Now, of course, when we have said this we have also made it clear that no one lives up to the standard of the Lord Jesus Christ. For all men fall short of such perfection, and in doing so they show themselves to be sinners. This is what sin is. Romans 3:23 says, "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God." 

I believe that this verse is the most important verse in the Sermon on the Mount. It is the climax of the first of the Sermon's three great chapters, and it is the midpoint, the pinnacle, from which much of the later teaching follows. I believe that if you can understand this verse, you understand the essence of all that Jesus Christ is teaching. And what is more, you understand the heart of the Christian Gospel and of the Bible generally. 

Now it is important that we do come to this fuller experience of God's love because it is from such loving conduct that the Gospel of Christ is communicated to the unsaved world. Someone has said that God has really given men five gospels. There is the Gospel according to Matthew, the Gospel according to Mark, the Gospel according to Luke, the Gospel according to John, and the Gospel according to you. How do men come to know God? They come to know Him through Jesus Christ. And how do they come to know Jesus Christ? They come to know Him as they see Him in the Scriptures and in your conduct. 

Now at this point you may well be saying, “Well, if that is the standard, I might as well admit right now that I cannot attain to it." That is true. You cannot attain to it, not in yourself. That love is only possible to those in whom the Lord Jesus Christ is working and in whom His love dwells.

There is one more point here that also should be mentioned. The same verses that tell us that Christ died for us when we were sinners also tells us that He died for us when we were without strength, which is to say, helpless. In spiritual terms, there was no possibility of our helping ourselves.