Romans 3: 20-24
No one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin. But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
I’ve read a post on Facebook a few times that asks, “Aren’t you glad we were young and stupid before everyone carried phones with cameras and posted pictures for the world to see?” I have a big Amen for that! The truth is God saw it all. Even though I have become a new creature in Christ I still fail to completely submit my will to His. I know there is nothing I can do to earn my way into heaven. Nothing I can do to prove my righteousness to God. Nothing I do makes me more justified than anyone one else, not even a common criminal. Sin established itself in humanity in the garden when Adam and Eve disobeyed God.
We like to think of ourselves as good people, kind, generous, helpful, never intentionally harmful to anyone, and always living according to the rules of society and Christian morality. None of us are perfect. When we are totally honest with ourselves and examine our actions, our thoughts, and motivations, our judgments of others, we can see we fall short. Better yet, when we ask God to show us, as stated in Psalm 139:23-24: “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
God loves us so much He provided righteousness for us through Jesus Christ. It is through belief in Jesus we have redemption. As Jesus hung on the cross he assured the criminal next to him he would be with him in paradise, because he believed. We can’t think of ourselves as better than the “unsaved,” for the Bible tells us in Ephesians 2:8 “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.” It is in response to God’s love and mercy that we should live according to God’s laws, to be good and kind and serve others.
Lord, You alone are worthy and holy. Thank you for your grace and mercy. Thank you for your gift of faith which provides a way for us to be made righteous through belief in Jesus Christ. Reveal to us those things that keep us bound to sin and help us to change. Help us to never have a holier-than-thou attitude toward anyone, but to share your love with all.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.