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What does Romans 3:23 mean when is says, "All have sinned and come short of the glory of God? How could this be true of an infant baby?

A very good question. Since the phrase is in the past tense and the "all" means all mankind, it must include that infant child too.

Man is a sinner in a fourfold way. First, by imputation, that is, Adam represented all mankind. When he sinned we were seen in him. Romans 5:12, "Wherefore as by one man (Adam) sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that (or in Adam) all have sinned." In Romans 5:18 we read, "Therefore by the offence of one (Adam) judgement came upon all men to condemnation..." Adam's sin was imputed to all his future offsprings. We are all tainted with the same disease of sin. In this way all have sinned in Adam. This would include that infant child. Secondly, we are sinners by birth. Psalms 51:5, "Behold, I was shapened in iniquity and in sin did my mother conceive me" Thirdly, we are sinners by choice. "All we like sheep have gone astray, we have turned everyone to his own way..." Isaiah 53:6. Fourthly, we are sinners by practice. "There is not a just man on earth that doeth good and sinneth not," Ecclesiastes 7:20.

So Romans 3:23 is saying that we are partakers of Adam's sin and have come short of the glory of God. It is interesting that the phrase "come short" is translated "want" Luke 15:14. In Matthew 19:20, it is translated "lack." We are lacking the glory and honour that God endowed upon man when He created him.

Do you realize your sinfulness before God? Have you come as such to Christ for salvation? If not, come to Christ today?

All comments and questions to: Harold Smith

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Updated March 7th, 2014 by Sandra Felix