In Christianity we have a handful of “go-to” verses. Verses that every Christian knows by heart.
Have you ever noticed this?
Now our number one favourite is obviously John 3:16.
But after that we have quite a few contenders for most quoted Bible verses.
My least favourite is Romans 3:23.
“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” (Romans 3:23 ESV)
I just hate the way we quote this verse all the time.
I travel all over the world and have found that, unfortunately, it’s far from an English speaking, western phenomenon either… Everyone knows this verse inside and out.
I like to play a game when I’m speaking – i do it nearly everywhere I go. Here’s how it goes:
I say, “all have sinned…”
And then I gesture for the group I’m speaking to to finish up the sentence. They always nail it without fail (even in non-English speaking nations they do this remarkably well!)
Actually that isn’t technically true. I said they finish the sentence… Actually they finish the verse.
And therein lies the problem.
Romans 3:23 is only part of a sentence.
So when I’m speaking I usually then ask everyone to finish the sentence, or at least get the next verse.
Nobody can ever do it without looking at their Bibles… Can you?
How does the sentence continue?
“and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.” (Romans 3:24, 25 ESV)
Yup… We are quoting only the bad news and leaving out the good news!
Imagine we ran around quoting v24?
“[all] are justified by His grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus!”
That’s way better news and much more likely to draw people into relationship with God than telling them they are useless and have fallen short of God’s glory.
Of course it’s not an either/or, the whole message is there in v23-25
But if we are going to pick and choose let’s at least pick the part that shows people how to get saved!
Telling people how far short of God’s glory they fall is just not the Gospel!
The Gospel is telling people about how much of an effort God went to in order to justify us by a free gift of grace!
So hopefully if you are one of those people who like to quote Romans 3:23 this post might serve as an challenge to you.
Memorise the next verse and run around sharing that instead!