Romans 2-5: All Have Sinned... What Now?

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,

Romans 3:23-24, ESV


I believe that one of the most important truths in all of the Bible is contained in this short passage. It reveals that everyone has sinned, and that the result of this sin is a falling short of God's glory.


Just think about the significance of that: We all know what it is like to have fallen short of something important. Whether it is something as inconsequential as a shot falling short in that "big game", or something as vital as a thrown life preserver falling short of the grip of a man who is drowning, falling short means failure. And failing in achieving the glory that God wants us to share with Him would be unbearable!


That's where grace comes in!


Grace is God's plan for helping us to never fall short of salvation. If you will, grace is our second chance at salvation. Even though we have sinned and blown our opportunity, God gives us another chance. Note also just where this grace comes by: It is through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus! In other words, the grace of God is combined with the sacrifice of Christ that, in effect, has redeemed us for that second chance.


Think for a moment all that went into giving us that second chance, and I believe you will agree that it came at a very, very high price. Though we have sinned, God gives us His grace because Jesus died for our sins! And while many people will never take advantage of this second chance, it is there for the taking for those who have the wisdom to do so.


Of course, this second chance at redemption will not come without effort on our part. Just as the drowning man has to do everything within his power to grab the life preserver when it is thrown his way, we still have to obey God's plan of salvation and then live our life for Him. But that is a small price indeed to pay for something as great as being given a second chance at an eternity in the presence of God's magnificent glory!


The reading for these next few days is from Romans 2-5. These chapters tell us all about the great things God and Christ have done for us to make sure we know what is needed to take advantage of our second chance.



Romans 1: We Can Know For Sure!

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.

For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.

Romans 1:18-20, ESV


One of the most comforting things about God is that He has made known Who He is in a way that cannot be reasonably misunderstood. Why is that important?


Just think about how many religions exist in this world. Think about how many "gods" people have worshipped since the beginning of time. With all of these religions and all of these so-called "gods" how is it that men can be sure?


God answers this question by saying that the answer as to Who God is, is actually woven into the very fabric of His creation. Paul's claim above is that what can be known about God has been made plain. It is plain because God's attributes are clearly seen by the things that God has made. In other words, a person cannot look at all of the complexity and depth and beauty of this universe and justifiably conclude that it just happened. While this idea of the universe "just happening" is the very essence of the teaching of evolution without God, in God's eyes, men who buy into that mistaken belief are without excuse.


Whenever I am studying with someone who is not sure whether there is a God or not, I encourage them to put this inspired statement by Paul in Romans 1:18-20 to the test. Does it really make sense that this world could have just happened by some sort of a cosmic accident? If so, where did the materials come from that were needed for such an "accident"? I believe that when a person honestly looks at this world that we live in, they cannot reasonably conclude that it just happened. Once a person realizes this truth, it is enough then for them to then begin their search for the one true God.


And there is certainly enough evidence presented by God to allow people to make the right choice. Even in a world with countless claims about multiple religions and a multitude of "gods". In fact, if the words of Paul are indeed inspired by the one true God (and I am convinced that an honest person can come to no other logical conclusion) then anyone who believes in a different God or a different religion is, at least in God's opinion (the only opinion that counts), without excuse. This is why we read!


Today's reading is from Romans chapter one. It is a faith-building chapter indeed!  

Acts 24-28: Why Do You Read the Bible?

Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.

Psalms 1:1-2, KJV


Some years back, I honestly don't recall how many, I began to start my day by praying to God for help in my day and then reading a chapter from the Book of Psalms. After a while, I would try to always have a brief prayer before I even took a step out of bed, and then to read a chapter from the Psalms before taking even one bite of breakfast. I did this because I wanted to make sure that my priorities were right for the day. This practice has made all the difference in the quality of my life.


