In a recent discussion among fellow believers, one of the believers posed several questions to the group. The first set of questions posed to the group was: Define the word all in the scripture; For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23)? Does all mean all inclusive? The initial response by all who were asked these questions was one of two responses; All means all-inclusive or All means everyone. The group of believers was then asked the following question; Does that mean everyone without exception? The response from the group was collectively; Yes, all means all-inclusive without exception.
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. But now the righteousness of God without (apart from) the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come (fall) short of the glory of God (Romans 3:19-23).
According to this passage, we now have knowledge, which cannot be denied, that whatever the law said, it said it to those who are living under the law. The law actually addressed all those living under the law in that according to the law, the whole world stands silently and guilty before almighty God, awaiting their sentence.
In the days of Jesus, those under the law were considered to primarily be the Jews. This group included the scribes, the Pharisees, and the Sadducees. The group also included the Herodians, the chief priest, and the certain other Jews. These were the very people who were charged with knowing, keeping, and enforcing the law. These were the same people who were in charge of giving detailed interpretation of the scriptures. These same people were considered to be the authorities on the scriptures.
Anyway, this passage goes on to say that as a result, the working of the law made it impossible for anyone to be justified in the sight of God. According to this passage, no one could be made righteous in the eyes of God by doing what the law says because the law itself brought the knowledge of sin. And with this newfound knowledge of sin, it became abundantly clear that the law served as a viewfinder, revealing to us that we are nothing more than sinners.
But now, God has revealed to us a different righteousness, a righteousness that was apart from the law and apart from being good enough to keep the laws. This is not a new righteousness, but one that the scriptures told of long ago and one that has been revealed to us by the law itself and by the prophets. This different righteous of God depends on one’s faith in Jesus Christ. For if we trust in Jesus Christ to take away our sins, God says he will accept us, acquit us, and declare us not guilty in his sight. This extended to all who believe in Jesus Christ, this different righteousness; not just those who were under the law. Under this different righteousness, there is no distinction made from one group to another, for all have sinned and all have fallen short of the glory of God. The whole purpose of the law was to reveal sin, bring about conviction, and to prove guilt. The purpose was not for justification, for there was no one justified by the law.
Now according to Strong’s Concordance with Hebrew and Greek Lexicon, the word all is defined as,
pa'ß Pas (pas); Word Origin: Greek, Adjective, Strong #: 3956
individually – each, every, any, all, the whole, everyone, all things, everything; or
collectively – some of all types;
… as in the whole world has gone after him. Did all the world go after Christ?
… as in then went all Judea, and were baptized of him in Jordan. Was all Judea, or all Jerusalem baptized in Jordan?
… as in Ye are of God, little children, and the whole world lieth in the wicked one. Does the whole world there mean everybody?
The words world and all are used in some seven or eight senses in Scripture, and it is very rarely the all means all persons, taken individually. The words are generally used to signify that Christ has redeemed some of all sorts -- some Jews, some Gentiles, some rich, some poor, and has not restricted His redemption to either Jew or Gentile.
Source: Strong’s Complete Greek and Hebrew Lexicon; The Bible Collection Suite (Copyright © 2005 www.ValuSoft.com)
If these questions were posed to you, what would be your responses? Would your responses be similar to those of the group? Would your definition of the word all be the same as that of the group, All-inclusive without exception? Or, do you have a different answer to the questions? (to be continued...)
Enjoy your blessings - KW