Romans 3:23
For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
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(23) All have sinned and come short.—Strictly, all sinned; the Apostle looking back upon an act done in past time under the old legal dispensation, without immediate reference to the present: he then goes on to say that the result of that act (as distinct from the act itself) continues on into the present. The result is that mankind, in a body, as he now sees them, and before they come within the range of the new Christian system, fall short of, miss, or fail to obtain, the glory of God.

Glory of God.—What is this glory? Probably not here, as in Romans 8:18; Romans 8:21, the glory which will be inaugurated for the saints at the Parusià, or Second Coming of the Messiah—for that is something future—but, rather, something which is capable of being conferred in the present, viz., the glory which comes from the favour and approval of God. This favour and approval Jew and Gentile alike had hitherto failed to obtain, but it was now thrown open to all who became members of the Messianic kingdom. (Comp. for the sense, Romans 2:29, and for the use of the word, as well as the sense, John 12:43, “they loved the praise [glory] of men more than the praise [glory] of God.”)



Romans 3:19 - Romans 3:26

Let us note in general terms the large truths which this passage contains. We may mass these under four heads:

I. Paul’s view of the purpose of the law.

He has been quoting a mosaic of Old Testament passages from the Psalms and Isaiah. He regards these as part of ‘the law,’ which term, therefore, in his view, here includes the whole previous revelation, considered as making known God’s will as to man’s conduct. Every word of God, whether promise, or doctrine, or specific command, has in it some element bearing on conduct. God reveals nothing only in order that we may know, but all that, knowing, we may do and be what is pleasing in His sight. All His words are law.

But Paul sets forth another view of its purpose here; namely, to drive home to men’s consciences the conviction of sin. That is not the only purpose, for God reveals duty primarily in order that men may do it, and His law is meant to be obeyed. But, failing obedience, this second purpose comes into action, and His law is a swift witness against sin. The more clearly we know our duty, the more poignant will be our consciousness of failure. The light which shines to show the path of right, shines to show our deviations from it. And that conviction of sin, which it was the very purpose of all the previous Revelation to produce, is a merciful gift; for, as the Apostle implies, it is the prerequisite to the faith which saves.

As a matter of fact, there was a far profounder and more inward conviction of sin among the Jews than in any heathen nation. Contrast the wailings of many a psalm with the tone in Greek or Roman literature. No doubt there is a law written on men’s hearts which evokes a lower measure of the same consciousness of sin. There are prayers among the Assyrian and Babylonian tablets which might almost stand beside the Fifty-first Psalm; but, on the whole, the deep sense of sin was the product of the revealed law. The best use of our consciousness of what we ought to be, is when it rouses conscience to feel the discordance with it of what we are, and so drives us to Christ. Law, whether in the Old Testament, or as written in our hearts by their very make, is the slave whose task is to bring us to Christ, who will give us power to keep God’s commandments.

Another purpose of the law is stated in Romans 3:21, as being to bear witness, in conjunction with the prophets, to a future more perfect revelation of God’s righteousness. Much of the law was symbolic and prophetic. The ideal it set forth could not always remain unfulfilled. The whole attitude of that system was one of forward-looking expectancy. There is much danger lest, in modern investigations as to the authorship, date, and genesis of the Old Testament revelation, its central characteristic should be lost sight of; namely, its pointing onwards to a more perfect revelation which should supersede it.

II. Paul’s view of universal sinfulness.

He states that twice in this passage {Romans 3:20 - Romans 3:24}, and it underlies his view of the purpose of law. In Romans 3:20 he asserts that ‘by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified,’ and in Romans 3:23 he advances from that negative statement to the positive assertion that all have sinned. The impossibility of justification by the works of the law may be shown from two considerations: one, that, as a matter of fact, no flesh has ever done them all with absolute completeness and purity; and, second, that, even if they had ever been so done, they would not have availed to secure acquittal at a tribunal where motive counts for more than deed. The former is the main point with Paul.

