This month I did a running challenge with a friend. The plan was to run 75 miles in the month of September. Today is the last day of September and I am only at 71 miles. Now, 71 miles is a personal best. I have never run 71 miles in a month before, so I could feel pretty good about that. The problem is, it falls short of my goal.
This morning when I was doing my last run, realizing there was just no way that I could run far enough to make my goal, I was thinking of the things that kept me from meeting my goal. There were unexpected days of busyness. There were some days when I was just too sore from a previous long run, or doing other hard physical labor (you guys, fixing up a house is HARD!). Other times, my schedule just didn't allow time for a run. All the reasons add up to one thing, I just fell short.
Before anyone thinks that I am beating myself up too much over something as trivial as a running goal, don't worry- I can get over it. But the more I thought about it, it felt like an important metaphor for something far more important than running. I was reminded of another place where I have fallen short. Immensely so.
For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith.
This verse tells us that all of us have fallen short of the glory of God. We were all born sinners. No matter how much we may set goals to be our best selves, we fall short. Our human nature was set against any desire for goodness before we even had a chance to set such goals. Even at our best, we can not be perfect. And in order to not be a sinner, we must be perfect and holy even as God is holy. Anything less than perfection is falling short of the glory of God.
But praise be to God! There is far more to those verses than condemnation. We all fall short, but we are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus! We are no longer condemned. We don't need to beat ourselves up. We don't need to prove anything. We are sinners, yes, and we have fallen short of God's standard, but by the grace of God, we are forgiven, set apart, chosen by God. We are clothed in Christ's righteousness. We don't need to worry about falling short. His grace and mercy will never fall short- praise be to God!
Grace, mercy, and peace will be with us, from God the Father and from Jesus Christ the Father's Son, in truth and love.
II John 3