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Summary: Four Words: Sin, Justified, Grace and Redemption. These words are found in two Bible verses in Romans. They make all the difference when it comes to a changed life and salvation through Jesus.

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Lanier Christian Church

David Simpson - May 1, 2016

Four Words that Make all the Difference

Romans 3:23,24

23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

Preachers, no matter the church affiliation all share something in common. We are all guilty. Sin, you may say. Yes, that too. What I'm talking about is more subtle. We preachers are often guilty of something in our conversation, teaching and preaching that takes away from the impact of what we are trying to say. And what is that you may ask? Well...We use big theological sounding words that even "WE" don't completely understand!

These words refer to great foundational truths in the Bible. Words that sound good. Words that are obviously important words. Words that are often used only in the church. Words that, for those who have grown up in the church, we have heard all our lives. And yet, they are words that few understand.

But, we're all guilty. Most of us do it all the time. We talk in ways that we don't always understand: Here are some expressions people use - maybe some are Southern in heritage...others are not.

Have you ever said: "He's in high cotton."

Here's one: "He's the cat's pajamas, man."

What about: "She's in a pickle."

Or: "He's like a pig in a poke."

Maybe: "He's over a barrel now."

Or: "That was close, but no cigar."

Suppose you say: "I'm standing between the devil and the deep blue sea."

You might even say: "They kicked the bucket."

Or.."My neighbor is living high off the hog."

One my dad said to me all the time was: "Now you're cooking with gas."

So go ahead...explain these phrases to your children or grandchildren! What do they mean?

We even eat things we don't understand.

Ever had escargo? What about calamari? And of course there are the southern delicacies of tripe or chitterlings? We ate at the Gainesville Country Cooking Restaurant with the grandkids the other night and I put something on my plate I didn't recognize at first. I soon realized it was gizzards. So my grandkids wanted to know what a gizzard was...so I told them to ask anybody at church on Sunday and they would tell them!

I believe we must have a better understanding of Bible words and phrases. We must not be confusing or confounding when it comes to the deep truths of the Bible. Instead, we should be able to comprehend these powerful truths and be impacted forever by their meaning.

Let's explore four words today that make a difference in our lives. They are found in a well known passage in Galatians 3:23,24.

1. SIN

How do you define sin? Many a person today will define sin as: "when you mess up." It's the phrase someone uses to describe what happens when you have failed, when you have not measured up. Occasionally someone will confess to me that they have sinned, but they never use the word "sin." Instead, 90% of the time someone will say: "I messed up." It is such a prominent synonym of the word sin that perhaps we should translate Romans 3:23 - "For all have messed up and fallen short of the glory of God."

Indeed all of us HAVE sinned, but what does that really mean? Does "messed up" describe it? The word "sin" is from a greek word, harmatia, which means: "to miss the mark; to fall short." Picture an archer with a bow and arrow and they are shooting at the bullseye of a target. If they do not hit the center of the target they have missed the mark. If the arrow doesn't reach the target at all, it has fallen short.

That's what happens when we sin. We fall short. God's perfect will is before us, and if we are not precise in doing it exactly the way God desires, then we have fallen short.

Billy Graham once said: A sin is any thought or action that falls short of God’s will. God is perfect, and anything we do that falls short of His perfection is sin. (From billygraham.org)

Any behavior that is not pleasing to God is sin. But, not only that, any thought that is not pleasing to God is sin. Have you ever said?..."I thought it, but I didn't say it...or do it." That thought missed the mark just as much as a wrong deed misses the mark.

The sad commentary about God's creation is that ALL have sinned. We're all in the same boat here. All of us have sinned. We like to categorize sin and say such things as: "Well at least I didn't do THAT..." Yet, God looks at us and sees every one of us as falling short of His perfect plan. We have all missed the mark.

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