For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
I. THE CHARGE here brought is that of having sinned, and a most solemn and awful charge it is. "Fools," indeed, "make a mock at sin"; and that they do so, is a proof of their folly. God is love; and consequently His law requires love. To love God with all the heart, and their fellow beings as them. selves, is the essence of that law. To break this law is sin; and sin produces only misery and ruin. To charge a person with having sinned is to charge him with having acted contrary to the purpose for which he was made; with having failed to love and obey the best and greatest of beings; with being guilty of the same conduct with that which cast the angels out of heaven, and man out of Paradise. Surely this is a solemn charge. Do we want other examples of the evil of having sinned? Why the Flood? why the fire upon the people of Sodom and Gomorrah? etc. Because they had sinned. Or, to give a more awful and decisive example, why did the Son of God die on the Cross? Because He had taken upon Himself the nature and the cause of sinners.
II. THE PERSONS against whom it is brought. "There is no difference; for all have sinned," in their progenitor and representative, and in their own persons also. But this is a truth unpalatable to the pride of man. And under the influence of this principle he will be disposed yet further to ask, "What! is there no difference? no difference between righteous Abel and wicked Cain? between impenitent Saul and contrite David? Are they all equally guilty before God?" In one sense all these persons are not alike. They have not all sinned in the same manner, in the same measure, to the same degree. Here there is a wide difference between them. But in the sense spoken of in the text they are all alike. They have all sinned; and here there is no difference. Though they may not be equally guilty, yet they are all guilty before God.
III. THE EXTENT of the charge here brought. "All have sinned, and," by so doing, "have come short of the glory of God." This expression signifies —
1. To fall short of rendering to God that glory to which He is entitled. He requires that all His creatures shall glorify Him. He has created them for His glory; and when they fulfil the purpose for which He created them, then they do glorify Him. Thus "the heavens declare the glory of God." What, then, was the end and purpose for which man was made? To love, obey, and serve his Maker. By opposition to His will he comes "short of the glory of God." Man, a living, rational being, is placed, not like the other works of creation, under a law of necessity which he cannot break, but under a moral restraint, by which he ought to be kept in the path of duty. But he is not so kept by it. He dishonours God in his very gifts, and endeavours, according to his power, to introduce confusion into His works, and to defeat His great and gracious designs.
2. The failing to obtain that glory which God originally designed for man. God originally designed man for a glorious immortality. But by sin he fell short of that glory; he forfeited and lost it. This, indeed, was the consequence of not rendering to God the glory due to Him. Having been unwilling to glorify God, he could no longer expect to be glorified with God. Conclusion: Perhaps you say, "Why, this doctrine takes away all hope. Would you drive us to despair?" No, not to a despair of salvation, but to a despair of justifying yourselves before God. But in Christ there is a full and gracious pardon for all your sins; there is glory offered to you again.
Parallel VersesKJV: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;