Sin. It doesn’t matter who we are or where we are from. All humans struggle with sin. It doesn’t even matter when we are living (although most seem to always think that it is worse now than it has ever been). David wrote about this in Psalm 14 and Paul quoted it in his letter to the Christians in Rome.
“There is no one righteous, not even one, there is no one who understands, there is no one who seeks God. All have turned away, together they have become worthless; there is no one who shows kindness, not even one.” (Romans 3:10-12)
Although we might not like this applied to us, deep down we know that too often we wander after sin and do not seek God. If the truth be told, we often seek sin and ignore God. When it comes to wanting what we desire, most choose sin. As David went on to say, “There is no fear of God before their eyes” (Romans 3:18).
There seems to be a universal idea that somehow if I just do more good than bad all will turn out all right in the end. The problem is that once we have sinned no amount of good we do can remove the sin.
“For no one is declared righteous before him by the works of the law, for through the law comes the knowledge of sin” (Romans 3:20).
This is where Jesus comes in. Although we cannot get rid of our sin, there was one who lived faithfully without sin. He was able to pay the price for the sin of all humans. No amount of good we do can get rid of the sin. But Jesus can (and did!).
“But now apart from the law the righteousness of God (although it is attested by the law and the prophets) has been disclosed – namely, the righteousness of God through the faithfulness of Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. But they are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 3:21-24)
Because of our sin we fall short of what God wants for us. It doesn’t matter who we are – this is the result of our sin problem. But because of the faithfulness of Jesus, the righteousness of God is able to be seen in forgiving our sin and the sin of all who will believe in him. We are justified by God’s grace.
Notice that this isn’t because we are faithful. We aren’t! We are sinners. It is Jesus who is faithful and our forgiveness is based on his faithfulness in dying on the cross (Romans 3:25-26). It is because of God’s grace.
Some use an acronym to try to understand grace: God’s Redemption At Christ’s Expense. This is what really happened. Jesus paid the price and God redeemed us – he bought us back from sin.
God did what we could not do. He provided a way we can have forgiveness. It is all based on Jesus and his paying the price for our sin in his death so that we can live for eternity.
“Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded! By what principle? Of works? No, but by the principle of faith! For we consider that a person is declared righteous by faith apart from the works of the law.” (Romans 3:27-28)
Because of what Jesus did we are declared righteous by faith. God looks at us as if we had never sinned. May we rejoice in the redemption God has given us through Jesus!
Readings for next week: Romans 3-7