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By Edward O’Hara

Or is there a different and more Biblical way of interpreting what Paul was teaching here in Rom.3? Is Paul trying to tell us when he writes that all have sinned means that all those who have sinned have sinned? Or is he saying all men that have ever lived have sinned? In this message I am going to try to help you see what the truth is in this matter of sin that Paul and others are trying to convey.

Often are used verses or portions of verses that seem on the surface to be saying everyone that has ever lived are sinners. I call this sound bite teaching because these people use only parts of scriptures to prove their point.

And much less often are those verses taught so that they are understood in the context in which they were written. Because if they were then people could never come to the very unBiblical conclusion that all men who have ever lived have sinned.

Now don’t get me wrong here. I am not trying to say that people do not do bad things. Because many certainly do. The point of this message is to show that Jesus was not the only man who ever kept the law blamelessly. And to show that the fact that men can keep the law blamelessly is inconsequential with regard to our need for Jesus to have eternal life.

This verse for example is one that is used out of context as a general rule, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” Another is “All have sinned”. And another is “there are none righteous no not one.”

These and other verses are used in isolation by those who wish to make propaganda of the scriptures so that people will believe their intent is to show that all who have ever lived are or have been at some time in their lives sinners.

A problem arises for them from the use of an Old Testament definition for sin. Rather than applying the New Covenant definition that Jesus gave in John16:9 that is “they believe not on me.” That shows that the truth is that everyone needs Jesus. But, truth also is that the fact that everyone needs Jesus does not mean that this is because everyone has sinned.

I mean, what if someone were to go directly from faith in God and walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless under the Old Covenant, to faith in Jesus in the New Covenant when He came? Would this person have ever been a sinner? And is there such a person described in the Bible?

The answer to this question is yes of course. As I will show you as we proceed in this study.

But, what about the verses that say “all have sinned”? Isn’t this proof that all men are sinners? Again we need to understand these statements in context to know what their true meaning is. That is, to know who the “all” are who Paul is saying “have sinned.”

The ever popular “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” that is used by many as propaganda to show that all men have broken the 10 commandments means nothing of the sort. In context. Because what Paul is saying here is that the all who are sinning here are those who have sinned are sinning by not knowing or trusting in Jesus.

The word sin means to miss the mark. And that mark is not the law as so many have falsely believed, the mark is Jesus. And Paul says here that to fall short of this is to be in need of or lack the glory of God. Which is God’s presence in us by the Holy Spirit who comes to dwell in us when we believe in Jesus.

But, those who know and trust in Jesus in the New Covenant have not fallen short of this. They do not lack His presence. He lives in them by the presence of the Holy Spirit who dwells in them.

So the “all have sinned” here in this passage is a reference to all who have not believed in Jesus. Not to the idea that everyone who has ever lived has done a naughty thing at some time in their life. As so many falsely teach.

In another passage where we find many making propaganda of the scriptures is in Jer.17:9 where we see Jeremiah saying that “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” And when reading this apart from its context so that a person can make it mean whatever they choose it might be understood to be referring to all men’s hearts who have ever lived.

But, when we read the context we see that this statement is referring to a very specific sub group. We see that this is a reference to those “whose heart departeth from the Lord. For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited.”

But, when referring to those who do believe in Him Jeremiah says, “Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is.

8 For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.”

So here again we see that these verses used by so many to show the inherent sinfulness of mankind are really showing nothing of the kind. But, in reality speak only of those whose trust is not in the Lord.

And when we hear it preached in pulpits today that “there are none righteous no not one” it’s almost always used to describe all men who have ever lived. But, once again in the context in which it is written we find it is referring to a very different subset of people.

In Psalm14 from which Paul quoted this it says “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good. The Lord looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God.

3 They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one.”

Now if we are fair with what we read here we will see from the very first part of this passage that God is referring only to the fool that says in his heart there is no God. And not to everyone who has ever been conceived.

And in the very next verse God continues to show us this truth saying, “Have all the workers of iniquity no knowledge? who eat up my people as they eat bread, and call not upon the Lord.

5 There were they in great fear: for God is in the generation of the righteous.”

Here now we can see clearly that the “none righteous no not one” that is being referred to here, and again when Paul quotes it in Rom.3, is a reference to those who do not believe in or trust in God. And not to everyone who has ever been conceived. As God says these unbelievers “eat up my people”.

God’s people once again are those who trust in Him. But, the wicked hearted and none righteous are those who do not trust in Him. Those who say in their heart there is no God. Those who God said in Ps.14 were eating up His people.

So now that we have a good working understanding upon which to build our faith regarding these passages referring to sinners, none righteous, and the wicked, vs those who are righteous. And have seen that this was not what has created our need for Jesus. We can now look at what the scriptures tell us about what really created our need for God.

We see in Luke1:5,6 that these 2 people never sinned according to the law. We also see that these 2 believed in Jesus as He manifested forth His glory to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. So these 2 people, Zachariah and Elizabeth, always trusted in God/Jesus and walked in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.

So the obvious question is, if they never sinned then why did these 2 still need Jesus? And the answer is that it isn’t because anyone has sinned by violating the law given through Moses that men need Jesus. Never was and never will be.

