Is it possible to overemphasize the Bible? That we take some parts and focus on them while disregarding text that either evens it out or explains it better? I think we do this with Romans 3:23 that says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Now obviously, I don’t think there is anything wrong with this scripture. It is 100% true; we’ve messed up and there’s nothing we can do to deserve his glory. However, I think there’s more to the verse, supplemented elsewhere in the Word, that goes right with this verse.
From what I’ve seen, many people perceive Romans 3:23 to be a verse that implies that although we have sinned and fallen short, we shouldn’t try to walk worthy of God and to continue to run the race, avoiding sin at all costs. Essentially, we know more about the Jesus of the New Testament than the Yahweh of the Old, the one who destroyed cities and nations because of sin. We love the grace and love sections but what about the scripture written before the Gospels? Deuteronomy 5:20 reads, “As the nations which the Lord destroys before you, so you shall perish, because you would not be obedient to the voice of the Lord your God.” I’m not saying that if you sin, you should expect to be struck down because of your ungodliness, but it’s eyeopening to think that in a culture of second chances and redo’s, we deserve judgement every time we fall short. In Acts 5, a married couple by the name of Ananias and Sapphira lie to Peter about how much they sold their property for. They sold it and kept a portion to themselves. After Peter asked them how much they sold it for, they lied to him; each one, individually. Later on in the passage, they are both struck down dead for lying to the Holy Spirit. I’m reading “Church Awakening” by Charles Swindoll (fantastic book) and listen to what he says, mainly referencing the Acts 5 story: “[God] takes sin seriously. Don’t think for a moment that because Christians don’t fall over dead after sinning that God turns a blind eye from sin in the lives of His own.” Sin is present in our culture, and all sin, no matter how big or small, is bad.
Once again, YES!; we have sinned and no matter how hard we try there is NOTHING we can do to change that. No matter how we walk with Christ, we can’t change the fact that we have failed him. However, nowhere in the Scripture have I read that it says to not try. Paul tells us we need to “walk worthy of the calling with which [we] were called” (Ephesians 4:1). We are still called to something greater than we could ever imagine, and we still need to attempt need to walk with Christ in a way that measures up to his calling. Paul tells us in Philippians 1:27, “Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ.” I encourage you to take time out of the day to think of what you’re doing at any specific moment and ask yourself, “Is my conduct in what I am doing worthy of the gospel of Christ?” Walk with Christ everyday, and know that although we can’t be perfect, we as Christians are to conduct ourselves different than what the world is doing. Go against the grain.