Galatians 3:22. “But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.”
This verse draws a dire picture of all mankind being imprisoned by sin, for we are all sinners. Romans 3:10 and 3:23 tell us that all have sinned. Jeremiah 17:9 makes it clear that the human heart is deceitful and incorrigibly wicked, and that we don’t even know the depth of our own depravity.
No one is above the desire to sin. No one escapes the imprisonment of sin. Sometimes we try to categorize sin: “Really, really bad,” “not quite as bad,” “bad, but understandable,” “mildly bad,” and “just a little bit bad.” And then, of course, we reassure ourselves that our own sin isn’t nearly as bad as so-and-so’s sin, so getting to heaven won’t be quite so difficult for us.
What we miss is that even the tiniest, “not bad at all” sin nailed Jesus to the cross just as surely as the worst sin we can think of. We have completely lost sight of the absolute holiness of our God, Who cannot tolerate even one tiny, tiny little sin in His presence. And those “tiny” sins imprison us just as much as the “really, really bad” ones do. Without the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, we could not come to God by faith and be reconciled to Him.
You know, I can remember when the lines were very clear between right and wrong; all my friends knew it was wrong to lie, to cheat, to disobey parents. Today, we laugh at things we used to be ashamed of. We’ve lost our way, and we don’t even know it.
The truth is, no one will come to salvation through grace by faith until there is once again a clear understanding of sin, of what offends a pure and holy God. Until we understand that our own righteousnesses are like polluted, filthy rags in God’s eyes, we will not see our need of a Savior.