The reason men need Jesus is because since Adam was made all men are only natural flesh and blood. And as Paul said in 1Cor.15:50, “flesh and blood can not inherit the kingdom of God.” Adding in 1Cor.2:14 that the reason for this is because “the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”

This was why in Jesus’ teaching to Israel He said in John4:24, “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” And in John3 that “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” Why? Because,

6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.”

So from this, and because we now know that all men are not sinners from conception, we know that it was because Adam was created natural flesh and blood, and not spiritual in any way, that men need Jesus. And works, whether good or bad, has nothing to do with it.

Men need Jesus because He alone possesses the power to make men spiritual. To create in men a spiritual part that never existed before. A spirit that joins men to God by what is described by Peter as “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

24 For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away:

25 But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.”

So the seed Peter is referring to here is the word of God that was sown in our hearts when we heard the gospel. As is also shown in Jesus’ parable of the sower sowing the word in Mt.13 and Mark4.

Peter says this seed is mixed with faith in us to give birth to a spirit in us. A spirit that never existed before. Just as a man’s sperm when mixed with the egg in a woman to give birth to a baby that never existed before.

This seed and the gift of faith is what makes us children of our spiritual Father. Just as much, if not more because of the word’s eternal quality, than the sperm and egg makes us children of our fleshly parents.

This is why once we have been born again we can not be unborn again. And we will always and forever be children of God and heir to His kingdom. Because after we have been born of God nothing can separate us from His love. Rom.8:35-39

We are joined to Him by being made a new creature in Christ. 2Cor.5:17. A new creation. A spiritual being that never existed until we trusted in Jesus for eternal life.

And now with the Holy Spirit that also dwells in us we are led by Him in His love that is shed abroad in our hearts by Him. And not by the works of the law that can never justify the flesh.

And the thing that we need to realize is the fact that the flesh doesn’t need justifying. Because it was made exactly as God intended from the beginning. “Very good” as God said about everything that He had made in Gen.1:31. Not spiritual, but only natural as Paul said in 1Cor.15:46. Just as God intended it to be at the beginning.

Made so that it could relate just fine to the things that are made. But, not to spiritual things. Because that was to come later after by his free will choice Adam would become better equipped to make choices of consequence. Free will choices that would be made by every man. Who after hearing the gospel would say yes by the free will God has given to every man that has ever been made or conceived.

So the flesh we have from our natural birth is just an earth suit. Made for us for living here on earth. But, this earth was never to be our eternal home. And if we will trust in Jesus a spirit is created in us that will give life to the new body Jesus has prepared for us at the resurrection. An immortal body that is made to live in heaven with God for eternity.

This is why Jesus said in John6:63, “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” These spiritual words Jesus speaks of here are the same words that Peter told us are the seed that mixes with faith in us when we are born again.

But, if we believe that our bad works are what causes our need for Jesus. Then we will also believe that only good works can satisfy that need. And since we know that our own works can’t save us. We will make Jesus’ works the satisfaction for that need. Which leaves us in the quandary of believing that works are a salvation issue.

When Paul says clearly in Gal.2:16 that we are not justified by works, but by the faith of Christ. A faith by which Jesus Himself was justified before the Father.

And what also makes the idea that Adam’s bad works created our need for Jesus so bad for us is that it creates in us a need, a compulsion, to pervert verses like the ones we covered at the beginning of this message. Reading into them the false and misleading preconceived notions of inherent and imputed sin that are taught in the pagan gnostic doctrine of original sin and sin nature. Perversions of the scriptures caused by their wrong understanding of what happened in the garden.

Perversions that cause an inability for them to interpret correctly things like what Paul meant when he said “according to the righteousness found in the law I was blameless.” And perverting what it means that Job was righteous before God who “was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.”

Because in their perversions they make all men sinners by nature with hearts that are deceitfully wicked because they have wrongly believed instead that we inherited this from Adam. And make none that have ever been conceived righteous. Rather than the fool who said in his heart there is no God.

Even though Jesus said suffer the children to come unto me for of such is the kingdom of God. And even though the scripture plainly shows us that those without the knowledge of good and evil, which includes everyone who has ever been conceived, are not condemned by God. In contrast, those who pervert these scriptures become so perverted in their thinking that they end up believing that there are babies in hell.

As I showed before, the way to keep from perverting the scriptures is to interpret them in the context in which they are written. Scriptures like “Ye must be born again.” Perverted by some who say this was Jesus teaching reincarnation. When in context Jesus was saying men must be born of the Spirit of God to be His children and heirs to His kingdom and eternal life. And not just from their mother’s womb in a fleshly birth.

So whether we have done bad things or not. And whether we have walked in all of the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless as Zachariah and Elizabeth did or not. To be saved all men need to trust in Jesus as He trusted the Father. Submitting our will to His will as Jesus did before the Father when He said, “Nevertheless, not my will but thy will be done.”

Jesus alone is the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes to the Father except through Him. He is the only way because He alone has conquered mortality. By raising from mortality to immortality on the 3rd day after His death on the cross.

Do you believe this? Do you believe Jesus is Lord? Do you believe He has raised from the dead? If you do then confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus. And believe in your heart He has raised from the dead. And you will be saved.

Do this and you will have eternal life. Do this and you will be made a child of God and heir to His kingdom. Do this and immortality in a new body, one that Jesus said He has gone to prepare for us, will be yours at the resurrection unto life. Do this… and I will see you there or in the air!

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