The Message of the Arrow: Romans 3:21-26
“21) But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22) even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; 23) for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24) being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; 25) whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; 26) for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” Romans‬ ‭3:21-26‬
Sin is the great equalizer of all humanity. The word “sin” as used in verse 23 is an archery term. It literally means “to miss the mark.” In this analogy, God’s holiness as defined by the Law is the bulls eye. It is the moral target all people aim at.
Now, having been a competitive archer, I need to admit, there are some really good shooters out there, and there are some really bad shooters; but there are no perfect shooters. Ask any Olympic gold medalist if they have ever missed the bulls eye? They will look at you and say, “Are you kidding, no one is perfect!” How many arrows does it take to miss the mark to fall short of perfection? The answer is “just one arrow!”
Sin is not measured by how many of your moral arrows have hit the bulls eye or missed the bulls eye. There is no such thing from God’s perspective as “good sinners” and “bad sinners.” God see’s all people as sinful and lost. Why? “Because all have sinned and come short of the glory of God!” Vs 23
This is where people make the mistake in thinking that being morally good or better than most people will save them. The problem is that God does not compare us to other people, He measures us by the Law. To break one law makes us a Law Breaker.
Let me illustrate by using a chain. How many links of a chain need to be broken for the whole chain to be broken? The answer is: “only one link.” How many commandments in the Law need to be broken for the whole Law to be broken? The answer is the same; “only one!”
This is why Paul concluded verse 22 by saying, “there is no distinction”… for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Why? Because all people are sinners! Pick any time in history. Pick any nationality or ethnic group. Pick any age or gender. For that matter, pick any religious group. The one thing all people have in common before God is “sin.”
Now we come to the crucial question; “what is God’s plan to remove human sin?” Is it trying harder? Is it more religion? Is it more good works? Is it being a good humanitarian and caring for others?
Let me be very clear, those are all good things, but they do not remove the stain of sin from the human soul. Sin still needs to be judged. That’s what is so profound about the simple gospel of Jesus Christ. On the cross He paid the debt of human sin. That makes Him the only basis for human salvation before the One and Only Creator God. (See Acts 4:11-12)
I challenge you to read and re-read Romans 1-8 until the blinders come off and the Gospel becomes clear. Study until you see yourself as God sees you. Until you recognize that you are a sinner and lost, you will never understand your need for Jesus Christ. You will forever be lost in a works based system of religion or ethics.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global