Monday, June 27, 2011

Expository note: Rom. 3:23

". . . for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. . ." (Rom. 3.23)

For years I've used Rom. 3:23 in preaching as a proof text that everyone (except Jesus, of course) has sinned. I mean, there it is: all--everyone, everywhere, everywhen--have sinned. But if you actually look at, you know, the whole sentence, there's a problem in the very next verse: ". . . being justified gratuitously by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus."

Do you see it? If you try to use Rom. 3:23 as proof that everyone has sinned, then there's no way around using v. 24 to say that everyone has now been saved. Universalism, anyone?

How do we get out of that little pit? Once again, it helps to look at the whole sentence, so let's take in v. 22: ". . . the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ unto all the ones who believe, for there is no difference. . ." So, the all in v. 23 refers not to every human being, but only to every believer. If we start at v. 19 and read Paul's whole idea here, it becomes pretty clear that the all refers to both Jew and Gentile, but again, only to believers.

Does that mean not everyone has sinned? Of course not. Elsewhere the NT makes clear that, in fact, everyone sins (Rom. 1:18-2:11; Heb. 4:15). The only problem is that Rom. 3:23 is not quite so easy to use as a one-step proof of universal depravity. It's still helpful, though. By the how-much-more logic often found in Scripture, if all Christians have sinned and are worthy of death (Rom. 6:23), then how much more are unbelievers.

So in a sense, we're back almost to where we started. But for me, at least, actually seeing what the Bible says (rather than what I would like it to say) has been both humbling and invigorating. I can't wait to be humbled again if it means coming a little closer to the truth of God's Word.

© Copyright 2011, A. Milton Stanley


Anonymous Bruce said...

Good to see you back. You were missed.

11:33 PM, June 27, 2011  
Blogger markshriv said...

Dear Christian,

In the IRS 990 form for Grace To You for 2009 listed under "Contract Services" it's shown that GTY paid $667,000 to The Welch Group. What is The Welch Group and why is this of interest? It's interesting because The Welch Group is a corporation whose CEO/founder/owner is Kory Welch, John Macarthur's son-in law! Now do you think there could be just a little conflict of interest going on here? And just thinking out loud....but doesn't the Word admonish Christians to avoid even the appearance of evil?

Amazingly (but not for those who know the truth about Macarthur), it appears that the GTY financed, The Welch Group, has done a "concept ad" for Starbucks, an extremely anti-Christian, pro-homosexual corporation! But then again, why discriminate when there is money to be made?

Also of interest from the 990 form: John Macarthur's propaganda minister, Phil Johnson, was well compensated again in 2009 earning $225,000 while seven other board members earned in excess of $150,000. Oh I almost forgot to mention...who is the treasurer of GTY? Matt Macarthur, John Macarthur's son, while Macarthur's other son, Mark, remains a director. Just keepin it all in the family....

A Concerned Christian

4:33 AM, June 28, 2011  
Blogger Milton Stanley said...

Thanks, Bruce.

Markshriv, I don't see the connection between your comment and Rom. 3.23. Are you posting comment spam?

3:18 PM, June 29, 2011  

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