• | Chris McCann
  • Audio: Length: 26:19
  • Passages covered: Romans 3:23-26,10-12, Hebrews 4:1-2, Hebrews 3:17-19, Luke 15:12-14,17-19,20-21-24, Luke 18:13.

| 41 |42 |43 |44 |45 |

2022 Summer Evening, Romans 3 Series

Romans 3 Series, Study 41, Verses 23-26

Good evening, and welcome to EBible Fellowship’s Bible study in the book of Romans.  Tonight is study #41 in Romans 3,  and we are reading Romans 3:23-26:

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.

I will stop reading there.  We have already spent a good deal of time in this chapter seeing how God has emphasized man’s sinful nature.  If you remember, verse 9 declared that both Jews and Gentiles were all under sin, and then it said, in Romans 3:10-12:

As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

Then in the following verses it told us just how wicked, evil, and rebellious sinful mankind is, so this verse in Romans 3:23 continues to reinforce the truth that man is a sinner.  He is desperately wicked, and his heart is deceitful above all things.  And this is true of everyone, for all have sinned.  There are no exceptions, and it applies to everyone.   Since we have seen such a tremendous focus on this, we are just going to continue with Romans 3:23:

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

The glory of God is the “high bar.”  It is the standard of perfection – perfect purity, holiness, righteousness, and goodness.  It is all the things that man is not.  That is the glory of God.  God created man good, and he was once righteous, good, and holy for a brief period of time until he sinned.  Then man disobeyed the commandment of God, and he immediately fell short.  He came short of God’s glory, and it is a serious thing to come short of God’s glory.  And man has fallen short of His glory ever since.  No sinner can possibly measure up to the glory of God.  Remember the statement in the Epistle of James about “whosoever shall keep the whole law,” and that would be an attempt to attain to the glory of God.  But whosoever keeps the whole Law, but falls short on one point, he has come short of God’s glory, and, therefore, he is guilty of all.  So that is the impossible perfect standard that God has set, and it is impossible for sinners who are unclean to reach.

This word translated as “come short” is also found in Hebrews 4:1-2:

Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.

God is using the historical example of Israel, and at the end of the previous chapter in Hebrews 3 we are told in Hebrews 3:17-19:

But with whom was he grieved forty years? was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness? And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.

Literally, “unbelief” is “no faith.”  Again, then it says in Hebrews 4:1:

Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest…

That is, He is speaking to the Christians of the church age (and after).  Again, it says in Hebrews 4:1-2:

Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.

It is the same Gospel in the Old Testament, as well as the New Testament.  Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord, and the elect of the New Testament era likewise found grace in the eyes of the Lord.  And it is the grace of God that brings us up to the lofty standard of God’s glory because of Christ’s grace that He bestowed upon us, our sins are removed from us.  They are cleansed from us and washed away, and, therefore, we receive the righteousness of Christ, and we now have that perfect standard of absolute holiness, purity, goodness, and righteousness because there is no longer any sin to pollute it.  We are like a spotless Lamb.  All sin has been removed from God’s sight.

And that was the Gospel preached to the Israelites as well as the New Testament churches.  But instead, they trusted in their ability to keep God’s commandments regarding circumcision, the Sabbath, the ceremonial feast days, and so forth.  However, when they went down that road, then they had to keep all the Law perfectly, and they could not do it, so they came short of it.  That is what we are told in Hebrews 4:1: “Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.”  You can fall short of the glory of God (His absolute perfect standard of holiness) if you try to get there through your work, even if it is the smallest of works.  For example, one picks up just a few sticks on God’s holy Sabbath Day when He had commanded that no work was to be done on that day because that Sabbath rest typified trusting in the finished work of Christ, doing no work of your own whatsoever.  So to just pick up a couple of sticks is a violation of the Sabbath, as it points to someone trying to do just a little bit of work to obtain salvation for himself, like “accepting Christ,” or “believing in Christ.”  They are works of faith, even if it is just a little work.  “Oh, I agree that I cannot get right with God by any works because no man is justified by works, but I will just do this one thing.”  And you may not see it as a work, and you may think it is distinct and set apart from a work. 

An example is doing the action of “belief.”  That is to do the work of belief.  That is the truth, but many in the churches (and outside the churches) think it is not actually a work, but it is something that they do to show they are not doing any work.  And that is an error that will destroy, and which leads them to “pick up a few sticks” by doing the work of belief, and it is a violation of God’s Word as laid out in the Gospel.  And the Gospel is a Gospel of “rest” in which one must trust completely in Christ’s work of faith. 

