The Reading: Romans 3:21-26
“… all have sinned and fall short …” (v.23) RSV
For weeks now we have been eulogising the elevated position that humans and the human race have in creation and before God. Man is “little less than God” (Psalm 8:5), and made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). He is “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14). Yet man is also a mess. From time immemorial he has been in rebellion against God’s love and law. He has become both individually and corporately a sinner.
A sinner is not necessarily a person who is doing evil and wicked things. No, he may be quite a decent person. But he is not living out of faith and love towards God. And as it says, “whatever does not proceed from faith is sin” (Romans 14:23). And also, “Without faith it is impossible to please God” (Herews. 11:6).
Sins are only the manifestation of sin. It is because we are wrong at the heart of our being that we also commit sins. Our actions reveal our heart, and it is our heart that God is interested in. Do we have a heart for God? Do we love him with all of our being?
Sin starts with rebellion, “I’ll do it my way.” That is how it is described in the Garden of Eden. We chose to ignore God’s generosity and his limitations and ate the forbidden fruit. This heart of rebellion is described well by John; he says it is to love the world (the created order) before we love God. He writes: “Do not love the world … the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life …” (1 John 2:15-16). This is not implying that we should reject all the goodness of this created order. By no means! It is saying in effect what Jesus said: “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness (and then) all these things shall be yours as well.” (Matthew 6:33).
Forgive me Lord when I put my will before yours. Grant me a new heart that I may seek your good and perfect will. Amen.
1 What was the original sin?
2 What should we do about our sin?