|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
3:21-26 Must guilty man remain under wrath? Is the wound for ever incurable? No; blessed be God, there is another way laid open for us. This is the righteousness of God; righteousness of his ordaining, and providing, and accepting. It is by that faith which has Jesus Christ for its object; an anointed Saviour, so Jesus Christ signifies. Justifying faith respects Christ as a Saviour, in all his three anointed offices, as Prophet, Priest, and King; trusting in him, accepting him, and cleaving to him: in all these, Jews and Gentiles are alike welcome to God through Christ. There is no difference, his righteousness is upon all that believe; not only offered to them, but put upon them as a crown, as a robe. It is free grace, mere mercy; there is nothing in us to deserve such favours. It comes freely unto us, but Christ bought it, and paid the price. And faith has special regard to the blood of Christ, as that which made the atonement. God, in all this, declares his righteousness. It is plain that he hates sin, when nothing less than the blood of Christ would satisfy for it. And it would not agree with his justice to demand the debt, when the Surety has paid it, and he has accepted that payment in full satisfaction.
Verse 23. - For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. The "glory of God," of which all men are here said to come short (ὑσεροῦνται), has been taken to mean
(1) honour or praise from God. "Dei favore et approbatione carent" (Sehleusner). So decidedly Meyer, Tholuek, Alford, and others. In this case Θεοῦ would be the gen. auctoris, which Meyer argues is probable from its being so in Θεοῦ δικαιοσύνη. This argument (which is not worth much in any case) tells the other way if, as we hold, it is not so in the latter phrase. For the New Testament use of δόξα in the sense of "praise" or "honour," 1 Thessalonians 2:6 is adduced (Οὔτε ζητοῦντες ἐν ἀνθρώποις δόξαν); also John 5:44 (Δόξαν παρὰ ἀλλήλων λαμβάνοντες καὶ τὴν δόξαν τὴν παρὰ τοῦ μόνου Θεοῦ οὐ ζητεῖτε); and especially John 12:43, where δόξα is, as here, followed by the genitive Θεοῦ without any connecting preposition: Ἠγάπησαν γὰρ τὴν δόξαν τῶν ἀνθρώπων μᾶλλον ἤπερ τὴν δόξαν τοῦ Θεοῦ ("the praise of God," Authorized Version). But, even apart from the different, and in itself more obvious, meaning of the phrase, δόξα τοῦ Θεου, where it occurs elsewhere, it is at least a question whether in the last cited passage it can be taken to mean praise or honour from God. It comes immediately after the quotation from Isaiah 6:9, etc., followed by "These things said Esaias, when he saw his glory (τὴν δόξα αὐτοῦ), and spoke of him." Hence the meaning of John 12:43 may probably be that the persons spoken of loved mundane glory (cf. Matthew 4:8; Matthew 6:29) rather than the Divine glory, seen in the vision of faith, manifested to the world in Christ (cf. John 1:14, "We beheld his glory," etc.), and "loved" by those who have not the eyes blinded and the heart hardened. So, even in the previous passage of St. John's Gospel (John 5:41, 44), ἡ δόξα ἡ παρὰ τοῦ Θεοῦ may denote man's participation in the Divine glory, rather than praise or honour, while δόξα παρὰ ἀλλήλων may mean the mundane glory conferred by men on each other. These considerations commend, in the passage before us, the interpretation
(2) "Significatur ipsius Dei viventis gloria, vitam tribuens (cf. Romans 6:4); ad quam homini, si non peccasset, patuit aditus: sod peccator ab illo fine sue excidit, neque jam eum assequitur, neque gloriam illam, quae in illo effulsisset, ullo mode tolerare potest: Hebrews 12:20, et seq.; Psalm 68:2; quo fit ut morti sit obnoxius: nam gloria et immortalitas suut synonyma, et sic mors et corruptio. Absunt a gloria Dei, i.e. a summo fine homiuis aberrarunt. At justificati recuporant spom illius glorise. Vid. omnino c. 5:2, 11, 17; 8:30, etc." (Bengel). Further, the sense which the same expression seems evidently to bear in Romans 5:2 of this Epistle is of importance for our determination of its meaning here. We are not justified in understanding, with some interpreters, any specific reference to the "image of God" (cf. 1 Corinthians 11:7, εἰκὼν καὶ δόξα Θεοῦ ὑπάρχων) in which man was created, and which has been lost by the Fall, there being nothing to suggest it, or, with others, exclusively to the future glory, since the present ὑστεροῦνται seems to denote a present deficiency. The general conception appears sufficiently plain in Bengel's exposition above given, according to which "the glory of God" means the glory of the Divine righteousness ("sempiterna ejus virtus et divinitas" Bengel on Hebrews 1:8), which man, through sin, falls short of.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
For all have sinned,.... This is the general character of all mankind; all have sinned in Adam, are guilty by his sin, polluted with it, and condemned for it; all are sinners in themselves, and by their own actual transgressions; this is the case of the whole world, and of all the men in it; not only of the Gentiles, but of the Jews, and the more righteous among them: hence there is no difference in the state and condition of men by nature; nor is there any reason from and in themselves, why God saves one and not another; nor any room to despair of the grace and righteousness of Christ, on account of persons being, in their own view, the worst of sinners:
and hence it is, that they are all
come short of the glory of God; either of glorifying of God; man was made for this purpose, and was capable of it, though now through sin incapable; and it is only by the grace of God that he is enabled to do it: or of glorying: before him; sin has made him infamous, and is his shame; by it he has forfeited all external favours, and has nothing of his own to glory in; his moral righteousness is no foundation for boasting, especially before God: or of having glory from God; the most pure and perfect creature does not of itself deserve any glory and praise from God; good men, in a way of grace, will have praise of God; but sinners can never expect any on their own account: or of the glorious grace of God, as sanctifying and pardoning grace, and particularly the grace of a justifying righteousness; man has no righteousness, nor can he work out one; nor will his own avail, he wants a better than that: or of eternal glory; which may be called the glory of God, because it is of his preparing, what he calls persons to by his grace, and which of his own free grace he bestows upon them, and will chiefly lie in the enjoyment of him; now this is represented sometimes as a prize, which is run for, and pressed after; but men, through sinning, come short of it, and must of themselves do so for ever: or rather of the image of God in man, who is called "the image and glory of God", 1 Corinthians 11:7, which consisted externally in government over the creatures; internally, in righteousness and holiness, in wisdom and knowledge, in the bias of his mind to that which is good, and in power to perform it; of all which he is come short, or deprived by sinning.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
23. for all have sinned—Though men differ greatly in the nature and extent of their sinfulness, there is absolutely no difference between the best and the worst of men, in the fact that "all have sinned," and so underlie the wrath of God.
and come short of the glory—or "praise"
of God—that is, "have failed to earn His approbation" (compare Joh 12:43, Greek). So the best interpreters.
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