And it is Christ’s work of faith that is granted in salvation.  It is not that trusting in that saves you, but it is the fact that Christ has paid for your sins, which He accomplished at the foundation of the world as He demonstrated His faith.  Then God brought His Word and applied the shed blood Christ to you, washing away your sin.  And maybe you had no acknowledgement or acceptance of it in any way, but God did that work of salvation within you, and He gets all the glory.  That is why it is a perfect standard (of glory) when it is the salvation of the Lord, and His standard is an absolutely perfect standard.  His glory is upheld, and He gets all the glory,  But again, anyone in their pride that tries to add a little bit of work to His grace pollutes the Gospel, and it is like the dead fly in the ointment of the apothecary; it immediately sends forth a stinking savour into the nostrils of the Almighty, and it is rejected.  It is no longer a proper mixture according to God’s requirement.

Again, this word translated “come short” is also found in Luke 15 concerning the prodigal son.  If you remember the parable, a certain man had two sons, and it says in Luke 15:12-14:

And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living. And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living. And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want.

It is the word translated as “in want” that is a translation of the word translated as “come short.”  The young man was enjoying himself, and he had plenty for a little while.  But it did not last, and then he was hungry and “in want,” or in need. 

This is a picture of someone who is associated with the Gospel.  He has heard the Word of God, and he grew up in a family where it was taught, but he went away into the world.  And out in the world he began to “come short.”  That is, what is in view is that he started to see his sinfulness.  He started to see the wrongs that he has done.  He was not the good guy he thought he was, and he also began to learn more and more about the world around him.  And the world is not as it “appears,” and it is not what it would like you to believe.  There was an ugliness about the world, and this man was beginning to have his eyes opened because he was one of God’s elect, and the world and its pleasures will not satisfy, comfort, or fill the longing soul.  The Lord will cause that soul to hunger and thirst after righteousness.  That is, out in the world this young man was beginning to see that he was not righteous.  “There is none righteous, no, not one.”  So he found himself in want, coming short of the glory of God.  And from here, it is a wonderful ending to the parable where he remembered his father’s house, as it says in Luke 15:17-19:

And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.

Do you see the recognition?  When he was “in want,” coming short, there was the confession to God, “I am a sinner.  I have sinned against heaven and before thee.”  It reminds us of the man in Luke 18, which is the parable of the publican, and we read in Luke 18:13:

And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.

God often works in this manner with those He has chosen to save, and He impresses upon them their sinfulness and the dirtiness of their deeds, showing them that they are not clean in thought, word, or action, but they are doing wrong.  Their conscience begins to bother them, and they are troubled that they are not a good person.  They are not righteous. 

This man in Luke 15 is like a man that came up in a faithful Christian home, and he begins to remember the Word he was taught, and the teaching he sat under when it was time for family devotions, or when faithful teaching was taking place on the Lord’s Day on the radio.  And God would use that Word to begin the drawing process.  Let us read this because it is so wonderful to consider.  After the prodigal son remembered the abundance of bread in his father’s house and acknowledged his sinfulness, it says in Luke 15:18-19:

I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.

He sees no worthiness in himself, and that is exactly where God takes us as He allows us to see the truth.  You know, that is not just a “humble act,” but it is fact that none are worthy.  This young man had come to a correct realization.  He was not worthy of God’s grace, mercy, or of God’s salvation and forgiveness.  But God makes the unworthy worthy through the atoning work of the Lord Jesus.  So it says in Luke 15:20-21:

And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.

That is exactly as he had intended to do.  He did not change because he not only felt it, but he knew it deep down.  He had seen his own wickedness and the actual condition of his heart.  He had come to truly know and understand.  So he repeated it to his father, saying, “…and am no more worthy to be called thy son.”  Then it says in Luke 15:21-24:

But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.

What a beautiful experience!  What a beautiful thing it is for the father as he saw his son a great way off.  The son began moving in the direction of his father, and then the father ran toward him.  This is all a part of God’s salvation in the drawing process. 

God has accomplished His salvation program, and He has saved everyone to be saved, but He has not yet drawn all to Himself.  There is biblical evidence that is pointing to a great time of drawing of that great multitude that was saved during that little season of Great Tribulation.  God will call them, and they will come.  “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him…”  We are encouraged for those that have gone backward, or for those that have given no evidence of salvation.  They are out in the world. 

And look at the world!  Just look at the condition of the world.  It certainly is as a mighty famine.  It is a hard time.  It is a difficult and grievous time, and a time of tribulation and affliction for the people of the world.  And in the past they were not in trouble as were other men.  This is a “first” for the people of the world, and it is all across the earth.  Can you not see that it is the time to pray for the prodigals?  It is the time to go to God and beseech Him for our sons, daughters, loved ones, and friends and enemies alike, that God might cause them to see their “want,” and how they have come short of the glory of God.  “Please draw them now, O, Father.  That is my prayer.  Draw my children.  Draw these to yourself, that they might remember the abundance of bread that is in your house.”  Let us do this in this time that we are called upon to feed His sheep.  And to feed them, we would certainly give them the daily bread that He has shared with us.