“But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”
Romans 3:21-26 NKJV
My tendancy, typically, is to do just what is needed to accomplish what I desire. If I have to complete a certain number of tasks, I approach the effort with a proportionate amount of energy, and little more. For many, we look at what it is to be a good person the same way. We follow a low standard of righteousness, just good enough to not be perceived as evil. With that approach to life, we allow a lot of things into our lives that are sinful, not so much in the eyes of the world, but very much so when compared to the righteousness of God.
The law and the prophets were witnesses to the righteousness of God, but they were limited. They were kept and compiled by mere men, with fleshly desires, and shortcomings. In reality the law was a “school master”, a means of showing humanity its inablity to be righteous in flesh alone. Reading the Old Testament, I am reminded of the constant failure of even the most faithful of God’s people.
Looking back, it is hard for me to fathom that I once thought of myself as righteous. I ignored my sinfulness and frequently compared myself to others. I set my standard low, and set high standards for those I felt were beneath me. What hypocrisy! Then Jesus came along. Suddenly, I was aware of all the sin in me as I was exposed to the true righteousness of God. He is the standard, the center of the target, the bullseye for what righteousness is supposed to be.
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God..”
As that truth has confronted the true nature of my heart, I have seen my gain made loss, as what I thought was virtue, became my shame. I also came to understand that through Jesus, I am justified. That reality shakes me to the core, as I ponder what Jesus did for me. He took my sin, my shame, all the evil I have done, and nailed it to the cross. My guilt, has become innocence, all because One sinless, died for my sins.
He did it to demonstrate the righteousness of God, to reconcile me to the Father, to grant me complete forgiveness. It is not because of my merit, but to demonstrate His righteousness. He is also demonstrating His forbearance, His not judging me and sending me to a much deserved hell for eternity. He is a just God, who cannot tolerate sin, and He is the justifier, who forgives and raises the lowly into righteousness. What amazing grace!
Believers, take the time to rejoice in the righteousness of God and thank Him for what He has done for you! Then go out and tell others of the God/Man who died for our sins, that we have the righteousness of God.
Those who have not tasted the grace of God: you too can know the joy of such a great salvation. Imagine all the evil you have done, washed away by the blood of Jesus! All the sins gone, all the guilt gone, all the shame. Then, living each day in newness of life with a destination in heaven, instead of a grievous eternity in hell. I can tell you that I have had such joy, even in my pain, the light of hope in the darkness, and growing anticipation at seeing Jesus face to face.
“But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Romans 6:22-23 NKJV
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