These words are applicable to every person from the beginning of Creation until now! Note what is written in Genesis 1:26-27 "And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them." And again in Genesis 1:31 "And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good." This is mankind's start reflecting the moral and relational likeness of the great Creator.
Not only is man perfect but also capable of understanding things from God's perspective. In Genesis 2:16-17 we read, "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." Mankind did experience the penalty obtained by disobedience toward God. Mankind's sins unfold in varied ways of injustice and wrong-doing leading all unto death. Adam and Eve understood that there was a standard of moral right-doing or else there was no reason to hide themselves in the garden and be ashamed, nor would there be any reason for us to have guilt for our actions or inactions today.
That same standard (the moral and relational likeness of the great Creator) is the ideal to which every person appeals when they think or say aloud "That's not fair!" For fairness to have meaning, it must have a clearly discernable and uniform basis about which others can be expected to be knowledgeable. Therefore, Apostle Paul says in Romans 2:14-15, "For when the Gentiles, which have not the law (of Moses given to Israel), do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: which show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another." Only upon this universality of morality can someone honestly say, "That's not fair!" without directly addressing their own 'personal standard' by which to judge the situation (which will be promptly disputed by another's conflicting 'personal standard').
Now some will say they want no part of some 'standard' that God made and infer that they have some other moral standard of what is right or wrong in life's varied situations. This individualized standard is what Apostle Paul is commenting on when he says, "Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things." Herein is man's dilemma! Every man in his selfishness would rather have his own private standard used to judge (or justify) his conduct toward others, but a sweeter, easier, softer, less harsh, more merciful standard used when others 'call him on the carpet' for his actions or inactions toward them.
For God to be God there is only one standard of moral right-doing and everyone who violates this is guilty, so we stand condemned under His law of moral right-doing. Those who reject God's standard and assert their ablity to establish moral law themselves have the obligation to completely fulfill the application of their own standard in every one of life's situations to claim moral right-doing. God will take their ‘personal standard' and use it to condemn them "in the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ" because they do not keep inviolate their ‘personal standard' due to human selfishness. Either way man is condemned and needs a solution to his immorality. He needs a way to be declared morally upright and to be restored to a position of acceptance with the Creator.
Romans 3:11-20 says, "As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: their feet are swift to shed blood: destruction and misery are in their ways: and the way of peace have they not known there is no fear of God before their eyes. 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." (God's standard is shown in the law of Moses given to Israel.)
There is no solution or release from the certainty of our condemnation except by substitution. That is by someone standing in our place in the day of judgment who is already approved. Our hope, then, is in one Jesus Christ who will not fail to measure up to God's moral right-doing, and our confidence will be bolstered since he has already been approved by being raised from the dead.
Now, the Apostle does not leave us without hope in the day of judgment but presents to us these words of comfort in Romans 3: 21-26 "But now the righteousness of God (holding to an eternal standard) without (outside of) the law (of Moses given to Israel) is manifested, being witnessed (testified) by the law and the prophets; even the righteousness of God which is (obtained) by faith (in the sinless life, substitutionary death and resurrection) of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference (between Israel and Gentiles): For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; being justified (declared free from sin) freely by his grace (freely offered to all who accept) through the redemption (God initiated, arranged for, and agreed to accept) that is in Christ Jesus: whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation (satisfaction for sin's penalty) through faith in his blood (in his sinless life and sacrificial death), to declare his righteousness for the remission (release from all claims) of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; to declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just (exact the penalty for sin), and the justifier (accept the substitution of Jesus Christ on behalf) of him which believeth in Jesus."
Now that is divine mercy!
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