. . . all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God . . . (Romans 3:23)
Everybody sins and falls short of God’s glory. You. Me. Your pastor. The President. Billy Graham. Mother Teresa. The Apostle Paul. Everybody.
God makes it 158% clear that we can’t work our way into Heaven on our own no matter how hard we try. If that’s the way you approach life, it’s a bit like being in a high-jump competition where after years of training, vitamin supplements and maybe even some blood doping your best effort barely clears five feet but the qualifying height is a googolplex times infinity plus a zillion miles. You’ll always come up short.
So, what’s the solution? The Apostle Paul grappled with that very question in the greatest Bible tongue-twister of all time . . .
I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do, I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do — this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but is sin living in me that does it.
So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Praise be to God — through Jesus Christ our Lord!
So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.
Therefore, there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit. (Romans 7:15-8:4)
As if that wasn’t enough, Paul adds this:
Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace . . . (Romans 8:5-6)
So, stop jumping and let Jesus carry you. It’s a matter of life and death.