In Romans 3:23 the same fact of universal experience is contemplated as both positive sin and negative falling short of the ‘glory’ {which here seems to mean, as in John 5:44, John 12:43, approbation from God}. ‘There is no distinction,’ but all varieties of condition, character, attainment, are alike in this, that the fatal taint is upon them all. ‘We have, all of us, one human heart.’ We are alike in physical necessities, in primal instincts, and, most tragically of all, in the common experience of sinfulness.

Paul does not mean to bring all varieties of character down to one dead level, but he does mean to assert that none is free from the taint. A man need only be honest in self-examination to endorse the statement, so far as he himself is concerned. The Gospel would be better understood if the fact of universal sinfulness were more deeply felt. Its superiority to all schemes for making everybody happy by rearrangements of property, or increase of culture, would be seen through; and the only cure for human misery would be discerned to be what cures universal sinfulness.

III. So we have next Paul’s view of the remedy for man’s sin.

That is stated in general terms in Romans 3:21 - Romans 3:22. Into a world of sinful men comes streaming the light of a ‘righteousness of God.’ That expression is here used to mean a moral state of conformity with God’s will, imparted by God. The great, joyful message, which Paul felt himself sent to proclaim, is that the true way to reach the state of conformity which law requires, and which the unsophisticated, universal conscience acknowledges not to have been reached, is the way of faith.

The message is so familiar to us that we may easily fail to realise its essential greatness and wonderfulness when first proclaimed. That God should give righteousness, that it should be ‘of God,’ not only as coming from Him, but as, in some real way, being kindred with His own perfection; that it should be brought to men by Jesus Christ, as ancient legends told that a beneficent Titan brought from heaven, in a hollow cane, the gift of fire; and that it should become ours by the simple process of trusting in Jesus Christ, are truths which custom has largely robbed of their wonderfulness. Let us meditate more on them till they regain, by our own experience of their power, some of the celestial light which belongs to them.

Observe that in Romans 3:22 the universality of the redemption which is in Christ is deduced from the universality of sin. The remedy must reach as far as the disease. If there is no difference in regard to sin, there can be none in regard to the sweep of redemption. The doleful universality of the covering spread over all nations, has corresponding to it the blessed universality of the light which is sent forth to flood them all. Sin’s empire cannot stretch farther than Christ’s kingdom.

IV. Paul’s view of what makes the Gospel the remedy.

In Romans 3:21 - Romans 3:22 it was stated generally that Christ was the channel, and faith the condition, of righteousness. The personal object of faith was declared, but not the special thing in Christ which was to be trusted in. That is fully set forth in Romans 3:24. We cannot attempt to discuss the great words in these verses, each of which would want a volume. But we may note that ‘justified’ here means to be accounted or declared righteous, as a judicial act; and that justification is traced in its ultimate source to God’s ‘grace,’-His own loving disposition-which bends to unworthy and lowly creatures, and is regarded as having for the medium of its bestowal the ‘redemption’ that is in Christ Jesus. That is the channel through which grace comes from God.

‘Redemption’ implies captivity, liberation, and a price paid. The metaphor of slaves set free by ransom is exchanged in Romans 3:25 for a sacrificial reference. A propitiatory sacrifice averts punishment from the offerer. The death of the victim procures the life of the worshipper. So, a propitiatory or atoning sacrifice is offered by Christ’s blood, or death. That sacrifice is the ransom-price through which our captivity is ended, and our liberty assured. As His redemption is the channel ‘through’ which God’s grace comes to men, so faith is the condition ‘through’ which {Romans 3:25} we make that grace ours.

Note, then, that Paul does not merely point to Jesus Christ as Saviour, but to His death as the saving power. We are to have faith in Jesus Christ {Romans 3:22}. But that is not a complete statement. It must be faith in His propitiation, if it is to bring us into living contact with His redemption. A gospel which says much of Christ, but little of His Cross, or which dilates on the beauty of His life, but stammers when it begins to speak of the sacrifice in His death, is not Paul’s Gospel, and it will have little power to deal with the universal sickness of sin.

