Monday, January 27, 2014

The Foundation of Faith (Part V)

(As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were.” (Romans 4:17)

The verse quoted here is from Genesis 17:4-5. The verb have made is in the perfect tense. This grammatical arrangement, as well as context and other portions of Scripture, make it clear that God's promise to Abraham is irreversible. Abraham is not only the physical father of Israel, he is also the spiritual father of all the redeemed. Such numbers stagger the imagination. It is no wonder God told Abraham that he would be a father of many nations! After this parenthetical statement, the verse picks up where verse 16 left off. The personal pronoun him is referring to God, and the he is referring to Abraham. The God of Abraham's belief is then described. He is the same God believers serve today, and He is given two characteristics in this verse. First, He is the one who quickens the dead. This participle is in the present tense; thus it is describing a characteristic of God which is alive and well. God not only quickened the bodies and lives of Abraham and Sarah, He quickens the spirits of all who seek Him in repentant faith. His life-giving nature is enduring and everlasting, and best of all, it is always relevant in the here and now. He is next described as the one calls those things which be not as though they were. Again, this participle is in the present form; therefore, it is also describing a present, active characteristic of God. Without God's calling on his life, Abraham most likely would have died a heathen in the land of Ur, but God called him and gave him spiritual life. He also quickened the old, barren bodies of Abraham and Sarah and enabled them to have a son. God is a God of the impossible. Men look at their situation and think, “I have no hope.” Yet, God is able to say be to that which is not. In the beginning, He commanded light to be, and light was. Such is His nature. He can take the wretched and helpless sinner and transform him into a child of righteousness by grace and divine power. This ability to call the impossible into existence does not end at the salvation experience. Throughout the Christian life, yea, forever more, God is able to call the impossible into existence.

Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be.” (Romans 4:18)


The phrase in hope has the meaning of on the basis of. Against all human reasoning and worldly concepts of hope, Abraham came to a point where he chose to believe based solely upon the hope he had in God's unbreakable word. Hope in God is not unsure in nature. Often times, people reference hope with a great degree of uncertainty. For instance, a child might say, “I hope I get the toy I want for my birthday!” He is not sure he will get it; he simply “hopes” or wishes for it. This is not biblical hope. When standing upon God's promises, and coming to Him on His terms, a person has unshakeable hope. Abraham made a conscious choice to look past what was and look forward to what would be. Anyone seeking redemption must do the same. Until an individual chooses to set aside the “what-ifs” and the fears and simply believe in Christ's ability to forgive and redeem, he will not be saved. Faith is choosing to stand on the basis of God's unwavering promises. Such promises gender true hope. The believer must live his life the same way. Day by day, God's children must consistently choose to live in the heavenly hope. Far too often, believers compare the validity of hope to their current circumstances. A believer may adamantly affirm to hope in God's promises, yet when the true test comes and all hope appears gone, the same believer views biblical hope as having failed and immediately turns to the flesh and the world for help. Such an action fails to allow biblical hope to perform in its most natural arena, the arena of the impossible.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

The Foundation of Faith (Part IV)

For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.” (Romans 4:13)

Faith apart from works is the subject of chapter four's remaining verses. The Greek text has this sentence arranged somewhat emphatically. A literal translation would read, “For not through law (was) the promise to Abraham, or to the seed of him, the heir he should be of the world, but through righteousness of faith.” Emphasis is placed upon the fact that God's promises to Abraham were apart from law. For smoothness of translation, the English text has added the definite article to the word law and righteousness. Thus rendering the reading the law and the righteousness. In the Greek text, these articles are absent; thus, emphasis is being placed upon the nature and character of law versus the nature and character of righteousness. Doubtless, the law given on Mt. Sinai is in view, but beyond that, God wants us to focus on the essence of law and how it applies in the topic of justification. By nature, law does not justify; it condemns. Imperfect man is not liberated by the nature of law; he is leveled by it. However, in strong contrast to this (the “but” in the last part of the verse), the very nature of the righteousness of God, which is imputed through faith, brings liberty and justification.

For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect:” (Romans 4:14)

As Galatians 3:17 states, “...the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect.” Abraham's divine justification and blessing took place long before any written law was given to Israel, so how can justification be found through law-keeping? The tense of the verbs made void and made of none effect are in the Perfect tense. Therefore, the idea is that if justification is only for those who have been given the law, simple faith has been rendered permanently useless and so has God's promise to Abraham. In light of this, an impossible situation is presented, because God cannot lie, and His promises cannot be voided.

Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression.” 
(Romans 4:15)

The law of God is holy and just; but man is wicked and vile; therefore, on the basis of law, God's wrath is toward man, because every man is lawless by nature. If laws and rules did not exist and every man were truly his own standard, wrath would not be. However, at what point has law not been in existence? From the very beginning of world history, law has existed. The first divine commandment to man was given in Genesis 2:16-17, “And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” Thus, law has always existed; man has always been accountable to his Creator. God is a God of law and order. Transgression exists because God said “do not” but man chose “to do.”

Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all,” (Romans 4:16)

Therefore, justification by faith is the only logical and theologically correct conclusion.  Faith, empowered by God's grace toward the unworthy sinner, is the means of attaining God's righteousness. The most beautiful aspect of such a conclusion is this, “Salvation becomes free to all peoples of every nation.” Anyone willing to exercise faith in the Lord Jesus Christ can become an heir of eternal life. The text is careful to include both Jew (that...of the law) and Gentile (of the faith of Abraham). The end of this verse describes Abraham as “the father of us all.” Again, the definite article is not included with “father” in the original text, so the character and nature of fatherhood is being emphasized. Abraham is a spiritual father to all who choose to walk in his steps of faith. With such a picture presented, God has ordained for both saved Jew and saved Gentile to serve hand-in-hand within a local assembly.  All grounds for discrimination and division are removed by such a concept. Saved Jew and saved Gentile may find spiritual unity around God's truth as they share the intimate bond of faith in the Christ of Abraham.  It must be remembered that Abraham rejoiced to see Christ's day, “...and he saw it, and was glad.” (John 8:56)

Sunday, January 19, 2014

The Foundation of Faith (Part III)

Cometh this blessedness then upon the circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also? for we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness. How was it then reckoned? when he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision.” (Romans 4:9-10)

Faith apart from ordinances is the focus for the next four verses. God is drawing attention to the fact that Abraham was not circumcised when Scripture declared him to be justified. Abraham was declared righteous by God in Genesis 15, but the sign of circumcision was not administered until Genesis 17. Had the situation been reversed, man might have grounds for claiming ordinances as a means of justification; therefore, Paul is quick to point out that the ordinance of circumcision had no say in the matter of Abraham's justification. Over and over again, Paul fought the false teaching that circumcision is necessary for full salvation. It was the struggle of the early church in Acts 15 and a major theme in the book of Galatians. Man has not changed down through the centuries. He consistently attempts to alter God's simple plan of redemption; even the saved are guilty of resting in physical works for sanctification rather than resting in submission to the Spirit who is responsible for performing, within the believer, the work of sanctification.

And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also:” 
(Romans 4:11)

In Genesis 17, God reaffirmed His promises to Abraham concerning physical seed and his possession of Canaan. The role of circumcision should not be minimized in God's plan, but it certainly had nothing to do with Abraham's redemption. As the text says, it was a seal of the faith that led Abraham to redemption. Abraham was obedient to God's command concerning circumcision, because Abraham had been converted and was willing to take on a physical sign that he belonged to a higher Authority. Had Abraham not been willing to obey God in this, one would have grounds to question the validity of his conversion. In some regards, baptism may be thought of in the same way. It cannot save. It is merely an outward expression of a spiritual truth. It expresses a willingness to be publicly identified with Christ.

The fact that Abraham was justified apart from the ordinance of circumcision, demonstrates the open nature of salvation. Should ordinances be necessary for justification, many people would be excluded; but since simple faith in Christ is the only requirement, salvation is available to all. The text calls Abraham the father of all them that believe. Obviously, Abraham is the physical father of Israel; however, he is the spiritual father of all who come to God in simple faith. He is referred to as a spiritual father because anyone who puts their faith in God is choosing to operate on the same principles of justification as did Abraham. A literal word-for-word translation of the phrase though they be not circumcised, would read through uncircumcision. Therefore, when this last phrase is combined with the first part, a literal rendering would be that he might be a father of all of the ones who are believing through uncircumcision. Through the avenue of simple faith apart from physical circumcision, God justified Abraham; and all men, whether Jew or Gentile, may avail themselves of this divine justification, if they so choose.

