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#1.1 ALL HAVE SINNED Romans 3:23

Scriptures for σώξω 'sozo' meaning 'to save' Strong's 4982
Scriptures for σωτηρία 'soteria' meaning 'salvation' Strong's 4991
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#1.11 In the Beginning

Where did the trouble all begin? In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth, and everything upon it (Genesis 1), including man (Genesis 2:7). Everything that he made was very good (Genesis 1:31), and there was no knowledge of sin, or sickness, or any evil in the lives of Adam and Eve. They were created perfect, and innocent, and they had fellowship with God in the garden of Eden. Nevertheless, God subjected them to one small test of obedience:

(Genesis 2:17) "But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat of it: for in the day that you eat of it you will surely die."

There was no need to eat the forbidden fruit, they had been given every other tree in the garden for food (Genesis 2:16), but when Eve was tempted by the serpent, she and Adam both disobeyed God and ate of it (Genesis 3:6). Thus it was proven, that creating perfect, innocent people was not the way to get people to walk perfectly with God. Why did this dispensation of innocence fail? One reason was because man had no knowledge or experience of "death"; he did not understand the penalty for disobeying God. When Adam sinned this brought terrible consequences upon the rest of mankind:

(Romans 5:12) "For as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed into all men, by which all sinned."

Once the knowledge of sin entered into the world it was a relatively easy thing for the Devil to tempt man into sin. When he sinned, he died spiritually and became separated from God. People were allowed to go according to their conscience during this time, and although many lived over 900 years on the earth (Genesis 5), the end result was that all flesh corrupted his own way (Genesis 6:12), the earth became corrupt (Genesis 6:11), and all of men's thoughts were only to do evil continually (Genesis 6:5). God destroyed all the wicked with a flood, but saved Noah, who was a just and perfect man (Genesis 6:9), together with his family and pairs of each of the animals, in the ark which he built (Genesis 6-8). Thus it was shown that allowing man to go only according to his conscience, was not the way to get him to walk obediently with God. Something more was needed. Why did this dispensation of conscience fail? - simply because our conscience does not tell us the difference between right and wrong, it only tells us the difference between what we think is right, and what we think is wrong. The conscience is ineffective when people are "wise to do evil, but to do good they have no knowledge." (Jeremiah 4:22). After the flood men became corrupt again, although there were a few, such as Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph, who sought after God and endeavoured to obey him:

(Romans 5:14) "Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned after the likeness of Adam's transgression,".

#1.12 The Law was Given by Moses

So we come to the time of Moses and the Law, which was given to the children of Israel after they left Egypt. Before the law men could sin without their conscience convicting them:

(Romans 5:13) "For until the law sin was in the world; but sin is not imputed when there is no law."

But once the law came, it brought the knowledge of sin, and their conscience could work effectively again:

(Romans 7:7) "I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, You shall not covet."
(Romans 3:20) "for by the law is the knowledge of sin."

#1.13 The Law Made Nothing Perfect

Even so, the law was not the answer either. Men still did much wickedness, and the law failed to bring man back into right standing with God:

(Galatians 2:16) "for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified."
(Hebrews 7:19) "For the law made nothing perfect,"
(Hebrews 10:1) "For the law ... can never with those sacrifices which they offer year by year continually make those who come to it perfect."

Why did this dispensation of law fail? there were several reasons:

(1) Many times the conviction of sin came after they sinned, when they read the law.

The law did not prevent people from sinning because it was not in their heart, and it did not cause their conscience to operate when it was needed, that is, before they sinned.

(2) Man's sin was covered through the ritual processes of the law, such as the day of atonement (Leviticus 16), but this did not remove the sin from his heart:

(Hebrews 10:2) "For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged would have no more conscience of sins."
(Hebrews 10:4) "For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins."
(Hebrews 10:11) "And every high priest stands daily ministering and offering often the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins:"

(3) A man could obey the law without having his heart right with God:

(2 Chronicles 25:1-2) "Amaziah ... did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, but not with a perfect heart."
(Matthew 15:8) "This people draws near to me with their mouth, and honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me."

When God judges us he looks at our heart (1 Samuel 16:7), so this was no good either.

(4) The law tended to lead men into self-righteousness rather than God's righteousness:

(Deuteronomy 6:25) "And it will be our righteousness, if we observe to do all these commandments before the LORD our God, as he has commanded us."
(Romans 10:3) "For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves to the righteousness of God."
(Philippians 3:9) "not having my own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ,".

#1.14 Man Cannot Earn Salvation

Selfish man always wants to earn his own salvation by doing good deeds, but it is impossible for us to save ourselves (Job 40:9-14), and God does not save us because of our good works:

(Titus 3:5) "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Spirit;"
(Ephesians 2:8-9) "For by grace are you saved through faith; and that is not of yourselves, it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast."

Self-righteousness just leads to boasting of our own goodness (Luke 18:11-12). All this leaves every one of us in a sorry state, lost in sin:

(Ecclesiastes 7:20) "For there is not a just man upon the earth who does good, and does not sin."
(Romans 3:10) "There is none righteous, no, not one:"
(Romans 3:23) "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God."

Some might think that they are not sinners, but they are judging themselves by their own standard. When judgment comes God will judge by his standard, not by ours. So none of us are exempt from this, because unbelief is sin (John 16:8-9; Titus 1:15; Hebrews 3:12), lack of faith is sin (Matthew 23:23; Romans 14:23), all unrighteousness is sin (1 John 5:17), transgression of the law is sin (James 2:9-10; 1 John 3:4), failure to do good is sin (Matthew 23:23; James 4:17), foolish thoughts are sin (Proverbs 15:26; 24:9; Acts 8:22), unnecessary words are sin (Psalms 39:1; Proverbs 10:19; Matthew 5:37; James 3:6), and all disobedience to the word of God is sin (Numbers 15:31; Daniel 9:5; 9:11).

(1 John 1:8) "If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us."
(1 John 1:10) "If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us."

The penalty for our sin is also clear:

(Ezekiel 18:4) "The soul who sins, it will die."
(Romans 6:23) "For the wages of sin is death;"
(James 1:15) "sin, when it is finished, brings forth death."

There is no way that we can save ourselves once we have sinned, because we do not have the power to do it (Job 40:9-14). No matter how good a life we have led, every one of us has sinned, and in God's righteous judgment, sin has to be paid for. We cannot put right all the mistakes we have made in the past. If we have killed anyone, can we bring them back to life? If we have hurt anyone, can we take away the pain that they have already suffered? Even if we pay back what we have stolen, can we take back the suffering that our action may already have caused? We cannot even say sorry to those that we have offended or let down, who have since passed away, and even if we live a perfect life from now until we die, this is no more than God expects of us:

(Ecclesiastes 12:13) "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man."

Without God's intervention we are all destined to the lake of fire, which is the destination of all sinners (Revelation 14:9-11; 19:20; 20:10):

(Revelation 20:15) "And whoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire."

This bible study shows that with the exception of Jesus Christ, all have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).

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