The last verses of the passage set forth another purpose attained by Christ’s sacrifice; namely, the vindication of God’s righteousness in forbearing to inflict punishment on sins committed before the advent of Jesus. That Cross rayed out its power in all directions-to the heights of the heavens; to the depths of Hades {Colossians 1:20}; to the ages that were to come, and to those that were past. The suspension of punishment through all generations, from the beginning till that day when the Cross was reared on Calvary, was due to that Cross having been present to the divine mind from the beginning. ‘The judge is condemned when the guilty is acquitted,’ or left unpunished. There would be a blot on God’s government, not because it was so severe, but because it was so forbearing, unless His justice was vindicated, and the fatal consequences of sin shown in the sacrifice of Christ. God could not have shown Himself just, in view either of age-long forbearance, or of now justifying the sinner, unless the Cross had shown that He was not immorally indulgent toward sin.

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.For all have sinned - This was the point which he had fully established in the discussion in these chapters.

Have come short - Greek, "Are deficient in regard to;" are lacking, etc. Here it means, that they had failed to obtain, or were destitute of.

The glory of God - The praise or approbation of God. They had sought to be justified, or approved, by God; but all had failed. Their works of the Law had not secured his approbation; and they were therefore under condemnation. The word "glory" (δόξα doxa) is often used in the sense of praise, or approbation, John 5:41, John 5:44; John 7:18; John 8:50, John 8:54; John 12:43.

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.

For all have sinned: q.d. No wonder there is no difference, when both the one and the other have the guilt of Adam’s transgression imputed to them, and have original corruption inherent in them, from whence proceed very many actual transgressions.

And come short of the glory of God; i.e. of the glorious image of God, in which man was at first created; or, of communion with God, in which the glory of a rational creature doth consist; or rather, of the eternal glory, which they come short of, as men that run a race are weary, and fall short of the mark.

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.

For all have sinned, and come short of the {t} glory of God;

(t) By the glory of God is meant that mark which we all aim for, that is, everlasting life, which consists in our being made partakers of the glory of God.

Romans 3:23. Ἥμαρτον] The sinning of every man is presented as a historical fact of the past, whereby the sinful state is produced. The perfect would designate it as a completed subsisting fact. Calvin, moreover, properly remarks that according to Paul there is nulla justitia “nisi perfecta et absoluta,” and “si verum esset, nos partim operibus justificari, partim Dei gratia, non valeret hoc Pauli argumentum.” Luther aptly observes: “They are altogether sinners, etc., is the main article and the central point of this Epistle and of the whole Scripture.”

καὶ ὑστερ.] They have sinned, and in consequence of this they lack, there is wanting to them, etc. This very present expression, as well as the present participle δικαιούμενοι, ought to have kept Hofmann from understanding πάντες of all believers; for in their case that ὑστερεῖσθαι no longer applies (Romans 5:1 f., Romans 8:1 al[820]), and they are not δικαιούμενοι but δικαιωθέντες; but, as becoming believers, they would not yet be πιστεύοντες.

