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: (Romans 3:23-24)
The subject of Romans chapter three has been thus far, All. All of us are under a Divine sentence of condemnation, All of us like sheep have gone astray from God. There are no exceptions, not even Israel, All of us have defected from God.
Yet to that same ALL, God has provided a gift, even the very Righteousness that He demands of us, in the person of Jesus Christ. The gift is “Unto all“ , but only “upon all who believe”.
The text literally reads, “For all have sinned and are coming short of the glory of God”.
There is an up to this moment dimension to it. Indeed, I have sinned and even now up to this very moment, in thought, attitude, motive, etc, I am coming short of the Glory of God that I was created to reflect.
This is because sin is more than a mere act- it is a state of being. Breaking God’s laws is sin, but so is “the plowing of the wicked“, as Proverbs testifies.
A high look, a proud heart, and the plowing of the wicked is sin . (Proverbs 21:4)
Romans 3:23 is true of All of us, it describes our current earthly situation. What am I to do about my moment by moment sin, my continuous falling short of God’s glory?
In Romans 3;24,God has provided an existential answer to the sad reality that I have sinned and am currently falling short right up to this moment of God’s glory.
The same subject, ALL, are currently being justified (moment by moment) before God, through the Redemption that is in Christ Jesus. This said to be done by God as an expression of His grace, He didn’t have to do this, He did does it for us freely.
For every second that I live my life on earth, continuously falling short of God’s glory, Jesus in heaven is continuously justifying me before God, making up for every shortfall, failure and transgression. Sin is a status that is existential, but even more so is redemption.
Moment by moment Jesus saves me. He represents me before God, He has offered himself as my Righteousness before God. His death on the tree satisfied the Righteous requirements of the broken law of God, the offended Holiness of God, he answered for the shattered Image of God by dying my death.
But His life before God as our High Priest also saves us, in this moment by moment sense. These are the simultaneous realities Paul reveals in his gospel,
1) The Earthly reality; Yes I have sinned against God, and even up till now I am coming short of God’s glory,
2) The heavenly reality ;Nonetheless I, and all who believe and have received the redemption of Jesus, are constantly and currently being justified before God by Jesus himself
As the chorus so beautifully puts it,”He is all my righteousness, I stand complete in Him, and worship Him…”. And Paul again, in I Corinthians 1:30 tells us, :
But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, andrighteousness and sanctification, and redemption,so that, just as it is written, “LET HIM WHO BOASTS, BOAST IN THE LORD.”(I Corinthians 1:30)