And the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised.” (Romans 4:12)

Physical circumcision is nothing more than a sign of what happens on the inside when a person is truly converted. As physical circumcision removes a covering and an area for filth to collect, so spiritual circumcision removes the spiritual blindness and cleanses the filth of human pride. Spiritual circumcision is God's primary concern. In Acts 7:51, Stephen rebuked the elders of Israel for being uncircumcised in heart and ears. They had not allowed God to change them from the inside out. Such was not the case with Abraham. He bowed the knee to God's righteousness and God cleansed the filthiness of his heart and gave him eternal life. The physical act of circumcision pictured this great truth; therefore, he is called the father of circumcision. The Jew who has been circumcised as a baby and the Gentile who has not been circumcised may both come to Christ in simple faith and thus find a spiritual bond with Abraham who stands out as the ultimate example of justification by faith. The phrase who also walk means to walk orderly or to agree with or to hold to. True conversion is characterized by a willingness to be obedient to God's commands and desires for one's life. This is not to say that a true believer will never disobey or never be involved in wickedness; yet, a consistent desire to be disorderly and rebellious is not a trait of the redeemed but of the damned.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Foundation of Faith (Part II)

But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.” (Romans 4:5)

The sinner can only be declared righteous by believing on Him who has the power to justify. The absence of works does not forbid a repentant attitude. Some have attempted to dismiss repentance in salvation, claiming that it qualifies as a work. This is not biblical thinking. God demands a change of mind toward sin (Isaiah 55:7), and this change of heart toward one's direction will undoubtedly affect the attitude and behavior to some degree. This verse is not forbidding the expression of repentance; it is condemning the man who believes he can live well enough to be accepted by God.

Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.” (Romans 4:6-8)

This passage is a quotation of Psalm 32:1-2. In this Psalm, David is found making full confession to God for sin he had been harboring. This may have been his sin with Bathsheba and the subsequent murder of Uriah. Be that as it may, David is rejoicing in the weight which was removed upon confession before God. As long as man continues in self-justification, the weight of his actions will continue to increase; however, when a man will humble himself and confess his own failures as well as God's righteousness, he finds peace. The word for blessedness has the meaning of happiness. The word for iniquities literally means without law. It is a happy thing to have one's lawless behavior completely forgiven as well as sin covered in the blood of Christ. The last verse is particularly interesting. The phrase will not is a double negative in the Greek text. English does not use this structure, because in the English language, two negatives would make a positive; however, in biblical Greek, two negatives make an even stronger negative. Thus, the idea of impossibility is expressed. The Lord will, under no circumstances, ever impute sin unto the one who comes to him in repentant faith. David found it to be so. He fully turned his heart from sin unto God and found forgiveness and justification, regardless of how severely he had broken God's commands. This grammatical structure of the double negative bears witness to the doctrine of eternal security. Regardless of failures and shortcomings, the believer in Christ cannot be condemned to eternal hellfire because he has already been justified. This same double negative phenomenon is also used to express the permanency of salvation in Revelation 3:5, “He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not (author's italics) blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.”

Sunday, January 12, 2014

The Foundation of Faith

What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found?” (Romans 4:1)

The text now transitions into the subject of faith, the means by which God's righteousness is imparted into the spiritual “bank account” of an individual. Faith apart from works is first presented. The Holy Spirit directs the reader back to Abraham, the man whom God called “...my friend.” (Isaiah 41:8) This is a tremendous place to start since this is where the Jewish nation began. A simple question is asked, “What did Abraham discover to be true concerning this whole matter of salvation?” Taking note of his discoveries is well worth the time because few men have had such commendation from the Almighty. The phrase hath found is a Greek infinitive which is acting as a verb and its tense is in the perfect. This is indicating that the effects of Abraham's findings are relevant at any point in time and they will forever be relevant; therefore, one does well to sit up and take notice of Abraham's discoveries which are about to be disclosed.

For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God.” (Romans 4:2)

The word for glory means a boasting or grounds for boasting. If Abraham had believed that his deeds aided him in justification, he would have had grounds for boasting; however, this boasting could not have been toward God since man cannot be justified by works in God's sight, “...for in thy sight shall no man living be justified.” (Psalm 143:2) It would have been a boasting in his own flesh and not a boasting in God's goodness.

