The Glory of God in Romans 3:23, Explained and Applied
I did not realize until tonight, however, that I have given woefully inadequate attention to the second half of the verse: "come short of the glory of God." What does it mean to have fallen short of God's glory? IF someone had pressed me on this point, I THINK that I would have responded with some vague idea of our sins making us less than God, who is perfect. But aren't we less than God regardless of sin? Even if a person could somehow refrain from sin throughout his or her entire life, wouldn't that person still be less than God?
I believe that Richard Barcellos' words from the Southern California Reformed Baptist Pastors' Conference are extremely helpful on this point:
Barcellos explains that the "glory of God"in Romans 3:23 refers to "the state of existence in God's special presence" (contrasted with His general omnipresence), which Man "did not possess via creation." Man was created in a blessed state, but not in a state of glory. Adam failed the test God had placed before him, eating from the forbidden fruit-thereafter being barred from eating from the tree of life (Gen 3:6, 22-24)-therefore Adam never entered into "the glory of God" that he would have attained if he had passed the test. Being "in Adam" (1 Cor 15:22), we were all "by nature children under wrath" (Eph 2:3). Adam came short of God's glory; in him, we ALL come short of the glory of God. We live out our fallenness as we choose to sin against God.
Barcellos goes on to proclaim:
"But here is the good news: another came-the last Adam, our Lord Jesus Christ-who suffered, and entered into glory in His resurrection, and will bring many sons to glory. [Believers] will also gain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Thess 2:14)."
Labels: Bible study