τῆς δόξης τ. Θεοῦ] The genitive with ὑστερεῖσθαι (Diod. Sic. xviii. 71; Joseph. Antt. xv. 6, 7) determines for the latter the sense of destitui. See Lobeck, a[821] Phryn. p. 237. Comp on 1 Corinthians 1:7. They lack the honour which God gives,[823] they are destitute of the being honoured by God, which would be the case, if the ἥμαρτον did not occur; in that case they would possess the good pleasure of God, and this, regarded as honour, which they would have to enjoy from God: the δόξα τοῦ Θεοῦ. Comp Romans 2:29; John 12:43, compared with John 5:44. Köllner’s objection to this view, which first offers itself, of Τ. ΘΕΟῦ as the genitive auctoris, which is also held by Piscator, Hammond, Grotius, Fritzsche, Reiche, de Wette, Tholuck, and others, following Chrysostom (comp Philippi), that it is not the fault of men if they should not have an honour, which proceeds from God, is of no weight; since it certainly is the fault of men, if they render it impossible for a holy God to give them the honour which proceeds from Him. Moreover, Köllner’s own explanation: honour before God (quite so also Calvin; and comp Philippi), which is said according to the analogy of human relations, in point of fact quite coincides with the above view, since in fact honour before God, or with God (Winzer), is nothing else than the honour that accrues to us from God’s judgment. Comp Calvin: “ita nos ab humani theatri plausu ad tribunal coeleste vocat.” Accordingly, the genitive is here all the less to be interpreted coram, since in no other passage (and especially not in δικαιοσ. Θεοῦ, see on. Romans 1:17) is there any necessity for this interpretation. This last consideration may also be urged against the interpretation of others: gloriatio coram Deo; “non habent, unde coram Deo glorientur,” Estius. So Erasmus, Luther, Toletus, Wolf, Koppe, Rosenmüller, Reithmayr, and others. It is decisive against this view that in all passages where Paul wished to express gloriatio, he knew how to employ the proper word, καύχησις (Romans 3:27; 2 Corinthians 7:14; 2 Corinthians 8:24 al[828]). Others, again, following Oecumenius (Chrysostom and Theophylact express themselves too indefinitely, and Theodoret is altogether silent on the matter), explain the ΔΌΞΑ Τ. ΘΕΟῦ to mean the glory of eternal life, in so far as God either has destined it for man (Glöckler), or confers it upon him (Böhme, comp Morison); or in so far as it consists in partaking the glory of God (Beza, comp Bengel and Baumgarten-Crusius). Mehring allows a choice between the two last definitions of the sense. But the following ΔΙΚΑΙΟΎΜΕΝΟΙ proves that the ΔΌΞΑ ΤΟῦ ΘΕΟῦ cannot in reality be anything essentially different from the ΔΙΚΑΙΟΣΎΝΗ ΘΕΟῦ, and cannot be merely future. Utterly erroneous, finally, is the view of Chemnitz, Flacius, Sebastian Schmid, Calovius,[831] Hasaeus, Alting, Carpzov, Ernesti, recently revived by Rückert, Olshausen, and Mangold, that the δόξα τοῦ Θεοῦ is the image of God;a godlike δοξα,” as Rückert puts it, and thus gets rid of the objection that δόξα is not synonymous with εἰκών. But how arbitrarily is the relation of the genitive thus defined, altogether without the precedent of a similar usage (2 Corinthians 11:2 is not a case in point)! That the idea of the image of God is not suggested by anything in the connection is self-evident, since, as the subsequent δικαιούμενοι κ.τ.λ[832] abundantly shows, it is the idea of the want of righteousness that is under discussion. Hofmann and Ewald have explained it in the same way as Rückert, though they take the genitive more accurately (a δόξα such as God Himself possesses). The latter[833] understands “the glory of God which man indeed has by creation, Psalm 8:8, but which by sin he may lose for time and eternity, and has now lost.” Compare Hofmann: “Whatsoever is of God has a share, after the manner of a creature, in the glory of God. If this therefore be not found in man, the reason is that he has forfeited the relation to God in which he was created.” But even apart from the fact that such a participation in the glory of God had been lost already through the fall (Romans 5:12; 1 Corinthians 15:22), and not for the first time through the individual ἥμαρτον here meant, it is decisive against this exposition that the participation in the divine ΔΌΞΑ nowhere appears as an original blessing that has fallen into abeyance, but always as something to, be conferred only at the Parousia (Romans 5:2; 1 Thessalonians 2:12) as the ΣΥΝΔΟΞΑΣΘῆΝΑΙ with Christ (Romans 8:17 f.; Colossians 3:4); as the glorious ΚΛΗΡΟΝΟΜΊΑ of God (comp also 2 Timothy 4:8; 1 Peter 5:4); and consequently as the new blessing of the future αἰών (1 Corinthians 2:9). That is also the proleptic ἘΔΌΞΑΣΕ in Romans 8:30, which however would be foreign to the present connection.

[820] l. and others; and other passages; and other editions.

[821] d refers to the note of the commentator or editor named on the particular passage.

[823] The genitive τ. Θεοῦ cannot, without arbitrariness, be explained otherwise than was done in the case of δικαιοσύνη τ. Θεοῦ. In consequence of his erroneous exposition of δικαιοσ. τ. Θεοῦ (see on Romans 1:17), Matthias understands here “glory such as is that of God,” i.e. the glory of personal holiness.

