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“All alike have sinned, and are deprived of the divine splendour, and all are justified by God’s free grace alone, through His act of liberation in the person of Christ Jesus.” “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ” (Rom. 3:23,24, NEB, NKJV)

The great burden of the Epistle to the Romans is to show that so far as sin and salvation are concerned, there is absolutely no difference between people of all races and conditions in life.

People are fond of imagining that what are called “shortcomings” are not so bad as real sins. So it is much easier for them to confess that they have “come short” than they have sinned and done wickedly. But since God requires perfection, it is evident that “shortcomings” are sins. When perfection is the standard, it makes no difference in the result, how much or how little one comes short, so long as he comes short. The primary meaning of sin is “to miss the mark.”

From the text we learn that the glory of God is His righteousness. Notice the reason why all have come short of the glory of God is that all have sinned. Man in the beginning was “crowned with glory and honor” (Heb. 2:7) because he was upright. In the fall he lost the glory, and therefore now he must “seek for glory, honor and immortality (Rom. 2:7). Christ could say to the Father, “The glory which You have Me I have given them” (Jn. 17:22), because in Him is the righteousness of God which He has given as a free gift.

In Christ we are “being justified,” in other words, being made righteous. To justify means to make righteous. God supplies just what the sinner lacks. Let no reader forget the simple meaning of justification. Some people have the idea that there is a much higher condition for the Christian to occupy than to be justified. That is to say, that there is a higher condition for one to occupy than to ne clothed within and without with the righteousness of God. That cannot be.

Waggoner, Waggoner on Romans, pp. 70,71

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