away from!
this verse states our clear need for salvation, and in the next few verses of romans 3, paul describes what that salvation looks like, and how readily available it is to all.
~ jason soroski