ROMANS 3:23-24 (NLT)
23 For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God�s glorious standard. 24 Yet God freely and graciously declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.

Here the apostle points out that everyone has sinned; they have fallen short of God�s standard of righteousness. Yet, while we were still sinners God freely and graciously, out of His love for us, declared that we are righteous because of His Son Jesus Christ who lived a sinless life and died as a sacrifice for our sin. It was Christ who paid the debt we owed for living a sinful life.

Dan Meyer, in his sermon �Why we remember the passion?� said this: Years ago I traveled to Ecuador and spent a couple of weeks traveling in the mountains. The Quechua Indian people I met there lived amidst the most mind-numbing squalor. The disease and disfigured bodies were heartbreaking. The bugs and stench were everywhere. People were living in a hole in the ground and calling it a house. They were feeding on rotten food and prizing garbage as possessions. But they didn't know it. Why? Because everyone lived that way. They had never been given a picture of what it means to be a genuinely healthy human being. They did not know what an abundant life truly looked like.

That is our problem, too. It's the reason we think of ourselves as largely innocent people�people who have little to do with bringing about the Cross of Christ. We don't get how sick and undeveloped we are spiritually. In Psalm 14, David says that the one fully-healthy Being in the universe views the human race as we might view those Quechua villagers�only the gap between his life and that of our village is so much larger. "The Lord looks down from heaven on the sons of men to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God. But all have turned aside. They have together become corrupt. There is no one who does good, not even one." In other words, we are condemned, and we don't even know it.

Isaiah 53:6 says, �All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God�s paths to follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on him the sins of us all.