[828] l. and others; and other passages; and other editions.

[831] He takes δόξα τοῦ Θεοῦ as “gloria homini a Deo concessa in creatione;” this gloria having been the divine image, which we forfeited after the fall.

[832] .τ.λ. καὶ τὰ λοιπά.

[833] Similarly already Melancthon: “gloria Dei, i.e. luce Dei fulgente in natura incorrupta, seu ipso Deo carent, ostendente se et accendente ardentem dilectionem et alios motus legi congruentes sine ullo peccato.” Previously (1540) he had explained: “gloria, quam Deus approbat.”

Romans 3:23. ἥμαρτον must be rendered in English “have sinned”; see Burton, Moods and Tenses, § 54. ὑστεροῦνται expresses the consequence = and so come short of the glory of God. To emphasise the middle, and render “they come short, and feel that they do so,” though suggested by the comparison of Matthew 19:20 with Luke 15:14 (Gifford), is not borne out by the use of the N.T. as a whole. The most one could say is that sibi is latent in the middle: to their loss (not necessarily to their sensible or conscious loss) they come short. The present tense implies that but for sin men might be in enjoyment of “ἡ δόξα τοῦ θεοῦ”. Clearly this cannot be the same as the future heavenly glory of God spoken of in Romans 5:2 : as in John 5:44; John 12:43, it must be the approbation or praise of God. This sense of δόξα is easily derived from that of “reputation,” resting on the praise or approval of others. Of course the approbation which God would give to the sinless, and of which sinners fall short, would be identical with justification.

23. all have sinned] Lit. all sinned: the Gr. aorist. Probably the time-reference of the tense is to the original Fall of Man, regarded as involving the individual experience of sinfulness in the case of each person. See however on Romans 1:19.

come short] A present tense. The result of the Fall is that they are now “short of the glory of God.” The word translated “come short” is translated “to be in want” (Luke 15:14); “to suffer need” (Php 4:12); “to be destitute” (Hebrews 11:37). Here the context suggests that modification of its root-meaning given in E. V.: “to suffer from defect,” “to fail to attain.”—“The glory of God” must here be His moral glory, His holiness and its requirements. In many passages the Word “glory” is used with evident reference to the Divine moral attributes—mercy, faithfulness, love—as well as to Divine power. See Romans 6:4; 2 Corinthians 4:4 (“the gospel of the glory of Christ”); Ephesians 1:12; Ephesians 1:14; 1 Timothy 1:11 (“the gospel of the glory of the blessed God”). Fallen man lies hopelessly below the standard of the spiritual law which is the expression of the essential holiness of God.

Romans 3:23. Ἥμαρτον, have sinned) that is, they have contracted the guilt of sin. Both the original act of sin in paradise is denoted, and the sinful disposition, as also the acts of transgression flowing from it. The past tenses often have an inchoative meaning along with the idea of continued action; such as ἐπίστευσα, ἤλπικα, ἠγάπηκα, ὑπήκουσα, ἓστηκα, I have believed, and still continue to believe; I have hoped, and still continue to hope; I have loved, and still continue to love; I have obeyed, and still continue to obey; I have established myself, and still establish myself.—καὶ ὑστεροῦνται, and come short) From the past tense, have sinned, flows this present, come short, and by this word the whole peculiar advantage [Romans 3:1] of the Jews, and all the boasting of all flesh, are taken away; the former is a thing done [past], and the latter is a thing now established; each of them [ᾕμαρτον and ὑστεροῦνται] denotes deficiency; they do not attain, ch. Romans 9:31.—τῆς δόξης τοῦ Θεο͂υ, of the glory of God) The glory of the living God Himself is signified, which bestows life, ch. Romans 6:4; and to this, access was open to man if he had not sinned; but, as a sinner, he fell short of this end of his being; nor does he now attain to it, nor is he able, by any means, to endure that glory which would have [but for sin] shone forth in him, Hebrews 12:20, etc.: Psalm 68:2. Hence he has become subject to death; for glory and immortality are synonymous terms, and so, also, are death and corruption; but Paul does not more expressly mention death itself, until after the process of justification, and its going forth even to [its issue in] life, have been consummated; he then looks at death as it were from behind. ch. Romans 5:12. Therefore, the whole state of sin is most exquisitely pourtrayed thus, in this masterly passage: They come short of, or are far from the glory of God; that is, they have missed [aberrarunt a: erred from] the chief end of man; and in this very fact is implied [included], at the same time, every lesser aberration. But those who are justified recover the hope of that glory, along with most immediately realized glorying [viz., in Christ] in the meanwhile (of which [i.e. of boasting] in themselves, they had been deprived, Romans 3:27), and [recover] the kingdom in life. See, by all means, ch. Romans 5:2; Romans 5:11; Romans 5:17, Romans 8:30, at the end of the verse. Wherefore, the antithetic idea to they have sinned, is explained at Romans 3:24, and the following verses; and ch. 4 throughout, on justification; the antithetic idea to they have come short, is set forth in ch. 5, with which, comp. ch. Romans 8:17, and the following verses.

