Saturday, October 2, 2021

Devotion: Right Standing With God Is A Gift

Not long ago, we discovered that God had already forgiven us of our sins.  For any of us to receive this “abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness” (Romans 5:17) we have to make Jesus Christ our Lord and savior.  When we do this, make Jesus our Lord and savior, we get all of these free gifts that God has to offer; God’s gift of grace, God’s gift of righteousness, and God’s gift of forgiveness.  We know that this is not the message that is being preached in many churches.  They still feel the need to use the law to try to control their congregations by continually making them feel guilty and condemned, but scripture tells us of another way that has no guilt, no condemnation, and is made as available as “a free gift.”

“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; to declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus” (Romans 3:23-26).

Scripture tells us that we were all guilty of sinning and falling short of God’s glory, yet God, through his mercy and grace, “freely declared us as righteous.”  When Jesus was presented as the sacrifice for our sin, we were made right with God, declared “not guilty” of offending him, as long as we trusted in Jesus Christ.  Because God wanted to demonstrate his righteousness, his fairness, and his justness, he declared sinners to be right in his sight as long as we placed our faith in Jesus Christ and made him our Lord and savior.  God basically gave us right standing with him in exchange for our faith and belief in Jesus Christ.  But what about the law, wasn’t it given to make us right with God, if we followed it?

“Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.  Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin” (Romans 3:19-20).  “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all’ (James 2:10).

According to this passage, the law applies to those who are still under the law, those who still try to follow the law, those who try to earn their way into heaven through their own self-righteousness.  However, the purpose of the laws was to keep everyone from having excuses for doing all of the evil things they were doing and to show that the entire world was guilty before God.  There were none that were made right with God, no matter how many righteous things they had done or how many laws they were able to follow.  The law served only to give us knowledge of sin and to show us just how sinful we were.  The more we knew of God’s law, the clearer it became that we were not obeying them at all and the guiltier we became.  The law was unkind and condemning, without understanding and without compassion.  People tried to follow the law, but the problem was that if “they broke one point in the law” and it did not matter which point that was, they were “guilty of breaking the entire law.”  The law simply made it impossible for anyone to be in right standing with God through their own efforts or their own performance.  No one could earn righteousness and the law was quick to point this fact out.  The law did two things, made us guilty before God and showed that we needed a savior.

“But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference” (Romans 3:21-22).  “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified” (Galatians 2:16).

According to this passage, God has shown us another way to be made righteous and have right standing with him, that did not include the law.  No longer do we have to keep the standards of the law because “the righteousness of God has been manifested” and has revealed a different way to heaven.  This new way to heaven has nothing to do with us being good or self-righteous and trying to keep the laws, but is an alternative way that was foretold in the law and by the prophets.  No longer do we have to do good deeds according to the law and try to earn our way into God’s good graces and be right with him, because according to scripture “no one will ever be justified by obeying the law.”  Nonetheless, God says, “he will accept and acquit us, declaring us not guilty” if we will just put our trust and our faith in Jesus and in his righteousness as then means to take away our sins.  We can be made right with him and have right standing with him simply by trusting and putting faith in Jesus Christ.  God has made this “gift of right standing with God” available to all and it is the same for everyone who will accept it.

We pray that this inspirational message will be a blessing to you as well as informative.  If blessed by this message, please share so that others may be blessed as well.  Amen.

Enjoy your blessings - KW