For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.” (Romans 4:3)

This is a quotation from Genesis 15:6. As Abraham stood beneath the starlit sky that night, he had no reason to believe that he would be the father of many nations; that is, no reason except the unbreakable promise of God. God said to him, “Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be.” (Genesis 15:5) Rather than doubt God or seek answers within himself, he decided to simply believe what God had said. Genesis 15:6 reads, “And he believed in the LORD: and he counted it to him for righteousness.” The verb for believed is a word from which amen is derived. Rather than doubt God, Abraham made a conscious choice to say “amen” in the promises of Jehovah. Amen is a statement of affirmation that means so be it, let it be so, or it is so. This faith was placed “in” the promise that God had made and not in anything else. The result of this is truly amazing. God counted Abraham's faith to him as righteousness, his faith, not his works. The verb counted means to impute, reckon or log down. It appears eleven times in this chapter alone. God imparted his righteousness to Abraham's “spiritual bank account,” because of Abraham's faith in God's word and His ability to perform His word.

Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.” (Romans 4:4)

If a person has truly worked and earned his wages, the distribution of those wages is not considered an act of grace but an act of good ethics. On the negative side, if God were to give a man the wages of his works, He would have to give death to that man. Why? Because every man has broken some portion of or all of God's law and “...the wages of sin is death....” (Romans 6:23) Man in his pride cries out in God's face, “I can meet your standards. Give me my reward!”, but God in His mercy desires to keep man from experiencing the wages of his deeds by directing him to faith in the Person and work of Jesus Christ.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

The Conclusion of Man's Condemnation (Part II)

Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:” (Romans 3:24)

In stark contrast to the condemnation of the law, man is now pointed toward the hope which is found in Christ. The word justified means to pronounce righteous or to declare righteous. The man who puts his faith in Jesus Christ is given the righteousness of God and brought up to God's standard through the righteousness of Christ. All of this is done freely, apart from any good deeds on the behalf of the sinner. Grace is unmerited favor. God, in His goodness, has chosen to give man an opportunity to be redeemed. The word redemption means a buying back. Jesus Christ paid the price for man's sin. The one who puts his faith in Christ is forever purchased from the slave-market of sin. It may seem terribly obvious; however, it is important to note that this one simple verse gives no room for any other redeemer. Christ, who is God, is the only Redeemer found in Scripture.

Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;” (Romans 3:25)

The whom is referring back to Christ. Set forth has the idea of public display. God has not accomplished man's redemption in secret. The events of Calvary are for all to know. The purpose of Christ's sacrifice on the cross is so that He might be a propitiation. This word means to make amends for or to appease. On the cross, Christ became sin for man, and God's wrath was appeased toward individual sin. This same word is translated mercy seat in Hebrews 9:5. This appeasement toward sin may be individually obtained through faith; however, it is not simply a faith without specific direction; it is faith in Christ's blood. Many individuals boast themselves of having “a faith.” Sadly, all too often this refers to a general belief that God does exist and that He may be called upon in a time of need. This is not a true faith, nor is it a worthy faith. Faith may be directed towards many things. Man is intensely religious and capable of having great faith in himself and other false gods; but the only productive faith is a faith which is directed towards the blood of Jesus Christ. Sin is abominable in the eyes of God and can only be purged by means of blood, and not just any blood; it must be the blood of Jesus Christ, the sinless one.

...to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God.” Through the Person of Christ, God has put His righteousness on public display and declared it to all the world. The purpose is so that man might find remission, or forgiveness, of sins. The text says sins that are past. The participle which has been translated past is acting as an adjective, modifying sin. This participle is in the perfect tense, which means it is giving the consequences of the sin an enduring quality. The consequences of sin do not simply go away with time. Sin must be paid for. In context, this seems to be referring to all the sins of Old Testament saints which received full payment on the cross. Even though men such as Abraham were fully justified by faith, their sin still had to be dealt with. It could not simply be excused. Sin's destructive nature will have eternal affects if not dealt with in the Person of Christ. All of this is made possible through God's forbearance or long-suffering nature.

To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.” (Romans 3:26)

In a reaffirming manner, the Holy Spirit once again puts forth the righteousness of God. This is needed since man is intensely self-righteous. Even a Christian is constantly plagued by the desire to push his own works rather than submit to the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit. The purpose of declaring the righteousness of Christ is so that He alone might be just or righteous (same word translated both ways). God the Father will accept, as completely righteous, none other but His Son, Jesus Christ, and because He is completely just, He is able to completely justify the one who comes to Him in simple faith.

Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.” (Romans 3:27-28)

Truly, this is a marvelous close to such a divine discussion. The question is asked, “Where is boasting?” At this point, is man left any room to put his own goodness on display? Only a fool would continue to argue. At this juncture, boasting has been excluded or shut out. The verb excluded is passive which means that the action is being done to the subject boasting. God has seen to it that man's self-righteous boasting has been shut out and man has no say in the matter. This has been accomplished by the simple law of faith, not works. Thus, the grand conclusion is reached. Man can only be justified through faith. Justification will never come through the law. Only Christ has flawlessly kept the law and earned the title JUST. He alone is The Just One (Acts 7:52). Verse 28 reiterates what David wrote in Psalm 143:2, “And enter not into judgment with thy servant: for in thy sight shall no man living be justified.” Outside of Christ's righteousness, man cannot stand in God's presence.

Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also: Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith. Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.” (Romans 3:29-31)

As stated before, God does not respect personage. He is interested in the salvation of all mankind. The text says that by faith the Jew is declared righteous, and that through faith the Gentile is declared righteous. As Christ said, “...salvation is of the Jews (John 4:22).” The covenant of faith was first made with Abraham. This is the foundation upon which all else is built. The use of these two different prepositions seems to be reminding the reader that God brought salvation out of the Jewish nation (Christ is a Jew) and the Gentile world has reaped the benefits of such benevolence. Such a reminder should spark an attitude of humility and gratitude in the heart of the Gentile reader.

Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.” Since the law of God is designed to point a man to faith in Jesus Christ, its purpose and validity are not harmed but rather confirmed and complimented when such faith is exercised.

The righteousness of God has been the topic at the beginning and at the end of this discourse on man's condemnation. It was the answer in the Old Testament and it is the answer in the New. All men have been exposed as sinners and worthy of eternal hellfire. Jesus Christ has paid the price for sin and offers redemption freely to all; however, this redemption can only be appropriated through simple faith, a subject to be discussed at great length in the following verses.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

The Conclusion of Man's Condemnation

Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” (Romans 3:19-20)

The conclusion of man's condemnation is now the focus for the rest of chapter three. Paul says, “Now we know....” This verb is in the perfect tense, the strongest in biblical Greek. What is about to be spoken cannot be reversed, regardless of man's opinion. “...what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law....” All mankind is under the law. This is not directed at the Jew only but to all mankind. Mankind is universally under God's judgment. The next phrase is extremely important to understand. In one simple statement, God gives the clear purpose of the law, “...that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.” God's law was never meant to bring justification, but conviction. It is intended to be a guide, not a redeemer, as described in Galatians 3:22, 24, “But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe...Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.” God's eye is all-seeing. He has personally seen every man break His holy law; therefore, all mankind stands guilty in God's sight. “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” The word for knowledge means to experience or to come to know (by experience). The rebellion of the human heart is quickly brought into view once rules are established. The law doesn't help justify the human heart; it condemns it. The flesh is lawless; therefore, law could never be its means of justification.

But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” (Romans 3:21-23)

God's righteousness does not require the help of law's nature. His righteousness is able to stand alone. This is not to say that law is in conflict with His righteousness, but rather, His righteousness is the reason that law exists. God does not need standards. He is the Standard! The verb manifested is in the perfect tense. God's righteousness has been made clear unto all through the Person of Jesus Christ and this cannot be reversed, and not only that, but the effects of this holy manifestation will forever be profitable to the believing heart. God's righteousness is not carried by the law but witnessed by the law. The prophets were also given as a testimony to what the law has always made clear concerning the righteous character of God.

The most encouraging news is that this righteousness is available to all who will put their faith Jesus Christ. The Old Testament believer was redeemed by looking forward to the justification the Messiah would impart, while the New Testament believer is redeemed by looking back to the justification the Messiah has offered. The text makes it clear that this righteousness is obtained by no other means than simple faith. The text also says, “...unto all....” This demonstrates the fact that God's grace is for every man, while “...upon all them that believe....” demonstrates the fact that His grace is only efficacious to the one who will humble his heart in simple faith. Salvation is offered to all men, but it only comes upon the man who will believe.

...for there is no difference: for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” God offers His salvation to all without any respect of persons. Man picks and chooses those to whom he will be kind. Such are not God's ways. Mankind is universally unworthy; therefore, God has chosen to show universal grace. The phrase “for all have sinned” is focusing on a past point-in-time action, while the phrase “come short” is focusing on a present continuous action. A literal translation would thus read, “For all have sinned, and are falling short of the glory of God.” Man is condemned by his past as well as his continuous present failures.