Sunday 7 March, 2021
21 But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22 This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25 God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— 26 he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus. 27 Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. Because of what law? The law that requires works? No, because of the law that requires faith. 28 For we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law. 29 Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles too? Yes, of Gentiles too, 30 since there is only one God, who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith. 31 Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law.
This is such a rich but heady passage. The version I read speaks of all having sinned and fallen short of God’s glory, and all being “justified by his grace as gift” (ESV). I love this phrasing, and it speaks to me afresh of how we are given the righteousness of God. It is not earned. It is not worked for. It is a gift. The very righteousness of God, that sets us at ease before God, that opens up the doorway to full and free relationship with Him who created the heavens and earth and us, is given to us a gift received.
I am so prone to work hard before I accept His grace and rest in His justifying work given me. It is so easy in this busy and full life, with a culture that is busy justifying itself without God, to blindly go with the crowd and in frustration or stress or anxiety tend to try and work myself out before I surrender to God. I’m called by God through this passage to a simple but profound change – start each approach of God by freshly receiving His grace given to you as gift. And then, having by faith freshly “put on” the very righteousness of God that comes in this grace, discern with God what is needed next in life.
Jesus, help me start a new habit of heart here Lord. Amen.
Written by Ps. Rob Waugh
Wow, so well put.
And your message is so much more easily said than done.
Receive god’s grace.