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. Romans 3:23Have sinned (ἥμαρτον)

Aorist tense: sinned, looking back to a thing definitely past - the historic occurrence of sin.

And come short (ὑστεροῦνται)

Rev., fall short: The present tense. The A.V. leaves it uncertain whether the present or the perfect have come is intended. They sinned, and therefore they are lacking. See on Luke 15:14. The word is not merely equivalent to they are wanting in, but implies want under the aspect of shortcoming.

The glory of God (τῆς δόξης τοῦ Θεοῦ)

Interpretations vary greatly. The glory of personal righteousness; that righteousness which God judges to be glory; the image of God in man; the glorying or boasting of righteousness before God; the approbation of God; the state of future glory.

The dominant meanings of δόξα in classical Greek are notion, opinion, conjecture, repute. See on Revelation 1:6. In biblical usage: 1. Recognition, honor, Philippians 1:11; 1 Peter 1:7. It is joined with τιμή honor, 1 Timothy 1:17; Hebrews 2:7, Hebrews 2:9; 2 Peter 1:17. Opposed to ἀτιμὶα dishonor, 1 Corinthians 11:14, 1 Corinthians 11:15; 1 Corinthians 15:43; 2 Corinthians 6:8. With ζητέω to seek, 1 Thessalonians 2:6; John 5:44; John 7:18. With λαμβάνω to receive, John 5:41, John 5:44. With δίδωμι to give, Luke 17:18; John 9:24. In the ascriptive phrase glory be to, Luke 2:14, and ascriptions in the Epistles. Compare Luke 14:10. 2. The glorious appearance which attracts the eye, Matthew 4:8; Luke 4:6; Luke 12:27. Hence parallel with εἰκών image; μορφή form; ὁμοίωμα likeness; εἶδος appearance, figure, Romans 1:23; Psalm 17:15; Numbers 12:8.

The glory of God is used of the aggregate of the divine attributes and coincides with His self-revelation, Exodus 33:22; compare πρόσωπον face, Exodus 33:23. Hence the idea is prominent in the redemptive revelation (Isaiah 60:3; Romans 6:4; Romans 5:2). It expresses the form in which God reveals Himself in the economy of salvation (Romans 9:23; 1 Timothy 1:11; Ephesians 1:12). It is the means by which the redemptive work is carried on; for instance, in calling, 2 Peter 1:3; in raising up Christ and believers with Him to newness of life, Romans 6:4; in imparting strength to believers, Ephesians 3:16; Colossians 1:11; as the goal of Christian hope, Romans 5:2; Romans 8:18, Romans 8:21; Titus 2:13. It appears prominently in the work of Christ - the outraying of the Father's glory (Hebrews 1:3), especially in John. See John 1:14; John 2:11, etc.

The sense of the phrase here is: they are coming short of the honor or approbation which God bestows. The point under discussion is the want of righteousness. Unbelievers, or mere legalists, do not approve themselves before God by the righteousness which is of the law. They come short of the approbation which is extended only to those who are justified by faith.

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