For all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God.
— Romans 3:23 (NKJV)
That’s one of my favorite verses. It stuck with me through some of the tougher times in my transformation, and for a couple of reasons.
First, it reminds me that I’m in the same boat as everybody else: all have sinned. But the other part of that sentence is sneaky in the way it instills hope if you think about it.
See, through that period of de-construction and re-construction, people whom I had trusted in my faith walk — and who I’ll assume were well-meaning — were quick to point out not how far I’d come, but how far I needed to go. It seemed like an impossible task, until I camped on that verse for a while.
The Apostle Paul tells us not just that all have sinned, but we have come short of the glory of God. Only short of it.
We humans tend to stop listening too soon. We hear what sounds like bad news and don’t stick around for the good news. (Remember how the Disciples didn’t catch on when Jesus said He would rise again on the third day? They had tuned out at “the Son of Man will be killed”, so were more than somewhat surprised when they found the empty tomb.)
Truly, to hear some Christians talk — particularly some of the ones in my life way back when — you’d think I was light years away from the glory of God. That can be one soul-destroying, hope-dashing idea. Why bother? Haven’t you felt that same way? So far from the goal that there’s no sense in trying.
After all, coming up short is still Not There. If there’s a 20′ gap in a bridge over a raging river, and you can only jump 19’6″, you’re still going to get wet — and worse. But Paul says we’re only short of that glory. It’s in sight, and doesn’t take much to reach it.
But that additional “not much” does not come from our own power. It comes from turning to God through His Son and receiving the power of the Cross, the anointing that Jesus Christ brings us. That’s what gives us that extra push that takes us to where we need to be.
As some Pentecostal types (ahem) might say, “That’s shoutin’ time!” God loves us so much, He knows we come up short, and He still provides us with the means to reach Him.