This practice has led down through the years to reading programs like the 30 Day Challenge, a schedule of reading through the New Testament in 30 days. It began small, with the local congregation that I have been privileged to preach at for the past 25 years, but it has grown to the point where hundreds of congregations have used it, with approximately 100,000 challenges sent to these churches and other individuals.


This has led to a number of other Bible reading schedules, the latest being this series you have been reading in these recent articles where the goal is to read one chapter from the New Testament each day. The thought behind this challenge is that by reading a chapter from the New Testament in the morning, and then thinking about it as you go through the day, it will give us a greater insight into what God has for us and wants us to do.


I don't know about you, but these various Bible reading strategies have made a tremendous impact upon my life and the lives of those around me. It's not because of the strategy, mind you, it is because of the power of the Word of God! And the Word of God has changed my life. This is why I read the Word, more and more, every day. How about you?


The readings for the next few days are from the final five chapters of the Book of Acts. As with the rest of Scripture, these chapters have the ability to impact your life in ways you have never imagined. The Word of God can truly change your life in every good way, if you will only let it.

Acts 19-23: The Whole Will of God

However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.

“Now I know that none of you among whom I have gone about preaching the kingdom will ever see me again. Therefore, I declare to you today that I am innocent of the blood of any of you

For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God.

Acts 20:24-27, NIV


As we read through Acts it is important to remember that it is a history of the church as well as a set of rules for the church to live by. In a nutshell, it is a fulfillment of Jesus' Great Commission to His apostles to make disciples and to teach them to obey everything that He had commanded. Paul stresses this when he tells the elders at Ephesus that he has not hesitated to proclaim to them the whole will of God.


Why is that so important? For a number of obvious reasons, but one that people may not be as quick to see is the fact that the whole will of God and Christ had been revealed to the New Testament church by the time that Paul made this statement. This means that nothing in addition would be needed.


But, why is that so important? Again, it is important for several reasons, but the most comforting to disciples of Christ today is that we have the complete will of God available to us in the Bible. That means that all of the men and women today who claim that they have a "new" message from God that adds to the message of the New Testament are either mistaken, deceived, or worse.


The comfort for us is that we can know what God's full will is for us by reading the Bible. We don't need any additional source. We don't need a "new" church, or a "new" religion, and we sure don't need to be listening to some nut when they tell us that God is talking to them with new instructions.


In short, the Bible gives us everything that we need to serve God and Christ in the right way. Any other message or any other source is not only wrong, but dangerous. However, if we will simply stay with the inspired and complete message as contained in the Bible, we can truly know what God wants and we can therefore be certain of the things needed for salvation.


This is why we read!


The reading for the next few days is Acts 19-23. These chapters continue the apostle's duty to not only reveal the history of the New Testament church, but more importantly, to give us the whole will of God.

Acts 13-18: The Acts of the Apostles

Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

Matthew 28:19-20, KJV


As we read the Book of Acts, it is good to keep in mind just what it's purpose was. The book begins with the apostles on the day of Pentecost teaching the people of the new way of living that was instituted by God when Jesus died for our sins, was buried, and was resurrected. After Jesus arose, He gave the command to His apostles that we read above in Matthew 28: To make disciples and teach them to observe all of Christ's commands.


This is in a nutshell what the Book of Acts is all about. It is a fulfillment by the apostles of Jesus' great commission. So as we read through Acts, we are learning how to become a Christian and how to live as a Christian. The book is essentially a history of how the church (the body of Christ made up, not of buildings or denominations, but of Christians) was to function. It is a history of the apostle's work of setting up the church that Jesus had paid for with His own blood.


Because of the apostle's duty to fulfill Christ's commission to teach us everything, we see over and over in Acts the plan of salvation, how the church was formed, how it was to function, and how the individual Christians that made up the church were to live their lives once they became Christians.


The reading for the next several days is Acts 13-18. It tells us much about how God wants us to come to Him, and how we are to live once we have become Christians, It is well worth our time and effort to read and understand!